Launched in 2014, MapGive is a U.S. Department of State initiative that encourages and increases volunteer participation in the global mapping community and facilitates the creation of open geographic data to support humanitarian and development efforts. For many places in the world, this data is incomplete or simply does not exist, and through mapping, volunteers can help to fill gaps in the data set to build a more sustainable future. MapGive emphasizes collaborative online mapping as a method to engage with local communities and organizations, with resonant themes including education, urban resilience, and humanitarian response, among others.

MapGive utilizes the U.S. Department of State’s unique capabilities to strengthen the open mapping community’s ongoing efforts. For example, MapGive provides approved humanitarian and development related projects with USG-licensed high-resolution satellite imagery through the Imagery to the Crowd program. In addition, MapGive leverages the Department’s global reach to amplify the open mapping community’s voice through social media and creates collaborative programming with existing State Department efforts to better serve humanitarian needs.


Open Mapping is when individuals work together to contribute to a freely accessible map of the world. Crowdsourcing is an important method of Open Mapping, but many mappers work from the ground directly in their communities. Updated map data that is open and highly detailed helps play a critical role in humanitarian assistance and development programs. Learn about some of the groups mobilizing the global mapping community.


OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project that is building a free editable map of the world. A diverse, global community of contributors, including online volunteers, or remote mappers, as well GIS professionals, contribute data that creates an accurate, detailed, and up-to-date map. There are many free maps on the Internet, but the underlying data in many other maps is not available for public use due to legal and technical restrictions. OpenStreetMap opens up the map and the data to the public and makes it free to modify and use under an open license (Open Data Commons Open Database License 1.0). OpenStreetMap powers map data on thousands of web sites, mobile apps, and hardware devices.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is a non-profit organization that coordinates the creation, production and distribution of free mapping resources to provide map data supporting humanitarian response efforts around the world through OSM. HOT efforts made a significant impact supporting earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010 and have since regularly made critical contributions to major disasters and worked to expand knowledge across partners and communities. HOT's mission is to apply the principles of open source and open data sharing towards disaster management and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.


YouthMappers is an international university constorium on Mapping for Resilience that organizes a global community of learners, researchers, educators, and scholars to create and use open geographic data to directly address locally defined development challenges worldwide. YouthMappers invites students and faculty advisors to join its network that includes over 140 chapters across over 40 countries. YouthMappers is supported by the United States Agency for International Development through a grant from the USAID GeoCenter. Founding partners are Texas Tech University, The Geoge Washington University, and West Virginia University.

Missing Maps

Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project founded by HOT, Medecins Sans Frontieres, British Red Cross, and the American Red Cross that aims to map areas using OSM so that individuals, communities, and organizations can use open data to better prepare and respond to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies. Missing Maps supports community mapping by developing technologies, skills, and workflows and by harnessing a global volunteer network.

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a global partnership that helps developing coutnries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change. GFDRR is a grant-funding mechanism managed by the World Bank that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide and provides knowledge, funding, and technical assistance. The Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), part of GFDRR, applies concepts of the global open data movement to the challenges of reducing vulnerability to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change and supports World Bank Regional Disaster Risk Management Teams to build capacity and long-term ownership of open data projects with client countries.

Secondary Cities

Secondary Cities (2C) is a field-based initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Geographer and Global Issues to map for resiliency, humanity security, and emergency preparedness. Secondary Cities builds partnerships to create geospatial capacity, enhance understanding through data and mapping, and enable science-based decision making. Projects and partners support any one or combination of open source and proprietary geospatial tools and technologies for data generation, data management and sharing, data visualization, and remote sensing.