Small-scale crisis response mapping: comparing user contributions to events in OpenStreetMap

Erika Kamptner, Fritz Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In the last decade, the crowdsourced geographic information platform, OpenStreetMap (OSM), has become a critical tool for emergency response efforts during large-scale crisis events such as hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes. Events such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, have attracted massive organized relief responses on the OSM platform. During these events, new and experienced OSM contributors have helped map critical infrastructure necessary for relief efforts. While much is understood about how OSM users organized and contributed during these large-scale events, little has been researched as to how contributors respond to smaller scale events. This study investigates how OSM users contribute to the map in response to small-scale crisis events by comparing OSM user contributions from four recent building fire incidents located in Western and Non-Western countries and areas of varying degrees of map completeness. Analysis determined whether there was an increase in OSM contributions in the immediate aftermath of an incident and characterized these contributors as serious or casual mappers, local to or remote from the incident, and what kinds of features or attributes are being updated. Results from this research showed an increase in user contributions for most incidents in the 30 days after the incident, with 41–98% of contributions occurring in the first 10 days after an event for some study areas. Based on each contributor editing history, most contributors were classified as being serious, remote mappers. This research contributes to a growing body of evidence that investigates potential motivation factors for contributions to OSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1185
Number of pages21
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Small-scale crisis response mapping: comparing user contributions to events in OpenStreetMap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this