Frequently asked questions
Q1: How can I become a UN Mapper?
A1: To join the community and become a UN Mapper, simply contribute to our mapping projects in support of UN Peacekeeping missions! Use the hashtag #UNMappers in your changeset comment to be listed among our contributors and try to reach the top of the UN Mappers Leaderboard. The best mappers will be showcased in Voice of the Community! We also look forward to hearing from you on our social networks. If mapping is not your thing, you can always use your skills to support peace!
Check out how!
Q2: I have never used OpenStreetMap and I don't know how to contribute, how can I get started?
A2: In the UN Maps Learning Hub you will find a series of courses just for you! From the ABCs of OpenStreetMap to the usage of the most advanced tools.
You can choose to simply take a course or to aim for a certification. Select the course that best covers your needs and enroll now!
Q3: How is UN Mappers linked to the United Nations?
A3: UN Mappers is part of UN Maps, a UN-led mapping program that aims to assist UN Peacekeeping missions in their field endeavors. Building upon previous initiatives where the main objective was the production of topographic maps, the United Nations Global Service Centre (UNGSC), the United Nations Geospatial Information Section in New York, and three UN Peacekeeping missions (UNSOS, MONUSCO and MINUSCA), the foundation of this new and wider global initiative was established in August 2019.
As a volunteering UN Mapper you can directly bring your support in this mapping activity through OpenStreetMap.
Q4: I would like to work with you, are there any job or mentorship opportunities?
A4: We are always looking for motivated people and new talents! Take a look at the open positions on the Careers page and check out the opportunities to contribute to peace and security in the world. If you are a university student, you can find amazing remote mentorship opportunities!
Q5: I have a proposal for collaboration, how can I contact you?
A5: Discover what kind of partnerships or collaborations you can propose for working with us through the Partnerships & Collaborations page. You can propose one by filling out our Contact us form page.
Q6: Does the data I enter become exclusive property of the United Nations? Which is the data license?
A6: No, the data remains on OpenStreetMap and is accessible and downloadable by anyone at any time. OpenStreetMap data is released under the Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL).
Q7: How is OpenStreetMap data provided to UN Peacekeeping missions?
A7: The data is used to provide peacekeepers with maps and geoservices of the areas where they operate to help them in their field endeavours. Once the data has been edited on OpenStreetMap, it gets validated by an internal mapping facility and used in combination with UN authoritative data to produce cartographic products (as topographic, urban and site maps) as well as the delivery of services like 3D visualization, routing and geocoding.
Through the Maps On Demand (MOD) application, developed by UN Maps, mission personnel can download and print daily extracts directly in the field. The MOD application is accessible only for internal use.
Q8: Where can I find your OpenStreetMap projects?
A8: Our projects are available on the OSM Tasking Manager. Each project comes with a useful set of instructions on the features to be mapped.
Q9: Do you use specific software for mapping topographical features?
A9: For the mapping of topographical elements (highways, waterways, places) and their validation, we use JOSM, the main OpenStreetMap desktop editor.
If you have never used JOSM, you can find a course to get started with it in the UN Maps Learning Hub!
Q10: I'm not interested in mapping, but I would like to contribute anyway. What can I do?
A10: If mapping is not your thing, you can help us by organising events, translating educational material or using your creative skills to contribute to images and/or graphics for our social media and website!
Check out the Join the Community page to support us!