Kick off of the 25 Mapathon project

We are proud to announce the successful Kickoff of the 25 Mapathons project. On June, 22th a joint team of HeiGIT and the German Red Cross (GRC) carried out the first mapathon of the 25 Mapathons series. The mapathon was conducted with the local GRC groups from Witten and Lünen, which is part of the Red Cross Regional association of Westfalen-Lippe.

The 25 Mapathons Project

The aim of the 25 Mapathons project is to spread knowledge about OpenStreetMap (OSM) and humanitarian mapping among GRC volunteer groups. Furthermore, the mapathons will enhance the cooperation of GRC volunteers’ groups working on a national level with their GRC counterparts working in international projects. The final outcome of the project should be the capability of the GRC to harness the power of the great number of GRC volunteers to produce open geodata specifically for GRC projects abroad. The 25 Mapathons are funded and supported by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.


In the last years, GRC and HeiGIT developed a strong cooperation which helped to push forward the topic of GIS and open geodata in GRC. Since last year, the GRC is member of the Missing Maps Project, which underlines the importance of this topic for the GRC. In the course of the productive partnership between HeiGIT and the GRC (learn more here) several mapathons in a wide variety of occasions were conducted.

The experiences from these events proofed for mapathons to be a great tool to introduce GRC volunteers and employees to humanitarian mapping.

What happened in the Kick off Mapathon

Melanie Eckle (HeiGIT) gave an introductory presentation, providing an overview of humanitarian mapping. Katharina Lorenz (GRC) introduced the work of the GRC abroad and the use of geodata in forecast-based financing and Disaster Risk Reduction projects. In the following, the GRC volunteers mapped an area in Uzbekistan around the city of Fargona. The GRC has been active in the region for years. In close cooperation with the local Red Cross Red Crescent Societies and other project partners, the GRC is implementing forecast-based financing projects in Central Asia to prevent adverse effects from cold- and heatwaves on the local population. Accurate and comprehensive geodata are therefore crucial. Currently the 25 Mapathons team is processing the feedback from this last event to adapt the mapathons to the distinctive setting of local GRC groups.


In the next weeks and months, we will conduct additional mapathons with GRC groups all across Germany. Due to the covid-19 situation, these will be conducted online until further notice.

While the list of Red Cross associations that are interested in participating in a mapathon is growing, we are still looking for further GRC groups to take part in the project and to host a mapathon with us. If you are interested, please contact or

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