Creating a Slack bot for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
22 June 2020
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) attracts people passionate in making a difference.
With a goal to promote humanitarian action and community development through open mapping, people from all backgrounds contribute their time through different ways: from mappers who map areas to help communities in need all over the world, validators who ensure that the tasks are mapped correctly and the data are high quality, community volunteers who assist in communication and coordination and of course, those who contribute to the open-source tools and software that HOT uses.
As part of the Outreachy programme, I am creating a Slack bot for the HOT community to improve their internal communications and increase efficiency. The goal of the project is to make it easier for members to get information from HOT tools and share it with other members. This way, the community can spend less time fiddling around with APIs and HOT tools and more time mapping, validating, and contributing to projects and helping people.
The main reason I’m excited to do my work everyday is because I love the work that HOT does. I grew up in the Philippines so I’m no stranger to natural calamities that cripple economies and disrupt millions of lives—which is why being able to help out the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team by starting this greenfield project is such an amazing opportunity for me. Not only am I able to learn so much from my mentors but I’m also doing work that I’m extremely proud of and I know will help people.
I’ve also been learning so much about AWS services through this project. It’s my first time working with anything AWS so it’s a lot of self-directed studying with guidance from my mentors and it’s been gratifying building out this project from the ground up and seeing it taking shape.
Learning new tech is always equal parts anxiety-inducing and exciting. Seeing all these new terms and new things to learn is scary but at the same time nothing gives me a better rush than knowing that at the end of my project I’ll have something to show for all my hard work. Having my mentors and the HOT dev team there to help me out has been extremely helpful as well as I know I don’t have to spin my wheels and waste my time since I have such a wealth of knowledge and skills to draw from.
It can be scary to raise your hand and say ‘pick me for this project!’ but with Outreachy everything has been so rewarding and you learn so much that I don’t have time to be worried. It helps to pick a project and community that you can put your heart behind as well, of course, which is why I’m so glad I got picked for this project for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.