Editable COVID-19 mutual aid map of Birmingham


Feel free to add relevant locations as they emerge.

Here is the user documentation: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/UMap#Tutorials

A quick start guide to the use of the map

What is it for?

  • Resources, eg distribution hubs, food banks, projects supporting local communities
  • Links to neighbourhood mutual aid groups on the BCS spreadsheet
  • Zone outlines, eg. catchment / delivery zones for services

What is it not for?

  • Individuals offering or requesting support (use the BCS spreadsheet)
  • Random commercial services eg. supermarkets - unless necessary for identifying sources of scarce supplies

NB: small changes (eg adding locations, and other additions unlikely to cause problems) can be made on the live map; for big / ambitious / risky changes, test them first on the testing version, then replicate on the live version afterwards: TESTING - Cooperation Birmingham - uMap

How to add locations

  1. Click the edit pencil in the top right or most of this below won’t work image

  2. Click the layers button (looks like stacked coins) on the LHS to see if the location you plan to add would fit into one of the categories:

At the time of writing we have ‘layers’ for other supplies, mutual aid contacts, healthcare and food. If your location doesn’t fit in these categories, skip to the step 4 of the guide to see how to add new layers, and then come back to step 2.

  1. You can either search an address/postcode (it works okay I guess but not perfectly) or find the location by just scrolling around the map.
    2.a. Location search: click the magnifying glass image and enter an address. If it works, click the wee pencil and go to step 3:
    2.b. Scroll to the correct location, right click, click ‘Draw a marker’, then click to place the marker:

  2. Edit the new marker in the sidebar. Set the layer to the appropriate category - this will set the icon and colour to match the other locations in that category. Change the name to something sensible, and add any more details (eg a URL to the description):
    Click ‘Save’ in the top right to commit your changes, and you’re done - that’s it.

  3. (Bonus step) If your location really doesn’t fit in any of the categories, make a new one! This will make styling consistent for all future locations added in this category, Click the stacked coins on the RHS, then click ‘add a layer’:

    4.a. Give it a descriptive name
    4.b. Click ‘Shape properties’ and then define the colour as something that stands out. Define the icon symbol as something appropriate. No need to change the other settings.

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It only works well at certain zoom levels due to details of the data and software implementation, but I have added a heatmap drawing on government deprivation statistics to highlight areas of highest concern:

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This is incredible @ben

Just remembered I had a duplicate post about the map so I’ve closed that topic and will add it here:

I’m beginning to build a map to help us with planning. I’ll share it when there’s something to look at. In the meantime, let me know any things it should cover. So far I’ve thought of:

  • Resources (logistical sites, suppliers etc)
  • Healthcare locations
  • Population density and income figures (if I can find the data) to help us identify high-need areas
  • Other similar projects’ area of coverage so we don’t duplicate the work of hyperlocal groups

Other people are getting involved in the map project which is great :heart:

As I see it there are 3 parts for people to get involved in, data collection, data entry and data management.

The data collection part includes:

  • Finding addresses for the kinds of resources mentioned above. The Birmingham Community Solidarity spreadsheet has a sheet listing these resources; the map was up to date a few days ago but may be out of date now.
  • Monitoring the many WhatsApp / Signal groups in order to keep on top of new services / resources being advertised. eg. today I’ve seen that Mr Singh’s are starting to provide food
  • (More technical) Finding relevant public data that can enhance the map. For instance I have already added Birmingham level Index of Multiple Deprivation stats, but I should have done it for a wider area since we’re covering some services in the environs too, so this needs redoing. It was a bit of a process so I will probably just do this myself since it took me a while to figure out

Apart from the last bit, this requires no technical info. People can post in here if they have suggestions of things to add, if they’re not confident to do it themselves. But ideally we want people to be bold and just have a go at adding stuff themselves, that’s why I made the guide above.

Data entry includes:

  • Learning ASAP how the umap platform works so many people can contribute fully. People can do this by playing with the testing map here: TESTING - Cooperation Birmingham - uMap. We’re trusting people to not break the main version with experimental edits.
  • Adding markers on the map for all of the above
  • Revising existing markers to add opening times, website URLs, notes etc

Personally I find umap easy enough (I have been using it less than a week and I have no experience in anything similar). The only annoyance is that the address search is only about 80% good in my experience, so you have to check the marker goes in the right place, and occasionally place markers manually (by scrolling to the correct place)

Data management includes:

  • Stewarding the flood of info we will hopefully have from volunteers, this means: making sure markers are all on the correct layer, making sure data is consistent, adding new layers to categorise markers better
  • Backing up the map - since there’s no backup or rollback function we should be making individual backups (by clicking the share icon and downloading the full map as a .umap file which can be reuploaded to fix any fuckups
  • We can restrict editing rights if we have to but at the mo it’s fully open

Have fun

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I’ve revised the deprivation data so now we have it for the full map screen (including Coventry, Walsall etc) and have also uploaded the shapefiles for the actual boundaries of the LSOAs.

Next step is to add delivery zones for some of the food distribution hubs, where I know them

This map is ace, Ben! Might just be me, but the testing map doesn’t seem to be editable? (There’s no pen icon top right corner.) I’d like to play around with it first as suggested so I can add stuff to the main one without breaking it

Hey Kaeden! You’re right, it was misconfigured. It should work now I’ve changed it.

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Thanks Ben! Am trawling through the BCS group and adding everything that has been mentioned there

Nice :slight_smile: I’ll try to avoid doing anything more tonight so I don’t overwrite your edits by mistake.

I have just added an isochrone (eg how far actually is 1km, 2km and 3km from the Warehouse Cafe) using data from https://openrouteservice.org/. That info is a bit specialised so the layer is invisible by default, you have to go in and turn it on. (I’ve done one for Loaf as well because they’re planning to deliver to their customers.)


I’ve added some (I’m sure not all) the gurdwaras on the food layer. I haven’t individually verified that they are still doing food, though - I assume most are

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