The ongoing war between M23 rebel group and the regular army in eastern Congo war-torn regions is causing massive population displacements who lack essential aid and basic needs.

On March 7-9, 2024 in the city of Goma (North Kivu province) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Media Sensitive to Disasters – MSD Network held an Open Data Day event. MSD is a media network aiming to increase the media’s coverage of risk and disasters.

Entitled “Forced Displacement Open Mapping”, the event was organized in the context of tensions where M23 launched two bombs on March 7, 2024 in Mugunga (Western coast of the city of Goma up to 5km from the battlefields).

The overall goal of the event was to identify newly established displaced camps in eastern Congo war-torn regions for humanitarian assistance.

By developing a timeline feature to illustrate the evolution of forced displacements over the course of the ongoing war and how these displacement patterns change in response according to recent war development, the proposed aimed at producing spatial data that help humanitarian, media, local organizations and the Congolese officials design and implement evidence-based interventions beneficial for displaced deprived from basic needs.

Up to 15 participants have been involved in the displaced camp identification and mapping activities through the North Kivu province which have been coordinated by Rachel KIYUNGI and animated by Cleophas Byumba, Expert in Mapping and Fact-checking.

Project’s activities

Displaced camp in the battlefields (March 07-08, 2024)

The activity aimed at identifying displaced camps in the FARDC-M23 Battlefields including surroundings of the Capital city of Goma and throughout the North Kivu province.

Surveyors composed of the MSD Network members have been involved during the process and after the activity’s completion, up to 10 cities concentrated with displaced have been identified including; Mweso, Kitchanga, Nyanzale, Rugari, Kanyarutshinya, Rusayo, Kanyabayonga, Sake, Mugunga, Bulengo and the province capital city of Goma (hosting up to 6 displaced camps)

Displaced Camps Open mapping (March, 09, 2024)

The activity aimed at mapping forced displacements in the FARDC-M23 battlefield while strengthening the capacity of participants in open mapping with UMAP (an OpenStreetsMap tool). Up to 10 participants participated in the mapping activity with the following links;


  • Up to 30 participants have been directly involved in the event activities,
  • Up to 10,000kms have been covered by the event,
  • Increased knowledge in open mapping of up to 20 participants,
  • Up to 20 cities and villages were added to the map
  • Etc.


The proposed event activities have been threatened by ongoing hostilities between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels and numerous violations of event organizing freedom on the battlefields.

About Open Data Day

Open Data Day (ODD) is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. Groups from many countries create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities.

As a way to increase the representation of different cultures, since 2023 we offer the opportunity for organisations to host an Open Data Day event on the best date within a one-week period. In 2024, a total of 287 events happened all over the world between March 2nd-8th, in 60+ countries using 15 different languages.

All outputs are open for everyone to use and re-use.

In 2024, Open Data Day was also a part of the HOT OpenSummit ’23-24 initiative, a creative programme of global event collaborations that leverages experience, passion and connection to drive strong networks and collective action across the humanitarian open mapping movement

For more information, you can reach out to the Open Knowledge Foundation team by emailing You can also join the Open Data Day Google Group to ask for advice or share tips and get connected with others.