Mapping is Like a Box of Chocolates
Nowadays I definitely do not think of myself only as a citizen of Bangladesh but also as a citizen of across the world. I am a valuable citizen for the humanitarian small world where correct data support is a dire need for aid and humanitarian works that may save thousands of lives. I haven’t travelled to any of these countries of the world but I have always dreamed to connect with different nationalities, irrespective of color, race, ethnicity. Envisioning the untraveled world through my mapping makes me feel like the global citizen that I am.
This radical change in my thoughts about the unseen world has been seen with the help of the YouthMappers program. There was an OpenStreetMap training and mapathon program organized by the collaboration of YouthMappers chapter of Dhaka University under the support of the DU Innovation and Incubation Lab (Du I-Lab) and Texas Tech University, USA on the campus of University of Dhaka.
My name is Maliha Binte Mohiuddin and I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I am a 3rd year undergraduate student of Disaster Management at the University of Dhaka. On the 5th of September, an extremely talented Geospatial expert and coordinator of YouthMappers training programming in Bangladesh, Mr. Ahasanul Hoque trained and introduced us to the YouthMappers program, its goals and to the other chapters. We were 33 students from different departments of the University of Dhaka. In the YouthMappers program, he showed us how the world can be a better place to live when all the multi-disciplinary students work altogether for humanitarian assistance under one roof. We mapped our area of interest first and then did a mapathon for mapping Southeast Bangladesh using the HOT Tasking Manager set up for YouthMappers through USAID.
Through the YouthMappers program, I have felt like OpenStreetMap is like a box of chocolates. Why am I comparing it with a box of chocolates? Because this chocolate box has a specialty which contains 7 continents’ flavors of open data sources around the world which work for humanitarian purposes. The same as a box of chocolates, it brings smiles to the faces of the people by reducing vulnerability in any corner of the world. A YouthMappers chapter offers a multi dimensional platform in one single frame where diversifying knowledge walks hand in hand with mapping. In Bangladesh the YouthMappers program has a lot of potential, and chapters should be opened in more universities to make more widespread the knowledge and humanitarian causes and this global challenge. More and more youth should be encouraged about this new movement. I have felt that every month for once we should arrange a mapathon for introducing new people to the online software of mapping who are unfamiliar with it through the YouthMappers Program. We the YouthMappers of Dhaka University should be grateful to Texas Tech University and USAID for implementing and funding this YouthMappers program and finally I should thank Prof. Rashedur Rahman, Director of DU-ilab and YouthMappers DU advisor Prof. Khalid Hasan for their heartiest support to make the daylong event successful.
Photos courtesy of Maliha Binte Mohiuddin and Ahsanul Hoque.