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  • Natalia da Silveira Arruda with Andres Pérez Brand

This is the way we began our participation in YouthMappers

It was a beginning full of expectations. On August 26th, Universidad de Antioquia of Colombia became part of YouthMappers through the participation in the mapathon of tertiary roads of Santander department. Without having more information about OSM and its tools, as well as what they would do in the activity, 14 students gathered in a computer lab and connected themselves remotely to Humberto Yances (member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Colombia), who was in Bogotá, coordinating the mapathon from Universidad de los Andes.

In spite of the fact that students were beginners, we can say it was a really active start! We participated with 6 groups, winning the first place in the category Best Mapper, with our student Andres Pérez Brand, and second place in the category Best Group, with a total of 10,189 edited objects. As best mapper, Andres won a trip to Manaure, La Guajira, to participate in a field mapping activity together with the chapter MESH from Universidad de La Guajira. In this article, Andres tells us a little about his participation in the mapathon:

“This was the first mapathon in which I participated, and I found it quite nice. It´s an activity that is easy to learn and is not very complicated. Regarding the OSM work methodology, I liked that it is not a single way of working, but there are different editors with similar features and is very helpful that it is not mandatory install programs, because there is also an online editor.”

“I didn´t know the work of OSM and HOT before, but it is very interesting everything they do, because they allow many users to easily access to free map databases, which trying to do it by other platforms would be more complex and more expensive, since many of these data is handled among private companies.”

Andres also shared with us his experience in the field work:

“The work in Rioacha and Manaure was very good. On one hand, I visited these sites, and on the other hand, I learned how to carry out the field mapping. The activities we had done previously were all with digital images and from the computer, but in La Guajira data were collected by simply using a Smartphone and apps that are free, that can be found in the Playstore of an Android, in this case.”

This was the first of many activities that will follow. UdeA expects participate in Youth Mappers in an increasingly active way, showing to our students the possibilities of open data and creating leaders who are motivated to improve their environment and contribute in seeking more resilient and equitable cities.


*Natalia da Silveira Arruda is Professor for University of Antioquia Environmental School and Coordinator of UdeA Chapter in Youth Mappers. She earn degrees as an Architect UFRGS, Porto Alegre (Brazil) and MSc in Territorial, Urban, Environmental And Landscape Planning, Politecnico di Torino Turin (Italy).

Photos courtesy of Humberto Yances, HOTOSM Colombia.

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