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  • Airin Akter, University of Dhaka

A memorable journey of a YouthMapper along with lot of “firsts"

The word “First” has its own power. The first experience of anything is always special to a person. Life is a mesmerizingly amazing thing. We don’t know what is waiting for us in future. The future is a vague thing and we should have some dreams for the future. In every span of life, we want to relish our first experiences and State of the Map Asia 2017 has given a lot of first experiences to me. I am very much fortunate having this opportunity in my life. In my life I have learned one thing if you want to do something with all your efforts, then the universe will try to give opportunities to you so that you can gain that thing you desire.

When I got the mail from the SOTM team, I was so happy that I couldn’t concentrate in my class.

Yeah, I understand, bunking a class is not right, but the happiness was so precious to me that I skipped that class. From August to September I was above the sky and dreamt for the flying in a jet!! This was my first international plane journey also.

The two day-long conference started with the pre-conference Mapathon. On 22 September, the most awaited day had come. The main conference started with welcoming participants from different countries. The Kate Chapman, the chairperson of OSM Foundation, gave the very first keynote speech. She emphasized the importance of mapping in her speech. Another keynote speaker, Dr. Lee Schwartz, stated the importance of mapping in his speech.

The most awaited session was the “YouthMappers” session and it began with an introductory speech given by Maliha Binte Mahiuddin. Our session was a collaborative session. We gave a presentation along with Saurav Gautam, Sumit Rana, and Manjurul Islam on the current situation of YouthMappers and I was in charge to conclude the session with an overview of Dhaka University YouthMappers contributions in Bangladesh.

The second day of the conference was a day with lot of new experiences for me. We attended different sessions. One was arranged for sharing mappers’ experiences named “Youth as Mappers”. After finishing all the sessions, I spoke with Eugene Lisovskiy from MAPS.ME, and I was surprised to hear that a man from biotechnical and medical devices and systems (engineer) started contributing to mapping. This is so inspiring to mappers like us. The conference was a gathering of genius people and I am blessed to have had this opportunity in my life.

Airin Akter has just completed her Bachelor’s degree from Geography and Environment Department at University of Dhaka. She is the president of Dhaka University YouthMappers Chapter and interested in mapping. She wants to engage more people in mapping and create ways of learning through mapping. In her leisure, she usually reads books and watches TV series. She has huge interest in Technological stuff and Geographic Information Systems related work. In the future, she wants to be a Researcher.

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