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  • Chris Eshun, University of Mines and Technology

The benefits of being a YouthMapper

My name is Chris Eshun, I am a third-year student at the University of Mines and Technology, I study Bsc Geomatic Engineering. I had never heard of OpenStreetMap until 2017, and I must confess I was very amazed that such a mapping community existed. I only knew of Google Maps since childhood but when I learnt the benefit and impact OpenStreetMap is making in the world, I felt the passion and desire to help. Fortunately, my university has a YouthMappers chapter, UMat YouthMappers, and since 2017 they have been helping the student members contribute to OpenStreetMap.

This experience has broadened my knowledge in GIS, Spatial Analysis, and taught me how to use data from OpenStreetMap to solve everyday problems in my community. One incident I will always have in mind was when I made a map of a flooded area around the University’s campus where I showed the buildings and amenities affected by the flood with data from OpenStreetMap and shared it via Twitter. Surprisingly, at the end of the week, when I was going through the weekly OSM news digest, I saw my name and the link to the map I tweeted! I must say I was overwhelmed with joy; it was such a nice experience.

Because changes are constantly made to OpenStreetMap everyday, the data available is always up to date and it is useful for students and organizations thatneed data for research or problem-solving situations. OpenStreetMap data is not just for personal use, humanitarian response organizations depend on OpenStreetMap data for attending to areas affected by disease or natural disasters. This is one thing I am really proud of every time I contribute to OpenStreetMap. Contributing data is like my own little way of making an impact in the world and giving back to society.

I encourage everyone to volunteer their time to help contribute to OpenStreetMap! So far, YouthMappers have four chapters in Ghana and I am hoping other Universities get on board so students can start contributing!

I will like to say a big thank you to our faculty Advisors Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe and Dr. Saviour Mantey for their support and advice to the UMaT YouthMappers. Also, my appreciation goes to Enock Seth Nyamador and Patrick Agyei for the encouragement they gave me, I wouldn’t have been able to make it without them.

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