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  • Michael Batame, University of Ghana

Mapping of Food Outlets on University of Ghana Campus, Phase One and Two: A Field Paper and Open Dat

As they say, to whom much is given much is expected. We as YouthMappers of the University of Ghana are always on the move. We are the movers and shakers in creating a resilient environment through mapping. After the project we collaborated with BRECcIA (Research Capacity Building on Sustainable Water and Food Security in the Dry lands of Sub Saharan Africa, Talensi District, Upper East Region of Ghana) this project, Mapping Food outlets on the University of Ghana Campus, was birthed in August, 2019. The project manager is Mr. Daniel Mensah who is a PhD student at the University of Warwick Medical School. This project is in three phases namely mapping food outlet, food assessment and focus group discussion. The activities that took place are further discussed below.

On 24th to 25th August, 2019, all supervisors were present at the workshop where Mr. Daniel introduced himself. He recognized the efforts of Michael Batame who contributed massively to the online mapping project on HOT Task Manager #6721. The workshop aimed at building capacity on ODK Collect and OpenMapKit (OMK). The questionnaires for the project were reviewed to make it meaningful and simple to answer.

On 3rd September, 2019, a workshop was organized for the volunteers (20) who were all University of Ghana YouthMappers. These volunteers were trained on how to use the ODK and OMK to collect the data for the various structures on campus. Mr. Daniel Mensah and Michael Batame trained the volunteers on how to use field papers to collect the geographic data. The volunteers were paired and did piloting to familiarize themselves before the main field work.

Volunteers gathered to be paired in order to start the piloting.

On 6th to 18th October, 2019, the main field work began. Supervisors and volunteers went to the field to draw on the field paper the outline and number the structures on the university campus. The first structure, all volunteers and supervisors mapped, was a popular landmark in each field paper so that ending the mapping of structures on the field paper will be easier. In November, 2019 all the fieldpapers were scanned and uploaded in the OSM was updated using the data gathered with the fieldpapers.

Finally, phase two began and ended in February, 2020. The questions were loaded into ODK collect and linked to OpenMapKit. All the food vendors on campus at the canteens and the various residential halls were interviewed using the ODK collect. The OMK was used to record the geographical location of the food outlets. Questions such as type of product sold, opening time and closing time were asked to analyze and conclude whether University of Ghana students are eating healthy or not. The results will be published soon. A web interactive map will be produced soon that will display all the food outlets on campus.


The experiences of some of the volunteers are highlighted below.

I had a great hands-on experience using field papers to map structures on campus I was assigned to. Working with field papers gives you the opportunity to build on your experience and improve your GIS skills. I helped with the online updating of the data collected with field papers using JOSM. This project has helped me to tour the whole campus and has given me the platform to broaden my knowledge on using field papers. The knowledge gained will be shared with especially UG YouthMappers members to know how to map accurately using field papers. Also, I will advocate for the use of field papers on campus over other methods because of its reliability. I will urge everyone to join YouthMappers network and help make the world a better place to live in. Long live YouthMappers, long live Ghana. I forever remain indebted to Youthmappers. I am Michael Batame the President of UG YouthMappers.

I am Gloria Kusi the General Secretary of UG YouthMappers. I had a great experience from the phase one of the project. I also gained knowledge on how to use field papers, how to use ODK collect and how to work in a team and as a supervisor. I learned and had fun while mapping. I will encourage my fellow women on campus and those outside to hurry up and join the YouthMappers network to help create a resilient environment. YouthMappers is really touching lives positively, most especially empowering us young ladies to do more for our societies through mapping.

I am Stephen Nana Yaw Amofah, UG YouthMappers member and I participated in the Mapping Food Outlets project. Opportunity they say comes but once. The opportunity I had to participate in the Mapping Food Outlets project was indeed a life time experience. Working with other students has really improved upon my interpersonal relationship skills. I have learned how to use many open geospatial apps such as ODK collect and OMK. The fieldpapers experience was thrilling and I will never forget it. I am very grateful to the Mapping Food Outlets project manager for this experience and I am forever proud to be a YouthMapper.

My name is Pascal Awenjaab Walter Gbiel a member of University of Ghana YouthMappers. I volunteered for mapping UG Food Outlets project. The project was exciting and a great one to be part of. We were taken through vigorous training by Mr. Daniel and Michael Batame. They equipped us with the skills of using ODK Collect, OpenMapKit and field papers to gather data and map the food environment of the University of Ghana. We are done with the phase one (1) of the project and the data gathered was used in phase 2. The phase 2 was really amazing. It was really an exciting experience as I got to make new friends, know places on campus and learn new things. I believe the skills I acquired through this project will go a long way to help me map areas in my community and the data will be given to government and NGOs for the purposes of development. I will also share these skills with others so that together we can contribute our quota to the development of society through mapping. I want to encourage everyone out there to join YouthMappers so that we will build and make our world a better place to live through mapping.

Other volunteers are Herwin, Noela, Emmanuel, Kingsley, Emmanuel, Christian, Daniel, Ericson, Marvin, Paul, Bennail, Prince Boateng, Edwin, Andy and Elikplim.

In conclusion, we are thankful to God Almighty for the collaboration with Mr. Daniel Mensah from University of Warwick Medical School. Indeed, we have learned a lot of open data skills from this project such as how to use ODK, OMK and field papers. We say a very big thank you to our YouthMappers patron Dr. Alex Owusu Barimah for being supportive. We appreciate his time, advice and everything he has done and is still doing for us. Thank you to all UG YouthMappers’ volunteers, your efforts have yielded a good result. Thank you to the staff of YouthMappers for always being there for us and linking us to the world. We forever stay committed to serving the aims and vision of YouthMappers.

#YouthMappers…… We do not just build maps but build mappers!

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