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  • Yared Moges, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology

Ethiopian Students Just Started Making Maps

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Group of students in front of building titled "Addis Ababa Institute of Technology" holding a YouthMappers banner.

The first YouthMappers chapter was recently created at Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From the engineering campus, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, students from different fields were motivated to join the YouthMappers network. Good thing, they were already a family in a well-organized society in the campus, Ethiopian Space Science Society. The society has a large number of student members from different campuses of Addis Ababa University, perfect for the job, thus, calling themselves ESSSmappers. The new mappers come from different departments inclusive of software engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, urban planning, architecture, and remote sensing. This new chapter is expecting many more members, for now, a dozen of them have started mapping after taking the physical inauguration and training.

Two students watching Michael speak.

Weeks before the training took place, the lucky chapter had a surprise visit by the USAID GeoCenter Deputy Director, Michael Crino, who happened to be in Addis Ababa at the time ESSSmappers was established. He was so generous to come and meet the chapter students engaging us in some introductions regarding humanitarian mapping and all supporting organizations involved. Afterwards, students showed him around and suggested must-see places in Addis. We had a great time! He then emailed us, important documents and sites we can go through, to have a good understanding of mapping and spatial analysis. It highly inspired us to look forward to the inaugural training, which was scheduled on 16th and 17th of November 2019.

Members had a wonderful time during the two-day training, 5 female and 7 male students participated. The wonder and excitement woke them early morning on Saturday the 16th. Regional Ambassador, Stellamaris from Uganda, was already there to help out with setting up. New members were lucky to get such a dedicated trainer, who gave a series of presentations explaining in detail about- the what, why’s, how’s, and when’s of YouthMappers, OpenStreetMap and understanding spatial data in general. Sunday the 17th was all focused on basic mapping skills using the OSM website and JOSM software. This training supplemented ESSSmappers' first mapathon. The task on the TeachOSM manager was prepared for the students as their first online mapping project. The students picked up on mapping quickly, regarding their theoretical abilities from their various disciplines. It was expected of them to at least map one task. There was fun too ☺!

Screenshot of tasking manager, with 10 tiles colored yellow and many tiles not filled in.

The students have since brought up incredible ideas and perspectives on what they can do through mapping and satellite image analysis for disaster management, environmental protection, and better community services. The start looks good, nevertheless, their first task is to finish up the project given to them during the training. Students are scheduling between their studies to meet up at the Ethiopian Space Science Society office to enjoy and map their project area delineated around Addis Ababa. We hope to immerse ourselves in the global community of YouthMappers and map together for resilience. We would like to thank our trainer and dear friend, Stellamaris (W) Nakacwa, regional ambassador; Michael Crino, USAID GeoCenter deputy director; Ethiopian Space Science Society office and Addis Ababa Institute of Technology.

Headshot of Yared Moges in black suite jacket.

Yared Moges is doing his MSc. in Remote Sensing at Ethiopian Space Science Technology Institute at Addis Ababa University. Since his engineering degree, he has interned and volunteered at the Ethiopian Space Science Society. He took part in various training and conferences related to space and development and has been enthusiastic about sustainable development growth using space science. He is the president of the ESSSmappers in Addis Ababa University and is very eager to bring together youth energy at this university to map for resilience.

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