300 Days of a YouthMapper
Updated: Oct 1
Hi, I am Gaurav Parajuli from Nepal. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Geomatics Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Pashchimanchal Campus, Pokhara. Here I’ll tell you my story of how far my journey has been as a YouthMapper. I recently completed my 300 days in OpenStreetMap(OSM) as a YouthMapper.
Beginning Of The Journey
I joined OpenStreetMap on May 23, 2018. The first time I came to know about OpenStreetMap and YouthMappers was when Geomatics Engineering Students’ Association Of Nepal (GESAN), which is one of the inaugural chapters of YouthMappers, conducted 2 days of basic training on OSM using iD editor, JOSM and OSM Tracker. This was the very first time I learned to add point, line and polygons on OpenStreetMap. I was so very excited about mapping after the training and was very eager to learn more about mapping and exploring different aspects of it. As time passed, I began to contribute more and more to OpenStreetMap.
My Experience And Achievements
Looking back on my journey, after I joined OSM, I began to look through different areas of Nepal that haven’t been included in OSM yet. I started mapping those areas. I just used to map when I had some spare time. Anil Basnet, who is one of the top contributors in OSM from Nepal, shared his story on the occasion of OSM Day 2019. I was so very inspired by his story and his passion for mapping. His map enthusiasm has been an inspiration to me and many other students on our campus to get involved in mapping activities. Later on, I started to increase my regular mapping activities. I used to map approximately 0.5-1hrs once a day. This has improved my mapping skills and made a major contribution to OSM as well.
My experience as a YouthMapper and a contributor to the OSM has been fantastic so far. Speaking of a few accomplishments I've achieved as a YouthMapper. I got a chance to develop my mapping skills and share those with others. I was provided with an opportunity to train the students about OpenStreetMap while opening a new chapter of YouthMappers at Pokhara University. This opportunity was provided by Er. Saurav Gautam, who is also a regional ambassador of YouthMappers. I would like to thank Saurav sir for this wonderful opportunity. I also got a chance to be a Data Quality Intern at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), where I met people around the world from different communities and we got the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with each other.
Open Mapping Workshop at Pokhara University
My Contribution To Projects
I have contributed to various projects related to OpenStreetMap. Here are some of the projects that I have contributed to the date.
Mapping The Forests Of Nepal - Forest Mapathon (GESAN/GES/NAXA)
Forests occupy a wide region of Nepal, and these forests are spread across countries, designated as national parks, conservation areas, and community forests. But all these areas have yet to be mapped. With the goal of making a map of the wide covered forest of Nepal, GESAN organized a mapathon in partnership with NAXA and GES. Throughout this session, I and all the participants have learned about the current forest data scenario in Nepal. We received instruction on the handling of the various tools needed to incorporate forest data via OSM. We could see much variation in the map before and after the forest survey. The data thus collected is supposed to be useful for the country, environmental organisations, scholars, scientists and other stakeholders.
Local Trails And Community Infrastructure Mapping Of Bajhang And Bajura District (NAXA)
Bajhang and Bajura are remote and underdeveloped districts of Nepal. These districts are also prone to be impacted by natural disasters such as landslides. The key purpose of this mapping project was to establish a database that could be helpful across the district during the emergency response. Through this mapathon, I learned about geographical systems, road networks, population density and differences in these regions. Similarly, this project helped me gain insight into how these maps could be used in developing countries such as Nepal in response to disasters. I am very glad to have contributed to this project and my contribution will be of a tremendous benefit to the people in those areas.
Flood Mapping of Southern Nepal and Northern India (Kathmandu Living Labs)
Mapping and Validating Ishnath Municipality (Youth Innovation Lab)
Mapping to improve flood risk and preparedness (HOT)
Mapping The Unmapped In Province 2 Of Nepal (Kathmandu Living Labs)
Mapping Pyuthan District of Nepal (GESAN)
Like everyone else, what I like the most about OpenStreetMap is that it's free and open for anyone to access and edit. Anyone from any context with no previous knowledge of mapping can quickly understand and contribute to OSM. The reason I'm constantly contributing to this platform is that our little efforts can bring a lot of change to the community. Whenever I do mapping in OSM, I feel like I'm playing games where I have to add point, line and polygon on the basis of the background imagery layer, and the main goal is to create a quality map. OpenStreetMap has proven to be helpful for my day-to-day operations. Multiple Android and IOS-based apps are created every year (e.g. Maps.me, OSMAnd, etc.) using OSM data to view offline maps. These offline maps have been very useful to me for routing and navigation purposes. Likewise, since OSM data is free for everyone around the globe, it has been very useful for my various study-related projects.
My contributions and achievements
You could see my overall contribution to OSM here: hdyc.neis-one.org/?Gaurav%20Parajuli.
Apart from these I also have been contributing to different OSM related platforms such as OSM Wiki, OSM Forum, OSM Help, OSM Streaks, Mapillary, OSMStreetCam, etc.
There are a number of families around the globe who have yet to be included in the map. These people do not get the attention or help they deserve at a time of need. When we're sitting at home, adding houses, highways, etc. to the map, some people in another corner of the world may get some support. This is the time to not only think of ourselves but for others too. Our small contribution makes a significant impact on the communities around the world. The only thing I'd like to say is keep mapping, keep contributing and every contribution matters.