Journey: Beginner to HOT Validator and TeachOSM Administrator
Updated: Jun 11
The perspective of the people changes when the Covid-19 undoubtedly hits the world. The lifestyle, the working style and most importantly the thinking style. I guess the world had never ever thought this devastating “Time” would occur, taking millions of healthy lives. We knew the most powerful weapon in this world is “Time,” where we all hope up that good times will come and bad times will fade away. I believe we all must pay great respect to all front-line workers who risk their lives to offer others’ lives. Though life has been very harsh and imaginary, it was and is struggling to strengthen day to day and pivoted upon the hope, hoping that good times will come. This pandemic struck out big changes in people, quarantining themselves to realizing the importance of the family, togetherness, unity, health, sanitation, money and food. Life was moving, and it must go on. People started work from home after 3 months long home quarantine. Everyone put up their best to move on from their sectors, and yes, I did too.
I always wonder how I could contribute to this world through my knowledge. Soon into the pandemic, OSM popped up in my news feed. OSM stands for OpenStreetMap, which is the mapping platform where we all can edit, add and update the map information at our best working from home. I thought this is the best opportunity that I could do from my knowledge, working from home.
It all started when I came to know that our Geomatics Engineering Society (GES) had registered as a YouthMappers Chapter on June 1, 2018. My journey to OSM moved ahead when the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world. I begin to map from January 15, 2020, but I called myself a mapper only when I came to know the actual importance and implementation of OSM in Crowdmapping rural Tanzania for helping girls to escape from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Journey and Experience
My OSM journey was very gradual at first and took momentum in the mean. GESAN (Geomatics Engineering Students' Association of Nepal) had organized the forest mapping in partnership with GES and NAXA supported by YouthMappers on the occasion of Environment Day. I didn’t get too involved in it. Meanwhile, I started mapping the remote areas of Nepal, Bajhang, and Bajura districts organized by NAXA (a Geo-Tech Company) dated August 2nd - 30th, 2020. I actively mapped Bajhang and Bajura districts for emergency preparedness and response organized by NAXA with mapathon partners YouthMappers. Soon after, Crowdmapping rural Tanzania popped up on my news feed. My curiosity arose about the use of OSM in Tanzania. I actually got shocked to know that between 2015 to 2030 AD, about 60 million girls will face the cruelty of so-called FGM. More than 200 million girls and women have already undergone FGM. This means about 3 million girls every year are undergoing FGM. This was a very demotivating one for me. But at the same time, I got my answer to my ‘why and how' questions that OSM is creating such a big platform for saving their lives. This event turned me from “just to map to a quality mapper.” Now, I call myself a mapper, a mapper for a cause.
I would like to give my thanks to NAXA (a Geo-Tech company) and Youth Innovation Lab (YI-Lab) team as they approach GES for the wonderful mapping event, and we were totally delighted to know about OSM, that each small contribution in OSM will not be left out- which will eventually uplift and save other’s life. I put my best effort into mapping those areas of Nepal; soon, I got a chance to work with Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL), Airlift Nepal mapping building footprints in Afghanistan, Kathmandu-Nepal, and mapping the road network in Bhutan. I also applied to be a HOT Global Validator. So, I got the chance to work with the HOT Global Validator team on whole projects listed on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team's (HOT) Tasking Manager.
My Contribution and Achievements
1. Forest Mapathon - GESAN
We did forest mapping on the occasion of World Environment Day, which was organized by GESAN and mapathon partners GES, NAXA supported by YouthMappers on 5th June 2020.
2. Crowdmapping rural Tanzania - UN
There are millions of girls whom had already faced and are soon going to face FGM. OSM mapping has been creating a great platform for all girls in rescuing and sheltering them. I mapped along with different mappers of the world, which gave me intense satisfaction. This event was supported by the United Nations (UN).
3. Local Trails and Community Infrastructure Mapping of Bajhang and Bajura District - NAXA
Bajhang and Bajura, being one of the remote districts of Nepal, mapped these districts for which data will be used for emergency preparedness and response activities. This event has helped me grow my technical skills a lot in OpenStreetMap. To whom I thanked from the bottom of my heart the NAXA organizers with mapathon partners YouthMappers and GES.
4. Remotely Mapping Sindhuplachowk and Rasuwa district - YIL
Youth Innovation Lab, in collaboration with GES, I remotely mapped Sindhupalchowk and Rasuwa districts for disaster preparedness and response activities.
5. Internship Opportunity in Remotely Mapping and Validation - YIL
I got internship opportunities for mapping and validating the remote part of Nepal, such as Doti, Dadeldhura, Kailali, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, and Sindupalchowk, with Youth Innovation Lab (YIL). It was such a great time mapping and validating these districts; I came to know about the geographical structures, and living styles being stilled in one position at my home.
6. Remotely Mapping Kathmandu- Airlift Nepal
“Good works are always praised.” Soon, I got a chance to work with Airlift Nepal to map buildings' footprints in Kathmandu.
7. Remotely Mapping Afghanistan and Bhutan- Kathmandu Living Labs
Recently, I have mapped a road network in Bhutan, and currently, I am mapping buildings footprints in Afghanistan with Kathmandu Living Labs. With this, I learned about the living patterns, buildings structures in Afghanistan, and geographical structures in Bhutan.
8. HOT Global Validator
Recently, I applied for the HOT Global Validator in which I got selected and placed in HOT Global Validator Team.
8. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) MicroGrant 2021
One of my biggest achievements is the HOT MicroGrant 2021, granted to 3 countries of the Asian continent and 3 countries of the African continent. I, along with my beloved friends Prajwal Sharma and Rabi Shrestha, applied for the HOT MicroGrant 2021 worth $5000 USD for mapping the indigenous community of Nepal, the Chepang Community. Luckily, we were granted and enlisted among 3 countries of the Asian continent, and currently, we are remotely mapping Chepang Community; Manahari, Kailash, and Raksirang Rural Municipalities
Progress and Achievements
Currently, I have completed my 200 days of mapping. You can find my statistics here: Yukesh Contribution
The photos below show my progress and achievements.
I can not conclude without giving my genuine words here. Since when I began to map, I had not thought of investing my time in OSM. But it turned out that I am mapping daily for a cause, and it makes me happy. I am satisfied that things turned out like this so soon. It might feel boring and time-consuming at first, but I can assure you that one-day OSM will be the greatest platform in serving humanitarian purposes. Life is very harsh for those who actually suffer, so why not those of us who sit at home serve our best to them. Like FGM, disaster response and relief activities, there are plenty of problems that OSM is solving.
I am happy that I joined OSM, and if you have time, if you are interested in maps and if you want to contribute to mapping buildings, highways, waterways, and many more residing at your home, then come join OpenStreetMap and start mapping. I bet you will not regret it; rather, you will be left with satisfaction.
About the Author: I am Yukesh Byanjankar from Chyasal-09, Lalitpur studying Geomatics Engineering at Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel-Kavre. I am a Vice-President at Geomatics Engineering Society (GES) and Secretary at Leo Club-Kavre at Kathmandu University. Recently, I have accomplished my 200 days of OSM mapping and I am included in HOT Global Validator Team.