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  • Calvin Kwame Amevienku- YouthMappers Leadership Fellow-CKT-UTAS YouthMappers -

Mappy Talk: A YouthMappers Perspective

I do now understand how exciting it is to improve one’s skills and knowledge when you stick to a course you`re determined to achieve. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the importance of accurate and up-to-date maps cannot be overstated. Maps play a crucial role in disaster response, infrastructure planning, and community development, among other things. However, not all parts of the world have access to quality maps, and not everywhere is mapped. That's where YouthMappers comes in.

Hahaa… I have prayed for times like this since I joined YouthMappers, whereby I can share my mapping experiences, my flaws, my achievements, my benefits, and the special people I met along the journey, both regional and international. The process of mapping and creating data sets can be challenging, but believe me, the benefits are far-reaching. In this blog, I will share my experience as a member of the YouthMappers network and the progress I have made using JOSM, Editor ID, and other tools that I was able to acquaint myself with, including MapRoulette, QGIS, and drone training organized by OpenStreetMap Ghana (OSM Ghana) with the support of the YouthMappers regional ambassador to Ghana, Ms. Confidence Kpogo, and Mr. Mawutor Stephen Donkor from OSM Ghana.

My name is Calvin Kwame Amevienku "Etornam". Today, it is a joy to be able to share my thoughts, experiences, and progress with the world, which is called "Mappy Talk". As a beginner, I used to ask myself the following questions: what at all are YouthMappers, what do they do, how helpful would this be to me, how do I contribute to adding buildings and roads, what is OpenStreetMap, and a whole lot. But as time flew by, I began to cope with things gradually, and they became simpler than I perceived. I became an ambassador on my campus the moment I discovered my role as a member of the YouthMappers community. This has been the course I decided to choose. Since I joined YouthMappers and started using these tools, I have made significant progress in my mapping skills. I have contributed to mapping tasks in several countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Nepal, Turkey, Tanzania, Ethiopia, etc.). However, in a recent mapping challenge organized by OpenStreetMap Ghana (OSM Ghana), I was able to add my community (Kpando-Gadza) in the Volta Region, Ghana, by mapping buildings and roads to OpenStreetMap, which also contributed to my advanced mapping. That’s a huge impact.

JOSM is the most frequent mapping tool I use because it’s a more advanced mapping tool that requires a bit more training to use effectively and allows mappers to edit OpenStreetMap data in a more detailed and precise way than ID Editor. I found JOSM to be a powerful tool, but it took me some time to get used to its interface and features. Although ID Editor functions like JOSM, it has a lesser interface and features. I have discovered more interest in the JOSM editor since I have mastered the features and would use this opportunity to encourage my fellow youth to take advantage of YouthMappers to contribute to humanitarian work. As an environmentalist, I have noticed that mapping could contribute to my objectives by helping my community, Ghana, and the world by finding and mapping disaster areas.

My chapter was fortunate to undergo drone training organized by OpenStreetMap Ghana. The training focused on the use of drones in mapping and the importance of accurate mapping data. I learned how to operate a drone, how to process drone data, and how to use this data to create detailed maps of my local community. The training was an eye-opening experience, and I gained a better understanding of the importance of mapping, especially in disaster management. The training was hands-on, and we got to fly drones ourselves, which was an amazing experience. At some point, this enhanced my confidence level and made me understand more about how effective it would be to use drones to map disasters. I noticed in the recent earthquake in Turkey that the use of drones to map disasters can provide significant benefits in terms of speed, accuracy, and safety. Drones were able to capture high-resolution images and videos of affected areas, which also provided more detailed and accurate data compared to traditional mapping techniques (using JOSM Editor). Although I was not in the affected areas, I can boldly say that drones were used to survey areas that were difficult or dangerous to access by humans.

Let`s have a brief Mappy talk on the recent project carried out by my Chapter, titled "Mapping for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)". Measuring progress towards achieving the SDGs is essential for ensuring that we are making progress towards a sustainable future. Measuring progress towards SDGs 6, 7, 8, and 9 involves tracking indicators such as access to clean water and sanitation, renewable energy, decent work, and infrastructure development, respectively. By measuring progress towards these goals, we can ensure that we are on track to achieve a sustainable future for all. This pilot project was led by Mr. Michael Assane and Mr. Pascal Ahiagbede as the major field assistants, and it took the team four weeks to complete the project.

The same team subsequently conducted a pilot project on "Mapping for Flood Risk Management in Kassena-Nankana East Municipality of the Upper East Region, Ghana." Traditional surveying methods such as field mapping were used for the flood risk mapping in Kassena-Nankana East Municipal, which included the collection of data and one-on-one conversations with community residents, which actually improved the quality of our work. The field mapping helped us provide detailed information on the topography and hydrology of the area, which helped the team predict flood events that might occur in the future. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together".

By persisting through the challenges and celebrating my successes, I have become a valuable contributor to the global mapping community. My work has made a difference, and my contributions will continue to have a positive impact for years to come. Being a part of the YouthMappers network has been a rewarding experience that has allowed me to use my skills to make a positive impact on the world. MapRoulette, Mapillary, ArcGIS, JOSM, and Editor ID have been invaluable tools in my mapping journey, and the drone training organized by OpenStreetMap Ghana has opened up new possibilities for me as a mapper. I encourage anyone who is interested in mapping and making a difference to join a YouthMappers chapter and start mapping today.

“Define your world by mapping it”

Keep up the good work, Cal!


Calvin Kwame Amevienku

Public Relations Officer (PRO)

CKT-UTAS YouthMappers

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LinkedIn: Calvin Amevienku

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