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  • Jesse Garcia, YouthMappers Research Assistant

Reflecting on My Semester As YouthMappers Research Assistant

Hello, again YouthMappers!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you once more to YouthMappers as a whole for giving me this opportunity to work with them as a research assistant intern. I hope to take all the experiences I’ve acquired and apply them to the future ahead of me. I will be graduating in August of this year. It has been a long time coming, and I could not have done it without the help of those around me, including the people here at YouthMappers. I have participated in many YouthMappers events from the steering committee meetings to Mapathons. It has been a wonderful experience working with so many people and chapters across many different countries. It has been a pleasure working with all of you.

In my own university chapter (Texas Tech University YouthMappers), I became one of the leaders (referred to as a “Co-Hancho”) that helped run our own series of Mapathons. Due to COVID pandemic constraints, we could not hold a traditional get together Mapathon. Instead, we found a solution to stream our Mapathons live on Twitch! We went through many technical issues at first, Such as the frame rate dropping, which caused the stream to have a significant lag. To overcome these problems, my Co-Hancho Willem changed the performance settings and had to restart the stream a couple of times. In the end, we always came out on top and helped others map whatever tasks needed to be done. We walked participants through the process of using OpenStreetMap with the iD Editor tool. We outreached to many new mappers and expanded the OSM community, which is something that brought us so much joy. In addition, we also had many different guest speakers in our streams that brought us lots of newfound information and great discussion.

Our most recent Mapathon, Earth Day collaboration with Penn State

One of our main projects was for the Lubbock Compact. The Lubbock Compact's mission is to empower the Lubbock community through citizen education, civic engagement, and public policy research and advocacy. Some of the work my chapter and I were involved in was using programs such as OpenStreetMap to help further map council districts 1 & 2. We primarily mapped roads, and occasionally buildings. This additional mapping would help alleviate the difficulty of maneuvering the less kept up East side of the city.

Willem and I on our local TV news interview for the Lubbock Compact Mapathon

I also happened to land an internship with the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) at the GeoCenter. I continued to learn many new skills and tools such as JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap), and also got to learn about the journeys of my mentors there as well. There was not a dull moment working with both YouthMappers, USAID, or TTUYouthMappers. In the upcoming future, I am looking to land a job (hopefully) with a metropolitan planning organization. I can only hope and pray that whatever may come my way will be a good learning experience and an opportunity to further expand my knowledge of geospatial information.



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