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  • Bukenya Janan Baker, Institute Survey & Land Mgmt

Sharing My Mapping Journey

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Becoming an advanced mapper filled my heart. This is a level I have been yearning for since I joined the YouthMappers movement. My name is Bukenya Janan Baker, and today I wish to share a little mappy message of hope with my fellow millennials. It is also a remedial reminder for those that don’t want to explore mapping citing invisible opportunities and career detachments. Have you ever thought of contributing to your communities through mapping? Sure, YouthMappers is the solution to all the questions which have been running in our heads.

I was once like those youth out there thinking that one has to be paid to work for something he or she has done. Yet I learned there is more blessing to contribute to our communities, especially when we volunteer, and we don’t expect payment out of work that we have done to our respective communities. For our fellow youth across the world who can access the internet on a daily basis and chat on social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, and WeChat- we can encourage them on the benefits of joining this network globally, then the communities can be mapped on OpenStreetMap(OSM) so the data will be free to access and benefit service delivery in our societies. The leaders could then plan well for their societies. For example, if the society has no clean water to use then with OSM youth would collectively identify the existing water points which would enable the analysis of the hotspots of a water crisis, thus saving time in the estimation of suitable water points. For me, YouthMappers became the roller coaster for redefining our collective responsibility as youth through the lessons of OSM and other open source geospatial platforms. This is a network that any youth could best learn all about OSM, of course with some practical projects with the different chapter engagements.

As part of the Vision Mappers, the YouthMappers chapter at the Institute of Survey and Land Management, Entebbe, Uganda, I was introduced to mapping through 3 days of valuable lessons.

I did not take this moment as endearing that someday I would come to celebrate the invaluable form of knowledge that impacted my life so positively. But as time went by, through my little mapathon contributions, I started to realize that there is a large gap in data needed, especially in map creation. As a cartographer, I also realized that this could be the vehicle for opportunities to hit two birds at once with one stone. If I contributed slowly, I would support making maps better, but also indirectly give back to my community by adding on the data which is already available in my community. This is also my chance to rally fellow youth so that we can contribute to the global cause of making data free and available for good purposed intentions. This would genuinely make the work of planners and government easy for the different countries on this planet earth.

Through mapathons, I celebrate my progress with the Rapid Response project that was organized by Geo YouthMappers in collaboration with Map Uganda, which has helped me raise my mapper status to advanced. I account such a big opportunity to the structured organization of YouthMappers because my team and I could easily be located and called upon to contribute towards an emergency response of the COVID-19 pandemic. I take this opportunity to appreciate the first leadership response of Samson Ngumenawe and Regional Ambassadors Stellamaris Wavamuno and Ingrid Martha Kintu, that made a collective response to ensure engagement of Uganda YouthMappers in all business concerning growth in OSM for the youth.

I am Bukenya Janan Baker, President of Vision Mappers, a YouthMappers chapter at the Institute of Survey and Land Management in Entebbe. I am pursuing a Diploma in Cartography. Joining YouthMappers has awakened my knowledge towards the need for developing our leadership and collaborative skills to serve our communities better. As an advanced mapper, I have learned that being equipped with skills takes time but the earlier the better for us youth to assume our total leadership in all sectors. Thank you YouthMappers.


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