THE MORE I LEARN THE LESS I KNOW; A YOUTHMAPPERS ACADEMY EXPERIENCE
Like any profession, the YouthMappers circle does not lack individuals who after being introduced to basics of making contributions either through ID editor or Java Open Street Map, accord themselves to the rank of experts in the field, and begin to shun opportunities for further training, under the assumption that such learning platforms are often designed for beginner mappers. It is an honest mistake that could be avoided if individuals captivated an open mind, treating further learning platforms as opportunities to confidently engage in open mapping communities and seek to stimulate critical thinking around research and mapping activities, leading to higher quality open data outputs.
Using the context of YouthMappers Academy, a platform geared to strengthen YouthMappers students’ knowledge and proficiency to work with the ecosystem of OpenStreetMap (OSM) software tools, and the social-organizational skills related to creating open spatial data for humanitarian and development needs, I share my personal experience on how not only participating in learning spaces disapproves the preconceived thoughts that often discourage one’s involvement in such, but the exposure to a diverse knowledge that tends to define further roles that could be played by volunteer mappers, in addition to the skills and knowledge already possessed.
The YouthMappers Introductory course model offered by the YouthMappers Academy consists of six courses that is; The OpenStreetMap Ecosystem, Mapping with ID Editor, Imagery Interpretation, The OpenStreetMap Data Model, The Tasking Manager and Chapter Management, developed to guide participants to better understand the OpenStreetMap community, its infrastructure, develop core mapping and image interpretation skills, reinforce organizational and project management techniques, and train YouthMappers on contributing to and maintaining chapter sustainability.
What began as an adventure of preconceived assumptions of what the introductory courses were to offer turned out to be a eureka moment, realizing the knowledge diversity that kept broadening with each course completion. Through its extensive content of practical sessions, case studies, and reading materials, came the most outstanding take-home lessons that include but are not limited to; the realization of data quality assurance tools such as OSMCha, Maproulette, OSM Inspector, OSMose, and OverpassTurbo to review errors and mistakes of open source data and make appropriate corrections. The use of OSM Data extraction tools like HOT export Tool, QuickOSM, and Geofabrik and its link to QGIS to make sense of open source data. The Potentials of Web Visualization using UMap tools to showcase useful OSM features. Field paper website and its potential, like printing a map atlas for anywhere in the world. Data uploading options Using Java Open Street Map. Introduction to mobile map editing apps such as Mapswipe, OSM Tracker for Android, Map.ME, Vespucci, Mapillary and OSMand. These lessons have redefined my ardent role in the OpenStreetMap community, by providing spaces that stimulate further learning, as I realized that there is more to learn to understand user applicability of OSM tools while disseminating the same knowledge to beginner mappers for sustainability of YouthMapper chapters. I am committed to more learning now than ever, having realized that I know less.
About the Author
LUANAR YouthMappers President, Graduate Student of Natural Resources Management Land and Water, Droneprenuer, Talks Data Science, GIS , Mapping and Drones. From Lilongwe Malawi.