Humanitarian work has always been a field of interest to me. The desire to reach out to the less privileged in my community and beyond, through the combating of extreme poverty, malaria and other deadly diseases, providing relief services to disaster victims, is an area that I would want to build my career.
My name is Bert Manieson, a third year undergraduate student reading B.A Social Sciences with a combined major in Economics and Geography. I am also the treasurer of the Geographical Society, the local association of all Geography students, at the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast (UCC).
The opportunity of being introduced to the YouthMappers and open street mapping has really made this dream a reality. I can now contribute my effort to humanitarian works organized by YouthMappers and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMappers by just a click of a mouse button at the comfort of my desk, either at home or at school. Helping in Humanitarian work has become easier and fun. With this, anybody at any part of the world can contribute his or her quota to help make the world a better place.
I was introduced to the YouthMappers and OSM by my patron and adviser for the UCC YouthMappers Chapter, Mr. James Eshun. In my first lesson on how to use open street mapping, I got to learn how to use the iD editor to map out lecture theatres, halls of residence, roads and other important amenities on our university campus. We also had the opportunity of learning from the OSM Ghana coordinator Mr. Enoch Nyarmadoh. I never had the idea that mapping could be that easy, interesting and fun. I had the opportunity of learning how to make use of certain apps such as the OSMTracker and how it could be applied in JOSM.
As a student leader, there could not be any better way than to help share the knowledge I have gathered with my fellow colleagues. Over the past months, we have been able to engage a lot of students to partake in this movement. That means I also get the opportunity to teach my colleagues how to make use of open data and share with them the importance of getting involved. It was fun being a leaner and it was even more interesting helping out other students to learn how to map with the use of digital mapping.
Moving forward, the goal of the executive board of Geosoc (our affiliated YouthMappers chapter) is to engage as many students as possible by letting them know the importance of open street mapping. We want to create a resilient community of student mappers that are burning with a passion of making a difference in their communities. We are also looking forward to engaging other chapters around the world by sharing ideas and experiences.
Many thanks to Carrie Stokes and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as our founding partners in Texas Tech University, George Washington University and West Virginia University for bringing this laudable initiative to our door step and making me not only a student mapper but giving me the opportunity to create maps that can be used to support real-world challenges.