Unlike today, logistics was historically one of the main hindrances to carrying out successful mapping exercises. The twenty first century has seen great advancement in mapping through the use of GIS and Remote Sensing.
I am Ebenezer Boateng, a level 400 B.Sc. Geography student of the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. As part of the academic requirements for my bachelor's degree program, I was privileged to have my internship program with the Town and Country Planning Department at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana. I had a practical knowledge of most of the theoretical studies acquired from school. The internship also exposed me to the practical knowledge on the use of GIS softwares.
The practical feeling ignited my passion and eagerness to explore more about GIS, but unfortunately, there were little opportunities to try my skills on. About six months ago, my class was notified by one of our lecturers, Mr. James Kweku Eshun about a mapping training for students. I got excited and hurriedly registered to enroll in the training to get more enlightenment about mapping and the use of GIS.
I had high expectations concerning the training, but I got served with more than I could ask for. The training enlightened all participants about the commencement of Open Street Mapping (OSM) in 2004 in UK and how some Universities have signed up to globally help meet the objectives of YouthMappers such as creating free and open geographic data.
I learned how to create an account with OSM and also acquired hand skills on the use of ID editor for mapping. Relevant training was also given on the use of the OSM tracker on the field and the use of the JOSM software.
It was not just an awesome experience to gain knowledge and skills about mapping, but also much joy to be able to assist Humanitarian Organizations such as USAID, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross Society and others when they urgently need maps.
Honestly, OSM training has given me an in-depth knowledge in mapping, I wish to use this opportunity to acknowledge all stakeholders who have contributed and are still contributing to the success of this initiative.
In Ghana, getting geographic data is very difficult because there is no substantial database management and inaccessibility to the few ones available. I am therefore geared up with the YouthMappers’ team at the University of Cape Coast to help map out the entire country and beyond to provide an open source database to all stakeholders.