My name is Rubaina Chalpang Adam, a 3rd year Geomatic Engineering student of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Ghana. There was a point in time in one semester where I was reevaluating my school life and realized I needed more extracurricular activities to throw in the mix and around the same time our Faculty advisor, Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe, made mention of something called YouthMappers to my class and told us about the training sessions the UMaT YouthMappers chapter were running, since it was in line with my course of study I thought to myself why not, I mean I've got nothing to lose. So, I went to the next OSM training they had and I found myself awestruck by what they were doing, on one hand they were keeping us occupied and on the other hand they were giving back to society in their own small way.
I soon found myself in this whole new world of maps using OpenStreetMap, a free and open source of geospatial data. One very striking feature was that it was free, in this part of the world people barely make enough to live, so spending extra on maps and navigation just screams luxury, anybody would most definitely choose the free form of geodata. Up until I heard about OpenStreetMap, I only knew about Google Maps which is not open source or free. OSM is created and edited by volunteers like myself around the world and it is very easily updated due to a large network of editors.
In our chapter UMaT YouthMappers, due to internet connectivity in our part of the world, we have to hold mapathons overnight which is surprisingly very fun minus the fatigue of the next day. During these times we are able to get a lot of work done.
YouthMappers has numerous projects, my personal favorite being LetGirlsMap, this seeks to bring on board more girls and women into mapping, our chapter has a few girls involved as a result of having very low enrollment of girls in my university, but we are trying to reach out to more girls to join this family. I hope more girls come on board, in YouthMappers we say we don't just build maps, we build mappers and on a lighter note I'm personally tired of having so much testosterone in a room, we need more girls for a change!
My sincere appreciation goes to our faculty advisor Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe and to everyone in the chapter!
Rubaina Chalpang Adam is studying Geomatic Engineering at the University of Mines and
Technology in Tarkwa, Ghana and a member of UMaT YouthMappers. She recently traveled to Washington D.C. and Morgantown, West Virginia to participate in the 2018 YouthMappers Research Fellowship Symposium with her mentor, Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe.