By Conor Sanchez
Last weekend, I gave my first workshop on how to use Open Street Map (OSM) at the university I teach at here in Nueva Guinea, the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN).
Overall, I thought the event went well. It took place at the university in their computer lab. We had about ten information-technology students attend and two english major students. We got them all signed up and ready to go on OSM and made edits for about an hour. They had homework to continue making edits in their neighborhoods. We agreed to plan another session soon.
Then I ran into the professor I had been working with yesterday and he asked me if I’d seen the map online recently. He was so full of energy and seemed pretty excited about what was on there. He said they’d added a ton of information. Sure enough, when I got online later in the day I noticed remarkable progress on the map.
Fortunately, I’ve been taking screen shots of the map since December to visualize our progress. The above image says it all. In a matter of days, businesses located all along Calle Principal had been clearly marked and labeled. It was starting to look like a real city finally.
There is much more to do in terms of making the map useful for tourists, government or non-governmental organizations, and emergency relief services, but the progress that was made with just a three hour workshop and less than 20 students gave me a huge jolt of motivation.
In the coming weeks we’re planning to have another one of these sessions with students on campus. We’re also looking at having a wider community event some time in June.