Over the past few years the ISU GIS Facility has hosted a number of mapathons. Most of our mapathons have a time set aside for mapping in Iowa and then a time where we focus on international projects.
It is amazing what even a small group of mappers can do to add to the OpenStreetMap basemap in a small town in Iowa. Below are three examples of demonstrating how a mapathon event can add to the OpenStreetMap.
1. George, Iowa George, Iowa is a small town in Northwest Iowa. This series of screen shots below illustrates progress made over several mapathons.
2. Ogden, Iowa Another Iowa example is Ogden, Iowa. We starting mapping Ogden in 2015. This story map link shows progress made over several mapping events. As part of this effort we even marked the sidewalks as a collarborative project with Iowa State Extension. After our mapping efforts an individual continued on the IowaView efforts. Today, Ogden has a vivid and robust OSM basemap.
3. Wayland, Iowa Most of our early efforts were not tied to a specific project but were mainly to teach people to use OpenStreetMap and continuing adding to the Iowa basemap. For our mapathon in 2019, we reached out to see if there were any communities that would like help with a mapping project. We were connected with a city clerk from Wayland, Iowa. Below are screenshots of the progress from that day of mapping.
OpenStreetMap is a publicly editable map of the world. It’s is often referred to as Wikipedia for maps. Anyone can sign up for an account and begin adding to the map. Edits to the map are reviewed and validated by other members of the community.
In 2010, OpenStreetMap was used as a humanitarian disaster relief tool after an earthquake in Haiti. Volunteers from across the world mapped buildings and roads from satellite imagery in areas that been damaged by the earthquake. Then teams on the ground were able to use that information to assess damage and begin recovery efforts.
Since that time the use of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap has spread around the globe helping in disaster response as well as disaster prevention and many other humanitarian efforts. We encourage you to take time during Geography Awareness Week to volunteer your time and talent to help with some of the following projects:
Suggested International Projects:
Public Lab Mongolia – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9560/ Public Lab Mongolia (PLM), a local non-governmental organization in Mongolia, is leading the Mongolian chapter for volunteer mappers through the HOTmicrogrant COVID-19 project, as part of their mission to promote open data and disaster preparedness. This mapping will also help with COVID-19 response efforts. This project is to map Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia, is organized by PLM in collaboration with the Mongolian Geo-spatial Association and local universities.
Hurricane Eta – Nicaragua – https://tasks.hotosm.org/projects/9765 Hurricane Eta brought wind, rain and storm surge to the coast of Nicaragua. This project is to finish the basemap of Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) by digitizing buildings from MAXAR imagery. Available to beginners, there may be tricky tasks in this project as some areas have been partially mapped with older imagery and vegetation can often hide parts of structures. Maker sure to review the instructions for tips on how to overcome these challenges and provide high quality data.
The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is also celebrating this week as OSM Geography Awareness Week (#osmgeoweek.) It is a time for teachers, students, community groups, and map lovers, in the US and around the world to join together to celebrate geography and make maps with OpenStreetMap, the free and openly editable map of the world.
Over 132 groups around the world are hosting mapathons to gather people to add to the OSM basemaps. While we aren’t hosting an official event in Ames this week, we do encourage you to get mapping. In a previous post, we suggested ways to connect with the OpenStreetMap community, click here to check that out.
Another way you can do to improve the OSM basemap is to log in and navigate to your local community. Add new developments, new roads, public buildings, parks, and points of interest. It’s always good to make sure your community’s data is fresh and correct.