Collaborative projects imply a wide variety of skills, ranging from technical abilities to teamwork and problem-solving attitudes. Innovative teaching programmes focused on the use and promotion of open-source geospatial tools represent a key element in developing such transversal abilities. OpenStreetMap (OSM) brings into play open and collaborative dynamics that build a critical ecosystem where single contributions are part of collective intelligence. This initiative led to the foundation of structured contributors groups such as PoliMappers, the first European YouthMappers chapter based in Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Pursuing the objective to build a responsible student-led community of Free and Open Source Software users, in 2021 PoliMappers organised the course entitled “Collaborative and Humanitarian Mapping”. The programme is structured into 7 meetings and aims to introduce university students to the OSM environment with a focus on the potential of open data and related geospatial tools, especially in the humanitarian field. It has seen the participation of the World Food Programme, Open Knowledge Foundation, TECHO Colombia, IMM Design Lab, Map for Future, UN Mappers, Spazio Vita Niguarda Onlus, Ledha Milano, AUS Niguarda Onlus and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Enrolled attendants’ contributions have been assessed with tools for quality review and statistics. Also, Q&As and suggestions to the attendants have been collected to detect common issues. The paper presents the course, from the design to the assessment of the students’ activities, and the lessons learned in this experience in such a way to provide some guidance to those who want to organize similar initiatives.
The United Nations estimates that 3 billion people living in urban contexts will need adequate and affordable housing by 2030. We urgently need alternative perspectives and methodologies for urban development that are environmentally sustainable and inclusive of the local community. This chapter illustrates the design and results of projects carried out by YouthMappers in Rwanda, Italy, and Kenya, focused on informal settlements in the Global South and the value of geospatial data for addressing SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The article presents the development of a methodology for collaborating data gathering carried out remotely in a South American informal settlement for the purpose of a slum upgrading project. It was built in progress considering issues, limitations, and opportunities that arose during data collection. This text describes the creation process of the methodology as well as considerations and advice in retrospect, for those who may be interested in replicating or adapting it to similar contexts and needs. The methodology consists of the collaboration of various subjects, on the field and remotely to facilitate, speed up and expand the mapping possibilities of informal and/or hardly accessible context, taking into account that it has been applied in a period of severe limitations due to the pandemic. The entire workflow was developed having in mind a collaborative and open framework, involving communities at different scales and adopting Free and Open Source Softwares. In the study case, 702 Points of interest in a Bogota's slum were mapped thanks to one field survey, carried out by a local NGO using Mapillary for street-level images collection, and a collaborative mapping that involved volunteers from various nations in the OpenStreetMap environment. It proved to have a further result in the widening of the knowledge of the involved participants and the creation of networks that could lead to new collaborations or facilitate future projects.
The lack of availability and accessibility of open geospatial data, especially in developing countries is addressed by various volunteer mapping associations. PoliMappers, a chapter of the YouthMappers network and a student association of Politecnico di Milano, was established with this purpose in December 2016. PoliMappers aims to contribute data to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) database by promoting the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Hence, it focuses on creating awareness on the lack of open geospatial data and on how individuals can have an impact on contributing to open geospatial databases using FOSS. The activities of PoliMappers focus on teaching and promoting the use of such geospatial technologies to run OSM-based mapathons and mapping parties.
PoliMappers is a volunteer students’ group based at Politecnico di Milano. The mission of the group is to train and motivate the next generation of volunteer mappers and to do mapping using free and open source software within the university as well as primary and secondary schools.