Mobile applications for Nicaragua's public transport

How OpenStreetMap data was made available to people's smartphones

After the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community crowd-sourced with over 250 interested citizens the data of their capital's public transportation system in OpenStreetMap, a schematic paper map was created from this data. In a next step the community wanted to offer state-of-the-art routing applications to the visitors and inhabitants of Managua. For this, the data from OpenStreetMap was combined with also crowd-sourced schedule information by the Sofware tool osm2gtfs. The result is the common format for public transport data - GTFS -, which was then possible to include into existing applications, where the data can be used now...

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Geotechnology: a tool for innovation

Nicaragua’s experience with child and youth participation

Over the last couple of years several individuals of the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community MapaNica.net colaborated fruitfully in various ocations with UNICEF Nicaragua to experiment with participatory geotechnologies and children and adolsecents on the caribbean coast of the country. Jointly we created a publication about the systematization of processes carried out to empower girls, boys, adolescents and young people in the most vulnerable areas by the use and implementation of participatory technologies.

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The true geographers are in the buses

Passengers created the public transportation map of Managua

When there is no map for the 1670 kilometers of metropolitan Managua’s public 45 bus lines network, there is only one thing you and anybody can do: Ask the people in the buses how to get from one point to another. The passengers of this complex - and naturally grown network within the capital - know most about it. And two years ago, a group of inhabitants of Managua by own initiative decided to take the feat and create the first bus network map in whole Central America.

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A logo for OpenStreetMap Nicaragua

Wide collaboration to find a common identity for a community

In preparation of new great things we are developing in the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community - and which I obviously don't want to spoil right now - we had a wonderful collaboration with Nicaragua's most progressive design studio NINFUS to create a better logo for the community. Together with the most active people in the community we went on several iterations until we came up with this proposal. The new logo looks really great and is much more practical than before, as this has less colours and works also in smaller scales.

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An internet of three classes

Net-Neutrality violations lead to a dark age for an Internet of opportunities and social development in Nicaragua

The base of a free Internet, where all information packages are treated equally without any discrimination is in danger. In Nicaragua, these developments already lead to an internet of three classes, where the poorest have least opportunities. And very remarkably, the people fall blindly into the shiny lies of the telecommunication industry.

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Digital development that does not protect the Nicaraguan people

The pros and cons of a law proposal for the “Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services” in Nicaragua

Not everything in the world is just black and white. And this applies also to the new initiative for the “Law for the Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services”. There are good aspects, but there are also others that leak of profoundness and some should be criticized and modified in the interest of the Nicaraguan people.

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Collaborative maps for social progress and education in Nicaragua

Free geodata technologies have been used to map the city of Bluefields Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) [of Nicaragua]. This initiative strengthened the capacities of local actors with respect to their knowledge of social mapping. It also involved the participation of children and adolescents, as well as students and teachers from the Bluefields Indian Caribbean University (BICU) and the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN), under the coordination of MapaNica (OpenStreetMap Nicaragua) with UNICEF support.

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A mapping thunderstorm in Bilwi

Crowdsourcing geo information at the Carribean Coast

Last week Porifrio and myself, as members of the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua community, traveled to Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, the capital of the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean Coast. The trip was made possible with the support by UNICEF Nicaragua, which we highly appreciate. We were for four days in Bilwi to present the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua initiative and build alliances with interested groups and institutions.

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State of the internet in Nicaragua

Net neutrality, surveillance, censorship and the ISPs

All over the world discussions are emerging on net neutrality, online censorship and surveillance as urgent topics. As we can see, companies try to sell the internet service by service or even the data a about their clients in order to make more money off of their clients. And as well as some governments who's aim is to control their citizens by violating their principals of a neutral web, free access to information and collecting data by spying on the population. Still, there are some countries, Nicaragua being one of them, that are (almost) not suspects to investigation. As a resident of this lovely country, I would like contribute by giving an overview of issues I personally am aware of, but taking into account that this article cannot be claimed fully accurate.

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Talk at Nicaragua's local TEDx event about the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community

TEDxManagua is a independently organized TED event happening in Nicaragua. This year, I participated with my talk in Spanish language “The map is in your hands” (El mapa está en tus manos), about maps in a country where the streets have no name, community initiatives by active citizens and building the first map of Managua’s public transportation system.

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State of the Map US

Presenting the initiatives of the Nicaraguan OpenStreetmap community

I had the honor to be invited and received a scholarship to attend and give a talk at the yearly edition of the State Of The Map US conference in beautiful San Francisco. A great community, with nice and interesting individuals and a very well organized, expiring conference made it all over a superb experience. It is remarkable that OpenStreetMap is a community project at an exploding point. A lot of innovation can be observed. The atmosphere of having fun with what people are doing is constantly present and a lot of start-ups and bigger companies are discovering business models, using Open Geo Data.

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#ManaguaMapping Party

Mapping the bus lines of Nicaragua's capital

At the first OpenStreetMap event in Managua the Mapertulia last December we initiated the idea of getting the information about bus lines in Managua mapped collaboratively. So we started now with a Mapping Party: A whole (sun)day beginning with an introductory session in the morning, then field work – mapping in the buses. After lunch another workshop about how to introduce the obtained information from the morning into OpenStreetMap, the wonderful world wide free and open map available for everybody to use or build upon it in any way. And in the afternoon coffee, fruit drinks, later some beers, sticking together and working, inserting the newly mapped bus lines into the global server.

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The first co-working office in Managua

Inspired by other co-working offices I could experience all over the world and being tired of working alone at home, together with Leandro Gomez we took the initiative to open a real creative space in Nicaragua and this way co-labora was born. Looking for a physical place we allied us to the Cultural Center Quilombo, with which we share the same spirit and philosophy.

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The first Mapertulia

Community building around OpenStreetMap in Nicaragua

Because of the fortunate increasing interest in mapping in Managua, after some different activities, like the mapping party initiative we realized with some students in the Universidad Centroamericana to complete the information in OpenStreetMap used for the porpuse of this map I built for the Debian Conference 2012 and as well a talk I gave lately about Open Data, putting a focus on OpenStreetMap as the mayor example in the National Festival about Free Software this same month. I decided to propose a meeting about OpenStreetMap, so the first “Mapertulia“ was born. About 30 people showed up to know more about colabortive mapping and how to use open maps for their benefit.

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Debian Conference 2012

DebConf12 in Nicaragua

DebConf is a highlight of the Debian year, when the community comes together for hacking, presentations and discussion sessions, and just to spend time face-to-face with other contributors who are normally only names on a mailing list or nicks on IRC. This year DebConf took place in Managua, in the beautiful Central American country of Nicaragua.

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Debian Conference - DebConf - in Nicaragua

Registration is open

This year the 13th Debian Conference (DebConf) is going to happen for the first time in Central America. From 8th to 14th of July 2012 developers and contributors of the universal operating system from all over the world are heading to Managua, Nicaragua. Last year’s DebConf hosted in Bosnia-Herzegovina had over 350 attendees from 46 countries.

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Observatory about agrarian conflicts

A small tool for the Via Campesina - International Peasant Movement to visualize agrarian conflicts

The Central American activists from La Via Campesina asked my to help them to build an easy tool as an online *observatory* for agrarian conflicts. Today, on the International Day of Peasant's Struggle, this website has gone online. Built with Drupal it was an easy task to create rapidly an useful tool to store the information and visualize such important incident for the global unity among peasants, landless, women farmers and rural youth.

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Spanish Drupal tutorials and learning materials for the community

Recently I was giving two intensive Drupal 7 workshops and trainings. One at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica, sponsored by a United Nations Development Programme finanzed project in Costa Rica "TICs Capacity Building through the Use of Free Software to Promote and Strengthen Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMEs)". And the other one at ISIC (Instituto de Informática y Comercio) in Managua, Nicaragua. Together with Leo Arias we prepared the materials of these trainings and made them publicly available at **aprende.drupal-centroamerica.org**.

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First Central American Free Software Summit

Getting to know the movements and communities

From the 17th of June till 21th of June 2009 the First Central American Free Software Summit was taking place in Nicaragua's northern mountains close to Estelí. Over 80 persons met from all Central American countries and some others from the all over the world (Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Austria and Germany). Everybody was connected through the common ideology of Free Software and sharing. The majority of the attendants actively participate within local Linux User Groups inside of their countries. On the summit everybody loved to discuss topics like Free Software and government, Translation and adaption of open licenses to local jurisdictions, the role of women and Free Software in education.

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DrupalCamp Centroamerica 2009

Organizing the first DrupalCamp in Centralamerica

The first DrupalCamp in Central America took place 18th of april in Managua, Nicaragua. The all-day event aimed to actively form a community of professional drupalers from all Central American countries.

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