Weblog

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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Case study: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

Implementation of a collaborative, crowd-sourced Geographic Information System for humanitarian aid and economic development

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is based on the principle that “free map data would be a tremendous benefit for humanitarian aid and economic development” and the main activity are the organization of activations of worldwide volunteers to collaborate all together over the OpenStreetMap platform to raise geographic data for disaster response after natural catastrophes (such as the recent Ebola outbreak 2014, the tsunami 2013 in the Philippines or the earthquake in Haiti 2010). This information is then freely available for everybody but in particular to organizations and government working in the field to safe people's life and improve the situation on the ground.

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#BluefieldsMapping

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 Map US

Giving a talk at the United States OpenStreetMap conference

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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Southern geeks

Visiting Free Software communities in Bolivia

For the DrupalCamp Bolivia 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Bolivia, and beeing there I wanted to meet some of the Free Software movements in this country. In the lovely city of Cochabamba I soon got contact to the Scientific society of the university of San Simón, some of the most active young people in town, when it comes to technology. Some of them volunteered in the DrupalCamp and talking to them, they invited me to their OpenSeason, a new and open event series they are organizing in their university about free and open software and tecnologies. I was very happy to meet those great tec people, rocking their little hacking space in the university. The Open Season was well visited and besides my two talks about OpenStreetMap and How to contribute to Debian, as well a new project was presented: The GNU/Linux distribution “Fosobi“, a new distro with local flavour that shall make it easier to start and therefore attractive to students of technical careers using GNU/Linux.

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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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