Transforming Education with Digital and Open Mapping skills
In Uganda, despite having a population of over 45 million people, a very small percentage actively contribute to OpenStreetMap. This low participation rate is a call to action for the local community to engage more actively in mapping activities.
Community involvement in updating OpenStreetMap not only improves data accuracy but also boosts local knowledge and understanding. It is an empowering process that enables communities to contribute to and control the representation of their local area. By being involved in mapping their surroundings, locals gain a better understanding of their environment.
With increasing importance placed on geospatial data and technology, OpenStreetMap Uganda has implemented this community-driven initiative by conducting comprehensive workshops and training sessions on open mapping and data collection tools, and digital skills in universities and schools over the past years.
We have so far visited over 10 universities in Uganda that include Makerere University, Kabale University, Ndejje University, Gulu University, Institute of Survey and Land Management-Entebbe, Kyambogo University, and many more.
Through these knowledge-sharing visits to different universities/institutions in Uganda, students are equipped with skills that are vital in our data-driven world and are extremely beneficial for their academic studies and potential career paths.
Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice
The workshops are meticulously designed to transition students from theory to practical applications. The sessions delve into the details of open mapping, highlighting its relevance in fields like urban planning, environmental studies, and disaster management. They facilitate students to not just learn but also implement geospatial techniques, mapping, and data collection skills in real-world scenarios.
Catering to Tomorrow’s Professionals
OpenStreetMap Uganda’s initiatives are a beacon for future professionals. As a study from the Institute of Geospatial Studies suggests, open mapping and data collection skills are increasingly in demand across multiple sectors, from tech startups seeking data-centric solutions to NGOs that rely heavily on geospatial data for planning and executing their projects. With these training sessions, students are prepared to meet the challenges and needs of these diverse sectors.
Empowering the Cartographers of Tomorrow
Our efforts are churning out future cartographers and data scientists equipped to harness the power of geospatial data. These trained students are stepping out into the professional world, not just as graduates but as competent individuals capable of utilizing, contributing to, and building on open data platforms. It is inspiring to see how these young minds are encouraged to collaborate and innovate, to solve real-world problems through the lens of open mapping.
We are also sharing knowledge of drone technology with university students that include both theoretical aspects, such as drone programming, aerodynamics, and safety regulations, and practical application by teaching students to operate and troubleshoot drones for various applications such as surveying, mapping, and data gathering.
As we stand at the juncture of technology and education, these initiatives at OpenStreetMap Uganda are shaping the way forward. Our work has irrefutably showcased how an open-source platform like OpenStreetMap can be used to equip the next generation with skills relevant to the 21st-century professional landscape. And as this educational revolution continues to unfold, we can only anticipate even more innovative uses of open mapping and data collection tools that will further enrich our world.
Author: OpenStreetMap Uganda
Written by: Orishaba Donitar