In honour of world AIDS day 2017, Ramani Huria and Data Lab Tanzania (dLab) co-hosted a maptime event to increase impact through transparency, accountability and partnership. The aim was for people to learn how to map to increase freely accessible public information on HIV/AIDS in districts across Tanzania. We decided to map Geita district in the lake Victoria zone as this district is one of the leading in Gender based violation and irreversible disability caused by such violation. It’s clear that areas that experience gender violation also have higher rates of HIV/AIDS transmission.

Mapping in progress

At the event, volunteers were introduced to why maptime events are conducted, and how we bring together mappers, volunteers and colleagues in the field to learn how to edit OpenstreetMap to create free accessible maps for local and global impact. In our case, the focus was on HIV/AIDS.

Volunteers then received a briefing on the Ramani Huria project. They learnt how mapping is helping communities, and how their mapathon would help to generate data for the Geita people. The event was attended by 75 volunteers ranging from university students, graduates, members of Ramani Huria team, dLab staffs etc

Before starting mapping, we made sure that everyone had;

  • Laptop, MacBook, or Desktop
  • A mouse (to make digitization easier)
  • OSM account (one should have this to be able to upload information entered).
  • Internet connectivity

Attendees were trained on how OSM works, and how to edit using JOSM and ID Editor. They were then introduced to OSM Tasking Manager. The OSM Tasking Manager is a mapping tool designed and built for the Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team collaborative mapping. The purpose of the tool is to divide up the mapping assignment into smaller tasks which can be completed rapidly. The tool shows which areas still need to be mapped and which areas need to have the completed mapping validated.

Volunteers began to pick mapping tasks from the OSM Tasking manager and started tracing buildings and roads to upload to the server.

To keep the event interactive and interesting, we conducted games such as OSM Fights. This game allows you to enter two user names which starts a funny fight between the two user names based on ‘How did you contribute to OSM’.

Announcing the ‘mapping Guru’ after every 30 minutes helped motivate the volunteers to continue mapping at speed. Of course, everyone would love to be a mapping Guru, so this created some competition between mappers.

Group Photo of Volunteers

At the end of the event we had 9690 buildings mapped, 429 roads (860.3 kilometers)were mapped and uploaded to the server. The event was a real success and people were keen to find out when we would be conducting another mapathon for them to participate in. We are incredibly proud of how our mapping community is growing day after day.

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