Urban ARK postdoc Faith Taylor, and KCL PhD student Michele Ferretti are organising a mapathon to add richness to the Open Street Map data availble for Karonga, Malawi.
A mapathon is an event where members of the public meet up and work together to add data to Open Street Map, which is an open source, freely available GIS map dataset for the world. Open Street Map (OSM) is a bit like Google maps, but anyone can add, edit and download the data, which makes it an excellent resource for countries like Malawi. OSM data is generally created by the large community of volunteers who digitise points, lines and polygons from satellite imagery and old maps. In places where there is a good internet connection and lots of people interested in crowdsourced mapping, the maps are generally quite complete. But in places like Karonga, where access to computers and internet may be more of a challenge, the maps tend to be less complete.
To overcome this problem of "missing maps", groups such as the Humanitarian Open Streetmap team and The Missing Maps Project organise drives to focus on improving the maps for specific areas. This has been incredibly successful before, during and after hazard events to help locals and responders understand what the infrastructure and landscape of an area looks like before and after a disaster.
The Karonga mapathon being held at King's College London Department of Geography should help Urban ARK scientists (and indeed, locals and other scholars) better understand the infrastructure layout of Karonga. For those attending, this should hopefully be an opportunity to learn more about Karonga, GIS and open data. Anyone is welcome to attend - no prior experience is required. All you need to bring is a laptop and if you have one, a mouse. Tickets are free but registration required at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/missing-maps-mapathon-for-karonga-malawi-.... The event takes place Monday 21st March, 17:00 - 21:00 in the Department of Geography at King's College London.