I set up an Open Street Map account and had a small opportunity to practice in my lab tutorials.
I chose a humanitarian crisis section that was in another language, French, and that hadn’t really been looked at and this was indicated by a low percentage sign.
I mapped three tiles but not without difficulty, at times I could not map them precisely enough as you will see from the images.
The project in question was CartoAssahoun #1406
I read the instructions which were in French, my limited knowledge of French did not pose an obstacle to carrying any the necessary amendments involved in the three tiles chosen by me. I chose to use the simpler editor, ID editor due to my inexperience.
However, understanding the background of the project proved a little more challenging. From what I can gather on the Wikipedia page:
the OSM community seeks to develop a context for the country of Africa through the mapping and classification of its highways and byways. The official language of Togo/Assahoun region is French.
The Wiki page points out that Africa is not always represented accurately for its economic and social role. This mapping project seeks to build an understanding of the bigger picture in essence and this is also important when you consider that the region floods during the flooding season (monsoons perhaps?) It is stressed that it is vital that the maps reflect the reality of the area.
I will now take you through the steps I performed:
I opened the ID editor and clicked on point. Following that I clicked on the building. I repeated this step over eighty times. The point symbol represents a building or location of some description. It was monotonous but it was simple to do for this first tile after following the instructions.
There appeared to be nothing else to be mapped on that particular tile. I found it easier to map it out in map view rather than satellite view as follows:
I had to ensure to save my changes and mark it as done otherwise it would prove fruitless:
My account reflected that I had completed my first tile after saving the changes.
I moved on to the second tile which was comprised (from what I could see) of an area and a line.
I clicked on the area button and mapped my way around the section and I also did this for the line by clicking the line button and carefully mapped it out.
There were some sections that could not be mapped. The lines failed to show despite a number of attempts.
Here is an image of the second tile, A satellite view and an error:
As above an attempt to fix after changes were already saved (and had gone live):
And finally I carried out amendments on the third tile. The locations/points were already completed, so I made area and line changes where applicable within the constraints of the tile selected indicated by the pink/purple line:
I learned quite a lot from carrying out the process. It was a simple process, however, it took time to grasp an understanding of it and some video tutorials helped me along the way in my effort. But with openstreetmap, it is fair to say, you learn by doing. It is better to practice on the demos first because once the changes are saved they go live and everyone can see them with internet around the world.
From what I can see this exercise has certainly been a real eye-opener in terms of its potential, it will prove to be essential in the future in terms of sustainable planning and development and is vital in times of crisis such as flooding or other natural disasters such as earthquakes. I had the choice to choose between mapping my neighbourhood or a humanitarian crisis, I chose the humanitarian crisis for two reasons namely because I thought it would prove to be more useful as it is a priority need and also because at the time I had thought that I would have to go out taking pictures and such and that this would not be appreciated by the neighbours, however, I learned quite quickly that I was wrong and that this was not the reality/case and that the mapping imagery was, in fact, already there and the exercise was to be performed solely online. This has been a valuable and worthwhile exercise and the skills that I am developing will prove essential for the future.