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Quality Matters: My Journey as an Open Mapping Guru Validation Fellow.

Posted by Gaurav Parajuli on 17 June 2024 in English. Last updated on 18 June 2024.

The greatest motivation for my mapping journey was to map those numerous people who do not exist on a global footprint and are overlooked. It’s not just about filling the blank spaces but validating their existence, recognizing these people and making sure that no one is left behind. Validation of the data makes sure that each data we create on OpenStreetMap (OSM) is accurate enough to create an inclusive and complete world. Through this diary, I share my enormous journey of these 5 months showcasing my motivation, challenges and triumphs that I encountered in maintaining the accuracy and quality of data in OSM.

Learning the Ropes

“Everything starts from a dot” - Wassily Kandinsky The journey from a beginner mapper to being an advanced mapper, trainee, a trainer has brought me here where I stand as a Validator Fellow from being a validator at HOT Global Validator. The opportunity provided by Open Mapping Hub Asia Pacific as an OM Guru Validation Fellow has not only boosted my validating skills but also opened the door to explore more new, powerful and qualitative tools to increase the speed as well as the quality of the validation. Validating tools like OSMCha, OSMose, Maproulette and many more have created an environment where we see the quality of the data through the lens of the mappers and make sure that they are adding quality data into the existing database of OpenStreetMap. There’s a saying “Practice makes men perfect”. I believe that practice along with patience and motivation makes men perfect and you have to be patient and there must be someone to motivate you while you’re mapping to embark on your mapping journey. The constant motivation and praises from mentors like Dinar, Mikko, and Honey have made this journey look great and fruitful.

Collaboration and Community

The fellowship offered collaboration between many mappers and validators around the world and learn from them as well. Also, it provided an opportunity to get engaged within various OSM communities and network around the world and see the work they have been doing to maintain the quality of OSM data and get motivated from that. The fellowship doesn’t end here but opens the door to future collaboration between OSM chapters, networks and communities of Nepal with other communities around the world through learning, sharing and helping each other.

Impact and Take Aways

For the past 2 decades, we have seen the impact of the data in OSM has created over the people around the world which makes it the most useful and trustworthy open geospatial data library. It’s always in the hands of valuable and dedicated mappers to add more map data and maintain the accuracy and quality of the data. Some of the major takeaways from this fellowship are:

  • The fellowship taught you to harness the collaborative power of Citizen-Science and Voluntered Geographic Information System (VGIS) to create and maintain the quality geodatabase of the whole world.

  • It helped me gain the idea of problem-solving and critical thinking to solve the data quality issues that arose during the validation process.

  • It has increased my perception of the value and importance of open and quality geospatial data.

  • Finally, it has opened my door to get connected with like minds around the world and see the future collaborations and communications.

In a nutshell, Open Mapping Hub Asia Pacific (OMH-AP) has provided me with this great opportunity to better understand the data quality issues, maintain the data quality standards and leverage different technologies to maintain up-to-date and accurate data in OSM.

It was a big surprise when I received a mail that mentioned I would be presenting at State of The Map Asia 2022, my first-ever International Conference. The moment became more exciting when Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific sponsored us to visit Legazpi, Philippines, and present our work in person. Ever since I started contributing to OpenStreetMap around 5 years ago, this was the first time, I had been a part of such a great event. I thought all the hard work and perseverance had finally paid off.

Due to General Election in Nepal, we missed the first two days of Pista NG Mapa but were able to attend all the sessions of SOTM Asia, 2022. Since it was my first international flight, it was a whole new experience and excitement when I reached Legazpi City on 22th Nov. Mount Mayon covered under the cloud was there to welcome us to this beautiful land where we were about to meet OSM enthusiasts around Asia and spend the most exciting five days of my life.

Mount Mayon

We were in a completely new place, with new people and yet we felt at home because of the way they talked with each other I felt we were like-minded, talking similar things that made me feel much better and comfortable.

Looking back at SOTM Asia 2022, there are many reasons that have made this event memorable for me. One of the many reasons is that I got a chance to meet to many people who have been contributing a lot to OSM in person. I got a chance to talk and listen to them about what they have been doing lately and their future plans to contribute to OSM. I also got a chance to spend a day with all of them at ATV. Doing this was a fun part.

First Day

On the first day of the SOTM Asia 2022, I had a presentation on our project “Mapping Communities POI Using Mapillary and OSM” with my friend Rabi Shrestha. Since it was our first time presenting in front of an international audience, we were quite nervous and at the same time excited to show our work to a large audience. We were happy to see our presentation being liked by the people and also being asked to say some words on our motivation to map in OpenStreetMap.

Me Presenting

I also had two sessions on the second day, The first was a presentation on “MAPPING HITI (Water Spouts) AND STREET NAMING IN OSM: LALITPUR METROPOLITAN CITY” and the second was a panel discussion on “Voices of YouthMappers” along with Feye Andal and Rabi Shrestha. There were so many youthmappers attending the session, addressing how youthmappers have been helping them to create a sustainable mapping ecosystem in their university, the challenges they have been facing at present, and what could be the priority areas that youthmappers can work on.

Apart from my presentation, I loved listening to the work many people have been doing at OSM. Some of the workshop sessions and presentations that I liked during the events are:

• Moving towards OSM data usage – OSM hackfest and way forward - Nirab Pudasaini, Nirman Khadka, Asim Bhadra, Prakash Ghimire, Pawan Bista

• Tasking Manager: Needs Assessment - Ramya Ragupathy

• Using Drones DRONEBIRDs ARE GO!!! - Taichi Furuhashi

• Application of OpenStreetMap and Geo Spatial Techniques in Disaster Exposure Mapping: Attanagalu Oya River Basin in Sri Lanka - S. Suthakaran

• And many more…

SOTM Asia 2022 Group Photo

At last, I am honored to be a part of this great event SOTM Asia 2022. I would like to thank the organizing committee and Open Mapping Hub Asia Pacific for providing me this wonderful opportunity to meet mapping enthusiasts, students, different youthmappers chapters, volunteers, and presenters and see their effort to maintain an open mapping ecosystem and emphasizing the use of open data in today’s world.

Location: Tilottama-08, Deepnagar, Tilottama, Rupandehi, Lumbini Province, Nepal