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Shandhivya's Diary

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Navigating the Future: My Journey with the OM Guru Fellowship at Open Mapping Hub Asia

I am Dhivya, from Sri Lanka.

OpenStreetMap is an open data source where anyone can contribute and download the data. While completing my Master of Science in GIS & Remote Sensing, I got to know about OpenStreetMap. Because of my academic & work experience, I had a passion and interest in the field of GIS & Data collection. As I delved deeper into the world of OpenStreetMap, I became actively involved in contributing to the platform and engaging with the OpenStreetMap community in Sri Lanka. Creating a robust OpenStreetMap profile and participating in local events further fueled my enthusiasm for open mapping.

A pivotal moment in my OpenStreetMap journey was being part Data Quality Internship in 2022 DQI, amidst fierce competition from 1008 applicants representing 81 countries around the world. This incredible opportunity not only expanded my knowledge of data quality tools but also facilitated international collaborations, enriching both my professional and personal life. Amidst economic challenges in my country, the internship provided stability and opened doors for further involvement, including participation in the HOT Working Group.

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Subsequently, I was honored to become a HOT Voting Member link, a role that not only boosted my confidence but also allowed me to actively shape the direction of HOT and contribute to its global humanitarian efforts.

I strongly believe that OpenStreetMap encourages women's participation. I was thrilled to be upgraded as an OSM Guru in 2023. This designation provided me with the opportunity to train the World Vision team on OpenStreetMap and field data collection, a profoundly rewarding experience that further deepened my involvement in the Sri Lankan OpenStreetMap community.

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Continuation of this programme this year I have joined the Guru Fellowship program. What intrigues me most about the fellowship is its structured approach, There are three types of structure in the guru fellowship

  • Training track
  • Mapping track
  • Validation Track
  • Everyone is not of equal quality in their expertise, which helps ensure that everyone can contribute according to their strengths. I have more confidence in validation than in other tracks. Being a Guru has been an exhilarating journey of growth and discovery. It's about more than just mastering mapping tools and techniques; it's about embracing a mindset of continuous learning and collaboration. As a Guru, I've had the privilege of working on diverse projects that spanned from disaster response to urban planning. Each project presented its own set of challenges, but with the support of a moderator, I've been able to overcome obstacles and make meaningful contributions to the mapping community.

    The fellowship has empowered me to step into leadership roles, mentor newcomers, and advocate for the importance of open mapping in driving social impact. In essence, being a Guru has not only provided me with the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the world but has also been a transformative experience that has shaped my perspective and fueled my passion for leveraging technology for social good.