On 18-20 august I participated for the first time on State of the Map conference, which this year was held on Aizu-Wakamatsu Japan. One year ago I started to participate on events organized by Open Labs Albania, the only hackerspace in my country which promotes Free Open Source software and open data. They organize many events for different projects as Wikipedia, Fedora, Nextcloud, LibreOffice etc.
After a few days one of my friends Redon introduced me to OpenStreetMap, he helped me to make my fist changes on a map. And that was it, since that moment I started contributin to OpenStreetMap , firstly editing all the areas that I knew based on ground knowledge. At the beginning I may say that I was so enthusiastic that probably I might have made some mistakes as a newbie mapper that I was. Later I realised that it was important not only to contribute with data, but to try to add data with quality and try to be a good mapper.
I continued to participate on mapathons organized by members of Open Labs and after a few months I was able to co-organize with them. Despite mapping which I started with iD editor I started to search for other tools and so i found the featured desktop editor JOSM, which for me at the beginning was not so easy to use. My first presentation ever in public was on 14-th of May at OSCAL where I had a workshop for “Editing OpenStreetMap” and also an info booth. I continued to participate on mapathons organized by members of Open Labs and after a few months even I was able to co-organize with them. Despite mapping which I started with iD editor I started to search for other tools and so found the featured desktop editor JOSM, which for me at the beginning was not so easy to use.
This year was special because it was the first time for Albanian OSM community to be part of SOTM conference. Anisa from our hackerspace was there to, she had a talk “How to build an OSM community” on the first day 18 august, where she shares more details on how our community started.
When I applied to be part of the conference I was afraid that maybe I was not good enough to be there, and scared if I would be able to make a good presantation. I decided to give a try so I would be able to share all my knowledge and what I learnt intensively during the year. For me mapping was fun, I always liked geography, also traveling but hadn’t had many oportunities to travel until now. So I found maps a way of traveling around the world through mapping. Another thinks was that when started mapping I became more aware of whats was around me, noticed details that have always been there but I have not seen them, started to see the world from another perspective. Final result I was accepted to participate. I cried from happiness.
My presantation on State of the Map was Introduction to OpenStreetMap: Editing with iD editor and JOSM. I explained each of the editors the pros, cons and differences. For beginners it is easier to start with iD. JOSM has many extra features one of which is validation and offline using. Also it offers a lot of plugins. During the workshop I presented some of them like: building tools, wikipedia, utilsplugin2; As a future goal I want to make a guide in albanian language. Hope my workshop has been useful for the participant. I will continue to do more and improve my skills.
At SOTM2017 not only shared my knowledge but also learnt a lot from other participants. There were several different talks for community, mapping tools, gis software, experiences form users of other countries. Meeting all those people, hearing for their contributions motivated me even more. I saw that maps were more than a visualisation of our world, there is humanity, they can be as important as saving lives. This conference really affected me emocionally and also inspired me a lot. Now I want to do even more, have many things in my mind, need to set up a plan and continue contributing.
Thank you OSM foundation for the opportunity to be part of SOTM2017 and the wonderful organizing team for the great work. I enjoyed and learnt a lot there, also I spent great time with other participants.
I hope I can be part on other future conferences.