When people hear the word “mapping,” they often envision a complex web of points and lines on a piece of paper, which can be intimidating for newcomers. However, mapping is not as daunting as it may seem, it’s an art that can be mastered. Just like any other science, mapping requires active engagement in related activities. To make learning less challenging, we established Udayana Remote Sensing and GIS (URGis) as a mapping community to help each other grow our remote sensing and GIS skills.
Throughout our journey, we’ve harnessed the power of mapping software like OpenStreetMap (OSM) to assist students in developing their skills and confidence. OSM provides convenient tools for various mapping applications, from displaying different map themes to adding points, polygons, or polylines and populating attribute tables. We’ve witnessed this transformation through our activities. In the past semester, URGis focused on introducing OSM to students in our faculty, offering engaging materials and hands-on practice with web-based OSM. We also invited OSM experts to provide further insights into projects involving OSM.
Our main goal is to empower students by providing opportunities to participate in remote sensing and GIS projects, experiences that go beyond traditional classroom learning. Through collaboration with OpenStreetMap, we’ve engaged our members in mapping projects, with OSM funding allowing us to conduct mapping workshops and reach a wider audience, benefiting from the expertise of the OSM team.
We kicked off the OSM Workshop on July 11th, 2023, right on our campus, introducing OSM as a participatory map and emphasizing its role in disaster mitigation. Dewa Putu Adikarma Mandala (Bli Dewa) from Program Siap Siaga Bali delivered the lecture, and we had the chance to use OSM ourselves. The interactive sharing session with Bli Dewa sparked lively discussions, with everyone actively asking and answering questions.
On August 9th, the URGis team organized a study club session, during which members digitized areas on the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida. Each member was assigned a specific area or village, providing an opportunity for students to enhance their digitization skills and familiarize themselves with OSM mapping features.
Recognizing the importance of expanding our reach, we conducted an OSM workshop on August 31st, allowing students to engage in participatory mapping using OpenStreetMap to strengthen geospatial data management for disaster mitigation in the Bukit Jimbaran Campus area. The workshop included valuable sessions by Mr. Harry Mahardhika Machmud on mapping tools, survey methodology, and data validation. Students also had hands-on experience with data collection applications, obtaining survey results. We learned from Della Ema Nurfiana of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) about how OSM assists in disaster mitigation, particularly during the eruption of Mount Agung, where evacuation routes were mapped when other sources lacked the information. The workshop encouraged active discussions between participants and the URGis team.
FROM URGis AND BEYOND
Building on our workshop experiences, we initiated “URGis Goes to Class” to reach more students and provide opportunities for club members to share their knowledge about OSM. This approach ensures the sustainability of our club as we learned from previous challenges in attracting attendees to separate workshops when students had classes to attend. By incorporating workshops into classes, we aim to create a lasting impact within Udayana University and Bali, demystifying mapping and nurturing a community of skilled mappers.
In conclusion, our journey with URGis demonstrates the transformation of mapping from an intimidating concept to an accessible and valuable skill, thanks to our dedicated efforts with OpenStreetMap. We aspire to continue spreading our positive impact by empowering students and fostering a community of proficient mappers at Udayana University and beyond.