OpenStreetMap and TeachOSM
I’ve hosted many OSM mapathons in the past, and today’s event with AGS and the Geo2050 conference was a huge success. It’s hard to create an engaging, productive environment that’s conducive to new mappers learning about OpenStreetMap. Today’s objective was to highlight how teachers can involve students in active work + contribution in a valuable context.
Steve, Richard, and Nuala did all the work, I just showed up to lend advice to folks that had any questions while mapping. The TeachOSM group did an excellent job showing the tasking manager, with a couple of challenge tasks to get folks comfortable with learning the editor and basic mapping.
One of the teachers told me that her students are often asking how they can contribute or give back in response to those in need around the world. They collect donations of money and food, among other things. She was ecstatic to learn that HOTOSM’s tasking manager offers up a plethora of real opportunities to respond to active needs, and learn about new places around the world while also giving back.
This is what has always motivated me most with doing OSM mapping — using it to get people interested in maps and geography. I’ve always maintained that the missing element in growing the OSM community is getting people to care. Most people think it’s neat at first glance, but don’t quite see the benefit in where their contributions will ever get used. Today I think we successfully demonstrated the benefits to over 50 people who are now armed to evangelize OpenStreetMap with their student networks.