On Thursday the 4thof April 2019, CGIS YouthMappers from The Centre for Geoinformation Science visited St. John’s College in Houghton, Johannesburg to attend a mapathon to help map areas of rural Tanzania in the efforts to help alleviate female genital mutilation (FGM). There is currently a global fight to end FGM and CGIS YouthMappers are doing their part to add spatial information to areas where there is none.
A mapathon (which is literally a “map marathon”) is a collaborative effort, usually performed by groups of people who meet together (e.g. at a university or a company) aimed at collecting specific map data through remote mapping (typically for humanitarian purposes) in places where OpenStreetMap (OSM) data is scarce or non-existent. There is still large parts of Africa and Asia that remains unmapped. This is concerning, as geospatial data is of vital importance for basic services delivery and emergency response, for example.
The CGIS YouthMappers Chapter went to St. John’s to collaborate with 120 grade 9 leaners demonstrating the importance of mapping, how they can help those in need and more importantly, how to map effectively. The mapathon started with a brief introduction on how to use OSM and the social importance of alleviating FGM. This data will now be used to generate maps that will be used by girls to locate safehouse.