GGM celebrates Open Data Day 2020 with Dr NF Nkomo students

Posted on April 01, 2020

The annual Open Data Day took place on 7 March 2020. At the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, we celebrated the day by hosting 61 Gr 12 geography learners from Dr WF Nkomo High School in Atteridgeville at the University of Pretoria, Hatfield campus. 

Open Data Day ( is an annual international event that promotes the awareness and use of open data, and our event focused on open mapping. The aim of the day was to map mini-bus taxi routes in and around Atteridgeville. This was done in two phases, firstly using an approach called participatory GIS and then using QGIS. Participatory GIS focus on using local knowledge to collect geospatial data in a community. In small groups, the learners were guided by a student to map the routes and stops using markers and stickers on a A3 areal image with main routes and points of interested indicated. The learners presented their maps and one of the main observations that the learners make was the lack of information available in their area. The students then explained to them how OpenStreetMap can be used to map their community and the importance of this. 

During the second part of the day, the learners were introduced to QGIS (an open source Desktop GIS application). They used QGIS to digitize the routs and stops indicated on their paper maps, to create a digital map of the minibus taxi network in Atteridgeville.  

Thank you to all the lecturer, students and learners that made this day a huge success. Most importantly, thank you to our sponsors, the NRF Community Engagement Grant, the Open Knowledge Foundation, Datopian, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Hivos, the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), Mapbox, Open Contracting Partnership and Resource Watch. 

Example of map with routes and stops produced by a group of learners


Photo of the group that participated in Open Data Day 2020

- Author Centre for Geoinformation Science
Published by Victoria Rautenbach

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