Open Collaboration for African Techies
Recipe for a MapUp
Throw together two handfuls of students, a couple of Android devices equipped with GPS, sprinkle a little Google swag, leave all that to cook for 3 hours under the afternoon sun at the University of Buea and if you got it all right: voilà, a mapped campus.
On Saturday, November 24th, ActivSpaces hosted its first Google geo event, the UB Campus MapUp, with 10 student participants, support from Google and a lot of legwork to make it work.
Why Map The Campus?
The UB Campus MapUp event provided a unique opportunity to the community to learn the use of Map Maker and contribute their knowledge by organizing local geographical information. The event was sponsored by Google as part of a program to promote awareness and utility of Google geo products.
At ActivSpaces we wanted to do something practical that would have a lasting learning impact on our student participants. We chose the mapping of their university campus as an activity that they could easily relate to and with a lot of potential for follow up.
Mapping The Campus
Our day started in ActivSpaces at 11:00am with a one hour planning and preparation session. For lack of enough GPS devices, we downloaded the application MyTracks onto a few Android devices (cell phones & tablets) and our designated GSA (Google Student Ambassador) drilled the squad on its use. We then divided ourselves into teams of two, and spent close to 3 hours walking through the UB campus and pinpointing buildings and tracing paths. In each team one individual was responsible for handling the gadget while the other was in charge of jotting notes.
After gathering sufficient data (and getting something to eat!) we returned to ActivSpaces and uploaded the work from our Android/GPS devices to Map Maker. The student participants will use the next few weeks to polish the map, ensure that all the data is accurate and set up collaboration protocols for future development of the initiative.
Students who participated in the UB Campus MapUp event have pledged to do three things:
Stay tuned to find out how successful the students are in hitting these targets. We believe that a lot more mapping activity is going to grow out of this small one. For students that would like to get involved in this initiative and further projects, please contact us or get in touch with Tah Teche with the Google Students Club at the University of Buea. We look forward to connecting with you at our next mapping event!
This blog is a resource for news, project updates, member profiles and community events at ActivSpaces, an open collaboration space, innovation hub and startup incubator for African techies. Based in Buea, Cameroon.