Referred to as MUST by the students, Mbarara University of Science and Technology located near Mbarara town was the fourth destination for the Mapping Day team. A previous visit to the university assured that all facilities were in place for the Road Trip's mapping event.
A well-stocked computer lab at the university resource centre was the venue for the Mapping Day. We started at 9.00am with introductions from the participants comprised of Computer Science and Information Technology students, one Lecturer and an administrator from the computing services unit of the University.
Some of the students were planning to do their final year projects with a component of digital maps. They were eagerly waiting to learn as much as they could about OpenStreetMap (OSM) and online mapping.
The morning presentation, giving a background on Fruits of Thought, the Map Uganda project and the current Mapping Challenge ended with a question and answer session. One of the participants pointed out that they could look into using the skills gained from the Mapping Day to map the layout of the fibre optic cable that serves the university, as well as the power network within the University.
In groups of six people each, the participants were briefed about the tools they had to use in the data collection exercise. These tools: walking papers, GPS devices and Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM) editing software, were covered shortly. A few students, who had not yet opened up accounts on OSM, were helped to do so before the teams started collecting data.
In the field
By 11:00 am all teams were out covering the complete university campus collecting data on features like buildings, land use and ways. The following session, kicked off at 12:00 pm, had more practical use of JOSM, downloading traces, waypoints from the Garmin Etrex10 devices, and the walking papers to edit OSM.
By the end of the exercise, an updated map of the university campus on OpenStreetMap, edited by the participants themselves was available online.
It was a very rewarding moment that prompted one of the participants to suggest that they form an association to carry on the mapping activities. So that a better map for the whole of Mbarara town could be produced.
The day was concluded with a wrap up hand over of a G.P.S device and a Learn OSM editing Manual for the students to use and continue mapping.
Road Trip 2012: The Story
1st University "The Gulu University" report
2nd University "UCU Mbale" report
3rd University "Uganda Pentecostal University" report
5th University "Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi" report