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News — 12 March, 2012

Creating Sustainable Community Mapping Projects Workshop

Last week I attended a meeting to discuss expanding the community mapping projects using OSM eastern Indonesia, as well as ensuring they are sustainable.  Attendees included myself as well as representatives from AIFDR, ACCESS, SOLUD, Mitra Turatea and GIZ. HOT did our first workshop with community facilitators from ACCESS in March of 2011. Much has changed since the initial workshop, which was just a traditional OpenStreetMap training session over two days. New tools have been developed as well as training materials since that time which has fed into the methods used to perform community mapping using OpenStreetMap. The purpose of the workshop was determine how to take all of the progress made within these programs and allow other communities to get started as well as ensure the existing programs are sustainable.

The morning portion of the workshop began with each group presenting what they had done so far. I presented on HOT's pilot work over the past year and the technology we've developed as part of it. Representatives from SOLUD Bima and ACCESS Dompu's presented about their continued work using the technology that HOT taught them over our four different trips there.  It was interesting to see how each adapted it to their own needs.  Bima is currently using the Datastore which is a tool designed to allow some data to be public in OpenStreetMap and then some private data to be in another web application, but then you can link them back together by OpenStreetMap ID. Dompu has continued to manually enter IDs from OpenStreetMap into Excel spreadsheets where they keep there social survey information.  Both groups then can join the data together using QGIS to print a map.  AIFDR went over the Mapping Jakarta events going on this March and how it may possibly expand. GIZ showed us the types of community mapping they've done previously in Kalimantan around forest resources as well as some background on the organization. Mitra Turatea has been working Sulawesi making the transition from hand-drawn maps to CorelDraw to utilizing QGIS over the past six years. After this summary of what everyone's community mapping background was we began to discuss what is required for community mapping and answering a few broad questions.

What Materials Are Needed?

HOT had already begun development of a lot of materials based on the experiences from the mapping workshops over the past year. So many materials already exist or are in the process of being created. There were some that we discussed that still need to be developed though.

  • OpenStreetMap Manual
  • QGIS Manual
  • Datastore Manual
  • Basic Survey Sheets
  • Predefined Map Styles

The manuals have been mostly developed in support of the workshops that HOT has done.  One thing that hasn't been compiled is basic survey sheets and predefined map styles. The idea is to have a basic set of things that people would likely want to do as examples so they can get started.  This would include having surveys for what is typically collected in a social survey and having cartography (map styles) to support that for printing of finished maps.

What Skills Are Needed?

The types of skills needed for a group to successfully implement these projects was a long discussion and we decided on the idea of "teams." Meaning that for each individual village it would be extremely difficult to ensure these types of skills, but those working in the regencies however could. So the idea of "Tim Desa" and "Tim Fasiliatator" developed. Tim Fasiliatator or the Facilitator Team would be the team of community facilitators, such as the ones representing Dompu and Bima at the workshop.  Tim Desa or the Village Team would be residents of the villages being mapped. We broke out the skills into the two teams and made a list. These would all be skills that not everyone on the team individually would necessarily need to have, but the entire team together.

Facilitator Team Skills

  • OpenStreetMap
  • Surveying (both geospatial and social surveys)
  • GIS (such as map making in QGIS)
  • Training (experience teaching others)
  • Community development and engagement
  • Conflict Resolution
  • IT Skills

Village Team

  • Survey tools (GPS, survey forms)
  • Community Development
  • General Idea of OpenStreetMap and map reading

Some of these skills would be required for almost any ICT dev project.  For example IT skills listed under the facilitator list means ability to troubleshoot Internet connections and deal with viruses. Much time can be wasted on these issues if someone is not skilled in fixing them. Similar for training experience, the Facilitator Team would support the Village Team in their collection of data.  So having training skills to support them would be required.

Additional Requirements?

There are other things that are necessary to allow these types of projects to happen, technical infrastructure is a vital one.  We decided there were five items which are required in order to begin. Delays on them tend to allow enthusiasm for a mapping project to wane and it can be difficult to spark it again.

  • Computers
  • Internet
  • GPS
  • Printer
  • Satellite Imagery

Collection Methodology

With all the skills and equipment in place a good methodology is still important. There are five broad steps that are required.

  1. List items to be collected
  2. Decide on how to collect
  3. Collect the data
  4. Input the data
  5. Review

This process is very broad and would be used in many data collection methodologies. There are specific ways they translate to community mapping.

  • items to be collected: What features are going to be collected? What are the types of attributes about those features?
  • collection methodology: Are geographic aspects going to be collected using GPS or satellite imagery? (or a combination of both) Will paper forms be used for attributes or a mobile device or some other type of input?
  • collect the data: Using the decided upon methodology to gather the features and attributes that have been defined for collection.
  • data input: dependent on the collection methodology, but in our case of community mapping it is likely to be a combination of typing in forms, tracing satellite pictures and downloading data from GPS units.
  • review: The review step cannot happen just once at the end.  It needs to be continuous throughout the process. That way errors in collection or data entry can be fixed quickly rather than discovering at the end that the data is not usable. Or perhaps a collection methodology isn't working for a particular set of circumstances.


These broad ideas will feed into implementation of community mapping in other ACCESS areas. There are still components the groups are working so that projects have the materials they need to begin smoothly. Having a clear outline however will assist in allow OpenStreetMap community mapping to continue in Indonesia.