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News — 07 May, 2015

Mongolia - Mapping Ulaanbaatar Update - Welcome Interns!

It is our pleasure to welcome a group of student interns from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) as stewards for the Mapping Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia project we began in 2013. The project is a collaboration between HOT, the World Bank, nonprofit research group ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) and the city of Ulaanbaatar to create and maintain a map of the city within OpenStreetMap (OSM).

It is our pleasure to welcome a group of student interns from the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) as stewards for the Mapping Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia project we began in 2013. The project is a collaboration between HOT, the World Bank, nonprofit research group ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) and the city of Ulaanbaatar to create and maintain a map of the city within OpenStreetMap (OSM).

Mongolia University of Science and Technology

The group members will spend the rest of their spring semester meeting; growing their own OSM skills, most likely by continuing their remote mapping efforts in Nepal; and planning events related to OSM and HOT within the university or other locations around Ulaanbaatar. They will also select one or more technical projects to work on as a group. Over the summer some of them will return to the countryside where they will focus on mapping in their local communities. When the fall semester begins at MUST, they will get back to more of the events and finish any remaining work and documentation on their technical project.

On a bit of a side note, I recently got an opportunity here in Denver, Colorado (sister city to Ulaanbaatar) to meet and hear Mongolia media personality and economist, Jargal Dambadarjaa – or Jargal Defacto as he is known from his news-commentary shows on TV and radio. His presentation at the University of Denver really drove home the importance of the work we are doing in Ulaanbaatar and its potential impact on the country. Jargal explains the current situation in Mongolia as a “Triple Transition.”

All at once in their extraordinary history they find themselves in the midst of economic, political and social transitions. After the 1989-1990 peaceful revolution, Mongolia transitioned from Soviet control to democracy and a market economy, bringing positive change as well as challenge. With their newfound freedoms came a boom to the birth rate. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 59% of the population is under the age of 30 creating the social transition of young people quickly becoming leaders in business and politics. Jargal’s words of both praise and concern for his country immediately got me thinking of how the map of Mongolia can assist in overcoming the myriad of issues that will surely be faced during these transitions.

An integral part of creating and maintaining the OSM map is building a robust local mapping community. I am honored to be a small part of building that community, training and recruiting these seven interns who now take the lead in growing the OSM community by mapping, recruiting and training more mappers. They will organize mapping events, as well as translation and technical projects to make OSM editing and usage easier for Mongolians. Please join me in welcoming: Bayarjargal, Khulan, Enkhbat, Algirmaa, Munkherdene, Nasanbat, and Mayagmar to HOT!

Mongolia Interns at first meeting

For more information or to connect with the team, email Russell.Deffner@hotosm.org or Severin.Menard@hotosm.org