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News — 14 February, 2018

From the use of classic GPS to the smartphone: how OsmAnd allows students of the UGLCS YouthMappers chapter to collect data in the field

*Guest Blog – TOUPANE Tino Raphaël, OSM Guinea*


To help map unmapped communities, students at Lansana Conte University in Sonfonia, Conakry, have created a YouthMappers chapter. Since its creation, the chapter has benefited from a series of training offered by OSM Guinea.

In December 2017, OSM Guinea received from HOT a funding under the Nethope Device Challenge Grant. This grant has allowed OSM Guinea to acquire 7 laptops, 17 android phones and a GPS logger which are being used to build the capacity of OSM contributors in Guinea. Thanks to this new technology, ten students from the Lansana Conte University of Conakry benefited from training on GPS data collection using OsmAnd on the 27th January 2018.


The overall goal of the training was to teach students how to conduct field mapping using a mobile phone.

Specifically, the training aimed to:

• Teach students to install and configure OsmAnd

• Teach students to take GPS coordinates in the field


From conventional GPS to Smartphone use for data collection

For a long time GPS has been used as the tool for collecting data with spatial reference in the field. With the emergence and popularization of the Smartphone we are witnessing the era of accessible GPS data collection tools to all.

The training presentation made it possible for students to understand that today, the Smartphone is positioning itself as a multifunctional tool for collecting data in the field.

"I am pleasantly surprised that I can use my phone to call, take pictures and especially take GPS coordinates. I think geographers students need to learn how to use OsmAnd for their fieldwork. We are grateful to HOT and Nethope for funding OSM Guinea " - DIALLO Souadou, Bachelor student in Geography


Installation and configuration of Osmand

We introduced students to OsmAnd's navigation and recording functions using GPS coordinates. We showed the students how to use the application to orient themselves and to collect data in the field. Each of the participants learned to install and configure OsmAnd and create several categories: Administration, Health, School, Bank, Insurance, Security, and Sport. The creation of categories made it clear to students that data can be categorized during collection by type.

Students at OsmAnd training run by OSM Guinea


Mapping the buildings on the campus

We thought that the implementation of the training on the campus of General Lansana Conte University would be a good idea for the students to test their new skills. Students proposed mapping buildings and gardens in order to add them to OpenStreetMap. The collection of data on the campus was exciting. Indeed, many other students wanted to know what we were doing with the phones. We had to improvise a course on the use of OsmAnd in the open air.


Students practicing GPS tagging using an android phone


According to CONDE Mamady, President of the YouthMappers UGLCS chapter, "Free applications like OsmAnd allow citizens to contribute to the production of open data".




Field mappers practicing using OsmAnd on android phones


There is a real problem of access to smartphones amongst YouthMappers in Guinea since only 5% of the YouthMappers members have an android phone. The community of young cartographers need to have access to these phones to increase the sustainability of their mapping projects. The Nethope Device Challenge Grant is contributing towards these longer term goals. Overall, OsmAnd training was a great success and the number of targeted students was exceeded.


Written by TOUPANE Tino Raphaël - OSM Guinea Lead