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News — 23 March, 2022

Open Mapping News from LATAM

2022 seems like a good year for the Latin American OSM community, let's see what new activities are being developed in the countries of the region.

Lea esta publicación en castellano.

2022 seems like a good year for the Latin American OSM community, there are activities underway in several countries and we are sure that others are already planning what to do, as several people have expressed interest in resuming initiatives at the community level. So let’s take a look at the Latin American OSM landscape:

At the end of January, the first OSM Latam 2022 meeting was held, during which some decisions were made, such as:

  • Holding meetings bi-monthly, and having a different country take the leadership of each meeting.

  • Update and improve the regional Wiki.

  • Get more training materials, either by translating or creating them.

In this sense, the next OSM Latam Meeting is already being prepared and everyone is invited to participate. This time, it will be organized by the people of OSM Mexico, and it will be held on Saturday, March 26th.


By the way, the first meeting was held in the space kindly provided by the friends of Maptime Bogotá, who have been carrying out some notathons since 2021 to close the pending notes, first in Bogotá and then in Colombia, and now they’re trying to help the various Latin American communities to do the same, for which a Telegram group dedicated to the resolution of notes in Latam was created, and also its section on the wiki.

Mapeadora was present at the most recent notathon and in her OpenStreetMap diary she recorded her impressions on the matter. And since we are talking about Mapeadora, she will be presenting on April 4th the model of a Technological Tool for the integration of voluntary geographic information allowing the update of geographic names (NGIGEV). This project, in which several countries participate, has a grant from the PAIGH and includes indicative integration of OSM and official data.

A project that really motivates us, due to its importance in these times of climate change, is the one about urban trees or tree mapping, promoted by the people of OSM Chile. Some other communities in the region already want to replicate or develop with other perspectives. It will be a topic of discussion at the OSM Latam meeting in March.


"16,017 urban trees mapped". Source: OSM Chile Facebook page.

On the other hand, we have news from URBELatam, a joint project with the Community Bank of Preventório and three educational institutions: the University of Glasgow in Scotland, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the University of Antioquia in Colombia, to map the community of Morro do Preventório, near Rio de Janeiro.

In the last 8 months the project has mapped streets, alleys, businesses, public buildings, houses, etc. Local artists were also mapped, which was reflected in a festival made exclusively with local artists, something possible thanks to cultural mapping.

Also in Brazil, the Mapping of Lagoons and Lowlands of the Lower São Francisco project has been active, they have recently published a Guide to the lower Stretch of the São Francisco River for foreign partners, with the aim of facilitating the discussion of priority situations (humanitarian injustice, citizen empowerment and surveillance of the territory and biodiversity with relevance in situations related to water) in the mapping of projects with foreign partners interested in joining collaborative initiatives.


Photos: Carlos E. Ribeiro/InfoSãoFrancisco / UKRI GCRF: URBE Latam

Do you know Open Cities Mexico? It is a joint project between GFDRR, HOT, and other strategic partners, which aims to create high quality open spatial data on vulnerabilities of the territory in Tulum, develop products that use information about risk of natural disasters and consolidate regional networks through OpenStreetMap and open source communities.

This Open Cities project will soon have a training workshop and will start collaborations with universities, among which are the University of the State of Mexico and the UQROO University in Chetumal.

In February, the introduction of the new chapters of Youthmappers in Guatemala took place, and as part of this initiative, a basic training workshop on OpenStreetMap was held on March 5th with the aim of generating a network around open mapping, in addition a beginners guided mapathon on the 19th of this month also happened. They are already planning another one for the month of April with a proposal to repeat these activities periodically.


Images: @Mapeadora/Youthmappers Guatemala / Sandra Hernández/Open Cities México

Finally, a stage prior to the Open Mapping Hub in Latin America has been announced: the Alpha Phase, which is already taking its first steps and we will soon have more news about it.

P.S. We invite the entire OSM community to participate in the debate that is shaping the evolution and modernization of the community forums in OSM. New forums based on the open source software Discourse have been enabled in the past week and we hope that the community will participate and contribute to shape these forums. More info here.

In particular, we call your attention to a very relevant sub-debate for Latin American communities, which deals with enabling spaces by languages or by countries.

Disclaimer. I am Juan Arellano. Since May 2021 I have been a volunteer for the OSM Foundation doing translations into Spanish and running the semi-official Twitter account @esopenstreetmap. Starting this month I also collaborate on the Community Communications for the Alpha Phase of the Open Mapping Hub in Latin America.