Assignment 2: Spatial Humanities: Open Street Map Participation

MapSwipe has proved to be an extremely engaging application which provides a huge assistance to those who open street map. By using MapSwipe it allows the public to engage and to contribute their own work towards humanitarian efforts. To use MapSwipe, you are given a task to either find a variety of different features such as  houses, rivers or roads on a satellite image. Figure (3) shows the clear and precise layout of MapSwipe. Upon finding what is asked you then tap on the tile which depending on how many taps you give, it can either turn green, yellow or red. Each colour indicates different accuracy levels of the picture. It is actually quite an enjoyable app as well as being  beneficial as there are different levels to be reached and completed. There is a helpful tutorial section on the app which is extremely advantageous as this gives you guidance on how the MapSwipe work. The tutorial gives a clear step by step approach on how to use MapSwipe, giving a great amount of detail as well as some “MapSwipe pro tips” Along  with the tutorial are visual diagrams which are exceptionally great to have as it helps one to grasp an understanding on how to use this app.  Firstly when I downloaded MapSwipe, I thoroughly began to  read through the tutorial to grasp an understanding on how this app worked. I then began my process of mapping. I chose a random mission to begin with called ” Tanzania Rural Electrification 2″ this can be seen in figure (4) where there is a small description of the task. My main goal was to identify any buildings in the satellite image. After completing this mission, it then calculated how many taps I did and synchronised  my final results. Over the next few weeks I then began to complete other missions and I am currently on level three.  I have completed three missions to date. From my experience of using MapSwipe, I now realise the importance and significance of mapping.  Not only is MapSwipe quite enjoyable but it has many benefits such as helping those people who live in remote areas as MapSwipe can help those to receive aid or for any emergency reason. The best thing about this app is that it is free for anyone to use and it can also be downloaded on any device, there is also an offline mode with is also quite handy for those who would like to map but do not have access to internet at a particular time. The only disadvantage that I found with this app was that some of the images were quite blurry which sometimes made it difficult to extinguish what was what. However there is a zoom button to help with this but ultimately I was left with the same problem.

Open Street Mapping has become more prominent over the past few years.  The idea of OpenStreetMap is quite similar to that of MapSwipe. The idea of open street map is that it allows the user to implement their own mapping skills into street mapping. It allows one to go anywhere in the world and to map out different buildings/areas which have not been mapped already or building/areas that have already been mapped but you can update this information. Initially I preferred the layout of MapSwipe compared to open street map as the layout for MapSwipe was quite simple and had a more easy approach. The layout for open street map was a small bit overwhelming at first but as you familiarise yourself with the app it becomes a lot clearer. I first began by creating my very own street map account and then proceeded to the tutorials. The tutorials for this application were also quite beneficial as it provided a  small ten minute video outlining why street mapping is important and how to use it. I believe that watching a video is much more easier to follow as you can visually see what to do. If you prefer not to watch the video then there is also a written section that you can choose from.  OpenStreetMap is also a free map data application. Just like MapSwipe, OpenStreetMap is used for a variety of beneficial reasons such as helping the economic development as you can identify areas/buildings that have not already been identified. It is also used to contribute to  humanitarian aid to help those in isolated area in times of crises. I then decided to map my very own area. It took a while to find an area to map but I decided to map a side path that leads into my park as it was not already mapped. I clicked the “line” tool and once I marked the area intended, a side box appeared on the left hand side screen outlining a number of questions such as it is a river/road/path, the width/length of the path, name and many more. Once you are done filing in this information, you will need to save and upload your work until your work comes into full effect. After I practised my own mapping, I proceeded to do some tasks, this is done by tracing map tiles. The tasks are marked as either urgent, high or low. (2) This picture shows two examples of urgent areas that need to be mapped. Once you picked your task there a small description about the area and why it needs mapping. Out of the five tasks that I completed, I enjoyed mapping   “Eldama Ravine Ward, Baringo county”  the most as the images were quite clear to distinguish. It gave me a random section of a field to map, this map needed no validation. (1) This is the satellite picture from OpenStreeMap which gives you a marked area to explore and map from “Eldama Ravine Ward, Baringo county” .

From my own personal experience of using both MapSwipe and OpenStreetMap, these two applications prove that every little effort goes a long way.  The fact that MapSwipe and OpenStreetMap are both  fun and engaging  while also serving as a  service to those in need is quite outstanding. It only takes five minutes out of your day to complete and is extremely beneficial to those who street map and to those people living in unmarked areas so that they can receive all the help that they need. Personally I preferred using MapSwipe as it is handy to have on my phone and much more clearer than that of OpenStreetMap.

As of right now I will contribute weekly by completing tasks and hopefully in the near future I wish that my contributions will help those who need it most. As I continue my course over the next few years I wish to contribute either by myself or in a group to contribute to Street Mapping. I believe that this assignment has really opened my eyes to all the different projects that are out there, before this module I had no idea how significant mapping could be or how it has such a huge impact on those involved. I feel a sense of pride knowing that my contributions will hopefully  have an impact on someone’s life which leaves a great feeling of satisfaction.


                         Figure 1.
                       Figure 2.Figure 3.









Figure 4.