Missing Maps: a follow up

Nadja Kaukiainen reports on the event held by our very own FXU Red Cross.

On Thursday the 28th, the first meeting of the Missing Maps project was held in the DDM building. The meeting mainly consisted of an introduction into the new society, followed by a presentation/trial of the Open Street Map system for each person individually. The guest lecturer, Ben Andrews, explained just how international the project was and how it was conducted through the use of light maps. He then instructed the volunteers on how to use the web system (openstreetmaps.org) and on how to submit further map developments (tasks.hososm.org).

Anya Wallington-Lardi, President of FXU Red Cross represents her society
Anya Wallington-Lardi, President of FXU Red Cross, represents her society.

The first session left a very easy going feeling. It was not too serious, as the system was pretty easy to use and everyone present was eager to get on with it. It certainly convinced anyone there that the activities were for a good cause, and that they do make a difference in the great scheme of things. As an example, the situation that everyone is familiar with – the not so distant earthquake in Haiti. At the time, the volunteers there and the users of Missing Maps were a great contribution to the overall success of providing help and knowing what areas needed it the most. Amongst other actions, they used drones to fly over impacted area to gain information and later transfer it into the internet system. In total, it made a huge impact on the recovery.

While the local Red Cross action is a long way from being able to provide this kind of help, it is not impossible. The barrier for it is, however, the amount of students currently enrolled. No matter how recently it was formed – and it really was formed very, very recently – there were some mere 10 students present at the initial gathering. However, it is not a small number given that  the society has not been active for even a year, and a certain amount of commitment and effort is required to participate. The actions of the Red Cross are extremely helpful to society, and beneficial to the mankind as a whole – not only the third world countries. Therefore, personally I would encourage every individual to help with the project, as it is something I (and many others) truly believe in.

In the future, FXU Red Cross want to organise a similar Mapathon every month. The only difference is that it is the real thing this time and not only a practice session. The plan is for it to be very casual and laid back, with a radio station on in the background or casual conversation going on while the mapping process happens on the screen, simultaneously. Moreso, the organisers were more than helpful and welcoming.

The session I attended was informative and very practise based, and for a new participant it was  very easy to get into the swing of things. It is also a great opportunity to meet new people in a casual, amicable, non competitive and positive environment.

Aside from these events, the FXU Red Cross is also planning other projects and fundraising opportunities. More information can be found on https://www.facebook.com/FXURCG/?fref=ts