OpenStreetMap: Help us #MapLesotho

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You are invited to participate in a mapping event with OpenStreetMap (OSM) that will kick off on January 16, 2015 called #MapLesotho Mapathon! Last year, we had 5 out of 50,000 American OSM users participate. By contrast Germany had over 200 and Poland over 40. Let’s show the world that America can map with OSM!

MapLeso­tho is a global ini­ti­at­ive that demon­strates an emer­ging ethos of social crowd­sourcing that truly bene­fits all par­ti­cipants—each and every draw­ing from the exper­i­ence rewards bey­ond their own contribution.

Flag of Lesotho

How to participate

The URL for Task #599 is:

  • Select a grid square and map all settlements, roads and major natural features, particularly rivers & streams within your allotted area.
  • Buildings are not required to be traced as part of this task
  • Tagging Specific Details
  • When tracing settlements, draw an outline of the area which contains a cluster of buildings and tag as landuse=residential
  • Please ensure you follow the Highway Tag Africa criteria when mapping roads or paths.
  • Pay particular attention where roads/paths intersect with streams or rivers and no bridge/tunnel/culvert exists. Use the ford tag when you find these crossing
  • Be aware when tracing rivers or streams that the direction of your tracing must match the flow of the water i.e. don't trace a river uphill
  • Imagery Info
  • Use Bing or MapBox satellite
  • No offset required

Note: It can be useful to switch between Bing & MapBox imagery if you are having difficulty identifying features as there can be a variation in the imagery quality between the two.

Inspriational words

Shawn Day, known as Eiridium on OpenStreetMap, is a lecturer in Social Computing, Data Visualisation, Engagement, Design & the Humanities at University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast. He shares the importance of this project.

"It feels as though I have been there many times—wan­der­ing through rural Leso­tho. Tra­vers­ing table moun­tains, dra­matic escarp­ments, mov­ing from small ham­lets and vil­lages fol­low­ing wind­ing rivers fed by mean­der­ing streams. When I want to travel, I choose a task in Open­Street­Map and am trans­por­ted to some­where in rural Leso­tho. I trace streams, identify res­id­ences, farms, com­mer­cial areas, and indus­tries and in so doing, I meet the land­scape, built and nat­ural with great intim­acy. I have developed a unique attach­ment through this vir­tual tour­ism. The amount of verd­ant, stream dom­in­ated, green areas con­tin­ues to amaze me when I real­ise that Leso­tho is a coun­try where all the land is more than 1,000 feet above sea level. It’s mar­vel­lously diverse and changes from what seems to be semi-fertile tillable areas to steep cliff faces within short dis­tances. Appre­ci­at­ing it from this unique and priv­ileged per­spect­ive only drives a deep desire to see the land in per­son. The wider pur­pose in what I do though is to con­trib­ut­ing, along with hun­dreds of oth­ers, to cre­ate open and pub­licly usable maps that are avail­able for the bene­fit of the cit­izens of Leso­tho and the wide world. You meet fel­low map­pers in Ire­land, Leso­tho, and around the world—vir­tu­ally and face-to-face. It’s a splen­did mis­sion, socially reward­ing and one that I find fun, won­der­fully grat­i­fy­ing and full of future promise.

A few months ago I caught a passing glance of a tweet men­tion­ing a Mapa­thon to be held at the Fin­gal County Coun­cil offices in Swords. Out of curi­os­ity, I signed up and turned out to be part of a day long push along with map­pers in a vari­ety of other loc­ale to spur the cre­ation of first-pass basemaps that will be refined though col­lect­ive ded­ic­a­tion. Why do I con­tinue to do it? I love maps and I love feel­ing that I am putting my own skills to a use that con­trib­ute to a greater whole. As we watch the pro­gress (as a group we have now passed the 75% in the rural tasks), that magic 100% will mean that local map­pers can refine the rudi­ment­ary based on their local knowledge."

Help us #MapLesotho!

Jason Hare
Two decades experience analyzing user behavior interacting with web applications. Experience includes developing user interfaces using rapid prototyping and an iterative project management style to create award winning, user-centered information portals. Primary interests include Big Data and Open Data applications and community engagement in a public sector environment.

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