OpenStreetMap workshop at VAST, Thrissur.

We got an opportunity to introduce OpenStreetMap to the National Service Scheme (NSS) Volunteers of Vidya Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Thrissur. It was a two days workshop – 18th and 19th June, 2016 and it was wonderful. All of it came through Mr. Manoj Karingamadathil – my friend and an active Wikimedian. It was his college, who studied there four years ago. Mr. Anil, the NSS Coordinator of the college formally invited me to introduce the mapping techniques to the NSS Volunteers. Mr. Kishore Athrasseri, another FOSS GIS enthusiast also joined us for the introductory session to the volunteers.


Vidya Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Thrissur.


Map of the campus

I didn’t have any clue that it would be such a grand gathering with the presence of Dr. M Abdul Rahman (Pro Vice Chancellor of A P J Abdul Kalam Technological University), Mr. Abdul Jabbar (State Coordinator of NSS Technical Cell), Mrs. Sherly Dileep kumar, President of Velur village panchayat, Mr. T P Kurien, Secretary to the Velur village panchayat and many others. They have big plans to map the Velur village panchayat using the capabilities of NSS volunteers.


Inaugural ceremony



There were more than 60 volunteers of the college for learning mapping techniques. A few of them were from M E S College of Engineering, Kuttippuram. As OpenStreetMap is the best suitable solution for introducing the mapping techniques for students learning technology, we opted that. After the general introduction to mapping and OSM, the volunteers explored it and created their own user accounts in OSM.


Introductory session


Introductory session

After they familiarised with it,they were grouped into 13 teams (4-5 members in each team) based on the features they are assigned to map, as follows:
1. Campus boundary team
2. Roads team
3. Building (South Block) team
4. Building (North Block) team
5. Building (Main Block) team
6. Mens hostel team
7. Ladies hostel team
8. Workshops team
9. Library team
10. Other buildings team
11. Play grounds team
12. Nakshathra vanam team and
13. Tree count and biodiversity team
For making teams, we collected the details of students and their smartphones via a google form, and randomly grouped them using a spreadsheet, based on the type of their smartphones. The field survey technique was the same as we used during the Koorachundu village panchayat OpenStreetMap mapping party, with the android mobile phones using three apps viz. GPS Logger, OSM Tracker and Keypad Mapper. These apps were shared with the team members at the beginning of the introductory session, using Xender/Bluetooth. After constituting teams, we explained the team members, how to use these apps in the field for collecting data. Then they were sent for field survey (2 hours approximate) after lunch. After the field work, each team gathered in the computer lab and edited the OSM using JOSM and iD with the collected GPS data. We helped them on the basic tagging of the features.




On the 2nd day of workshop, we and the teams focused on the correction of errors, and checking the correctness of the data they entered to the OSM. It was a thriller experience when we showed the 3D rendering of their campus renedred in the projector. 🙂


3D rendering of the OSM.




3D rendering of the OSM.




We took a photograph of the whole team, after lunch.


The entire team

After 2.30 pm, I left to my home. Manoj lead the session after that, introducing Open Data, Wikipedia, Basic information on Language computing, Internet culture, Free software, Collaborate working (Mailing List, Wiki, IRC, Git..) etc. to the volunteers.


Local news paper covered the event.

For the people who don’t know this college, here is the OSM link of the place:

Explore the 3D rendering of the place here:

See the beauty of the two days team work. 🙂

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