Students As Change Agents: Exeter Geography hosts Missing Maps

University of Exeter staff and students hosted a mapathon in partnership with The British Red Cross to map the most vulnerable places in the world. Students put mapping skills to use in order to act as change agents and contribute to the worlds largest digital humanitarian aid effort! A story map version of this blog post can be viewed here: https://arcg.is/HGGCC

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IMG_8817Dannen Cowling, our SSLC chair introducing the mapathon.

The students as change agents project had 2 main aims: (i) to optimise the mapping relief at mapathons and encourage more people to contribute and (ii) inform the volunteers of the various career opportunities in mapping and GIS. Both aims were achieved by inviting Exeter Geography alumni Becca Ketley, researcher and Red Cross volunteer to deliver a keynote speech on how her GIS training in Exeter Geography led to her current role. The Geography Student Staff Liaison Chair, Daneen Cowling also welcomed everyone to the mapathon and introduced the evenings project.

The mapathon was mapping the Kurigram District in Bangladesh in order to effectively implement disaster risk reduction activities, to enhance resilience to future floods. To get an understanding of the area and the impact of the mapathon projects explore this spyglass map showing the open street map.

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By working with British Red Cross and Youth Mappers, students and staff acted as change agents making the world a better place as well as developing transferable skills and inviting other mapping opportunities. The University of Exeter was the first UK university to register a mapathon which has a mission plan we share in Exeter Geography “We don’t just build maps, we build mappers”.

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The mapathon took place in the second week of November which is an important one for Geographers and Geography departments around the world. Not only was it Open Street Map Geography Awareness Week but on the 15th of November it was also GIS day. Both initiatives are international forums to develop interest and understanding of the subject, the technology of Geographical Information Systems, showcase applications, raise public awareness of the significance of place and encourage collaborative mapping.

The map below shows the global coalition of partners hosting mapathons. Mapping events took place around the globe, following this year’s Geography Awareness Week theme “Explore! The Power of Maps”.

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The humanitarian aid projects continues at Exeter, if you are local come along to our next mapathon. If not then we encourage you to host a mapathon for yourselves! http://www.missingmaps.org/host/

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This entry was posted in Community projects, employability, Interdisciplinarity, School/College-University, Uncategorized and tagged on by .

About DamienMansell

Senior lecturer at The University of Exeter specialising in remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Damien gained Senior Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy in 2017. He was awarded the Jack Dangermond Sholar award for his work integrating active learning with ArcGIS online web maps. He was awarded the Esri UK 2017 Customer Success Award for a joint student project that created a web mapping app which crowd source learner dialogue as part of a Massive Open Online Course in Climate Change. In 2015 Damien was awarded the Innovative Teaching Award from the Exeter Students' Guild.

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