Monday, September 1, 2008

It All Starts in Bethlehem

JumpStart International’s pilot mapping project in the Palestinian West Bank has begun in Bethlehem. In cooperation with Engineers Without Borders-Palestine and the Engineers Association, over a two-week period (August 14-30), JumpStart provided applied training and service-learning opportunities in GPS surveying techniques for 10 recent engineering graduates using OpenStreetMap’s open-source tools to map the Bethlehem region.

Mikel Maron (R), Web Developer and OpenStreetMap expert, trains participants to use GIS equipment for surveying streets and marking points of interest.

Engineering students were equipped with GPS devices to record their movement around the city. The data was used along with other data they collected, such as street names and hospital locations, to create a map of the Bethlehem district.

JumpStart was able to recruit participants through the support of Engineers Without Borders-Palestine and the Engineering Association, which provided access to it’s computer lab and facilities for training and compiling data.

It didn’t taken long for the engineering students to understand the training and begin collecting and organizing the data.

JumpStart Staff and the Engineering Team

Part of the Bethlehem Map

Now that the pilot of the mapping initiative has been successfully completed in Bethlehem, JumpStart International is preparing to place a program manager on the ground who will recruit additional teams and partners for the completion of the project in the coming months.

See the map here.