Saturday, April 25, 2009

FreeMap Gaza Moves Forward


The Gaza map is going great, it seems. With a talented group of young engineers and GIS students, tremendous effort by the University College of Applied Sciences, and a continually improving set of procedures for field work, our data collection is moving forward with no insurmountable complications.

Our teams have been well organized and picked up the OSM technique quickly and easily. Gaza City is nearly finished, and our teams are moving northward this week. After sorting out a myriad of technical issues during the past week, we expect the development of our data set to grow faster and faster.

Currently the GIS unit of the Gaza municipality is working on unifying their geographic data and developing a road management system to anticipate and improve road repairs, and with luck we will soon be able to collaborate on some of our field surveying work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

West Bank Update

The past two weeks our editing team has been hard at work reconciling our field work with road tracings and data provided by our partner organizations. At long last our West Bank data set is reaching completion, and all that remains is to upload the remaining data to the server and do some final verification and assessment.

In the meantime we are pursuing meaningful ways of distributing the data and putting it to use, assessing the procedures implemented in our project, and pushing forward with FreeMap Gaza to complete our data set for all of Palestine.

Hebron returns, as we put our completed data set back up on the FreeMap server

Monday, April 13, 2009

FreeMap Gaza Launched

After an 18 month absence, JumpStart returned to Gaza and received a warm welcome. The mapping initiative has begun with our partners at the University College of Applied Sciences, and our teams have already started to map Gaza city. There's a great deal of under-utilized talent in Gaza, as thousands of university graduates go without work. We're happy to be working with some highly qualified engineers and geographic students in the development of our Gaza map.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed in the recent war, and with no construction materials entering Gaza, structures continue crumbling

Gaza continues to experience the aftershocks of the January war, and it seems like there are daily scuffles, strikes, and tragedies. With few to no reconstruction materials allowed through the borders, the local infrastructure remains in disrepair, and the collapsed buildings are a constant reminder of the situation here.

We hope to finish our map project in Gaza in mid-May even though, as our mapping recruits assure us, nothing is sure in Gaza. With the effort here we'll reach our goal of a free and open data set for all of Palestine, information which can be applied to a wide range of uses in public, private, and non-govermental spheres. As we develop our free Gaza map, we look forward to giving more detail to the already excellent work of the OpenStreetMap crew.

Let the mapping commence!

Engineers and GIS students examine a GPS

Many buildings, including those at the university, were hit during the war

Field Program Manager Jeff Haack with the first teams of mappers