Planning & Architecture students contributing to OSM
They were unsure as to what they were in for when they walked in. But by the end of the first day, they grasped the basics of Open Street Map, and then the 8 students of the Jawaharlal Nehru School of Planning and Architecture were hooked. They started working for long hours digitizing city maps for many urban centres in Andhra Pradesh.
This practical training is a requirement as part of their curriculum and is meant to be with an NGO. Hyderabad Urban Lab is not an NGO in the conventional sense in which NGOs are understood as development and disaster relief agencies. This distinction is not merely a semantic one. In general, it is always implied that NGOs are supposed to be doing self-less service while corporations are supposed to be working primarily for profit. Many of Hyderabad Urban Lab’s activities are unlike NGO activities in that we produce knowledge for the open domain which can be against used for all kinds of purposes. That is pretty much all we do for now. Making ‘map things’ for people to use.
Our engagement with the SPA students has built up over the last year. Planning students often search for data for their projects. Such data is not freely available. After trying to help them with data, we proposed to them that during the practical training they should learn the skills to produce data and knowledge for the open domain such that successive generations of students can keep adding to 29 it. Even for themselves, when they come to their final year projects, this baseline data can be useful for their own work. Here’s a peek of some of the additions they have made in one week.