disastermappers heidelberg/GIScience support for MAnnheimer MAPAthons (MAMAPA)- Integration and humanitarian contribution

The first mapathon in the MAMAPA framework was held on January 23, 2018 at the Abendakademie in the city center of Mannheim.

Project organizer Robert Danziger, Board member at CartONG and member of the disastermappers heidelberg, presented the project in several different locations in Mannheim in the weeks leading to the event. Immigrant language and integration course participants at the Abendakademie, the Goethe Institute and Internationaler Bund were informed about the project and encouraged to add their names to the project contact list.

Among the numerous persons who did register, 16 were present on the afternoon of the mapathon. Since one of the central aspects of the project is to stimulate integration while making a humanitarian contribution via the mapathon activity, these participants were each “partnered” with a German resident at a PC. A group of students and researchers from disastermappers heidelberg/GIScience brought with them their extensive mapathon experience. A number of dyed-in-the-wool Mannheim residents also volunteered their time as did a member of the Board of CartONG, coming from Paris for the event.

CartONG, formal sponsor of the project and co-member of disastermappers Heidelberg/GIScience in Missing Maps, prepared a beginner-level task in the HOT Tasking Manager for the mapathon in the context of its cooperation with the UNHCR. The task requested the identification of buildings in Bangladesh, in an area of arrival and encampment of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Two colleagues from CartONG made Skype guest appearances to talk to the participants about a few aspects of the specific task being mapped.

Among the immigrant mapathoners, the largest number were from Syria, but present as well were citizens of Turkey, Ghana, Afghanistan, Morocco, Bulgaria and Israel. The mapathon lasted almost 3 hours and — as usual — in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Most of the activity was communicated in German (providing language practice also being a goal of the project) but injection of moments of English and French into the conversations contributed noticeably to the conviviality of the group.

Judging from the feedback collected from a short questionnaire distributed at the end of the mapathon, the experience was unanimously positive. All respondents said that they would like to continue to participate in future project mapathons. You can view photos taken during the Mapathon here.

To maintain the momentum created by this mapathon, a second Mapathon is already planned on February 28, 14:30 in the Mannheimer Abendakademie.

If you are interested in supporting the project and for further information and updates, visit the MAMAPA website. If you are interested in joining as a “Mapathon Tandem Partner” please also visit the registration site here.

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