INNOVATION IN TEACHING: THE POLIMAPPERS COLLABORATIVE AND HUMANITARIAN MAPPING COURSE AT POLITECNICO DI MILANO
Keywords: Open Geospatial Data, Open Geospatial Software, Open GeoEducation, OpenStreetMap, Participatory Mapping
Abstract. Collaborative projects imply a wide variety of skills, ranging from technical abilities to teamwork and problem-solving attitudes. Innovative teaching programmes focused on the use and promotion of open-source geospatial tools represent a key element in developing such transversal abilities. OpenStreetMap (OSM) brings into play open and collaborative dynamics that build a critical ecosystem where single contributions are part of collective intelligence. This initiative led to the foundation of structured contributors groups such as PoliMappers, the first European YouthMappers chapter based in Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Pursuing the objective to build a responsible student-led community of Free and Open Source Software users, in 2021 PoliMappers organised the course entitled “Collaborative and Humanitarian Mapping”. The programme is structured into 7 meetings and aims to introduce university students to the OSM environment with a focus on the potential of open data and related geospatial tools, especially in the humanitarian field. It has seen the participation of the World Food Programme, Open Knowledge Foundation, TECHO Colombia, IMM Design Lab, Map for Future, UN Mappers, Spazio Vita Niguarda Onlus, Ledha Milano, AUS Niguarda Onlus and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Enrolled attendants’ contributions have been assessed with tools for quality review and statistics. Also, Q&As and suggestions to the attendants have been collected to detect common issues. The paper presents the course, from the design to the assessment of the students’ activities, and the lessons learned in this experience in such a way to provide some guidance to those who want to organize similar initiatives.