Setting up the OSM ecosystem in Senegal 4: Reaching out to the Academics
Friday 8-June had been an OSM Academic day where two OSM mapping parties were held in the Universities of Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and Gaston Berger (UGB) respectively in Dakar and Saint-Louis. This was the result of our continued outreach efforts towards the Academic actors and the relations that has been built here meeting after meeting. The mapping party is the first step of collaboration that would ultimately put OSM and the OSGeo software in classrooms and the Research and Development programs of the Universities, involving the relevant departments, the University incubators (UGB) and their partners (Local government, National Institutions, International Organizations...) as well as projects around OSM that could be designed to harness the interest generated during the mission.
The events were organized in coordination with the digital campus of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF). AUF is keen on strongly supporting the OSM project in two ways. First, it would give access of its computer labs to the University’s Geography Departments, giving a place where OSM and related software can be used within the GIS and Geography’s departments curricula. In Second, repeating its support to the OpenSource movement in Senegal, the AUF would allow the OSM communities to access its labs once every two weeks or every month so that face to face meetings and mapping parties can foster the creation of the OSM Senegalese communities and allow continuity in group learning and mapping.
In the afternoon, Will led another mapping party in a third academic place in Dakar, the Centre d’Entrepreunariat et Développement Technique (CEDT) G15 which started a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) in Geomatics a year ago. There, students mapped their campus. This Centre is part of the Training Working Group of the PND and its facilities are used for the Plan national de géomatique du Sénégal (PNG) training activities.
Knowledge around OSM and relations with institutions has been built, as well as trust with individuals established. This connection with the academics is surely a strong layer on which the growth of OSM in Senegal can be built.
Nicolas, Stephane and Will