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PRESS RELEASE – Saint Lucia’s first ever Mapathon was launched on 19 January 2016. The event dubbed “Map Saint Lucia,” encourages participants to engage in mapping projects of economic and social value for Saint Lucia via Openstreetmap.org.
The highly collaborative and interactive exercise will provide a better understanding about the island’s landscape, whilst improving the discoverability of places and communities island-wide. The Mapathon will also demonstrate how technical innovators and entrepreneurs can use mapping data for national development.
“Map Saint Lucia” is being is being held under the auspices of the Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting as one of the activities commemorating Saint Lucia’s 37th Independence Anniversary. It will mobilise mappers from all walks of life around the sub-theme “It’s our Journey, let’s map it together.”
Speaking at Tuesday’s launch, Minister for The Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, Senator the Honourable Dr. James Fletcher said the event is a significant component of government’s open data programme. “This work here in developing content that is available to everyone is extremely for us. Government is notorious for collecting, developing accumulating data and keeping that data to itself. .. This open data initiative is extremely important in allowing us to capture that data, but even more importantly to make that data available to everyone.
The Mapathon, Dr. Fletcher noted, “really is an opportunity to allow not government, not public officers, but allow the people of Saint Lucia to map their country.” He noted the non-existence of a structured street naming system in Saint Lucia and that people have historically relied on using landmarks such as like trees, buildings, and residents’ names when giving directions.
“There are many activities that I have been involved with at the Ministry of the Public Service Information and Broadcasting, and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy Science and Technology and most if not all of them I can say have been exciting an d informative; but I don’t think any of them can carry the label that this one carries for me-which is fun.
I think this is a fun activity. All of the others have been a combination of informative, exciting, necessary, but this one is fun, informative, exciting, necessary, educational, and transformational. We are basically crowd- sourcing the mapping of Saint Lucia, and giving everybody an opportunity to map every nuke and cranny where they live, associate, play, go to church … so we can have in the very shortest possible space of time, a comprehensive map of Saint Lucia, its public assets, its and private assets, and those resources which could be of benefit to the entire country”, Dr. Fletcher added.
The Mapathon will include among other activities, presentations by experts on mapping; and an introduction in the use of an online royalty-free geo-data tool and basic mapping skills. Individuals and teams will work on various mapping projects that will be judged. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded.
To participate in the Mapathon register via the Government of Saint Lucia Open Data Portal at www.data.govt.lc. Mappers are not required to have any specific expertise or skills in mapping. You can also follow and engage on social media through the Government of Saint Lucia Facebook page and on Instagram and Twitter @SaintLuciaGov using #MapSaintLucia.“Map Saint Lucia” will culminate on Sunday 28th February 2016 with an exhibition and full day of activities to be held between Derek Walcott Square and the National ICT Centre on Bourbon Street, Castries from 9:00am-5:00pm.