This talk was transcribed.
We believe that OpenStreetMap can be a useful tool in neighborhoods — for identifying what’s there, for visualizing problems like abandoned buildings, for advocacy, and for literally bringing people together to work on an issue.
In July-August 2014, members of MappingDC worked with about 20 young people aged 12-18 in Washington, DC to map out Georgia Avenue, a major commercial corridor in a lower-income and rapidly changing part of town.
The idea was to collect data on businesses so local groups and citizens can use it, at the same time teaching the kids new skills and getting them engaged in their community while seeing it from a new viewpoint through geography and mapping. By the end, the students added almost 300 businesses to OpenStreetMap along the street and learned about geography and mapping.
We’ve since been working with neighborhood organizations to collect more OpenStreetMap data in the area — finding what’s changed and identifying abandoned buildings, planned projects, and more, which they’ll use for neighborhood meetings on development and a survey of local residents. They’ll also use the data to advocate — both with the city government for improvements and to show other developers what’s possible on the street.