A Mapathon is a coordinated online mapping event, based on using the Open Street Map (https://www.openstreetmap.org) web platform. It is designed to improve baseline geographical data for areas which have limited or unavailable maps. Such spatial data is of vital use to researchers, tourists and managers for the purpose of planning visits and/or effectively managing an area.
The focus of the Mapathon was on mapping an area in the northern Kunene region and southern region of the Iona National Park in Angola. This data will contribute to the creation of the Geographical Informations Systems database which is set up by SCIONA project which aims to strengthen cross-border management and wildlife law enforcement by co-designing and implementing conservation monitoring technologies. This is done in partnership with communities within the Iona-Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).
The participants found the experience insightful, saying that they gained a wealth of knowledge into the process of modern-day mapping and about relatively uncommon parts of Angola and Namibia. To further brighten up the event, the students received a Certificate of Participation and airtime vouchers courtesy of mobile telecommunications company, MTC.