WikiProject Uganda/What Stories a map can tell workshop

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After visiting 5 universities outside of Kampala in August 2012, we intend to return to these groups of students and discuss with them how the map relates to the real world.

Previous Experience

We have tried this workshop previously at Makerere university in 90 minutes, and that proved to be quite challenging. On that occassion we were able to host representatives of UMEME (power), Nation Water & Sewage, Makindye Division, WOUGNET & Map Kibera. They presented their organisation and a specific process within that organsiation, then we discussed their challenges and then brainstormed about how maps could help support or visualise these challenges. Each organisation ended up with a paper map.

There were a few challenges with this approach. First of all, understanding 5 different organisations and how they work is quite an abstract exercise for students without working experience. It was quite difficult, especially for the well known UMEME & NWSC reps to explain the students they had to think from within the organisation, not as (quite disgrumbled sometimes) clients. Also, thinking about processes that are occuring withing an organisation was quite challenging, probably partially because of the collaborative workform.

In the next phase, translating this into a map, that is 'not-real' was a good and difficult practise. Again, very abstract for a lot of participants.

New Approach

First and foremost, the new approach will not talk about problems or even challenges that can be solved with a map. It is too tempting to discuss problems (that are someone else's fault and over which you as a participant have no influence). Everything is positive.

This is the brief outline of the program


9:00 am - 9:30 am

As an introduction we do a physical exercise that involves mapping. For example, the room covers Uganda, and everybody positions him/herself in the location of his/her origin. One by one, we introduce this place.

Presentation about special maps

9:30 - 10:00 am

As inspiration, but far enough from the real assignment later on in the day to become a source of copying, we present samples of special maps and occurances of succesful mapping exercises. (eg, Historic maps of Africa, Haiti & OSM, etc)

Ask if someone has come across or has any idea of a map (Crazy map).


10:00 - 10:30 am

The brainstorm is to find out 'What does a student need?" (note, this is the process part of the previous workshop) Stuff can be real simple: Food, Electricity (or lights), Internet, security, hygiene , Beer, the basic stuff After this there is coffee

Translate to mapping

During this part of the workshop, we try to translate the needs that were defined by the students into physical objects that can be mapped.

  1. food => cantine, agriculture
  2. power & lights => power lines, transformer, public street lights? (There is a real nice online map somewhere that shows public street lights as an overlay of OSM in black with light dots.)
  3. Internet => mast, wifi access points (? check if that exists as a feature)



11:00 - 11:30 am

We intro stories about these needs. How green is your campus? What if the cantine is not clean? What is the history of the student Football team (at the pitch) etc.

We go out

11:30 - 12:15 am

Now we go out in groups of 4 and collect both more physical detail as well as stories. We bring paper forms to fill in the stories (so that when there is no power, stories dont get lost). Each team gets a subject.

(We need to make sure to have enough cameras)


2:00 - 4:00 pm

If the internet gods are with us, upon returning, every team can edit their new OSM features and upload stories into a prepared Ushahidi instance on crowdmap (with categories for the students' needs).

We give each team 2 weeks after the workshop, best story wins a prize as a group, over all 5 universities.