2017-07-13 #Youthmappers UdeA: connecting local coastal communities in the Caribbean with global volunteers

Contributed by: Natalia Da Silveira Arruda, Coordinator of YouthMappers Chapter at Universidad de Antioquia

GeoSIG UdeA is a research line of Geolimna group at University of Antioquia, recognized by Colciencias, that bases its work on the compliance of the university activities of teaching, research and outreach, focusing its objects of study under the disciplinary perspective of solving environmental problems.

The Environmental School of the Engineering Faculty has been instrumental in the massive use of Geomatics’ tools in the three missionary axes of the University (teaching, research and outreach), offering a number of courses for programs in civil engineering and sanitation, in addition to environmental engineering. These courses are also open to students of undergraduate and graduate programs from other faculties. A graduate certificate program in Environment and Geoinformatics is also offered to professionals of all disciplines.

The works developed by professors and students in the area of Geomatics were the basis for the formation of the group GeoSIG UdeA, created in August 2016. Its objectives are: to promote the learning and use of free and commercial tools, the generation of geospatial data through the use of alternative and novel technologies, and the planning of mapping, analysis, monitoring, evaluation, and dissemination of georeferenced data. The areas of interest of the group are framed in four major themes: Environmental Management; Society and Culture; Urban Sustainability, and Innovation and Education.

In addition, encouraging student investigative leadership is part of the group’s mission, and for this reason we are part of the international Youth Mappers consortium, a global network of universities working together to mapping for resilience. The Chapter Geomática UdeA has been actively participating in various activities developed through the Youth Mappers network, including:

  • Mapathon of tertiary roads of Santander department, the first participation activity of the group, reaching the first place in the category Best Mapper and second place in the category Best Group. Read more about this activity: http://www.youthmappers.org/single-post/2016/11/04/This-is-the-way-we-began-our-participation-in-YouthMappers;
  • Mapping for Urban Resilience: Cotopaxi Volcano and Latacunga, Ecuador, activity framed in Habitat III event’s;
  • Missing Maps: Malaria Elimination YouthMappers Challenge, activity in which the group won the second place in the challenge.

The latest news was the selection of the proposal «Mapping of coastal wetlands in the Urabá Gulf to help planners and the local fishing community to respond to flooding hazards in the area» selected in the #HOTOSM #Microgrant Program 2017, a collaboration between GeoSIG group and a research group in coastal ecology (ELICE) led by Prof. Juan Felipe Blanco-Libreros from the Faculty of Natural and Exact Sciences. We were happy to be among the 8 proposals selected from over 70 applications from nearly 50 countries worldwide. We are committed to support local communities of fishermen to map the coastal area to support their livelihoods and to contribute to conservation of mangroves. Equally important, we are committed to connect their issues with global networks of humanitarian mappers.

We have nicknamed the project #COASTMAP-URABÁ (#CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ in Spanish) please stay tuned on social media.


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#YouthmappersUdeA participating in a training workshop for new members


From left to right: Juan Felipe, Nixon and Natalia, leaders of #COASTMAP-URABÁ (#CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ in Spanish), and professionals participating in a #YouthmappersUdeA training workshop for new members.




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