Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will launch Kerala State IT Mission’s ambitious ‘Mapathon Keralam’ project, a crowd-sourcing mapping initiative, on Wednesday, October 23, which aims at creating micro-level maps of the entire state for identifying all the natural and physical assets that will help effectively address the problem of recurrent natural calamity situations.

Vijayan will address the mapping volunteers of National Service Scheme (NSS) from various engineering colleges in the state, through video conferencing at 3.00 pm, formally kick-starting the innovative project.

Through the Mapathon Keralam, which has as its crore the concept of ‘Let us make our map’, the Kerala government will create extensive local maps of the state covering its entire nook and cranny. It will encompass the entire spectrum of details, including physical infrastructure, natural resources and other useful information, for planning and implementing flood control and rehabilitation activities.

The project is led by the Kerala State Spatial Data Infrastructure (KSDI) under the Kerala State IT Mission and supported by institutions like International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) and National Service Scheme (NSS).

The free online map, titled Open Street Map, is used for this mapping project as part of the government’s policy of strengthening activities focused on free knowledge and Free and Open Source Software.

Initially, students under the NSS on Monday took leadership in organising local mapping sessions at various colleges and identifying skilled volunteers who can carry out mapping activities. Also, selected faculties from nearly 80 colleges underwent the master training programme. More organisations, communities and individuals are expected to take up the campaign and hold programmes of their own for developing local map using this platform

As a pilot programme, a crowd-sourced mapping of government offices, called ‘Map My Office,’ was earlier launched with the participation of employees.

The maps are to be created online with public participation, and anyone with a computer/mobile phone and an internet connection can participate in ‘Mapathon Keralam’. This data can be availed by students, researchers, startups etc free of cost for their requirements.

Students, governmental and non-governmental organizations, labour outfits and private sector employees can join the endeavour.  With this kind of mapping, locals can identify and mark all the features of their locality, since such information will be highly accurate.

By Manoj

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