State of the Map Asia 2016 Conference: Sharing experience

It has been a great experience attending the State of the Map Asia 2016 Conference as a open data and geospatial expert from Bangladesh in Manila, Philippines in 1-2 October 2016 where I met many sharp international colleagues, friends, experienced veterans of geospatial field, specialists in various geospatial disciplines, open street map and GIS practitioners from different cultures.


 I was invited to take part in two full days of OpenStreetMap-related presentations, technical workshops, learning sessions, software demonstration, and numerous interaction opportunities between contributors, communities and institutional supporters of Openstreetmap with the rest of Asia and the world. SOTM Asia also hosted the third VISIONS Asia Resilience Forum which aims to bring together representatives from ICT communities, private and public sector to discuss experiences and best practice on developing civic apps for community – based disaster resilience in the Asian region. I was a fruitful gathering of likeminded people from more than 12 countries comprising not only from Asia but also from other countries like USA, Sweden, Russia and Australia. It was the event just after the crisis mappers’ conference held in Manila. Personally I think this conference was very well organized and very successful. I fully enjoyed the two days event with so many interesting sessions and discussions on various geospatial topics. Several of the sessions, delivered by several OSM communities which I attended had been very informative and insightful on their particular subjects. I would like to take this chance to reflect upon my enriching experiences in Manila and summarize in what ways this SOTMA conference helps me to benefit from exchange of ideas, sharing of legal expertise , socializing with international counterparts etc, in the meantime examine the its relevance to our community in Bangladesh.

The event was kicked off in 1st Oct, by Kate Chapman, Chairman OSM Foundation and with her summary speech on fundraising initiative. I enjoyed the presentations by my longtime friend and amazing guy Mr. Taichi Furuhashi who talked about some fantastic projects in Japan and their future idea to establish for future funding. The event was not only for OSM data talk but also showcased the Asian experience and use cases for disaster risk and resilience. Among them some of the talk were much interesting and insightful, like:

  • Project NOAH and Openstreetmap: The Role of Science and Crowdsourced Mapping in DRR. Presented by Ervin Malicdem; Dinnah Feye Andal
  • Development of a Disaster Resilient Campus Land Use Plan of Bicol University using Open Source Softwares. Presented by Michael T. Cobill
  • Mapping for flood exposure with OpenStreetMap the Sri Lanka experience. Presented by Robert Banick; Srimal Priyantha Samansiri
  • Meet the super girls from Marunda who utilize OSM to build their community resilience map. Presented by Wulansari Khairunisa
  • Significance of open source in participatory vulnerability mapping. Presented by Melvin B. Purzuelo
  • OSM, ODK and OMK, Oh my. Mapping and Surveying in Habitat for Humanity’s Nepali Earthquake Response. Presented by Robert Banick, EwanOglethorpe
  • Map the Philipine (MapPH) Presented by Celina Agaton

And some other use cases of OpenStreetMap were presented through:

  • Lowiki – share local knowledge with Lowiki and OSM. Presented by Pomin Wu
  • Mapping the Cordillera Great Traverse Hiking Trail. Presented by Leonard G. Soriano
  • Openstreetmap data for Navigation guidance and Trekking. Presented by Ervin Malicdem


The schedule of the event was assorted by different fields of open map data like disaster, osm data , validation, data collection and editing tools, use cases like navigation, hiking, trailing, locating birds, crowdsourcing and Ubuntu etc. what made it more interesting rather than monotonous.  The map data presentations helped us to understand the tiring job of data cleaning, aligning and validation behind the scene.

  • Building a Data Team in the Open. by Maning Sambale
  • Validating the map. by Chethan H A
  • io: Updating and validating health facility locations in OSM. by Nate Smith
  • Openstreetmap data for Navigation guidance and Trekking. by Ervin Malicdem

The most attraction of the event was the training workshops in parallel session what was very much useful for the new learners. The list of the workshops held is :

  • Mapillary Workshop. Conducted by Edoardo Neerhut
  • Map Box Studio . Conducted by Srividya Bharadwaj and Mapbox India Team
  • InaSAFE and its use for disaster response . Conducted by Adityo Dwijananto and Wulansari Khairunisa
  • Local knowledge is king – Conducted by  Eugene Lisovsky

And all the inspiring country talks from Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philipines and other countries including Bangladesh given by me. My talk was on “OSM community development issues and challenges in Bangladesh” where I had focused on the issues in terms of community mapping and the sustainability of it, in-situ and ex-situ challenges for developing community as well as the success stories too.  The key note speakers Taichi Furuhashi from Japan and Dr. Dr. Nama Raj Budhathoki, executive director of Katmandu Living Lab was above all for their speech and the “Act Locally Change Globally” presentation by famous dancer Jun Amanto had given a  diverse insight of the open data initiative. Finally the Social event supported by MapBox at Vikings SM City Marikina was one of the best in my life.


The beautiful University of Philippines Dilliman’s Department of Geodetic Engineering was the venue of the partner and the center point for all these events. I would like to express my gratitude to SOTMA team for inviting me and to take awesome role for getting my super-fast visa. My special thanks goes to the “visions” BeGood Cafe and Mapbox for funding me. It was an awesome gathering and more effective and sucessful event than ever in Asia. Salute to the organizing team for all their efforts for make the program happen and fruitful. Special thanks goes to the mastermind of this event Mr. Maning Sambale for all his precious time and hard work for making the event successful and memorable for the participants.

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