An Aerial Sensing Map-a-thon in #Mongolia | In Asia
Almost 60 percent of the population of the capital city of Mongolia, #Ulaanbaatar, lives in “ger” areas – sprawling and mostly unplanned informal settlements on the periphery of the city – and these areas continue to grow as new migrants settle there. Ger area residents commonly lack basic services such as heat, water, electricity, and solid waste collection. Ger residents are accustomed to walking several kilometers to collect water from water kiosks, heating their homes by burning coal and wood, and building their own outhouses. As a result, ger areas contribute significantly to air and soil pollution in Ulaanbaatar.
As a complement to the collection and analysis of the UAV imagery, the Foundation and the City Municipality also recruited members of the general public to help build a better map of Ulaanbaatar’s ger areas. Citizens of Ulaanbaatar know their neighborhoods best, and have a better lens on the changing landscape of the city. The Foundation posted the UAV imagery to the open mapping platform (OSM), a free, online map of the world, for the Mongolian community to map. Then, on June 20 and 21, the City Municipality and The Asia Foundation organized an OSM mapping competition, the “Map for UB #Map-a-thon,” focused specifically on the ger areas of Ulaanbaatar.
Seventeen teams of over 50 Mongolian mappers participated in the Map-a-thon, including university students, mapping enthusiasts, and city government staff – experienced and new OSM mappers alike. In a single weekend, an astounding 20,000+ edits were made to OSM with the project’s UAV imagery as a base layer. Mappers recorded a range of ger area features, including homes and other buildings, ger plots (khashaas), construction sites, rivers, green spaces, and gullies. The city’s planning department will be able to reference these public maps to augment their own mapping data sets.