This weekend I travelled overnight for the first Open Street Map (OSM) mapping party in Calicut. The event was part of NIT Calicut's Tathva fest. When I reached Calicut I found Sajjad, Praveen and other geo hackers had been hacking late into night preparing for the party. Took a headdive by first fixing Sajjad's laptop and later helping out with few late minute tasks.
Getting the devices to work was a major pain. The Ubuntu Karmic laptop I had with me managed to detect the Openmoko Neo Freerunner and Android based G1, we could do upload GPS clients to the devices. But only one of OpenMoko's ending up being used at the party while others started rebooting whenever we launch GPS client. Bummer !
After a quick Kerala style breakfast we headed to NIT Calicut campus some 20 kms from the city. Dressed up in white mapping party tshirts with 'Our Streets, Our Map' printed in bold letters in the back. We found the FLOSS Hall inside the campus already setup, the overhead projector was running endless Linux Foundation videos. :) But there very few people around. On the other side of the room, several laptops were setup showcasing several Linux applications. Found that laptops running Linux games were most engaged through out the day. We quickly hooked up our Wifi access point to the wired network so that we could get online for uploading out geo mapping data.
Sajjad, Praveen and others gave a quick introduction to Open Street Map project and the idea behind a mapping party. The tools needed for mapping are a GPS device or a phone with GPS feature, a computer running JOSM - OpenStreetMap editor and a account on OSM servers to upload the your geo mapping data.
Later we divided into different groups, each with a GPS device and a different area of campus to map. I managed to get a sector with ladies hotel :P but failed to get someone with mapping experience into my team. We heading out under the hot sun to start mapping.
Overall the event was a great learning experience for me. Later in the evening I interacted with team to see what worked and what didn't work at the party. I managed to share some ideas on creating a blueprint for such mapping parties or workshops around India before I left the city.