Red Bank High Makes Belated Contribution to #MapLesotho

We now hear from Jeff Davis, Leah Keith-Houle, Sammy Breeden, a.k.a. the “US Cavalry” from Red Bank High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee who came in and shoved Urban #MapLesotho closer to completion last Tuesday.

The Mapathon for Lesotho was an overall success, even after some unforeseen difficulties.

The fun started on Monday in GIS, OSM class. Students were tasked with preparing for Friday. This included involving students from all around the school in multiple classes. Once the semantics of who, where, and when were decided, students were put to work scouting Lesotho, setting up Skype and Google Hangouts calls to people around the world and so on. After a few setbacks, these were finally ready for Friday.  Elsewhere, other students checked computers and made instructional Power Points for the new recruits that were to map with the veterans overseeing and mapping along side. Reporters for school news and yearbook were called, along with actual news reporters, all of whom wanted to catch a glimpse of the global effort. Leah Keith’s classroom took on a visage of work and bustle akin to the North Pole’s elves preparing for Christmas.

Intro to GIS class

Intro to GIS class

Unfortunately, not everything can always go as planned. By 1:45 Friday afternoon, a wet snow had kicked up; more like slow, white rain, as it melted upon hitting the ground.  9:00 that evening had a two hour delay planned for school the next day from central office. That was fine. Students could still map and connecting with Ireland wouldn’t happen until later in the day anyways. By 5:39 the next morning school was called off completely. The wet snow had frozen over the roads, causing thick sheets of black ice that made driving challenging at best and impossible at worst. The intrepid teacher, Leah Keith, braved the ice to arrive at Red Bank High School in spite of the cancellation. She mapped 637 houses and another 400 or so in tandem with Randall Hale, one of the School’s mapping correspondents.

Astronomy Class

Astronomy Class

The dejected students arrived at school the following Tuesday, after a National Holiday. For all of Tuesday, students furtively mapped, trying to make up for lost time. In the end, Red Bank High School contributed a total of 9,234 edits, averaging at about three houses per edit.

Geology Class

Geology Class

Students feel that this was a worthwhile effort, glad they could “help people in any way possible.”  The majority of students wished that they had been here on Friday for the social and connected aspect of the project, but still were happy about what they had contributed. “At this point, doing stuff like this feels second nature. Helping people is just something we do a lot in this class,” one student comments.

Scientific Research class

Scientific Research class


Article by Jeff Davis, Leah Keith-Houle, Sammy Breeden,


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