#Maplesotho’s Analysts


I know I am becoming one and so can you be. I feel lucky to have been chosen this year to come to Advanced OSM Training. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to learn and gain knowledge on everything that has to do with #maplesotho. As a land use and settlement planner, I only knew one way to approach planning, and this was using Arc GIS. But then since I am a very ambitious and curious person, when I learned about Open Street Mapping (OSM) I wanted to develop more skills towards the approach to planning. At first, I thought, it was just another project which added more to what I already know. But later, it occurred to me that, not only does it add more to my knowledge, but it teaches me a whole different and adequate way to approach planning.

If you try it you will find that it is as easy as this, first step is to get signed up into open street map, so that you can have a username and password that will log you in whenever you want to map. The next step is you map (edit) and assign tags in open street map. This is a skill I developed even before I was picked for the training this year. I gained this skill from taking interest and mapping as an individual, interaction and dialogue with other mappers (APPs), the mapathons which have been held and the competitions which were basically the motivation for us to map and finish the base map. At first I used ID Editor, which is basic but from the mapathons and interaction with other mappers, I learned about Java Open Street Map (JOSM) Editor. But as we speak now, I am still a little bit of a rough diamond, almost polished since I am learning more on JOSM. For Example, how to shortcut it by using keyboard keys and also how to apply the correct osm tags through oms wiki and communication.

So, now Analysis comes in as a third step. It is the third step because, without osm data you cannot be able to perform analysis. This is where the most action is found. #Maplesotho gets a little bit complicated here. But that is just what it is, a little bit. Dear mappers, from what I gathered, you think this is too difficult, but let me let you in on a secret, it is not that difficult, it is just exciting. You also have it encrypted in your minds that it is so tough to crack but it is not. It only needs you to love it and it will love you back. Whenever you are confronted with analysis, give it attention, dedicate yourself to it, invest all your efforts and time on it. Even when you come across new things about it because this is going to happen often, try hard to crack them and if you feel like you are failing to do so do not give up, be resourceful  (read something, google something) or require assistance. I know this one beardy who is ready and willing to help anyone out. This is exactly what I do myself and if you do this and probably more, you will fall in love with analysis. You will feel like a totally brand new person, –>>A SPATIAL ANALYSIST. Atleast this is how I feel now and I want to grow as one. Right now, I feel like I am headed towards applying all this knowledge I have acquired to landuse and settlement planning.

I feel like my lazy mind is awake, I have learned how to command the computer into loading osm data into postgis, and that as it does this, it is already creating a database. Now using postgis, I have learned how to manipulate this data and perform wanted analysis using a Structured Querybased Language (SQL). And then how to display, my query results in Quantum GIS (QGIS), layout it and export it to PDF for printing and or other formats also save it as a project for later reuse.

IMPORTANT: if you think about it, the beardies are not going to be with us forever, they are here to equip us with skills and tools that will help us plan Lesotho better. The MOU which lets us be with them will not be renewed forever even though we wish otherwise. If we do not learn how to apply spatial planning ourselves, the big question is who will do this for you except for yourselves when they are not here? Hard fact: Our country needs more analysts.

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