“Everything happens somewhere” was the first lesson Dr Ancilleno Davis shared with students at Queen’s College. The OpenSource Mapping Course through Queen’s College’s Centre for Further Education Student Enrichment Service-Learning Curriculum. The course taught students how to use a variety of free online software to map their communities, measure geographic distances and areas and tell the stories about their communities that are important to them using maps.
Students were introduced to Google Earth Engine to measure and highlight locations and areas on maps of the earth and the Google Earth Engine API which would allow them to use computer programming to request images from satellites and create their own maps. Students were also taught how to update OpenStreetMap data to correct information about roads and buildings in their communities.
Dr. Davis used OpenStreetMap in 2019 to update the maps of Abaco and Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian. Those updated maps included 120,000 map changes, 9,000 buildings identified and 1,600 roads identified by more than 100 volunteers around the world. At that time, Dr. Leno, as some of his students call him, used those updated maps to communicate with the Office of the Prime Minister and the US Coast Guard to share locations of families in Abaco and the nearest mapped location large enough for a rescue helicopter to land.
Community mapping is often faster, and more accurate than waiting for outsiders to fly drones and analyze data. Teaching classes like this one builds a local cohort of qualified individuals who can help the next time the nation is in a pinch. The students who completed the course were required to make 100 map changes themselves. In the event of another catastrophe, these Queen’s College students will be able to support the country in a similar way. As part of their final project for the six weeks course, students addressed a variety of topics including mapping their campus and determining alternative routes to school, to help their parents get them to school on time.
On the final day of the course, students participated in a Snack & Learn where 11th Grade student, Sarah Knowles, shared her mapping of the former emergency shelters that were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian on her home island of Abaco. Hodari Prince, also of Grade 11, presented on mapping the distance between the population centres on our Family Islands and the Princess Margaret Hospital. Their map stories are now hosted on www.scienceandperspective.com/story-maps and the QC CFE Media & Publications page (https://www.qccfe.com/blog). These students’ projects show the ease of engagement with maps for social and environmental justice in our current global climate emergency.
Dr Davis will deliver similar classes this summer and fall including native plant propagation, wildlife photography and computer programming.
Hodari Prince: Distance to Princess Margaret Hospital from Bahamian Settlements
Sarah Knowles GIS Mapping of Abaco's Emergency Shelters
Dr Ancilleno Davis (far right) takes notes during student final presentations
Sarah Knowles, 11th grader at QC presents the impacts of Hurricane Dorian and Emergency shelters in Abaco.
QC Faculty enjoying Student Mapping Presentations