OpenStreetMap as Infrastructure – The Fifth Elephant, Bangalore, 2014

I spoke at the premier data conference in the country yesterday, the Fifth Elephant run by HasGeek, about using OpenStreetMap as infrastructure for geographic datasets and applications featuring Moabi – a collaborative mapping platform for monitoring natural resources extraction in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Find the summary of the narration here and a more detailed outline here. The slide deck is below.

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Crowdsouricng Data: Strategies, Stories, Tools.

I was a facilitator at the Techcamp Bangalore where I introduced several strategies of crowdsourcing data to the broad group of non-profit organisations. My idea was to walk the participants through two stories that I’m personally part of – Akshara Foundation and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team – by asking four key questions – What data to collect, from whom to collect, how to collect and, how to verify. We had some interesting conversations at the event but most of them were in to learn about more tools. I put together a small slide deck and a repository for collecting tools and reading material.

Data and Maps workshop for IT for Change, Bangalore.

Few weeks back, I ran a three day workshop for the developers at IT for Change in Bangalore. They have been quite involved in OpenStreetMap by mobilising graduate students in various towns of Karnataka to map public infrastructure. Apart from this spatial data, they have collected demographics about these towns on several aspects. The workshop was intended to give them a complete coverage about geospatial technology, data and representation. The outline and code are available on Github.

The Working with Data Workshop, Chennai.

Riju, Shashank and I pulled off a three day workshop at the Institute for Financial Research and Management, Chennai during 3-5 August. Francesca was around to support us. The key idea behind the workshop was to introduce ways of collecting, processing and analysing the data. Right after the Fifth Elephant, we got together in Bangalore and laid out the plans. The outline of the workshop was quite clear – From Data to Maps. The outline is here. All slides and related data is here.

LaTeX Training and Career Tips, talk at MES College of Engineering.

Back in Bangalore after 6 days of awesome fun in Calicut. Took a break for Eid and hit home on Friday. Couple of mark lists and course certificates remained to be collected from the college. Hence I was planning a visit to MES this time. Spoke to Sajith Sir and found that Tuesday is a holiday, and decided to take Wednesday off and go to college.

After sometime, I ended up agreeing to do a LaTeX training for the final year computer science students on the same day. Later the Head of Department spoke to me over phone asking if I could share my experiences as a consultant and freelance hacker in Bangalore. So to sum up, this was it. Find everything related to the training here.

I took the early 6.45AM train to Kuttippuram and that was a ride into memories. It’s been four months since I stepped out of the campus and the long four years came rushing. Just bliss. Hung around a bit here and there and decided to get started with my work. Had to get no due confirmation from all the labs and departments. That was some work. Met Ranjith and Sharath, and that was totally wonderful.

The talk began a 1.30PM. I was supposed to talk around an hour but it was easily stretched to 3 hours straight. I was excited. The LaTeX part was easy. I knew students will doze off. Sessions right after lunch is perhaps the difficult to handle. Managed to get them ride through the very basics of document preparation and surprisingly there were a bunch of M.Tech students who had specific questions. We discussed over them and solved a few. Rakesh sir and Sajith sir added things which I missed to speak out. 1.5 hours. All good.

The next track was sharing my experiences and showcasing why the students need not run behind corporate jobs. I started off with the things which I achieved over the small period of 3 months in Bangalore. Shared some nightmares, fun filled events etc. Spoke about Geohackers, Azim Premji Foundation, Boost Tech and HasGeek. In fact, I asked them to start a github account and get some visibility as soon as possible. There you go, lot of question and I quickly moved to “Clients from Hell”, pause, laughs, applause :)

I was done. Three hours and my throat ached like anything, but my heart filled with joy when the Head of Department had his take on what I spoke and how he noticed our batch to be one of the best outgoing in his two minute roundup. I was excited. I literally cried.

Thank you so much for having me speaking in the campus again, everyone.