For our second digital humanities assignment I had to engage in a mapping activity of the Lesotho area. At first I was daunted with the prospect of doing this task as I had no previous experience in mapping software. Every time I participated in the mapping I documented my work in a PDF journal. I found this to be a good way of keeping track of my progress. I have attached a version of my journal here – Map Lesotho Journal
Report Of The Activity
Lesotho is a small land locked country just above South Africa. With a population of two million over 40% of the population live under the poverty line. In this respect it is important for us who can to help map the country, as a lot of Lesotho’s inhabitants don’t have the means or knowledge to undertake this operation. But why is this important? It is important because it allows groups of people living in Lesotho to view correct and informative maps of their country.
If there is a central computer in a library or educational institution for example residents can travel to these locations and view the maps collectively. This has many positive implications for the Lesotho region, ranging from educational to economic to political. By utilising open source software this activity helps spread the word of the open source movement. The amount of people engaging in the activity can quickly spread open source through hashtags and promotion. Following on from this I was ready to start the activity.
At first I found this activity hard as I wasn’t used to the software and I didn’t fully realise the need for the project. I overcame these two obstacles through a variety of ways. I used the help tab and I followed it through to the wiki. To me this was really helpful as it allowed me to quickly pick up the skills I needed. While doing the assignment I found it worthwhile to check what other users were editing and to view their edits. This way I was able to see how my edits should look. I thought that the website itself was good to work with and allowed easy access for editing. You could choose different layers for your map which helped me get a feel for the area in which I was working in.
I found the assignment quite difficult as a lot of the work was already completed in the Lesotho area by others. The three slides I included in the journal was the most I could do in terms of mapping. The information that was already marked was correct in my opinion. Due to this I couldn’t engage fully with this mapping exercise. I tried my local are and the area around the CBD of Paris, but again the work was already done. As well as this I tried my local area. Again the work was completed. The best I could do was re-label incorrect information. I didn’t include the Paris and Cork activity in the journal as it was primarily editing names.
In order to make the experience a little easier, I would like to have the ability to install a widget in the software that would allow me to look up information on the area I’m working on. I didn’t know much about Lesotho so I didn’t know what type of markers I should have been labelling my buildings. Taking this into account I did some research on Lesotho itself. The research aspect helped overcome the second obstacle. Through my research I eventually realised the need for it.
I would say that this project was beneficial to me as it was my first time engaging in a collaborative effort such as this. Both collaboration and crowdsourcing are two integral components in the field of digital humanities. Before this project I had little to no experience of these two aspects. For me the most beneficial aspect of the assignment was crowdsourcing. It allowed to me to engage in an activity with countless others. We were all working towards a common goal which made the experience much more fulfilling to me.
To conclude I would like to take a moment to criticise my own work method. If I were to do this again I would spend more time planning. While doing the actual mapping I engaged in sporadic burst’s of work rather than adhering to a well thought out work schedule. As I mentioned above I didn’t see the point of this assignment while beginning it, thus my work ethic was to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. Looking back I should have had made a plan of action and thoroughly researched both mapping and crowdsourcing.