One of the major themes of this academic semester for me has consistently been technology, even outside of ICT4D. There are so many new applications and functionalities of technical devices that I hadn’t even considered before. More importantly, as someone who doesn’t necessarily consider herself a “techy” or particularly tech savvy, I’ve realized that there is still a good amount of work that I can do to promote the effective implementation and use of ICTs for development purposes. One specific example is mapping. Maps are such a basic concept that I was shocked to learn about their importance and the number of crowdsourced mapping tools and techniques that have been so vital in recent emergencies. For this reason, I’d like to focus this week’s blog post on my perspective of mapping.
In addition to ICT4D I’ve been involved with a new organization called Women in Technology (WIT) as well as learning technical skills for my own personal development. At the more local level of development, I am interested in furthering my knowledge of mapping by taking a GIS course next with Julie Hernandez. Mapping is not only important to development internationally but plays a large role locally as well. As Greg’s presentation showed us, food security in New Orleans is one such issue that has benefitted from mapping projects. ICT4D has additionally highlighted the importance of mapping before, during and after emergency situations. As social media is on the rise, tools such as Google’s ‘People Finder’ are becoming more widely accepted and made use of.
Overall, I can see mapping playing a large role in my future career whether I decide to go into international development, public health or some combination of the two. Not only is this important in organizing people or determining the need of development projects but mapping is also a useful way to research and organize data from a community. It presents a visual image that can sometimes be more helpful depending on the situation. I’m very glad that this was a part of the ICT4D curriculum as it is a very significant factor in technological as a development tool.