30 July 2018 | RustyB
A Mosotho woman who works as an assistant physical planner in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship has been declared the best mapper in the world today (30 July) in Milan, Italy.
Mats’eliso Thobei was not present at the ceremony due to her Masters Degree studies with the Dublin Institute of Technology, which has her collecting data in Maseru. However, she was voted as the winner of the “Greatness in Mapping Award” by 477 of her peers. The award is considered to be an indication of best in mapping and is awarded annually by the OpenStreetMap foundation and voted on by the OpenStreetMap community, which is made up of similar mappers from all parts of the world. The criteria used were diversity of technology mastery, work-rate, evidence of teaching others, and ability to re-use the data created.
Mats’eliso or “tshedy” as she is known on openstreetmap, was nominated alongside three other influential and hugely productive mappers from other countries including Belgium, Turkey and Spain. Openstreetmap is an online free map, which is added to by skilled editors who use a variety of different technologies like satellite images, street cams, and drone footage to gather the most up to date information possible on buildings and streets and edit them into a single online resource.
At the ceremony in Milan Ms. Monts’eng Moeti who collected the award on her behalf said: “Tshedy was very surprised to even be nominated, though those of us in Lesotho who have seen how much commitment she has to mapping since 2015 are not at all surprised.” The award ceremony was held after a three day Conference at the prestigious Politecnico di Milano, which is one of Italy’s largest Universities. The Conference was attended by professionals from prominent information technology companies like Google, Bing, facebook, Mapbox and Apple who have made significant investments and all engage or use openstreetmap to some extent.There are also a range of Government employees from various Governments across the globe: from surveyors, to health professionals to town planners. As a result of Tshedy’s efforts combined with other colleagues like Monts’eng, Lesotho is the most densely mapped nation in Africa.
Tshedy is understood to be surprised and amazed at her selection and promises to keep mapping and teaching others the skills she has learned in using openstreetmap to support the development of physical and land-use planning. In typically down to earth fashion she says:
“I couldn’t have started this journey without the superb training from Fingal County Council who work with our Ministry on improving our ability to plan in Lesotho. I also couldn’t have achieved it without the votes and recognition of my peers in mapping from every country on the earth.”