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Connecting people with maps at the HERE Summer Camp

Maps are wonderful things, and their uses are plentiful. Some maps get you from A to B in the quickest time possible, while others aim to amuse or titillate, while others still can expose cultural and ideological idiosyncrasies. At HERE, we understand the power of maps, which is why we organised a summer camp to help students connect over their shared love of cartography, and learn more about modern mapping.

The Summer Camp, which was held in Gdansk, Poland and organised by the Data Acquisition and Community team at HERE, was attended by over 40 students, representing eight European countries.



We spoke with three students who attended the camp – Szymon Kamiński, who studies Geodesy and Cartography at Gdansk University of Technology, Brigitta Majoros, studying Geoinformatics at the University of Geo Sad in Serbia, and Franka Grubišić, studying Geodesy and Geoinformatics in the Faculty of Geodesy, University of Zagreb.

Both Franka and Brigitta became involved with the camp having worked with HERE previously. Franka worked as a student in the HERE Office in Zagreb, while earlier this year Brigitta did a traineeship at the HERE office in Belgrade. Franka says, "When the opportunity to go to HERE Summer Camp occurred, I was more than happy to accept it. I was excited from the beginning."

Szymon, who is a member of a scientific circle studying geodesy and cartography, named "Hevelius", at Gdansk University of Technology, was recruited for the camp by a HERE delegate from Warsaw. Given his knowledge of Gdansk, his role was slightly different. He says, "What was nice about [the camp] was that we actually were a team of local students who were asked to help the HERE crew organise the leisure time of the event, but we also could take part in the event as a regular participant from abroad."

Cartography crush

The common theme among the students, however, was their shared passion for maps. Brigitta explains: "When I began studying geography I became more and more interested in mapping, realising that everything is related to cartography, and that there are endless possibilities for presenting them. Mapmaking really is an art."

When asked about his interest in cartography, Franka adds, "I don’t have a logical answer for this one. I think it’s just pure love. Ever since I was a little kid, I was obsessed with maps. Do you know how kids like to put posters of pop stars or actors on their bedroom wall? Well, I put up the maps I collected. Now, I even have my own company where I create cartography/travel themed stationery!"

So, what did the event actually involve? The goal was for students to help HERE collect navigable coverage expansions with hundreds of POIs in the Gdansk city centre , building out and enriching HERE maps with the HERE Map Creator.

Szymon explains the value of this approach:" Everytime I look for something in the map and the actual situation does not match the one which is in the map, I feel I need to change it myself for the greater good. If all of us changed the information about POIs, roads, speed limits once they see it has changed, the map would be pretty much error-free. And this is the goal, isn’t it?"

This collaborative approach wouldn't work, however, if the right tools weren't in place.

Brigitta, who had previously used HERE Map Creator, says, "HERE Map Creator is very easy to use, and as an open source platform we can all contribute to our own area on the map, and information can stay up to date. It was great to use."

Franka adds, "HERE Map Creator is an excellent tool not only for improving map data but also for rapprochement of the wider public with maps. It’s very simple to use, so not only does it feel natural for me, but it also feels very natural to others who don’t share the same knowledge of maps."

Bonding exercise

While learning how to use this tool to build maps was an important aspect of the camp, equally important was giving students the chance to come together and bond over their shared interest in cartography.

Szymon says, "After meeting people from other countries I learned that this love for map-making can connect people. I believe we all had great time while collecting POIs or driving a car in teams because besides doing our task, we were also having chats and sharing experience with each other about studies, map-making and more."

Brigitta adds, "it was a very nice experience. When I usually say I study Geoinformatics people have no idea what I mean, but in the camp, everyone knows and everyone has similar interests, and talking and sharing these interests is really fun."

The camp also used collaboration to help equip these students with skills that could be used in the future. Franka says:

"The skills I learned during the Summer Camp will definitely be useful outside of the camp, because the skills weren’t just Camp-related, or even just profession-related. My nature is more introverted, so finding myself constantly talking to someone, and completely enjoying it, threw me off my feet."

"It wasn’t always easy - maybe someone was very shy, maybe someone doesn’t like teamwork, maybe someone didn't have a good understanding of English; but combining the lectures and the workshops with work in groups and hanging out together resulted with skills that will last a lifetime."

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