FOSScamp Syros 2017

FOSScamp Day 1

First thing of the day, the whole team gathered to organize the day and following days around a nice breakfast and a cup of coffee.
Plenty of interesting things on the agenda (Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Mapillary, Debian, LibreOffice contributions but also workshops about differents topics such as WebVR, 360 cameras, …).
The goal is that everyone can learn and contribute to every topic on the agenda. Each project has it’s own project manager who organizes his/her event, and the other participants follow his/her lead during the project.

Each day is usually split in 3 parts :
– work during the morning ;
– break during the afternoon ;
– and work again during the evening ;

Once the agenda was defined, we all went to have a drink in a cafeteria then eat on the nice port of Syros.
During the afternoon, everyone could enjoy the nice island of Syros. Some people went for a swim and enjoy the sun !

After a nice afternoon of enjoying life, time to get to work again !

First, plans for this evening, contribution to Wikipedia with “Wiki loves maps” (lead by Nafie Shehu). Goal of the project is to add coordinates to the Wikipedia articles for Syros for which there are not coordinates yet, and add pages about points of interests in Syros which are not in Wikipedia yet.
Luckily, we have people speaking Albanian, Greek, French, Dutch, English, Italian, we could then check and contribute in many languages.

After Wikipedia contribution, we enjoyed a nice and really interesting talk about Mozilla WebVR, presented by Boris Budini, a young and enthiusiastic member of OpenLabs Hackerspace.

Quite a productive and interesting first day, ready for day 2 !

State of The Map 2017

State of The Map 2017

My first introduction to OpenStreetMap was almost a year ago, when Redon Skikuli, a fellow friend from Open Labs Hackerspace presented me this great project, which I really liked since the beginning.
I started contributing at OpenStreetMap, editing the map using ID editor in the beginning , adding information to the map, co-organizing small mapathons and events at the local hackerspace that I am part of, and telling people I know, advantages of using OSM.
As time passed by, I found out, that State of The Map, which is the annual gathering of OpenStreetMap enthusiasts from all around the world, would happen within a few months, in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan.

I applied with a presentation, and a few weeks later I received the confirmation email from Rob Nickerson. I was thrilled to find out that I was one of the chosen scholars by OSM Foundation to attend the conference, and that was a great opportunity to meet contributors from other countries and communities and go deeper into the OSM ideology.

Months passed by, after struggling to get the visa, with the huge help of Dorothea Kazazi, I finally made it.
The moment has come to attend SoTM for the first time !!

Long trip to arrive in amazing Aizuwakamatsu, but the excitement to be there was way more intense.
The conference started. After registering and receiving some swag and goodies provided by the organizing team and a delicious Japanese tea, time to start the sessions.

Moments from my presentation

I held my presentation “How to start an OSM Community” during the first day of the event, in the main hall. I explained how the OSM Community in my country was created and how it grew up, I shared my thoughts about essentials that are needed to have a healthy community, gave some tips on how to encourage new people to join OSM and how to create communities based on a country’s historical and cultural background.
Didn’t forget to mention the importance of having more women involved, not only in OSM communities but in every other Free Open Source project.

After answering the questions that were kindly asked by the audience, I was ready to enjoy so many great talks, workshops and lightning talks I spotted on the agenda for the next three days, and a very productive ‘Local chapters’ meet up  that happened the third day of the conference, where everyone shared thoughts about how local chapters and OSM Foundation can help each-other grow bigger. And shared the wish of the Albanian speaking community to become a chapter.

Local chapters meet up at SoTM 2017

Worth mentioning the dinner that was organized for all the attendees where we enjoyed an exquisite traditional Japanese dinner, an amazing show with Aizuwakamatsu traditional music, followed by the OpenStreetMap Awards, organized by Ilya Zverev, where I was more than happy to announce the winner of one of the categories.

Well, after all I didn’t only get to know so many other OSM related projects that I didn’t know earlier, but also earned even more knowledge, learnt even more tools and ways to contribute to the map, and last but not least, I met incredible people that deeply inspired me. We shared not only our knowledge but also some wonderful moments and memories in Japan, that will remain in my mind for a very long time.

Let’s take a moment to thank the organizing team for a wonderful SoTM 2017 !

As one of the phrases I spotted on one of the presentations says : “ The big OpenStreetMap community is like a big family”

I could not agree more.

State of The Map 2017

State of the Map 2017 in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan.

State of the Map is the annual event for all mappers and OpenStreetMap users. The event will last three days in the central Japan with talks, discussions, workshops, code and documentation sprints all around the free and open map of the world.

I am really excited this year to participate to State of the Map 2017 and hold a presentation about Community building, attend other presentations and workshops related to OpenStreetMap projects, and learn more about everything related to it, and meet members from other countries communities. This will be, as far as I know, the first presence of Albanian based OSM contributors to a SoTM edition. I will participate along with my fellow friend and OSM contributor Sidorela Uku.
During the next days I’ll be updating this post with photos and videos from the event.

I will also update regularly my twitter account.

FOSScamp Syros 2017

My visit to Switzerland in June was full of surprises.

The last few days were full of surprises, Zurich is a city with many places to discover.
It all started during OSCAL, were I had a talk with a friend of mine about agriculture, he held a short presentation at OSCAL about this topic and afterwards I was told that a meeting is organized in Zurich related to Open Agriculture and Food Computer and that I was invited to attend the meeting.

I started planning my journey to attend the meeting and also enjoy as much of Switzerland as I can. I was thrilled to find out that in the same days I was going to be in Zurich other activities were organized as well, like: CoSin an open source conference, A party at Seed city (which is a community garden) and last but not least a Debian release party.

Here we go, I arrived in Zurich. After visiting the city I started a trip to Biel, a city close to Zurich to attend CoSin, and also be there during Debian release party that coincidenced the same day as the conference. I was companied by three good friends of mine, Vera, Marc and Daniel, and met other members and contributers from Debian community that explained benefits of using Debian and motivated me to join the community and desire to contribute in Debian projects.
We met really interesting people there, and had quite good discussions while having a drink in the garden.

Later on, I went to visit Seed City, where I met so many people, different ages, nationalities, and cultures but with a common purpose, to love and take care of the nature.
I was amazed by the work and passion that was implemented in that place and was on volunteer bases. While the party continued I had a tour around the garden with Barbara, a really kind member of the community, that explained me how everything works and showed me the diversity of plants they had there.

It was my last day in Zurich, the preparations for the Open Agriculture and Food Computer meetup were almost ready. It was organized at ETH Zurich, which is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university.
The meetup was attended by people with different backgrounds, yet, really interested in the project.
Daniel, held a presentation with a lot of valuable information about the food computer and first steps to start building it. Everyone shared their own opinions and ideas about the topic and It was amazing to see how people were willing to engage and help building a food computer in their own countries or cities.

I was happy to come in Tirana so motivated and happy to share with other community members at Open labs Hackerspace everything I learned about Debian, and also tell them about the Open Agriculture and Food Computer project.