Dollar’s Mapping Club supports some of the most vulnerable communities around the globe

Over the last two months, a new cocurricular club has formed at Dollar, open to all pupils in the Senior School.

Mapping Club not only helps pupils learn more about Geography, it helps vulnerable people in developing countries receive aid in times of crisis. Pupil led, the club was started by Ross (Form V), who thought of the idea when he volunteered to help at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers’ conference at Dollar in October last year.

Ross learned at the conference that medical aid charity Médecins Sans Frontieres, alongside the British Red Cross and the American Red Cross, had set up ‘The Missing Maps’ project – a collaborative initiative designed to put the world’s most vulnerable people on the map.

The project provides base maps in some of the most disadvantaged places in the developing world, meaning that international and local Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) can respond to crises affecting those specific areas.

By using OpenStreetMap – a resource built by a community of mappers which both contributes and maintains data – Médecins Sans Frontieres and other NGOs can better understand the areas of the world which require support.

Ross set up the activity as a space for pupils to learn how to use OpenStreetMap and directly inform NGOs of areas which require aid. Using laptops and other devices, pupils can select houses, rivers and community spaces in areas dealing with crises. This sends NGOs a reference of the specific location, making it easier for them to provide vulnerable people with the aid and resources they require.

Dollar pupils can also use OpenSteetMap on the school’s Prowise Screens, an interactive device used for digital learning. This helps pupils to better see and identify areas which require assistance.

Mapping Club has attracted many Form III pupils who are in the process of completing their The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Due to the technique and global benefits of the club, it counts towards both the ‘Skill’ section and the ‘Volunteering’ section of the Bronze award.

So far, Ross has been promoting Mapping Club through posters around the school and also via assembly notices. He also plans to hold some mapping competitions in the future!

Mapping Club takes place in P27 each Thursday lunchtime. If you or your child have any questions about this activity, please contact Mr McConnell, Head of Geography.