Volunteers uploaded over 2,000 street-level imagery of Janakpur, a city in Nepal

23 Nov 2019 - Nikesh Balami

[November 3, 2019] Spending holiday by volunteering is fun, especially in this digital world when you can help a group of youth digitize their town. With this aim of mobilizing the local volunteers to map the street of Janakpur on OpenStreetMap; Code for Nepal collaborated with Internet Market Today, Appan TV and Smartha Nepal to organize 2019 Digitizing Janakpur Workshop. It was a followup event of 2018 workshop, where we launched https://www.visitjanakpur.com/ by mapping businesses of the city, and publishing photos and videos.

As the use of technology has grown, everyone now depends on online search and service. Digital content like blog posts, photos, street views, promotional videos etcetera usually appear in online search results. A town needs to have digital presence and online map so locals and tourists alike navigate the area easily. 

When Nepal is promoting Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, a platform like Visit Janakpur can be very useful, where the latest information about the city is contributed by local volunteers.

The main aim of the 2019 digitizing workshop was: 

  • To use Mapillary, an app, to map different routes of Janakpur key destination.
  • To teach young people how to become part of Google’s local guides community.
  • To enjoy the hands-on experience of taking 360 photos using Google Street View.

Workshop Day

15 volunteers gathered at Monsatic Higher Secondary School at 8:30 AM, where they received a welcome orientation from Program Coordinator of Code for Nepal, Sadikshya Karki. She shared the overall program agenda and quickly created a friendly environment within participants through warmup dance. I and Ishan Dongol accompanied her during the introduction.

After the short introduction session and breakfast, the participants were asked to download and setup Mapillary accounts for the mapping. Ishan Dongol lead the hands-on session to teach participants how to use Mapilary. The participants then were divided into 3 groups for the field mapping, where they visited different key places of Janakpur to collect street views.

After 3 hours long field visits and short lunch break, the participants went to the office premises of Internet Market Today, where the session on “How Search Works” was conducted by Amit Jha, Founder & CEO of Internet Market Today. 

I then led a short session on how to take 360 photos using Google Street View app, where I shared the importance of 360 photos and key tips of taking beautiful photos.

The workshop was concluded by Navin Shah, Managing Director of Appan TV and Sadikshya Karki, where they encouraged participants to be connected through social media and welcomed their contribution to the Visit Janakpur portal.

Key Outcomes of the Workshop

Participants were able to capture the 21 street view sequences, which consists of 2575+ images of various parts of Janakpur and few 360 photos.