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Mapping Religion with OSM

Authors: David Dorrell*, Georgia Gwinnett College
Topics: Geography Education, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: OpenStreetMap, Education, Open Data
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a global scale geographic data source produced by individual volunteers and organizations. It is emblematic of two emerging themes in geographical technology: crowdsourcing and open data. One of the main problems with mapping religion is the lack of good data for representing the religious landscape. OSM provides data on the location of religious structures in the landscape. The dataset contains hundreds of thousands of religious structures that can be mapped, queried, and analyzed. Students often do not understand how mapping data are produced, and how the data are refined and manipulated. In this study, students are asked to interact with maps made from the data as well as the data itself and provide their feedback. Open datasets can be used to make useful teaching maps, but they can also be used to help students see the inner workings of data production.

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