17Feb

Open Source and Mapping Communities in Qatar?

Katara stage

Everywhere I travel in the world there are open source and mapping communities. Sometimes you just have to ask around to be connected. There is a vibrant technology and innovation community in Qatar and in the Gulf (GCC). But what of communities focused on open source? Mapping? As a new resident of Doha, I am keen to connect with other advocates. Every city and job I have had involves some component of open source or mapping. Plus, I am a bit of a community firestarter known to simply organize a meetup on topics of interest.

At Qatar Computing Research Institute, part of Qatar Foundation and based in Doha, we create open source software for social innovation and humanitarian efforts. Tasked with building an open source ecosystem, I am simply excited to meet like minds and encourage local citizens, especially students to get involved in our work. Two of our open source software projects are used globally: AIDR (Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response) and MicroMappers. AIDR combines human computing with artificial intelligence to automatically identify relevant information in very large volumes of tweets and text messages (SMS). MicroMappers is a collection of microtasking apps called Clickers used to crowdsource the analysis of tweets, text messages, Instagram pictures, Youtube videos, satellite imagery as well as UAV/aerial imagery. We have been featured in the Guardian, Mashable and more.

Who are the existing open source communities in Qatar and the GCC? Are there any OpenStreetMap, Crisismappers, Digital Humanitarians or simply mappers around? A quick survey shows that Maptime does not exist here yet. That might be my first project once I acclimatize.

Are you in Qatar or the GCC and keen to collaborate on software projects or technology for good? I’ve created this list but I think there are gaps. Please connect me or introduce yourself.

Qatar Open Source and Mapping Communities

This is a rough assessment of the open source ecosystem in Qatar. I’d also be happy to meet allies and folks in the GCC. Help me improve this list.

If you have a contact, even better! My email is heatherleson at gmail dot com. Please feel free to do an introduction.

(Photo: Katara in Doha (November 2014)CCBY)

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