A Retrospective on Geography Awareness Week 2017: By Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society

Last week, I had the chance to stop by an amazing Mapathon held on the National Geographic campus in celebration of Geography Awareness Week. The National Geographic Society started Geography Awareness Week in 1987 to promote the importance of geography education in creating global citizens.

Today, we continue to spread the word about the importance of geography and mapping in everyone’s lives. And what better way to do it than to get people to do some mapping themselves? Hosted in partnership with the American Red Cross and The George Washington University, the Mapathon contributed mapping data to OpenStreetMap for areas in Angola where the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project works.

OpenStreetMap is a GIS database and an online map, built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain geographic data about roads, trails, towns, buildings and dozens of other features around the world. OpenStreetMap covers the entire globe, but the Mapathon focused on building data on the Okavango River Basin and surrounding areas in Angola, which is particularly important to National Geographic.

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