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olpcMAP May Update: Part Two May 29, 2011

Disappearing markers: The latest update to Google AppEngine should help us store all of our markers, without worrying about them disappearing on us.

They’re announcing a couple of things at the Google I/O Conference and
we’ll have to go over their blog posts in the next few days to find out
how it can help olpcMAP.

Still interested in getting it on WikiMedia ToolServer, though.  Bastien
(Wikimedia) was very interested in the possibility when we talked.

Collection: Here are the XO maps of the world, Uruguay, and La Rioja in Argentina:

Interactive map (random URL is random)

Summary: As part of my Plan Ceibal work, I have significantly updated the OfflineMap activity.  Built-in maps library, compatibility with Google Earth files, measuring tool, extensions for users with internet connections, and other features and improvements.  I’ll upload it when I get home.

Nick finally flew back to his homeland after two months of working for Plan Ceibal. We (OLPC family and blood related family) met at Royal East in Cambridge to celebrate his return. After just one week at home he will move on to bigger places and things. He will do an internship in ESRI, then possibly Facebook in the fall and starting Jan 2012 he will participate in Code for America fellowship program. He said:” This is exactly the opportunity I’ve been looking for – one that combines civil engineering with technical, computer-sciencey stuff.  I don’t know which city I will be working for, but much of next year I will be at the program’s office in San Francisco”.

OLPC Foundation (Boston office) has moved to its new office in Cambridge. Happy Memorial Day weekend to all!


olpcMAP sprint: Day One December 27, 2010

  1. Ben and Nancie thought they were late when arrived at the office at 11AM. They were the first ones to show up. Adam and Benaja followed, they had to wait for a bus that never came and walked from Medford to Kendall Square… No wonder many participants got stuck on their way to Boston and didn’t come to the office today. Those who did show up assigned regions to each other and started beautification of landmarks/dots by adding links, pictures, etc.
  2. I was working on the presentation of olpcMAP Survey Results and planned to go to OLPC office around 5PM, but never made it. I continued working on another presentation for Wednesday, Dec 29.
  3. From Nick:  Today, we’ve added a new Search to which works just like magic!   It’s inspired by the plain but informative search at
    OpenStreetMap.In the top-center of your map, enter your query to search our database of
    people, groups, and deployments.  At the same time, you’ll also be searching Google Maps and social bookmarks at   The map will send you to the top result, and list other possible matches on the left. Quick Walkthrough:
    * Search for a person: Holt -> map centers on Adam Holt’s marker
    * Search for a group: Waveplace -> map shows their schools from Cambridge to the Caribbean – individual points appear in search
    * Search for a place: Boston -> sends you to Boston on Google Maps, lists several people
    * Google Maps helps : various spellings and phrasings for a place (such as Ayiti) are caught by Google Maps so you’ll see the place you meant
  4. From Adam: The 20-question OLPC/Sugar Deployment Map Trivia Contest has now begun!  Partial answers get full points (and prizes) if creative — but you have less than 48hrs:
    TUE 5PM – Peru ICT4D Short Film Premier, please join the filmmaker herself, Audubon Dougherty, followed by Q+A+Dinner!  Preview: 7PM – See how Deployment Aware You *Really* Are — and what you won?
    Feature Presentation: olpcMAP’s survey results analysis + 10 takeaways — by volunteerism researcher MZ
  5. UNTIL THEN… Let us know how works for you by contacting us online at to Help Everyone Map!
  6. Also see Nancie’s post

Blue Ocean Strategy for olpcMAP (Part Three) December 26, 2010

We had to set our priorities straight. Scalability was number one. Then we had to sort our ideas out. We have many of them, but what if we are creating cool unnecessary features that nobody will use? That is how we decided to create a Survey. By using certain logic we will not just know what users want to see on the map, but also learn about underlying motives for using the map.  We decided to send the survey to potential users, whom we divided in two groups, because they may have different needs (active volunteers and non-volunteers).  Then we decided to whom exactly and how to send the survey, how many questions and what questions exactly?

Where all content and storytelling is going? Where would people see references when they search for something? Should the map be floating or not? How can we incorporate games into the map? What do deployments really need? Lieutenants? Why people volunteer or not? How much engaged do they want to be? What do you see on the map? Etc. (Note: we sent the survey out on Fri, Dec 17 and collected results yesterday).

Then another big question was what do we need to focus on during our MAP Sprint? Potential areas:

  1. Security settings/validation, flagged content, updated content (less than 6 months – maybe brighter color), full name issue, creating document describing our privacy policy, Privacy issue, opt in/out – fix names (ask dots/people to correct their names and info)
  2. Beauty Contest – possibly to theme the event around a global MAP BEAUTY CONTEST where kids on every continents are *directly* encouraged to beautify their school.  What prize should we offer???  What imagery makes people’s IMAGINATIONS GO WILD, considering the event (in person and remote) mapmaking possibilities?   Like “Design contest for the developing world: save the rich world from itself”
  3. Beautify -work for individuals and deployments? Or regions? Creation of landmarks? List of must haves. Adding contact link. Adding clickable links to website info, videos??? (contact Bill, he has videos!) Adding tags/specialty focus. Adding interests/needs. Find good articles about them.
  4. Scalability, if not fixed earlier
  5. Blue Ocean Strategy – to announce results, so that participants and steering committee know what we really need and our competitive advantage
  6. User –friendly FAQ (by Nick) how to use it or manual to the map!
  7. Technical features (adding search by name, geo, tag, adding archive, search by archive, add when was last updated, different layers– see only volunteers or deployments)
  8. Storytelling (finding/writing description of deployments and best info about them, adding links/archive) Add sample work by students/schools?
  9. Promote the map during event and after (blogging, twitting, transcribing, video stream special moments), to have an open channel on suggestions for open issues and questions…for virtual participants
  10. GEO – Create a manual for any map or offline map activities to be uploaded and reviewed
  11. Authority levels -designate Admins, who resolve issues and have other responsibilities/goals
  12. Global OLPC trivia contest for both real and virtual participants of the Map Sprint

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