OpenStreetMap (OSM)’s model of crowdsourcing data from volunteers is its greatest strength, and biggest challenge as this leads to gaps in OSM data, especially in developing regions. Predominant methods of engagement eg. mapping parties exhibit limited success in sustaining participation, which curbs the fulfillment of data gap. To engage youth from under-mapped regions in enriching local OSM data, while also developing their skills for the digital age as an alternative model to participate in OSM community, we designed the Digital Internship and Leadership (DIAL) program.
We will present our experiences with designing and conducting two cohorts of DIAL (for 8+22 youths) as a remote internship program, along with our assessment of DIAL’s impact in filling data gap and challenges observed. We found that DIAL helps 1) in mapping those areas significantly faster, 2) sustaining motivation of interns during the program, and 3) developing their civic awareness and digital leadership skills. Results from DIAL can be helpful in designing programs for engagement in OSM and similar communities.