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Tips and suggested activities for training key features of Mapeo

Different features and workflows of Mapeo differ in terms of complexity, difficulty, and relative importance depending on your project. In order to help you plan the training activity, we have put together some reflections on the most commonly used Mapeo workflows and features, as well as some ideas for exercises that you can do with your group to practice the specific workflows during a training activity.

Collecting data

  • Normally it is a quick to learn workflow.
  • It can be time-consuming to get an agreed understanding of the use of categories and the level of detail that is needed for the Mapeo data. Having dedicated time to discuss this as a group after is recommended.
💡 Activity 1 - Collect data with Mapeo Mobile
Platform: Mapeo Mobile
Goal: To get familiar with data collection.
Format: Individual hands-on exercise
Expected time: 10-30 minutes
Description: Participants create observations, include details and pictures, and practice editing and deleting observations.
Support guide section: Creating observations
Steps for each participant:
  1. 1.
    Create 5 observations, each belonging to a different category. Fill in the details for all the observations, and include 1 photo for the first one, 2 photos for the second one, and so on.
  2. 2.
    Create a 6th observation, fill in the details and add a picture. This time, delete the picture before saving the observation.
  3. 3.
    Edit the category of the first observation you created and save the edits.
  4. 4.
    Delete the last observation you created.
💡 Activity 2- Create territory data with Mapeo Desktop
Platform: Mapeo Desktop
Goal: To get familiar with the creation of territory data with Mapeo Desktop.
Format: Individual hands-on exercise, computer based, internet (or offline map) dependent
Expected time: 15 minutes - 1 hour - depends how much you get into it!
Description: Participants navigate to an area they know well and then practice drawing points, lines and areas (polygons) on the map and classifying them with information.
Support guide section: Creating and editing territory data
Steps:
  1. 1.
    Navigate to an area on the map that you know well, for example your community or the area you live in.
  2. 2.
    Choose a background online map which has good satellite detail of the area (eg. bing) and zoom in so that you can see things close up and editing becomes possible.
  3. 3.
    What can you identify? Can you see any houses, buildings, created structures (football pitches/gardens) or natural features (mountains/lakes/rivers) that you recognise?
  4. 4.
    Use the editing tool to create some points on the map of things that you know - such as your home or school or an important location. Do the same for some line features (paths, roads, rivers, pipelines) and some areas (garden, village limits, forested area etc).
  5. 5.
    Choose categories for each feature you create from the default list, and add any details you wish.
  6. 6.
    When you have created at least 6 features (a mixture of points, lines, areas) save your edits.
  7. 7.
    Then go back and see if you can delete any, and edit the information.
  8. 8.
    Change the background map so that you have a sense of what different options you have.

Synchronizing data

  • Synchronizing is the most difficult feature to fully understand because it is an offline feature that is not typical for most internet-dependent consumer-based technology. Peer-to-peer (P2P) can be very abstract to talk about and is more intuitive to understand when in action.
  • This functionality has a relatively steep learning curve for new users.
  • It is best to do it early in a training agenda in case more time is needed or the agenda requires this to be repeated towards the end of the event.
  • This is essential for understanding how data is aggregated on phones and/or computers with Mapeo when used in a community GIS data project.
  • Hands-on exercises are the best way to show and clarify that any edits or deletions made in the database on any device, will be shown on the other devices after syncing.
  • Having participants practice data sharing and data syncing is useful to visually illustrate the different behavior of the data in these two processes.
  • This is the most technically demanding module, and it requires careful preparation. (See Participant devices)
  • Pay extra attention to synchronization via Wi-Fi equipment requirements (SeeSynchronizing via Wi-Fi).
  • For Mapeo Desktop, take time to get an agreement on file naming conventions.
💡 Activity 3 - Sync data with Mapeo Mobile
Platform: Mapeo Mobile
Goal: To get familiar with data syncing on Mapeo Mobile and understand how data flows, and the need for having clear protocols around syncing to make sure data isn’t lost.
Warning: In this exercise, ALL Mapeo data will flow between devices that sync. If there is Mapeo data on one of the devices that shouldn’t be shared with other participants, you need to reformulate the exercise.
Format: 2-4 person groups, hands-on exercise & group discussion
Expected time: Part 1: 10-30 minutes Part 2: 10-30 minutes
Description: Participants practice syncing with other teammates, and understand the behavior of synced data.
Support guide section: Syncing data via Wi-Fi
Steps:
Part 1:
  1. 1.
    Divide the group into smaller groups of 2-4 people.
  2. 2.
    In small groups, participants sync the information they collected with each other.
  3. 3.
    View the data received.
  4. 4.
    Try to edit the received data.
Part 2:
  1. 1.
    One participant in each subgroup deletes one of the observations they created in the previous activity for training purposes.
  2. 2.
    A second participant from each group syncs with the participant that deleted the observation.
  3. 3.
    The second participant verifies that the observation has been removed from the database after syncing.
  4. 4.
    The remaining members of the subgroup sync with the two participants with the edited database to confirm that changes made will affect all devices after syncing.
💡 Activity 4 - Sync data with Mapeo Desktop
Platform: Mapeo Desktop (& Mapeo Mobile if desired)
Goal: To get familiar with data syncing on Mapeo Desktop, and understand how data flows and the need for having clear protocols around syncing to make sure data isn’t lost.
Warning: In this exercise, ALL Mapeo data will flow between devices. If there is Mapeo data in one of the devices that shouldn’t be shared with the participants, you need to reformulate the exercise.
Format: 2-4 people groups, hands-on exercise & group discussion
Expected time: Part 1: 10-30 minutes Part 2: 10-30 minutes
Description: In subgroups, Wi-Fi sync and sync files will be explored. Discussions around syncing methods, naming conventions, and backup creation can take place.
Support guide section: Synchronizing data with Mapeo Desktop
Steps:
Part 1: Wi-Fi sync
  1. 1.
    Divide the group into smaller groups of 2-4 people.
  2. 2.
    In small groups, participants sync the information they collected with each other. They can sync using both Mapeo Mobile and Mapeo Desktop.
  3. 3.
    View the data received.
  4. 4.
    Try to edit the received data, and realize that, unlike in Mapeo Mobile, they can edit the received observations in Mapeo Desktop.
[For more exercises on data syncing, see 💡 Activity 3]
Part 2: Sync files
  1. 1.
    Continue in groups of 2-4 people.
  2. 2.
    In Mapeo Desktop, each subgroup creates a sync file. When saving the file, you can have a discussion about naming conventions for sync files.
  3. 3.
    Each subgroup shares the sync file with the other subgroups (e.g. by email, or using a USB stick).
  4. 4.
    In Mapeo Desktop, each subgroup syncs with the received sync files.
  5. 5.
    View the data received.
  6. 6.
    Discuss the use of this alternative way of syncing and its utility as an option to create backups.
For more on syncing with a file, see Synchronizing with a file.

Viewing and editing data

  • This is generally a workflow that is quick to learn.
  • It's a great opportunity to discuss the quality of data.
  • If the training event is more than one day, it is recommended to maximize full exploration of filtering possibilities and potentials for outputs.
If training is just going to be one day, having sample data collected on a few different days before the event will make it possible for participants to practice using the filter by date feature.
💡 Activity 5 - Filter observations in Mapeo Desktop
Platform: Mapeo Desktop
Goal: To get familiar with all the filtering options offered by Mapeo Desktop in Observations mode.
Format: Small group hands-on exercise & group discussion
Expected time: 10-30 minutes
Description: In subgroups, participants explore the different filtering options in Mapeo Desktop to view their data and extract some conclusions from the existing database.
Support guide section: Filter observations
Steps:
  1. 1.
    Divide the group into smaller groups of 2-4 people.
  2. 2.
    In Mapeo Desktop, each subgroup uses the Filter by date option to filter observations collected under relevant periods of time.
  3. 3.
    In Mapeo Desktop, each subgroup uses the Filter by category option to filter observations collected from specific categories - first filtering by one category, then filtering by more than one category, and finally excluding only one category from the view.
  4. 4.
    In the bigger group, representatives from each subgroup share the experience with the rest of the group.
  5. 5.
    In the bigger group, begin a discussion on the types of analysis that are possible when viewing filtered data.
  • Editing & deleting on Mapeo Mobile is best demonstrated after synchronization so that participants can see how editing permissions work and understand their responsibility to the community project.
Check out the proposed 💡Activities for syncing edited/deleted data.

Generating outputs and exporting data

  • Mapeo Mobile and Desktop are designed very differently in terms of generating outputs because of typical user contexts. In both cases, it is important that there is a clear distinction between generating an external data output, and data synchronization.
  • Mapeo Mobile currently only creates one external output - Mobile alerts shared via messaging apps - designed for time-sensitive information that can help expedite crisis response to an incident. This can be quick to learn if the participants are already familiar with the use of other involved tools, such as email or Whatsapp.
💡 Activity 6 - Share observations with Mapeo Mobile
Platform: Mapeo Mobile
Goal: To get familiar with external data sharing options on Mapeo Mobile
Format: Individual hands-on exercise
Expected time: 5 - 15 minutes (If the used messaging apps aren’t installed in the smartphones, plan for a longer time)
Description: Each participant explores the different options to share selected observations from Mapeo Mobile with other people.
Support guide section: Sharing data externally
Steps for each participant:
  1. 1.
    Each participant shares one observation via Whatsapp/Signal to the participants’ Whatsapp/Signal group.
  2. 2.
    Each participant shares one observation with the trainer via email.
  3. 3.
    You can discuss best practices around sharing observations via Mobile alerts.
  • Mapeo Desktop allows the creation of several types of outputs (PDF reports, CSV, SMART CSV and GeoJSON files, and web maps). Read more about it inExporting data & sharing externally. You can discuss which of these options are a priority to learn for the participants considering the goals and needs of the project. Depending on the goals, the skills, and the available time, you can also focus on how to use the data exports on other platforms such as Google Sheets, Excel, SMART, QGIS, ArcGIS, etc.