Prior to my arrival in Mauritius, a contact at the US Embassy suggested I reach out to the Rajiv Gandhi Science Center (RGSC) about mapping and GIS. It was great advice. My emails to the Director and his staff at the RGSC in Port Louis were met with enthusiasm, and I was invited to a meeting promptly upon arrival. It was a nice facility where learning opportunities began in a brilliant front garden and play area. The mission of the cetner is to serve as a provider of non-formal education and popularization of Science and Technology among the population through various media. They hold frequent presentations and take their programs into the community – teaching local people and students how to make sundials or solar cookers, about cell structures, how root systems work, and more.
When I walked into the main offices, I immediately liked the Director of the Center. He was full of positive energy and had an open mind regarding mapping education. During our meeting he invited me to present at the Center to an audience of approximately 200 people. I had two weeks to put together a presentation about open source mapping & GIS for an audience of professors, ministry staff, and high school students. I wanted to appeal to varied interests and skill levels, and hopefully everyone would walk away having learned something new.
The final presentation included a dash of GIS history, applications of GIS, past Boomerang projects, aerial imagery (including balloon mapping, drones and satellite) and data collection.The Chief GIS person within the government also presented about how the technology was being used in Mauritius, adding some local flare. It was my first time presenting to such a large group and I was pretty nervous, but my voice slowly came down an octave & I adjusted to the headset. I even had a bit of fun walking through the audience Bob Barker style to pick on participants for questions and activities. My gadgets got the attention I expected, with many questions about the UAV. I rewarded any answered questions with candy – which at one point led to laughter as I handed an attending policeman a piece of candy and he joked that I would stoop to bribery for audience participation. At the end, there were a few professionals lined up down the aisle waiting to meet me and find out how they could use mapping in their business and industry. I was thankful to RGSC for the opportunity, and am curious to see where it might lead. Hopefully I'll be able to teach some courses there in the coming year, but at least it was very good practice in public speaking!
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference & a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born.
Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
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