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Student power harnesses rebuild data

Student power harnesses rebuild data

A crowd-sourcing challenge has seen Canterbury high school students map nearly 20,000 building footprints in the Selwyn, Waimakariri and Christchurch areas – making a significant contribution to the rebuild.

The mapped footprints are the result of the ‘Building our Footprints’ competition run by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), Environment Canterbury (ECan) and Canterbury University from 28 July-29 August.

“The competition was aimed at engaging high school students with geospatial technologies, and giving them a chance to be more directly and actively involved in the rebuild,” says LINZ Canterbury SDI Programme Manager Julian Carver.

“It also sought to use crowd-sourcing to address Selwyn, Waimakariri and Christchurch’s notable lack of building footprint data – the collection of which can take considerable time and come at a significant cost.”

Building footprints are 2D shapes of where buildings touch the ground. Accurate footprints are used by councils, and by emergency services.

“The competition was open to all Canterbury high school students, with participants required to accurately map as many building footprints as they could.

“Students who accurately mapped the most won from a pool of prizes including an iPad Mini, cash prizes for individuals and schools, and 10 double movie passes.”

In total, 38 students from seven schools took part. All three individual prizes were won by students at Burnside High School – which also took out the first school prize with 16,500 building footprints mapped by students. Remaining school prizes were won by Cashmere Primary School and Middleton Grange School.

All data collected through the competition will be released under a creative commons license so it can be reused by interested parties, which so far includes Canterbury councils and OpenStreetMap – a free crowd-sourced world mapping service.

“Capturing almost 20,000 footprints is a great result – and it’s far more than we anticipated. This data will play a valuable role in the Christchurch rebuild, and the way in which the city’s property data can be managed.”

The full list of winners is available at the competition website.


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