Grab and Tuxuri Work to Improve Unmapped Areas

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Grab, Malaysia and Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand transportation and fintech platform together with Tuxuri and OpenStreetMap recently organised the Cyberjaya Mapping Challenge to help cultivate a better understanding of city infrastructure and accessibility around Klang Valley.

The Cyberjaya Mapping Challenge was a collaborative effort with leading geo-web technology company, Tuxuri; open source online map platform, OpenStreetMap; the IT Society of Multimedia University, and Multimedia University to develop better quality and accessible maps that benefit the Malaysian community.

The mapping challenge, also known as a ‘Mapathon’ or ‘Mapping Party’, was an indoor mapping event that provided students, who have a keen interest in mapping and geography, to digitally chart unmapped areas. Using OpenStreetMap, more than 50 students from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Universiti Tenaga Nasional and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, came together to learn and map out areas around Klang, Shah Alam, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kajang.

To-date, Grab has hosted ten other mapathons in seven cities across the region- Yangon, (Myanmar), Jakarta, Bandung, Bali (Indonesia), Manila (Philippines), Singapore, and Yogyakarta (Indonesia). Grab’s mapping efforts with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in Indonesia and Map the Philippines has improved the disaster resilience of communities there. Under the initiative, GrabBike drivers in Indonesia were trained to use an Android-base app that can identify evacuation routes and ‘Internally Displaced Person’ camps, in addition to reporting urgent needs from these camps. Together, the students in Malaysia produced the highest number of map edits with more than 40,000 edit entries in just six hours.

“Grab is constantly looking for ways to positively impact the lives of the communities we are a part of. It’s not just about helping the millions of people in Southeast Asia commute conveniently and safely, but building accurate maps is a growing crucial resource that plays a role in solving the region’s development hurdles. From food delivery services to disaster relief and transportation, reliable and updated maps help our communities function better,” said Rashid Shukor, Head of Strategic Projects & Growth Verticals, Grab Malaysia.

Norhizam Kadir, Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development, ‎Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said, “We are delighted to see Grab and its partners collaborate on this mapping challenge. The challenge will not only help students develop skills for a digital economy – both as an employee or entrepreneur, but they will also understand the importance of coming together for the greater community good. The Mapping Challenge can potentially provide useful information in a way that can be accessed easily by most Malaysians.”

“The Cyberjaya Mapping Challenge is a great platform as it combines the power of community data and open source tools to help build better cities and communities. The open, geodata collected at the Mapping Challenge will be used for visualisation, analytics, machine learning and location intelligence. In addition, the data these students have gathered -can be used for future mapping challenges. So there is continuity to this and will be useful for future data scientists or those in the Geographic Information System industry to help reduce, minimise and avoid disaster challenges, and help mitigate risks for rescue efforts” said Ang Chin Han, Chief Technology Officer, Tuxuri.

Echoing Ang, Shukor also shared that mapping challenges are an excellent opportunity to build Malaysia’s budding mapping community and hopes that events such as these will spark interest amongst the local community to collectively improve the online maps system.