Mapper of the month: Aylin Kızılaslan (Turkey)

- Marc Gemis


Who are you ?

I am Aylin Kızılaslan from Istanbul, Turkey. I am a medical student in Ataturk University. My nickname and also OpenStreetMap name is ‘deniz yıldızı’ which I only use for charity projects or civil society initiatives. It means starfish in Turkish. It comes from the famous starfish story, one little step towards changing the world.

Aylin Kizilaslan

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I discovered OSM in a mapping event on Word Humanitarian Day in 2017. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and HOT organised Missing Maps Mapathon in Istanbul. Thanks to this valuable event and my precious friend who informed me about this event, I discovered OSM on this special day.

Missing Maps Mapathon

What do you map ?

I have mostly mapped areas that I have a connection with, for example my birth city, my university campus. It is one of my hobbies.

How do you map? Which tools do you use?

I follow MISSING MAPS calls for mappers to map areas which need urgent help due to humanitarian crisis or emergencies like flood, epidemics and earthquake. As for mapping, I use the ID editor and JOSM.

Where do you map ?

Generally, I map locally, but from time to time I map for HOT.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

I am a member of Turkish Medical Students’ International Committee (TURKMSIC). Me and my local TURKMSIC team invited MSF Turkey Team and Yer Çizenler Team (local mapping association which is supported by HOT) to my university in order to organise a Missing Maps Mapathon. In this mapping event, we mapped a residential area where a humanitarian crisis had been happening.

Why do you map ?

I believe a small step can change the world, so I want to leave my mark on world even though it is a little. For this very reason, mapping is perfectly suited for my aim. Also it is fun!

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

I think the beginning of something is always difficult. So it wasn’t easy to learn editors, tags earlier.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Detailing maps of Turkey and mapping other countries that need humanitarian help.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Yes, of course. I am in contact with OSM Turkey mappers and we have had mapathons.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

I usually use OpenStreetMap to locate a restaurant when I’m in Istanbul. It is really useful. But maps of other cities of Turkey are not sufficient enough yet.

As I mentioned, I organised a mapathon in my university. It was the first time for my 40 friends to participate in OpenStreetMap. In my opinion, it is not only mapping that is important, but also making your community and works more apparent. For that purpose, sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with other people is so important. Because it brings you more and more people who will all work together with the same goal. Then we can easily grow larger as a community. There are so many ways to contribute. This is one of them.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

Happy mapping!