SC Mappers Wins YouthMappers’ 2018 Women’s Participation Award

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(L-R) Abriannah Aiken, Precious Nwaoha, Andy Rutkowski, Natalie Millstein, and Alex Chen at USC Leavey Library, the Trojan site for the first annual “Battle of Maps”

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, YouthMappers, an international university consortium on Mapping for Resilience, announced that SC Mappers received its 2018 Women's Participation Award for engaging a majority of female student mappers in its YouthMappers chapter leadership and membership.

SC Mappers, the University of Southern California YouthMappers chapter, was among a select number of chapter groups that received special recognition for its inspiring accomplishments over the past year from information submitted in annual chapter reports and from the YouthMappers’ knowledge of outstanding student-led and organized activities. Serving as the inaugural executive board of SC Mappers has been Robin Franke, president; Alex Chen, vice president; Joanna Wang, finance director; Natalie Millstein, program director; and Rich Windisch, publicity director.

The 2018 Women’s Participation Award recognizes those YouthMapper chapters that enrich the network and program activities and carry out a vision for an inclusive community that defines our world by mapping it. The full list of the 2018 awardees is on the YouthMappers blog.

SC Mappers contributes as a YouthMappers chapter to a global community of learners, researchers, educators, and scholars who use web-based geospatial technologies to create and use open geographic data that directly address locally defined development challenges worldwide. As one example of SC Mappers’ leadership, it worked with USC Visualization Librarian Andy Rutkowski to organize and conduct the first annual “Battle of Maps” as part of the November 2017 International GIS Day observances and the USC-UCLA Challenge Week. The challenge was to determine which university team could make the most map edits for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (OSM) Team.

As a result of this challenge on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, USC and UCLA participants made nearly 5,500 OpenStreetMap entries in support of priority humanitarian relief efforts around the world. To help responders and support agencies in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, the USC mapping volunteers viewed satellite imagery and identified buildings where they were before the hurricane. The Trojan mappers also contributed to other priority OSM humanitarian projects around the world, including in Africa, South America, and Asia, by identifying roads, coastlines, and rivers, as well as buildings and structures, from satellite imagery and entering those features into OSM maps.

“Through activities such as ‘the Battle of Maps,’ SC Mappers is furthering the mission of YouthMappers by participating in meaningful global learning experiences, building a socially engaged citizenry, enhancing long-term scientific capacity around the world, and fostering youth leadership,” said Dr. Elisabeth Sedano, lecturer with the USC Spatial Sciences Institute and SC Mappers faculty advisor. Sedano added, “Congratulations to the inaugural SC Mappers executive board and its membership for receiving this award!”

SC Mappers President Robin Franke commented, “We are delighted that YouthMappers would recognize our new USC chapter’s commitment to inclusivity and accomplishments in this way. I encourage any student interested in becoming involved to email, follow us on Facebook, or visit And congratulations to the incoming SC Mappers executive board for 2018-2019: President Sam Levi, Vice President Lauren Mullarkey-Williams, Program Director Mia Poyner, Publicity Director Yen Nguyen, and Finance Director Jenna Gray.”




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