The awarded funds have enabled us to undertake some enjoyable and meaningful work, contributing to improved maps of Uganda and healthcare delivery in conflict-affected regions, and expanding education and skills of Manchester students and staff, schools, and the wider community. This has been achieved through 3 main activities:

  1. Humanitarian mapathon on campus, hosted in HCRI, and attended by HCRI UG, PGT, and PGR students, academic and PS staff, and people from Geography and other parts of the University (e.g., the Library). For an afternoon we gathered and mapped areas of Uganda by tracing huts and roads on satellite imagery, while enjoying some delicious pizza from the Old Abbey Inn. ~40 people attended and contributed ~20,000 new map features. Professional photographs were taken, and feedback was collected from students. Overall consensus was the event was enjoyable, informative, and a genuine opportunity for people to make worthwhile contributions with their time.
  2. Developing materials for schools to more simply participate in such mapping activities. This has involved 2 main pieces of work. The first was to further develop a system of machine learning to auto-process satellite images to produce more efficient systems for identifying huts and roads and higher quality resulting maps. We have made substantial steps towards this goal as a result of this project, and expect to have a production version of the system in place by end of 2019.
  3. The second led to the development of ‘school packs’: materials intended to make it easier and more attractive for schools, colleges, universities and youth groups (e.g. scouts, cadets) to get involved in mapathons for the Limb Loss in Northern Uganda project. We employed a researcher to produce a range of materials each aimed at primary schools, junior secondary school, senior secondary school / GCSE and A Levels; with materials from those combined to make additional variants for University students and other groups. A designer will now prepare the final products, which will be available for free download at, and can be printed and sent to schools, colleges and groups on request.

In our original proposal we described a mapathon for local charities and community groups in Manchester. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this event has not occurred within the timeframe of this award. We still plan to run such an event at a later date. However, we have been supporting community engagement through mapathons in other ways, and will continue to do so. For example, members of the broader project team have arranged mapathons at a pub in Levenshulme, every second Tuesday over summer. We’ve added several thousand new map features at each session so far. With good attendance, there is potential for this to become a regular event.

External Partner(s):

Limb Loss in Northern Uganda project

Associated link(s):

Project duration:

March 2019

Project lead(s):

Dr Billy Tusker Haworth (HCRI) and Dr Jonny Huck (SEED)