The UN Mapper of the month - May 2024

Our Mapper of the Month for May 2024 is Engelbert Steve Modo Levo, a fourth-year engineering student passionate about GIS and spatial analysis from Yaoundé, Cameroon. He has contributed to various UN Mappers projects and has shown a dedication to improving Cameroon's open data. Englebert’s commitment to humanitarian mapping reflects his aspiration to tackle pressing social problems. Read the interview to learn more about his journey!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Engelbert Steve Modo Levo, a fourth-year engineering student at the National School of Public Works in Yaoundé, Cameroon, majoring in geomatics, topography and cadastre. I am passionate about space technologies, spatial analysis, artificial intelligence, open cartography and project management. I am passionate about volunteering because I believe the best way to achieve eternity is by giving without necessarily expecting anything in return.

I volunteer in several associations related to project management, such as PMI, and open cartography with the OpenStreetMap project. Within OpenStreetMap, I am actively engaged with UN Mappers, OSMF, serving as the team lead for the 2024 membership campaign, as well as contributing to OSM Africa OSM Cameroon, and MSF in the validation team. Additionally, I have established a new community, OSM ENSTP, within ENSTP. Furthermore, I am involved in other associations.
I am inherently curious, with a constant desire to learn. I possess an aptitude for adapting and learning, which has allowed me to discover new things from various places and people.

In the future, I aspire to work on a global scale, contributing to solving the critical challenges faced by the African continent and the world: ensuring food security, universal access to electricity, providing quality education tailored to local contexts, and ensuring access to clean water for all. All this using spatial analysis tools. These are topics that I am passionate about and for which I would like to provide possible solutions. 

The idea of being an agent of change and a person who could lead other young people like me to create a positive and sustainable value for the world of today and tomorrow in the light of the problems we face today is a motivation, but I also think that alone it would not be possible. 

In short, I am a young person who is passionate, open, curious, and adapts easily.

How did you know about UN Mappers?
I discovered UN Mappers during a training organized by the Topo Club with UN Maps on Humanitarian mapping on OpenStreetMap in 2021 with Severin and other young people from the school who participated in this training. 

It was my initial introduction to OpenStreetMap and open mapping, and I must admit, I initially felt somewhat inadequate. However, as the training progressed, I found it increasingly fascinating. I persevered until the end of the training, where I discovered the incredible world of cartography and the community of UN Mappers.

During and after the training, I was able to access other UN Maps resources, including the Learning Hub, which helped me a lot and allowed me to accentuate my knowledge and my understanding of mapping. The UN Maps blog and website allowed me to get to know the goals of UN Maps and to be able to learn from other users' experiences in mapping and how it has impacted their lives.

Additionally, I explored the social platforms of UN Mappers, which further piqued my curiosity and interest in the project, as well as the added value that UN Maps brings to the OpenStreetMap project.

I had the opportunity to really discover an interesting world that still fascinates me to this day.

You participated in our training with ENSTP. How did it seem to you? Which topic did you find the most interesting?
During the training at ENSTP, I was left with a strong and positive impression. Frankly, I hadn't imagined that there would be such an opportunity organized by the United Nations in the field of cartography, particularly in open data. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

What struck me the most was not only the quality and simplicity of the training but also the ease of discussing with the trainer. The communication was smooth and open, which enabled me to ask questions related to the training without hesitation.

Regarding your mapping activity and your journey, what lessons would you like to share with other members of the community?
As the training was continuous, the initial stages were somewhat complicated because we had to understand a little about the fundamentals of database usage, the challenges associated with creating high-quality data, and the vision of the OpenStreetMap project, as well as understanding that it is purely voluntary.

The advice I could give here is to be passionate about what the world is doing and what you do. Try to better understand the OpenStreetMap project, be interested in everything related to OpenStreetMap and open data, be curious, and don't be afraid to ask questions or dare. Learn from your mistakes and from others and share what you are learning. This is what I have done and am still doing.

When do you map? (Weekends, free time, in your working time?)
I usually map during my spare time, and I also frequently map on weekends.

Do you enjoy mapping? Why?
First of all, as a student of geomatics and space technologies, I am deeply passionate about GIS and everything related to spatial analysis and solutions. Open cartography allows me to directly or indirectly contribute to improving living conditions in communities around the world through mapping, demonstrating solidarity.

I aspire to make a significant impact in the fields of mapping and space science, particularly addressing current issues and challenges in Africa and globally. My goal is to emphasize the use of GIS and open mapping in solving pressing problems, offering GIS solutions that enhance people's lives in alignment with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

In which countries do you map the most?
My mapping activities are mainly concentrated in Cameroon.


Engelbert Steve Mode Levo