When Map Makers are ousted out of the map…

Last two months following the April 25 quake have been tumultuous, no doubt. The massive quake that left thousands of people homeless did not spare Kathmandu Living Labs either. The place that had been KLL’s home since its inception was rendered uninhabitable. During the first month after the quake, KLL was operating from the remainder of what used to be its building and from the nearby Buzz Cafe. It was an emotional period when KLL, the ‘map makers’, could no longer place a finger on a map and say, “We are here.” However things have took turn for the better and finally, Kathmandu Living Labs now has moved into a new building. Kathmandu Living Labs now has finally found a place to call its home. Our special thanks to the Humanity United and to the hundreds of Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign contributors, who helped us set up our new office and got us going in no time.

KLL Housewarming Party
KLL Housewarming Party

With a roof over our heads once again, Kathmandu Living Labs also got back to its regular swing of things. First week into the new house, we successfully revived three of our cherished KLL activities.

Morning Meets – Stand up, everyone!

Each morning at 9.15 am, a KLL member starts off the day with an interesting, inspiring, stimulating morning talk – it could be on anything under the sun. To give you an idea of what that means, here is the first morning talk delivered in the new office. It was, rather unsurprisingly, related to our new office space. The gist of his talk was, “Leave the place (office) cleaner than you find it.”

If you are interested to join us for one of these morning talks, please do drop in. No need to worry if there ever won’t be enough seats because these are stand-up morning meets and noone is allowed to sit during these meets.

Friday Innovation Hour

Friday 12.30 to 13.30 is KLL’s brown-bag innovation hour, where new, unexplored and unusual ideas are encouraged to be shared over lunch. It is not limited to people within KLL; if you want to attend it either as a speaker or just participants, please contact us. The first ever KLL innovation hour took place back in September 2013. This week, KLL’s first in its new office space, was spearheaded by Prabhas Pokharel. Prabhas had been working with us as a KLL Fellow up until last Friday. He will be starting his Masters at Stanford University this fall.

Friday OpenStreetMap Clinic

OpenStreetMap clinic is a free-to-all, walk-in ‘clinic’ where experienced OpenStreetMappers from KLL answer your queries regarding OpenStreetMap. In addition, we are also happy to help you with anything that might prove to be helpful for your work.

This week’s OSM clinic visitor is Manisa Panta. A computer engineering student, she had been looking around for ways to help post-disaster efforts. Her quest took her to Story Circle that has been building temporary shelters near Khurkot in Sindhupalchowk. She decided to put her computer skills to use by helping them build a web visualization of these temporary shelters. After searching for different ways to collect geo-information, she came to know about OSMTracker which she then used to geolocate and photograph these temporary shelters. She identified OpenStreetMap as a useful tool to include such information but she was did not know how to do it. This week’s OSM clinic focussed on including such information in www.openstreetmap.org and on the overall process to create customized visualization using OSM as a default map. In the process, she became our first OSM Clinic visitor in the new office.

If you too have any queries regarding OpenStreetmap or if you just want to have a chat with us over a cup of coffee, please drop by in one of our Friday OSM Clinics at 13.30 (except on public holidays.)


To celebrate our getting back into the swing of things and also to celebrate our new space, we organized a small get-together event on Friday evening. The event was graced by the presence of KLL’s well-wishers. Others who could not make it to the event, we are sure, were present in spirit. This event was also KLL’s way of saying thank-you to its friends for staying with us in these trying circumstances.

KLL and friends at KLL's new office space
KLL and friends at KLL’s new office space

Following the quake, the whole nation is abuzz with the phrase, “We will rise again!” For the past two months, KLL has been making an effort to live up to this national spirit. KLL’s Quakemap.org was toiling hard to get tents and tarps to earthquake survivors at the time when it didn’t have a proper roof over its own head. To aid relief efforts, Quakerelief.info was creating maps at the time when KLL’s own location could not be pinned down on any map.

However, at KLL we strongly opine that every crisis is an opportunity to learn; and bigger the crisis, bigger the opportunity. We took this opportunity to venture into the hitherto unchartered territory of post-earthquake relief process in Nepal. Consequently, two months later, the ‘map-makers’ are not only able to put KLL back on maps but were also able to inspire some new roadmaps in post-earthquake relief process in the world. This is just a beginning though. We are just starting to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and starting to rise again.

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