News release - 2021

PoliMappers in Bogotá for humanitarian mapping

IMM DesignLab experiments a voluntary mapping model replicable in other territorial contexts.

An original mapathon experience was held on 26 March, a collaborative and humanitarian event with the aim of mapping of informal settlements in Bogotá, in Colombia.

It was all part of the master’s thesis by Maria Alejandra Rojas Bolanos and Silvia Raviscioni, two civil engineering students at Politecnico di Milano who are carrying out their research at IMM DesignLab, under the supervision of Professor Massimo Tadi.

This investigation into the redevelopment of these shanty towns had the ambitious goal of proposing a solution to a worldwide phenomenon that affects many cities globally, namely the proliferation of illegal residential settlements due to rapid urbanisation.

The time and resources required to map areas for study purposes, however, are often disproportionate to the results obtained.

The idea therefore was to set up collaboration with the PoliMappers, a group of volunteer students from the Politecnico, part of the international network YouthMappers as first European local chapter, who aims to form a new generation of mappers, promoting in their activity the culture of free and open-source software. This collaboration proved to be extremely worthwhile.

In this way, after a crucial first phase of data collection in the field with the application of Mapillary by the NGO Techo, the group, with the coordination of Chiara Ponti and Federica Gaspari – respectively president and faculty advisor of PoliMappers – and with the support of the Colombian local chapter YouthMappers Semillero Geolab UdeA, organized an online mapping event in OpenStreetMap environment that involved 70 people from the Politecnico and beyond.

The meeting on 26 March was also part of the innovative "Collaborative and Humanitarian Mapping" course, from the Passion in Action catalogue, which is supported by the MSc in Geoinformatics Engineering and coordinated by Professor Maria Antonia Brovelli. It was attended by 61 students of the Politecnico di Milano.

The excellent result achieved means this experience is now a pilot project for voluntary mapping that can be replicated in other sectors where the Politecnico is conducting research into territories, such as Dakar, Maputo and Quelimane.

The first Italian course in “Architecture for Human Space Exploration” at Politecnico di Milano has been brought to an optimum end

The first Italian course in “Architecture for Human Space Exploration” at Politecnico di Milano has been brought to an optimum end with an high degree of exams’ results. The course, in English and with an elevated internationalization level, has been chosen by 91 students coming from both from bachelor and master careers.  

The lecturer, Valentina Sumini, Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano and Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab, carried the students through a dense interdisciplinary path, with the support of several international experts of the aerospace sector, concluding with the realization of impressive projects as testified by the pictures. 

In the framework of human space exploration and human-computer interaction, Valentina Sumini is among the organizers of the SpaceCHI2021 Workshop, (, promoted by MIT Media Lab, Politecnico di Milano, NASA, TU Wien, San Jose State University and University College London, and focused on Space Human Computer Interaction within the conference Computer Human Interaction, CHI 2021. 

At the coming Biennale di Venezia 2021, two projects to which Valentina Sumini collaborated will be exhibited. 



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