Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Quantum Computing

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by ituadmin No Comments

Dr. Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, renowned nuclear physicist, mathematician and distinguished professor, delivered a talk on ‘Quantum Computing’ at Information Technology University. During the talk, he discussed the basic principles and applications of Quantum Computing, as well as its use in information and information processing.

Dr. Hoodbhoy is a nuclear physicist, professor and national security analyst. He has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics, a master’s in solid state physics, and a PhD degree in nuclear physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a faculty member at the Quaid-e-Azam University Physics department for 40 years and is currently a professor of Physics and Mathematics at Forman Christian College University. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes including the IEEE Baker Award for Electronics (1968), the Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics (1984), the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the popularization of science (2003), the Joseph A. Burton Award (2010) from the American Physical Society and the Jean Mayer Award from Tufts University. In 2011, he was included in the list of the 100 most influential global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy said that quantum mechanics is one of the most obtuse branches of Physics and even Albert Einstein tried to disprove it but quantum mechanics is real and it is necessary to understand life. Using it, we can learn about the behaviour of matter at an atomic and subatomic level, including the reason why hydrogen atoms don’t collapse.

Explaining quantum mechanics, Dr. Hoodbhoy commented that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can’t be broken. The law states that in an isolated system, entropy can’t be diminished. However, Maxwell’s Demon theoretically defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics and suggests that the entropy of the system is reduced and energy can be derived from it. The moral of the story is that information converts to energy. So quantum mechanics has huge implications for information and information processing.

During his talk, Dr. Hoodbhoy said that quantum computing is basically using these laws of quantum mechanics to process information. Classical computers that are available these days are slow because they are sequential and in contrast, quantum computers can carry out billions of times more computations than normal computers. We can write algorithms for quantum computers that are asymptotically faster than the best algorithms possible for classical computers. This is because quantum computers make direct use of quantum-mechanical phenomena such superposition and entanglement.

Large scale quantum information processors might seem difficult to make at the moment but they are possible. In fact, serious prototypes for quantum communication already exist but more work is needed. According to Dr. Hoodbhoy, the commercial production of quantum computers is at least 20 years away. However, the advantages of quantum computing are endless and are limited only by our imagination. We seem to be on the brink of a quantum revolution that might shepherd in a new golden age.

Détente: A Foreign Policy Paradigm for a Safer South Asia

Posted on: March 4th, 2016 by ituadmin No Comments

Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari, renowned scholar and expert on South Asian policy, held a roundtable discussion in Information Technology University where he talked about using “Détente” as a foreign policy paradigm for a safer South Asia. Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari stated that détente does not mean friendship, rather it implies lessening of tensions among adversaries. He said, “It implies that you are not going to give up your conflicts but you will be working both as a partner and as an adversary. And you will be working together in unison against a common group of enemies.”

Dr. Bukhari has a PhD and MA in International Relations with majors in security/strategy studies, the Middle & South Asia from Johns Hopkins University. He is a prolific writer and has taught at various premier educational institutions (civil and military) in Pakistan, the Middle East and Turkey. He said that Pakistan and India relations have always been complicated; the two countries are both cooperative and adversaries. However, there are three issues that they both have in common: nuclear weapons, poverty and radicalism.

Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari commented that since prehistoric times, the type of weapons that we have used have changed drastically. In the past, war was a rational tool of policy but the appearance of nuclear weapons has revolutionized warfare and now these weapons can’t possibly be used as a rational policy. The cost of using nuclear weapons is so huge that it cannot be justified at all. The issue of nuclear weapons also arose between the United States and Russia but they took the time to resolve this matter between themselves and made sure that they didn’t have a nuclear crisis. There was a distinct possibility that the two countries might go to war during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and it signified that the two needed to talk. This led to the 1972 signed agreement between them signifying détente as the paradigm of their relations.

Unlike the United States and Russia, Pakistan and India are threatened by each other by a far greater degree because they share a common border and are neighbours, so they should be even more careful in making their foreign policy. A good move for Pakistan and India relations would be to follow the policy making set by the US and Russia and being careful not to formulate policies that can make preparatory actions seem like aggressive moves. “Pakistan and India need to be sitting on one side of the table and putting nuclear weapons on the other side of the table so that there is greater lessening of tensions between them,” said Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari.

The second common issue is the issue of poverty in Pakistan and India. Dr. Bukhari said that instead of one country trying to domineer the region, if all major countries including India had carried South Asia with them, then it would have been a much richer region instead of merely being the region that has the largest number of poor people in the world. Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari also addressed the third common issue of radicalism that has spread in both Pakistan and India. The countries should make sure that no money is being given to radical elements because the rise of radicalism in Pakistan would be extremely dangerous, especially for India. So India needs to be strengthening Pakistan for mutual benefit.

“By taking détente as a paradigm for resolving issues in Pakistan and India, they could simultaneously take steps as partners to eradicate poverty, radicalism and nuclear weapons as their enemy so we can start playing cricket again. Pray that both countries get leadership that we can define as statesmen rather than politicians,” said Dr. Imtiaz Bukhari.

This talk was held at the Center for Governance and Policy at Information Technology University.

Second Robotics Expo

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

Information Technology University hosted its second Robotics Exhibition at Arfa Software Technology Park. The exhibition titled Machines of the Future: Robots showcased 15 robots that were designed and constructed by ITU students after taking a single Electronics course. Among the projects displayed in the exhibition were Robotic Gas Detector, Fire Extinguisher Robot, Robotic Stick for Carbon Emission Control, Bomb Disposal Robot, Demining Robot and GeekBot Bipedal Robot with static balancing and autonomous motion.

Robots are now playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing the 21st century and are being used in many industries ranging from auto manufacturing to healthcare. The undergraduate students of ITU are focusing on bringing Pakistan forward in this dynamic field. The objective of this exhibition was to help students apply their classroom takeaways and develop a culture of high-tech innovation and practical research. Under the supervision of course instructor Talha Rehmani, ITU students were able to show demos of their robots and make websites, technical reports and write-ups. The event also showcased the project of 9-year old child prodigy, Muhammad Raza, who displayed his Color Sensing and Beacon Following Robot.

During the exhibition, ITU students showcased various robots that may be useful in solving locally relevant problems in Pakistan. A team of students showcased their Robotic Stick for Carbon Emission Control to control Carbon Monoxide emissions. A main source of Carbon Monoxide is by vehicular emission. According to the National Conservation Strategy Report, 25 tonnes of Carbon Monoxide is released from vehicles in Pakistan, so ITU students built this robotic stick to address this prevalent problem. The sensor has to be held near the vehicle silencer for 2.5 minutes and then it gives out the result in volts.

Another invention showcased by the students of the Electronic Devices and Circuits class was GeekBot. GeekBot is a statically balancing biped robot. It can walk autonomously, avoid obstacles, and statically balance itself ensuring it does not fall. The team who built this robot found that synchronizing both legs of the robots presented a challenge but they were able to overcome this difficulty. Students also used this occasion to address the global issue of landmine removal. A group of students built Demining Robot which has the capacity to respond when it senses a metallic object in its path. It can detect an object if it’s up to 40 cm away from the detector, and it buzzes and flashes a red beam as a warning if it detects a metal of substantial size in its path.

Each robotic invention was assessed by a panel of judges according to its innovation and/or navigational consistency. The panel of esteemed judges awarded first place to the makers of GeekBot, with second place going to the team who built Object Identifier and Collector Robot. Third place was awarded to the team who built the Robotic Stick for Carbon Emission Control.

The chief guest of the exhibition, Prof. Dr. B.S. Chowdhry, renowned scientist and ICT expert, spoke at the event and praised ITU students for their outstanding efforts in robotics. The honorary guests also included Prof. Dr. Arshad Ali, Principal of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at NUST. The event was widely attended by the faculty and rectors of many prestigious universities including NUST, LUMS and FAST.

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Data Science Demo Day

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

Under the supervision of Dr. Faisal Kamiran, the Data Science Lab at ITU organized the Data Science Demo Day where students were able to unveil their projects, showcase data science in practice and illustrate its widespread benefits. ITU students were able to present innovative products in Data Mining that provide technological solutions for complex, locally relevant problems. These projects included Lahore Urban Planning Analysis, West Nile Virus Prediction, Job Trend Spotter Applications and Trends in Pakistan Poultry Prices among many others.

Projects like the “Short Term Load Forecasting and Unit Commitment” can be used to predict load behavior in the future. This project could be used to plan resources, balance the supply demand and be useful to the electric industry in Pakistan, which is plagued by annual shortages in the supply of electricity. Other projects like the “Lahore Urban Planning Analysis” can be used to address the problem of town planning. The aim of the project is to assist the district management in improving the infrastructure of the city by making land use projections, route planning, and prediction of future urban planning including road widening.

A team of students also presented a project called “Facebook Keyword Analyzer”, which notes user engagement based on topics on Facebook. The analyzer utilizes several pieces of information including the “most liked” and “least liked” topics on social media. This information can be utilized by researchers, students, and social media handlers. Research is currently being done at ITU to make use of the information from social media, extract high quality impact from it and apply it for the purpose of evaluation of multiple disciplines. So, the “Facebook Keyword Analyzer” is a progressive use of Data Mining that can be put to good use in the social media savvy world.

Data Mining is a highly sought-after skill in today’s competitive market. The Data Mining projects present an opportunity to not only boost economic development as well as government forecasting & planning but also to improve security and personal safety of citizens. The project titled “Secure Me” presented a product that can predict the possibility of crimes in the vicinity. The program gets GPS coordinates, analyzes the security situation in that area and predicts the level of security and the probability of specific crimes happening there.

These projects were made by the students of the Data Mining course at ITU and they were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges including Dr. Saeed Ul Hassan from ITU, Dr. Asim Karim from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Dr. Faisal Kamiran from ITU, Mr. Tauseef Iftikhar from Government College University and Dr. Mohsen Ali from ITU. The event was hosted by the Data Science Lab; the lab is already collaborating with the Pakistani government on several innovative government projects such as Crime Pattern Detection, Dengue control and the Metrobus Data Analysis.

Design for Scale Expo

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

The Innovation for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL) at Information Technology University (ITU) hosted the Design for Scale Expo on Saturday, 25th July, 2015. The expo showcased innovative products developed by students in the Design for Scale course. Design for Scale is a unique course offered at ITU that aims to equip students with the skill and theory required to use design, to create products which could offer effective solutions to developing world problems.

Students presented projects that made use of innovative cross-disciplinary research and applied technological solutions for complex, locally relevant problems. These projects included crowdsourcing solutions, flood surveillance systems, safety add-on for machinery and tech based mobility aid for the visually impaired. The presenters received critique, encouragement and suggestions from an esteemed panel of judges including Gwendolyn Kulick from Beaconhouse National University, Mustafa Naseem from IPAL and Saad Idrees from the World Bank.

The first project titled Let’s Help came up with a crowd funding solution that makes use of cell phones and mobile apps. The aim of the presenters was to find the easiest way of donating money to boost fundraising performance. They came to the conclusion that there was no trend of donating money either online or through a mobile app in Pakistan, so they came up with the idea for Let’s Help to address this problem. Another project focused on using innovative products to create an injury free environment for workers. According to a recent survey, workers in the agricultural sector receive the most significant injuries including amputations, electrocutions and even death. The startup called MecaSafe: Makers of Safety Add-On’s for perilous Ag-Techinvented a safety add-on for chaff cutting machines. MecaSafe came up with a hand detection system that can be attached to most chaff machines. If a hand comes too close to the sharp blades, then the add-on detects the hand, applies the brakes and turns the chaff cutting machine off immediately to prevent amputation of limbs. This startup has no direct competitors in the market at the moment and has addressed a pressing concern in the workforce. A hand detection system, like the one MecaSafe has come up with can prevent injuries and save the lives of the workforce, especially of those living in developing countries with poor healthcare.

Another group presented their work on NavCane: Tech Based Mobility Aid for the Visually Impaired. This is going to be the first product of its kind in Pakistan and their aim is to improve the lives of the visually impaired one step at a time. NavCane is an attachment to a white cane that can guide the visually impaired in navigation. This attachment has two features: obstacle detection and direction finder. NavCane’s closest competitors are companies based in India and the United Kingdom but NavCane provides more features at a lower cost. This product has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the lives of the visually impaired living in Pakistan and it has paired up with the Pakistan Association of the Blind.

The last presentation was on Aqua Eye: Flood Surveillance System. Pakistan has suffered catastrophic damage from floods in recent years and there is a lack of an early warning system. The existing sonar system cost around 380 million rupees and it is only present in 13 locations at the moment. The presenters highlighted how the existing manual systems don’t work so their flood surveillance system would not only remove human error but it would also provide accurate warning to Pakistani citizens through SMS.

The judges examined the working prototypes of each project and provided helpful, constructive feedback. The event was well attended by students, academics and industry professionals.

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Sohail Warraich

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

Journalist, author and media personality Sohail Warraich from GEO network, presented a talk on Media Ethics in wake of recent controversies in Pakistan. Sohail Warraich is a renowned journalist in Pakistan who has served the biggest news media groups in Pakistan (Jang and Geo News) for many years and he is famous for his signature show on television Ek Din Geo k Sath. He has been involved in GEO Media Group since its launch in early 2000 and he has done tremendous work in the field of Journalism. He has also authored two books Ghaddar Koun and Qatil Kaun that are very well-read and well versed.

During the talk held at Information Technology University (ITU) on 26th June, he said that the media needs to be free in Pakistan otherwise citizens will just switch over to international news channels such as BBC or Voice of America. Nowadays, international media sources quote Pakistani news but this will change if our freedom of press is curtailed. He also vocalized the fact that Pakistan needs to have a more conducive environment for journalists. He said that there should be a code of ethics for journalists to ensure that they make less mistakes.

Sohail Warraich talked about the need for Pakistan to have an alternative narrative to solve its national crisis. He said, “The crisis is common – everybody is to be blamed and everybody is to be praised. If we go down, we go down collectively. If the politicians are bad, then what the military has created in Pakistan is also not good.” He said that the crisis in Pakistan is “collective and common” so the solution needs to be “collective and common” as well.

He mentioned that when he was young, only PTV used to be available on television. PTV always narrated stories that painted Pakistan as “full of roses with no thorns, no issues”. So he grew up with the narrative that Pakistan is only progressing. However, in this age of Information Technology, everyone can find out exactly where Pakistan and its students, media and politicians stand. So he suggested that we find out Pakistan’s problems and try to come up with a collective solution.

He said that Pakistan needs an alternative narrative that can change all of us because nations are built and changed on narratives. If you go through Pakistan’s history in 1906 when the Muslim League was created, the majority of Muslims did not agree with them.  The 1937 elections proved this when the majority of Muslims voted for the Congress party but within nine years the narrative was changed. The Muslim League won the elections and the Pakistani narrative succeeded. There were no Shias, Sunnis, and Ahmadis; there were only Muslims under the umbrella of Quaid-e-Azam. This was the narrative that was needed to create a separate Muslim state. And this is how a narrative can change the nation. Sohail Warraich commented that in order to make a new narrative in Pakistan, we need to decode the old narrative and enemies of the state in order to evolve a better strategy for Pakistan.

He also said that the new narrative must have education as its primary focus. Social and economic mobility can be achieved through education and we should strive to adopt education as a philosophy. He said that we need to encourage the entire education sector in Pakistan as well as the Higher Education Commission. Improvements can be made by increasing the budget allocated to the educational sector.

He said that the fault in our narrative is that we are modern and we follow modern principles but this contradiction needs to be aligned with our old principles. He cited the example of Japan which has preserved all of its old traditions and adopted all modern technologies and innovations as well. He also stated that no society can survive without culture. The film industry in our country has declined but no one has done anything about it. He mentioned that we are proud of being Pakistani’s yet we rush over to watch Indian movies. “Kia yeh khula tazzad nhi,” said Sohail Warraich to loud applause by the audience. He said that we should strive to compete with other countries in these fields.

When he ended his talk, Mr. Sohail Warraich received a standing ovation from the audience and he was presented with a gift of appreciation by Mr. Amjad Saleemi, Treasurer of Information Technology University.

 

Open House 2015

Posted on: June 23rd, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

Students who are interested in shaping the future of technology were invited to the annual Open House at Information Technology University (ITU) for more information about its academic programs. The university hosted this session for prospective students and their parents at Arfa Software Technology Park on June 17. Prospective students and their parents were encouraged to join them in the Open Auditorium on the 3rd floor from 4 pm onwards.

The Open House 2015 started with welcoming remarks by Dr. Umar Saif, Vice Chancellor at ITU and Chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board. Dr. Saif said, “ITU is unique in two aspects. Firstly, students will be taught by the best faculty members you can find anywhere in Pakistan. Beyond this, the teaching is very high quality and we offer a lot of scholarships. Secondly, our main focus is on research and entrepreneurship.”

Students and their families were shown presentations on admission deadlines, university facilities including the fully equipped library and the research being conducted at its high-tech research labs. General information regarding the academic programs, research projects, admission criteria, fee structure and financial aid information were also discussed in detail at the session. This was followed by an introduction to the faculty at ITU and a Q&A session with staff and faculty. The interactive information session focused on getting prospective students acquainted with the university and answering any questions that they might have had regarding admissions. Prospective students also got the opportunity to meet and network with faculty and alumna of the university.

Students who were interested in learning more about ITU and its world class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities were encouraged to come to the Open House. Dr. Saif also encouraged students to apply regardless of whether they can afford the education or not. He said that ITU offered need-blind admissions and they only took the best students who were academically inclined. He said, “ITU prides itself on never having turned away a student because of financial constraints.”

The Open House for the current admission cycle was a well-attended session. The session succeeded in introducing prospective students to high-tech innovation and scholarship at ITU. At the end of the session, there was an Information Fair where booths for ITU Library, Robotics, ITU Training, ITU Societies and Student Affairs were set up and students got the opportunity to talk to representatives from each department. ITU admissions have officially started and students can apply for their Bachelor’s program in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, or Master’s program in Computer Science. The deadline to register for the entry exam is 13th July, 2015 and the admissions test is scheduled to be held on 25th July, 2015.

Robot Futures

Posted on: June 12th, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

Dr. Illah Reza Nourbakhsh delivered a Skype lecture titled Robot Futures at Information Technology University on May 20, 2015. The talk was on how we would share our world with robots and how our society could change as we incorporate a race of smarter and more connected intelligences. Dr. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, Director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab and Head of the Robotics Program in The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He has also served as Robotics Group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center. He is the author of the newly published MIT Press book for general readership, Robot Futures.

Dr. Nourbakhsh is ranked among the top 5 Roboticists in the world. In his Skype lecture, he mentioned several scenarios and then he talked about the social consequences of each scenario. He talked about how in this current age of robotics, social, economic and ethical boundaries are being pushed and we need to sit down and re-evaluate the boundaries. He gave the example of countries using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones in war zones, for surveillance and recognizance and for targeted killings and discussed the serious concerns regarding privacy, legality and safety that have been raised regarding their use.

Dr. Nourbakhsh also introduced the concept of Robot Smog, which states that robots can be used negatively. He gave the example of a Bum-Bot being used to chase away homeless people that used to squat in front of a restaurant in the United States. The owners of the restaurant took matters into their own hands and fitted the Bum-Bot with strong lights and a water cannon that were used on the homeless people. The Bum-Bot attracted a lot of positive news coverage, and the fact that no one talked about the ethical implications surprised Dr. Nourbakhsh. In another example, Professor Nourbakhsh talked about a powerful machine that McDonald’s is currently using. When a car comes into the McDonald’s driveway, the machine looks at the car that the customer is driving and estimates what food the customer will be ordering. This helps them have the food ready for the customer by the time he even steps in the door. This machine is already helping McDonald’s make millions of dollars but it calls into question concerns regarding privacy.

Dr. Nourbakhsh recalled an instance where a machine was fitted with a camera. The advantage of using the machine was that you were be able to see if anyone was carrying a weapon but on the downside, it would set off alarm bells if a child was carrying a water gun. Moreover, if a child sprayed the machine with a water gun, the machine would be completely destroyed. So the inventor of the machine simply suggested adding a taser and made the machine autonomous.

Other questions regarding ethics and robotics also arise. If we are in a car park and we see a robot driven car backing slowly into the only available parking spot in the car park, what would we do? Would we let the robot take the parking space or would we drive up quickly and park in the spot instead if we know that the other car is being driven by a robot.

Dr. Nourbakhsh talked about how the concept of singularity has been raised again and again in Hollywood movies such as I Robot, The Terminator and The Matrix trilogy. Singularity is a concept that robots will become smarter than humans. However, Dr. Nourbakhsh maintains that are nowhere near that scenario. He said that the biggest challenges that we are facing right now are that some companies such as Google and Facebook are becoming more powerful than most countries. This is a dangerous scenario since they have more information about us than even our parents do. Recently, Google announced that it was buying Boston Dynamics, a company that build robots that can run, climb, jump and even drive vehicles. This acquisition would stand to make Google even more powerful in the future world of robotics.

During the Q&A, Professor Nourbakhsh was asked how far down the line do people think about ethical issues when they are making and designing robots and he replied that people only think about these issues before they design the machine. He said, “We are technologists (nerds) and we are not given any social classes to think about the consequences but we should start thinking about them before long.”

Another student told him that Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, had recently made the statement that in the coming 100 years, robots will take control over humans and the student went on to ask Professor Nourbakhsh that given this scenario how humans could rely on defense robotics then? Professor Nourbakhsh said, “We should worry more about pollution and these all-powerful companies in the present than this singularity 100 years in the future.”

At the end of the Skype lecture, Dr. Nourbakhsh received a standing ovation by the students. He said that he gives a lot of talks globally but he praised the fact that ITU students seemed to know a lot about robots and had asked important questions. Professor Nourbakhsh also said that he might come to ITU for a workshop in the future. This Skype lecture was organized by Professor Talha Rehmani for his class on Electronic Devices and Circuits but due to the popularity of this talk, the event was opened up for everyone.

Mapathon for Nepal – Every Edit Counts

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by ituadmin No Comments

The earthquake in Nepal caused widespread destruction and destroyed centuries-old buildings and roads. The aim of Lahore Mapathon was to update maps, buildings and roads in Nepal after the earthquake and help responders on the ground. Information Technology University students and digital humanitarians joined Lahore Mapathon held at Information Technology University on 4th June from 2-5 pm.

The event opened with a Skype session with Benson Wilder, from the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, in the U.S Department of State. The instructors for the event were Adnan Shahzad, Digital Media Specialist from the U.S. Consulate General, Lahore and Usman Lateef, Google Mapper from Digital Marketing, Pakistan. They were assisted by Arshia Bano from USAID Pakistan and Rachael Chen from the U.S. Consulate General, Lahore. Kamal Faridi, social media activist, also attended the session. There was enthusiastic participation by ITU students and volunteers who made updates and edits on the OpenStreetMap database.

The purpose of Lahore Mapathon was to inspire a wide range of people to contribute to maps facilitating better short and long term response and recovery in Nepal; introduce more students to the easy-to-use OpenStreetMaps tool; as well as build and support a network of passionate volunteers engaged in issues of planning, crisis and response, geospatial analytics and policy. Since the first earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April, 3569 volunteers mappers from all around the world have edited 62058 maps, 26954 segments of road and 228281 buildings in the OpenStreetMap database, with volunteer efforts coordinated by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

Given current events in Nepal, MapGive and the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community are still actively involved in the earthquake response. MapGive is an initiative started by the US State Department. MapGive is filling gaps through the provision of high-resolution satellite imagery and assisting with metrics and visualizations to bring attention to this unique form of digital volunteerism and to motivate and mobilize the crowd of volunteers to help with the Lahore Mapathon. This updated OpenStreetMap data is being used for logistics and planning by operational responders such as the American Red Cross and Nepalese Red Cross, UN agencies and numerous other NGO’s. Other organizations such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in the United States are also supporting MapGive and OpenStreetMap with maps and analysis.

During the session, volunteers were able to make close to 2000 updates to roads, buildings and pathways in Nepal in 100 minutes. The three hour long session was organized by Information Technology University and the U.S Consulate General in Pakistan, and sponsored by Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan Ltd, Digital Marketing Pakistan, Media Partner, International Data Group (IDG) and Computerworld. At the end of the session, there were giveaways from USAID for all the volunteers and a raffle for an Apple IPod. All the guests hosting the event were presented with souvenirs on behalf of the University.