The MANNHEIMER MAPATHONS ("MAMAPA") project has two specific goals: to support the integration of immigrants (resident in the Rhein-Neckar region of Germany) and to contribute to international humanitarian initiatives.
By providing introductory training in modern cartography through immigrant participation in locally-organized Mapathons, both of these ends can be served simultaneously.
Taking part in Mapathon events -- a method in humanitarian cartography proven extremely effective in supporting the activity of humanitarian relief staff "out in the field" -- immigrants have the opportunity to:
- acquire basic knowledge of, and initial skills in, the fields of geography and modern cartography (and Information Technology, in general) . Repeated participation serves to deepen initial knowledge.
- augment on-going efforts toward integration in German society through direct contact with native participants during the Mapathons and the accompanying language practice.
- make a concrete humanitarian contribution. Moreover, the target areas selected for mapping will -- whenever possible -- be chosen so that the nature of their contribution may be directly appreciated. This can be accomplished by, for example, selecting to map an area of the world where refugee issues are most acute or by selecting areas located in or near the home countries of the participants.
The special organization of the project mapathons, in which immigrants are paired with local residents -- working in tandem -- to discuss and map together, serves to break down prejudicial and stereotypical thinking and lay the basis for mutual trust.