Open Street Map Comenius Project Visit to Germany

Open Street Map Comenius Project Visit to Germany
15th June 2015 admin

Last week students and staff from Archie visited Saarburg in Germany as part of our Open Street Map Comenius Project. Below is an overview of what the team did during their stay.



Monday, 8th of June 

On Monday 8th of June we travelled to a number of places local to Saarburg to  find  out about the history of Celts and Romans and also to see one of Europe’s most beautiful meanders.

In the morning we travelled to Nennog to see the largest Roman mosaic north of the Alps. We learnt how the romans lived and how they used art to express everyday life. We watched a short video on how the mosaic was first discovered, when it was created and how it was made.


We then went to the Villa Borg which is a recreation of a Roman villa. The attraction illustrated the way the villa would have once looked in Roman times.

For lunch we went to the Cloef vantage point, the view there was amazing it was like nothing you will ever see. We stopped and had dinner with the teams from Germany, Spain and Turkey. The view was of the meander on the River Saar was fantastic.

Later on we went to Nonnweiler. This is a place what the Celts developed a defensive settlement. They quarried rock to make the wall and transported it up a large hill. There were still remains of the settlement along with recently installed art works celebrating the Celtic life.

Entry produced by Phoebe


Tuesday, 9th of June

On Tuesday the 9th of June we had the opportunity to take part in HOT mapping and also map an area of Saarburg by going out into the field and gathering information that we could then upload to OpenStreetmap.

In the morning we were introduced to HOT mapping. HOT is an abbreviation for Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team. HOT invite you to develop maps to support people affected by humanitarian crisis. These maps provide up-to-date, open source maps for medics and volunteers trying to provide support in areas affected by crisis. Up to date maps can help those providing support to find the safest and easiest route towards the victims of the humanitarian crisis. We all chose an area within affected by a humanitarian crisis, whether it was an area affected by the Nepal earthquake, a landslide or a country affected by Ebola. Using satellite images we then mapped the land use in different areas. This included adding houses, roads or emergency buildings within that area. This information was then uploaded and was available to emergency teams working in the area affected within 5 minutes of upload. One problem with mapping on HOT maps is if the information placed into the maps is not accurate then you could put lives in danger, however we had support from experienced mappers and teachers to guide us to make sure we completed the maps accurately.

During the afternoon we all got split into 5 different groups, and each group had one area of the German town of Saarburg to map. We used the android OSM software called OSM tracker, which enabled us to place all of the notes and information we gathered and record it all in one place. This meant that we didn’t have to write on a separate piece of paper and it was easier to use. On average each group had around 7 buildings, including restaurants, shops and museums, and around 5 bullet points of information for each building. The 5 bullet points of information would had equalled 5 tags on each building. Although we mapped a lot we only mapped the things that were important to tourists, so we only included historic buildings, restaurants, museums and souvenir shops.


Wednesday, 10th of June

We had a guided presentation around Saarbourg looking at stolperstein (stumble stones) cemented into the floor. They are a monument created by Gunter Demnig which commemorates a victim of the Holocaust. Stolpersteine are small, cobblestone-sized memorials for an individual victim of Nazism.On the stone it had a name and a date, some had a few around them showing a family tree, some didn’t. The stones took us back in time and made us feel like what it would of been like to be them during the time when Hitler was around. The tour guide showed us 20 stumble stones all together and told us a little history of that family and friends close to them.There are many stumble stones around Germany and each stone commemorates the death of a Jewish person during the Holocaust.  Each stone is special to someone in Germany.

We walked up to a castle in Saarbourg, we went to the very top of the castle and the view was amazing. We took turns in reading text off a information board. It told us about the history of the castle and how it was restored and the state it was left in. On the way back down from the castle there was a prison, the inmates were talking through the bars. It was a great opportunity to visit these monuments, the stumble stones especially and to find out the history of the area and to get to know what life was like for people in Nazi Germany. 

Thursday, 11th of June

On Thursday the 11th of June we made a presentation about Hull and then we used ‘uMap’ to map five significant historical attractions.

In the morning, each group had to make a presentation about their city or country and when we finished we had to present it to the other groups. Each of us in our group had to write about one historic / cultural attractions in Hull. Owen wrote about the fish trail which is made up of different kinds of fish that are made out of copper and cemented to the floor. Jay wrote about the ale trail which is similar to the fish trail but you have to go to 15 different pubs and try some alcohol. Phoebe wrote about the Humber bridge which is the biggest bridge in England. I chose to write about the Wilberforce Museum which was the house of William Wilberforce. We had the choice on what we wanted to do; I chose to do the Wilberforce museum because William Wilberforce is a very important person in Hull. I thought it would be easy to talk about William because there is a lot of interesting information about him. When we collected some information about each place we had to write it on our display board.

We had to put our notice boards in the corridor of the German school. We did that because the German students could then look at our notice boards and find out some information about our city and also if they wanted to, they could ask us questions. I thought that the German students were really friendly and if they wanted to find out some more information about Hull, they would ask and listen to us. When break time was over and all the students went to their lessons, we had to present our notice boards to the other groups and each of us had to explain our historic attraction. We also had to listen to the other groups talk about the historical attractions in their country. I thought that their presentations were really good because they had a lot of information and the Turkish, German and Spanish presented it in a fun way.

After all of the groups presented, we had to use uMap to map the historic attractions on the map. Umap is where you create your own personal map with places you want. Umap is useful because you map what you want and you will only have the places you mapped and no body else’s, also if you went somewhere you liked and mapped it on uMap, you will be able to find it again easily. Me and Phoebe worked together and we mapped 6 places we thought were important. We mapped The Guildhall, Hull and East Riding museum, Street Life museum, The Deep and Wilberforce House. We thought those places were important because a lot of tourists visit those locations and they are some of the most exciting places to visit in Hull. For each attraction we had to write the opening times, the website, an overview, prices, what type of attraction it is and we had to add a photo which we had to take from Wikipedia commons so as not to break copyright rules. One example of a uMap we created can be seen below:

See full screen


Friday, 12th of June

On Friday we visited Trier, city founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC. We learnt that this is the oldest city in Germany. We saw monuments like Porta Nigra, which was the city gate in Roman times and the High Cathedral of Saint Peter, which is known to be the oldest cathedral in the country. Our city guide Gerhard which used to teach in the German school we visited, explained to us lots of interesting facts about it. One of the things that we loved was a tradition that places the Holy Robe that Jesus wore shortly before his crucifixion, in the Cathedral of Trier. It was something very special to see.

In the afternoon we went for lunch with our Spanish friends and their teachers. We had Flammkuchen, a traditional German dish made with crème fraîche and onions that looks like a pizza.

In the evening we went for a farewell dinner with everybody involved in the OpenStreetMap project, from Germany, Spain and us. It was a great evening, our German friends gave us some certificates for taking part in the meeting and we also got a great gift! an “OpenStreetMap cheat mug”, which I am sure it is going to be very helpful for us in the future.


You can find out more about this Comenius partnership by visiting the MychOSM Wiki.


  1. Emma Brice 2 years ago

    Wow! I really enjoyed reading about your experiences last week. You’ve completed some challenging and important work (and what a beautiful part of the world to do it in!). Well done everyone!

  2. Mrs Murphy 2 years ago

    Wow, guys! This looks like you had a fantastic time. I was really impressed when I saw your presentations before you went so I know you will have been wonderful presenting over there. I’m a little bit jealous as the cathedral looks great! Hope you had as great a time as it seems you did. Mrs M 🙂

  3. Oliver 2 years ago

    Thumbs up! Nice to read your week was a success and you had a nice stay here. Greetings from a german mapper. Olli

  4. Marga 2 years ago

    Liebe SchülerInnen und liebe KollegInnen,

    congratulations for your interesting text and the amazing photos of your stay here in Germany. I hope, you all enjoyed the time in Saarburg and surroundings. I hope this will be a first step for further friendly connections to Germany and our region.

    best regards


  5. Laura 2 years ago

    Really nice pictures! Keep up the good work!!!!!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *