If you’re wondering about the photo above, yes, that’s NOT New York… that’s Timor-Leste and that’s the logo I designed for an Asian Foundation project on Community-Police Partnership (the one on the far right). The whole process was an experience and interesting working with Asia Foundation and their local partners on figuring out how to represent their project as a logo and to have it make sense for the local communities, police, and governments working together.
It’s been a busy week in NYC… Museum of Natural History, walks in Central Park, basketball in Brooklyn, shopping, eating… did I mention that there is a lot (maybe too much) to do in NYC? There are also lots and lots of signs and symbols that are iconic in NY or if not, will be difficult to forget when I’m not in the city anymore. It’s funny how are memories are based on signs and symbols that we see. We may be have five (or sometimes six) senses, but it seems the visual one gets the most work out.
I was approached by the Environment Unit of the United Nations Development Programme in Timor-Leste to help design a logo for a newsletter that the Unit was producing. The purpose of the newsletter was to highlight current environment initiatives taking place in the country, as well as a way to educate readers about environmental issues in the country.
For some reason taking photos in Timor-Leste isn’t as relaxed as other places – well that’s what it seems for some of us amateur photographers. After spending over a year in Timor, I’ve chalked up approximately 5 rolls of film and probably a total of 500 photos from friends. To get out and take more photos, we decided to setup a small photo club so that we could get together to take some photos and get some criticism on what works and what doesn’t… it helps us take back memories of Timor and, hopefully, helps to improve our photographic skills. Last weekend was our first outing and here are a few photos I took with my camera, including this boy who was with a bunch of kids running around like crazy when they saw us taking photos… i think some of them didn’t realize I wasn’t shooting digital so when they came to ask to see their photos and realized I couldn’t show them, they said “no good”… hmmm… even kids from one of the poorest countries inÂ the world are hinting that maybe I should switch to digital!
Just behind a market in Taibessi where the streets are lined with huge what looks like banyan streets.
Inside the market, this is a typical scene of how people buy fruits and veggies in Dili. You have two choices, either off of a stick or on the ground… it’s interesting that most of the times, it’s guys who go around with the stick and women who sell veggies in one place.
Public transit in Timor-Leste – called “microlets” these small little vans carry people across Dili and the districts. Usually the conductor is a teenage boy hanging off the side of the van looking for customers. All the vans have their own personal style (which would actually be a good photo project).
As part of a Early Recovery Project for the United Nations Development Programme in Timor-Leste, this interactive map was developed to showcase the possibility of using Google Maps and data from the project to help real-time project management and monitoring. The Google Map uses information entered into a Google spreadsheet to show the projects spatially and by organization. The idea was to have each project manager for each initiative to maintain the spreadsheet which would then be updated instantly on this map. The initiative was presented to UNDP, but was not adopted. The interactive map can be viewed below.
Tropical Cyclone Laurence hit Northern Australia this past week which also meant a bit of rain in Timor-Leste. Too bad it wasn’t raining to put out this fire… but then again people usually use this part of the street to burn trash… it’s not an uncommon sight… there isn’t really a systematicÂ way to get rid of trash.
But it’s holiday season as Timor-Leste starts to see a small exodus of expatriates from the country to Bali, Australia, Thailand and other places to celebrate Christmas and New Years. As for me, I’m staying put in Dili.
Words can’t describe what a wonderful present I received from friends for my birthday. I was told to sleep early because I would have to wake up early the next day. Even though I knew it had to be something related to my birthday, I didn’t really expect much – at the most, it would have been waking up early to go for a walk along the beach. So on the “day”, I was up at 5am, dragging myself out of bed… as a matter of fact, some friends were up before sunrise to celebrate the day (even our soft-spoken japanese neighbor who we only met the day before came along). A few stops along the way to pick-up friends and the next thing I know we’re at the airport, waiting under a hanger for a one-hour flight around Timor – actually a quick tour around Dili, pass Gleno, around Maliana and back to Dili via Maubara and Liquica…Â words can’t express the feeling of flying in the small plane or the surprise!
More and more people keep attending the afternoon seminars… including today’s presentation by the National Statistics Directorate of Timor-Leste. One of the key things in this 10-year old country is to get a better understanding about its population and what are the challenges to its growth. Timor-Leste will be conducting its national census next year in July 2010.
Interest is growing for the event, but it’s too bad that the event is only for one week. There needs to be more done in terms of getting the government, universities/schools, and the international community more aware of GIS and mapping and how everyone can benefit from it – hopefully all the material we have available will get around and get people interested. It’s all about collecting and analyzing data… poor data = poor analysis = poor planning/development… GIS and maps can help visualize this.