Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Uganda Update

Just a little self promotion, if I may be so allowed, just this one time (it IS my site, after all!). This is an update on my upcoming WiFi project in Uganda. If you would like to know more about Navitor Computer Systems, there is a link at the bottome left of this page's sidebar, below the links...T

Interlibrary Loan Comes to Rescue for Local Catholic CharityPeople request items through interlibrary loan for many reasons—articles for papers or conference presentations, books or a hard to find music score for a dissertation, a video to show to a class. However, this past spring the IU South Bend Franklin D. Schurz Library’s Interlibrary Loan department handled a request that will help bring wireless Internet access to millions of displaced Ugandans.Ted Pethick IT project designer/coordinator and Administrator with the B.O.S.C.O. Breaking the Silence project i.e. Battery Operated Systems for Catholic Outreach, needed a topographical map of Uganda in order to find the best potential wifi spots. B.O.S.C.O. is led by Gus Zuehlke, Director Liturgy/Music at St. Bavo’s Church in Mishawaka. The group is working to provide the residents of Northern Uganda’s Internally Displaced Persons Camps with wireless Internet access. The people in the camps live together in small huts without electricity and are extremely isolated. In many cases they are the victims of mutilations and kidnapping. The goal of this wireless Internet project is to give the residents of these camps the opportunity to communicate with the outside world.Pethick’s work hit a stumbling block when he tried to access the needed topographical map. Only three libraries in the United States had the map, and one, UCLA, would loan it out. However, they would not let the map leave the library that it was loaned to. After attempting to photograph the maps, Pethick realized he needed a larger copier in order to make copies of the map. This is where Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, Maureen Kennedy stepped in and agreed to accompany Pethick to Kinkos so that he could make the copies he needed, while still satisfying UCLA’s need for the document’s supervision.These maps were crucial to the project because “without the terrain information (Latitude/Longitude/Elevation), there would have been no way to do an engineering survey to test the viability of this project,” notes Pethick. “Will it work, or is there a mountain between camps? The British Directorate of Overseas Surveys compiled the ONLY EXISTING MAP IN DETAIL OF THIS REGION IN 50 YEARS!”“While we are committed to customer service in Interlibrary Loan, this project allowed us to feel like our service was making a difference in people’s lives, “ said Kennedy.B.O.S.C.O. is now in their last stages of fundraising and intend to deploy to Uganda in September. Questions about B.O.S.C.O.? Contact Gus Zuehlke at 255-1437. Questions about Interlibrary Loan? Call 520- 4433.
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1 Comment:

splugy said...

Idi Amin would be so angry! Do you get to go to Uganda to put in the wireless? Talk about a vacation in hell!