04-22-2017 01:44 AM - edited 04-23-2017 08:57 PM
Who is Anuradha?
I am Anuradha Piyadasa from Sri Lanka. I am working as an IT specialist, but my passion is archaeology, helping others and photography. I am running a website dedicated to Sri Lankan Archaeology in Sinhala and English languages from 2009(https://www.archaeology.lk and https://www.archaeology.lk/sinhala/).
I spent many years as a public transport consultant in different organisations and from those days I was helping others to make their decisions using information technology. I am currently working with the Google Transit Program and the Southern Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority to bring their bus timetables details on to Google Map as a volunteer. I developed the software for Railway Department and National Transport Commission to display their timetables at Colombo Fort Railway Station(Largest Railway Station in Sri Lanka) and Bastian Mawatha Bus Stand(Main Private Bus Stand in Sri Lanka).
Google Maps and Anuradha
The Google Maps was my companion in archaeology related work, sharing photographs and travelling. It has helped me in travelling by providing me with the shortest routes and best restaurants on the way. The reviews helped me to select best places to have meals. The most important thing about Google Maps is it has helped me to save lots of time and spend more time with my family (I am a father of three daughters and the time saved by Google Maps is something special for me).
In archaeology related matters I am using Google Maps to show places and directions to archaeological sites. It was my dream to document all the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka for the future generation as most of the sites get destroyed by the looters, natural disasters, natural decay, and development activities. I was working on this for last few years.
Joining Local Guides Connect and getting closer to Google Maps
I vividly remember on June 23, 2016, I went to the Road Development Authority Head Office for an official matter with my colleague, and I was waiting at the lobby. Then suddenly came a thin guy with specs and he opened his laptop. At that time, I was not a member of the Local Guides Connect, but I knew about the program. Then I saw Local Guides Stickers on his laptop. Then I asked “Are you a Local Guide?”, He said yes, and then I came to know he is none other than @IlankovanT, the only participant for the LG Summit 2016 from Sri Lanka.
Then I had few chats with him, and he gave me two Local Guides stickers, and I joined the Local Guides Connect on October 08, 2016. After joining the Local Guides Connect Program, that experience has led to many changes in my life.
Google Map is helping me to make my dream come true
Before I joined the Google Local Guides Connect, I am just a Google mapper, and I was not moving around with friends that much except for few selected friends. After joining the community, I saw what others do for the community and their areas of interest through the Local Guides Program and Google Maps. I saw a potential in using Google Maps to make my dream come true, that is documenting the archaeological sites for the future generation through Google Maps. This method of documentation may be not professional, but it will be a few photographs of the site with a review, which will be on a more reliable platform and will there for so many years to come and it will save our heritage in digital form. Now I am working on this, and I am sharing my knowledge with heritage protectors on how to use Google Maps to document archaeological sites.
My contribution to the Google Maps is not only limited to archaeological sites, but my contributions for maps also ranges from adding new places, photos, providing answers and reviewing while travelling. My current contribution to Google Maps is shown below.
When I see these statistics, it gives me self-satisfaction, because I am helping millions of people around the world.
Contribution to the Local Guides Program
As I said earlier my contribution to Google Local Guides program had changed my lifestyle by providing me to do new things. I am the owner and moderator of the supported “Anuradhapura Local Guides Community” which has over 100 members. I am the owner of two other communities, Galle and Kalutara Local Guides Communities.
The first meetup I participated was the First ever National Local Guides meet up in Sri Lanka organised by the Ilankovan. After that, I have hosted seven meetups two of these meetups were listed in the “Local Guides Connect is now 200k members strong” post(to anounce 200K+ members) by @Corrie as two of the most memorable meetups of Local Guides Connect Program.
Two meetups I hosted was featured on the Local Guide Connect, including the first one in the above list and Galle Meetup - Had a nice time with Galle Local Guides.
But the most memorable meet-up for me was the meet-up organised to mark the Local Guides Volunteer Day 2016 at Kahapathvilagam Vidyalaya. It was a book donation to the rural school in Anuradhapura, and the way children responded when they saw books was something that will keep in my mind forever.
If you want to see more photos and details of this event, please follow this link.
After some activities with Local Guides Program, I realised knowledge sharing is one of the key things in Local Guides program, and I started hosting knowledge sharing sessions with other Local Guides and encouraged them to join Local Guides Connect program. You can read about my last knowledge sharing session by following this link.
Whenever time permits I have participated meetups organised by others.
Helping others on Local Guides Connect
I am a regular contributor to the Local Guides Connect, and it gives a lot of self-satisfaction when I appreciate someone’s work, helping someone by providing an answer to a question, and uploading photos with stories. I am always getting excited when other Local Guides give Kudos to my posts, photos and when they mark my posts as a solution. Especially when a Google Moderator like @TraciC accepts a post by me as a solution for a question on Local Guides Connect.
This is my contribution to the Local Guides Connect to date.
My family of 200k+ members
After I had joined the Local Guides Connect program, I feel like I am a part of Global Family and I came to know lots of friends through this and started to interact with more friends. I was jubilant when I saw @LucioV, a friend I met at Local Guides Connect is wearing the Sri Lankan Local Guides t-shirt on his Local Guides Summit 2017 Video, which I sent him as a gift. I also met friends like @ShafiulB and @MahabubMunna.
There are lots of Sri Lankan friends I met like Ilankovan, Vajira, Vairagya, Nalin, Rajitha, Asanka, Revival, Upul, Samindika, Viraji, Seedra, Krithika etc… and this list goes on. Sorry if I forget to mention someone’s name here, it is not intentional.
It won’t be a successful journey without the support from all of you. The Local Guides Community is “Powered by Us” and I am a part of it.
I would like to give a big thank to @IlankovanT, who always encourage me to contribute more to this program in a meaningful way. The stickers you gave me are still on my Laptop. :)
Finally, I would like to thank my wife and three kids, who are always patiently watching me taking photos and writing reviews when I am travelling with them.
Thank you, everyone, for helping me through this journey and reading my experience with Google Maps, Local Guides, Local Guides Connect.