The Islands – The Republic of Malta
Malta is an archipelago (a group of islands), located in the Mediterranean Sea, between Tunisia and Italy. The nation is comprised of a total of eighteen islands, but only the three largest islands, Gozo, Comino and Malta itself are inhabited. Malta has a rich and varied culture, which stems from its strategic location along several ancient and medieval trade routes. The diverse culture is on full display in the capital of Valletta where, among other things, 320 monuments embody the civil, religious, artistic and military history of the country in the tightly packed city. The transport network is comprised of buses and ferries that carry passengers between the three inhabited islands.
The friends together on a chilly evening in Milan
Elena studies Medical Biotechnology in Milan, Italy and thoroughly enjoys her chosen field of study. When she completes her studies, her dream is to become a Scientific Researcher. Elena also has a passion for travel, “I like to discover the culture of the places I go to and search for hidden pieces of art.” she informed us. In fact, it was whilst she was traveling that she first saw the real value of having a service such as Moovit when navigating a foreign country. During the summer of 2015 Elena was traveling with friends around the Maltese islands, in the environmentally friendly way, utilizing local public transport. However, there were occasions that the group struggled because at that time the local schedules and route information were not optimized for her smartphone. Elena has friends that are extremely active in the Mooviter Community who had mentioned the Moovit Editor and described the mapping process to her. Instantly she saw an opportunity to bring more knowledge directly to the islands’ inhabitants and to any visitors like herself, who would benefit from being better informed about the local public transport. Perhaps, if travelers have this knowledge readily available, they may choose public transport instead of renting a car.
Elena, being an empowered but nonetheless busy student, somehow found time between her full class and exam schedule to map a few routes a week. She contributed constantly and unequivocally for almost a year, demonstrating that anyone can indeed find the time to contribute to any civic or voluntary project of their choosing, if they so desire. “The biggest challenge was to find the exact location of the stops.” Elena informed us. Malta’s bus network alone includes more than 2,000 bus stops across the islands, so it is no wonder that Elena had to dedicate an extensive amount of time to verifying the precise location of the bus stops. Despite this challenge, Elena eventually conquered the task and found a variety of complementary methods to confirm the location of the stops.
At the beginning of this year, as chance would have it, Elena was out with some friends enjoying a few beers when her mapping project came up in conversation. One friend, Islam, became particularly inspired. It turns out that together the pair of friends became an invincible united force as they mapped the final routes of Malta in just one week! Islam, Elena and some of their other friends plan to visit Malta again later this year, but this time they will be able to tour the islands with complete peace of mind. The pair have also become motivated to map other cities. Islam, who spends considerable time in Egypt every year, has already begun mapping routes in and around Cairo, and Elena told us that she will contribute in Milan because she, “…likes this global project. I live in a city where traffic is heavy and Moovit can help optimize everybody’s travels.”
To the champions of transparency on travel for Malta, Elena and Islam, we salute you!