A Framework and Kit List For Community Mapping


Getting the right equipment and software is essential to the success of any undertaking. It is no different for the Tandale project. So far we have…

  • 10 Garmin Legend HCx GPS’
  • 5 Acer netbooks and cases
  • 2 Nikon L24 point and shoot cameras + cases
  • 2 Flip HD Video cameras + cases
  • 3 battery chargers
  • 72 Batteries
  • 5 mice
  • 2 Hard briefcases
  • 1 Large suitcase
  • Pens and paper
For software we use…
We have 18 community mappers and upto 25 university students (who will also have to write a report on how the mapping occurs and its impact). These will be split into 6 groups (one for each subward) containing 6-7 group members.  Each team member will become a specialist in a chosen area. The areas for speciailisation are surveying, editing, satellite image tracing and story telling.

Surveyors are the groups of people who go into the field with GPS’ and map the roads, streets and POIs of Tandale. Using a combination of GPS’, pens and paper they will be responsible for gathering data and supplying it to the editors.

Editors take information from the surveyors and using GPS Babel import data from the GPS’. This will then be loaded into JOSM, transformed by adding metadata like names, amenity type etc. to the already georeferenced object. Finally the new changeset will be uploaded to the OSM database. For a greater understanding of the data that can be attached to the nodes and ways (OSM’s data structure) please look at the OSM’s Tags wiki page.

Satellite image tracers will trace buildings and other natural features like rivers and submit them to the OSM database. They will work in conjunction with surveyors and editors to add context to the tracings.

Storytellers will engage with the community and will provide reflection and reporting of current events through the blogs and Ushahidi. As well as communicating the issues faced by the community of Tandale. Because of the short amount of time that the project has (1 Month) any videos that are recorded will be edited offsite, however we hope that in time videos will be created in much the same way as Kibera News Network and Mathare In Motion. However photos and writing will be submitted to the Flickr account or OSM diaries where appropriate.

Our first week will be about getting the teams to gel. We hope that the students (most of whom have some experience in surveying) will act as the go-to guys for the community members whereas we act more as facilitators and tutors.

The media strategy will be dealt with carefully during the project. Small parts will be available for local press; community newspapers, radio etc. International and national press involvement needs to be carefully managed. Involving and advertising the project is important, especially on a political level for other areas within Tanzania; we want other city councils to emulate our model. The key message is that this is a community project not one administered/run/by and for outside parties. This message and reality could be lost in translation when projecting to a bigger audience.

All of this considered, our first week begins next Tuesday (09/08/2011). We will start with a community forum, where the main concerns and needs of the community will be identified. On the Wednesday the community and students join into their teams and be given a sub-ward with which they will start to learn the mapping process. This data will then be assimilated and the editing process will start to be shown on Thursday. While this is happening Simon will facilitate the storytelling process, aiding the community in telling their stories. On Friday it’ll be more of the same; mapping streets and points of interest.

In the days and weeks after the first week, while streets and points of interest are completed, building outlines will be traced using Bing imagery and landuse identified, with the team specialists taking control of their domains.

Written and submitted in the World Bank Offices, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (-6.81298, 39.29194)

Author: Mark Iliffe

Traveller, Programmer, Geospatialist and Motorcyclist

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