Maps are crucial in emerging countries to make decisions, but often do not exist. Community mapping is a participatory process where community members map their neighbourhoods, making maps openly available in the process. In emerging nations it is becoming a very useful method for illuminating urban areas of rapid growth and change, providing policy and decision makers maps and data with which to make informed decisions. From a community perspective, it facilitates neighbourhood improvements and action, in some of the most deprived areas of the world. The focus of this project has been Ramani Huria a community mapping project Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Africa’s fastest growing city.
Outcome and Impact
The community mapping is ongoing process, so far mapping around 1.3 million residents of the poorest and most flood prone areas of Dar es Salaam. The impact of this has been to provide maps to local government officials and community members.
Future research challenges involve investigating how such community curated open data becomes sustainable over time and understanding how the skills gained by community members and government officials can be leveraged for improving flood resilience.
All of the data produced through community mapping is open data and is available on openstreetmap.org. Outputs have been presented to the United Nations’ Committee of Experts for Global Geospatial Information Management (UN GGIM) and other academic conferences. Journal papers are currently being drafted on the emergence of this new form of participatory mapping and the research implications for neodemographics.