Crowd Sourcing Improving Africa's Maps


As highlighted by Quartz Africa, many African countries are often left void from maps, with the explanation that "no data [is] available".

In response to this, developers have thankfully created "a number of open source tools that allow anyone from academics to your everyday smartphone user to improve maps of the continent".

Missing Maps, was 2014 by the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Doctors Without Borders. Working towards their objective of "mapping the most vulnerable places in the developing world, [so] that international and local NGOs can individuals can use the maps and data to better respond to crises affecting the areas", Missing Maps have mapped large towns and cities in countries such as South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

Launched in July, their smartphone app, MapSwipe, gives smartphone users 'the ability to swipe through satellite images and indicate if they contain features like houses, roads or paths. These are then forwarded onto Missing Maps for precise marking of these features".

Similar to Missing Maps, is Princeton University's Mapping Africa project. Founder, Lydon Estes argues that "humans are very good at recognizing patterns in noisy images" and thus created the app paying users to look at satellite images and identify croplands".

Read Quartz's article here

Download the apps discussed through the app store on your smartphone !

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