On the 8th, 9th and 10th of July 2017 Kampala, the beautiful capital of Uganda hosted the SOTM Africa (State Of The Map Africa) annual event. This is the first time that the continent has organized this great celebration of the Openstreetmap's free cartography users network, which for several years has carried on exceptional work. members came from all 4 corners of the continent.
Approximately 300 users from different fields, including startups, digital innovators, students, NGOs and members of national cartographic institutes and international organizations massively flocked to the Lake Victoria venue.
It was three days of exchange, sharing and collaboration. In all we attended six workshops, a mapthon, a Capture Mapilary session and all presentations with about twenty speakers who succeeded themeselves on the podium ruring these three days.
Mapping African Mobility
This first edition of SOTMAfric devoted a special place to the question of the mobility of people and goods, namely how cartography could offer innovative solutions for the management, control and sustainability of travel on the continent.
Two workshops attracted our attention:
- the new tracking systems using OSM technology and the implementation of tools and applications that would make life easier for the citizen.
- The second on the edition of road types as well as the use of Tag integrating the realities of the road environment in Africa.
The first workshop, moderated by Manon W., representative of Safemoto, focused on the use of interactive maps in the field of transport: the importance of setting up services that are easy to use in an environment where most of those who offer transport services are illiterate or have very little experience with NICTs. On the other hand, the important challenge in this area is to take into account the habits of African users who, to localize themselves, refer to places via the presence of a particular reference element in their geographical space that is known to all (Shop, Market, School ...) It is therefore incumbent on application developers to integrate this dimension to their tools.
The workshop on tags was also rich in information and novelty because the problem of updating the road network is a real challenge for contributors who look for simpler and more targeted methods to improve the quality of the services they provide in order to add information such as road quality, condition or size.
Other aspects of mobility relating to refugee and migrant flows have been addressed by some NGOs who have seen in OSM collaborative mapping a means for tracking these movements of people in order to provide decision support tools for all the actors who intervene on the ground.
Furthermore, the participants were treated to pleasant moments of communion on both the professional and socio-cultural aspects, which gave rise to a good deal of collaboration for the years to come. For this first edition, the organization was able to live up to the event thanks to the hard work of the organizing committee chaired by Mr Kateregga Geoffrey and the active involvement of the sponsors, notably Michelin, who remains a reliable partner for the development of Free Openstreetmap mapping in Africa. The meeting concluded with a few requests, especially that of seeing the next SOTM held in a French-speaking country in West Africa. Côte d'Ivoire hopes to be the next host country for this great cartography event.
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