After collecting data – Ramani Huria mappers help to develop the maps by digitizing their content via OpenStreetMap – a web platform working to create a free and open map of the entire world. Ramani Huria has trained over 200 community members and students to make use of the desktop application, JOSM, through which data can be directly added to OSM. You can view the training material here.

As a result of the dedication of these mappers, over 25 wards in Dar es Salaam have been thoroughly plotted – their ward officials now in possession of these invaluable tools to guide development.

What is OpenStreetMap?

29108260413_bb1e829b46_oOpenStreetMap is a web project built entirely by volunteers surveying with GPS, digitizing aerial imagery, and collecting and liberating existing public sources of geographic data. Using Open Data Commons Open Database License 1.0, OSM contributors may own, modify, and share mapping data with the public. There are many digital maps available on the Internet, but most of them have legal or technical restrictions. This makes it difficult for people, government, researchers and academics, innovators, and other stakeholders to freely and openly use the data. With OSM, both the web maps and the raw data may be downloaded for further use and redistribution.

In many parts of the world, especially in underdeveloped regions like Tanzania there is no incentive for mapping companies to develop data. In these cases, OSM is a sound alternative for economic development, emergency responses, urban planning, and many other purposes.

Why use OpenStreetMap?

Quality geographic data can help organizations, communities, as well as the public at large and government in making decisions pertaining to many pertinent issues, such as environment, economy, social, and crisis management. In Dar es Salaam and many other places, this quality of data has traditionally been incomplete or unavailable. Digital mapping volunteers, like those participating in the Ramani Huria project, may contribute by providing needed information, such as by digitizing buildings, transport routes, and other critical infrastructure so as to assist development that potentially depends on this information.

You can contribute with only an Internet connection and basic computing skills, even if you are not present in the area that you map. You can use the satellite imagery to pinpoint roads, buildings, lands, and points of interest; you may also add extra detail about objects already on the map. This data can later be used for many purposes in developing the areas.

How can I learn to use OpenStreetMap?

You can join us at one of Ramani Huria’s Maptime events in Dar es Salaam – or simply connect with our online community here.

Are you ready to start mapping? You can get started by signing up for an account at openstreetmap.org.