More often than not, maps are developed remotely by cartographers with great knowledge in their field, but no physical experience within the field that they are mapping. This results in inaccurate and insufficient data. For reference, see the two conflicting maps of one location in Dar es Salaam pictured to the right.
Ramani Huria does it differently. We train local university students and community members how to effectively create sophisticated maps of the city within which they live – maps with more than enough detail to serve as guides for all realms of development, with a particular focus on improving flood resilience.
The first goal of Ramani Huria is to equip community members with the skills required to conduct mapping. In order to do so, we begin by educating project participants on two different methods of data collection:
- GPS & Fieldpapers
- OpenMapKit & OpenDataKit Apps
The first method refers to a normal data collection method that involves producing fieldpapers for the site, grabbing a GPS unit and data collection forms, then heading to the site for data collection, while the second method involves installing intuitive phone applications that are equipped with imagery and forms for direct data collection while in the field.
Before Ramani Huria – the aerial photography for mapping in Dar es Salaam was dependant on minimal to no cloud cover, or alternatively was of low satellite quality.
To combat this, and to ensure the highest quality of imagery for the community mappers, we employ drones in collaboration with Drone Adventures and the Commission for Science and Technology COSTECH. The difference in detail enabled by these tools is astounding. For reference, see this comparison between a map produced with and without the new aerial imagery.
Street View Imagery
Going even further to help mappers create richer and more detailed maps of the area – Ramani Huria produces street view imagery. To capture these images, we have three complementary methods: attaching a Garmin VIRB camera to any mode of transport, fitting our ‘mapping bajaj’ with a Trimble MX7 Mobile Mapping Imaging system, and using the Mapillary mobile phone application. Read more about our street view methods on our blog.