GIS Workshop brings together stakeholders for flood prevention initiative.

From the 23rd to the 27th of May, Ramani Huria 2.0 organised a four day workshop that brought together critical stakeholders to engage in discussion on the progress and potential of community mapping methods in Dar es Salaam.


The workshop was participated by university staff, government officials, ward leaders – including wajumbe, and community members. Participants were from departments or institutions that are directly or indirectly engaged with flooding.

PHOTO; Presentation Session


Participants were first introduced to OpenStreetMap – a free editable map of the whole world where anyone can view and upload/download spatial data. They also learnt about OpenDataKit Collect (ODK) – a free Android application that we use to collect information in the field mainly data points and line trace for the case of drains.

Drain Mapping presentation.

A Hydrological consultant from Deltares in the Netherlands, Hessel Winsemius, who is developing a flood model of Dar es Salaam based on the drainage data that Ramani Huria is collecting, presented the work that he has done up to now.  Participants were really interested to see how the data produced through local methods could actually generate a sophisticated flood model for Dar es Salaam. See the previous post here on using open source tools to map drains.

PHOTO; Flood Model Presentation.

Participants then witnessed a demonstration on drainage mapping. The Ramani Huria team took participants to the field around COICT grounds to see first-hand the methods that Ramani Huria uses to map drains and produce quality data.

During this experience, participants were genuinely interested in learning about Ramani Huria and expressed interest in becoming more involved in the project. The participants were also amazed that the data collected  is entirely open so that anyone can download and use it for free.

“We intend to use this data to identify high risk areas and see how we can design better infrastructure. I was impressed to see how the flood model of Dar Es Salaam is produced by using Ramani Huria data. I think I will contact the developer of the model to learn more”.  Aidan  Mhonda- Assistant Lecturer, Ardhi University.

QGIS Training

Participants were then introduced to open and free software that can be used for mapping. We installed QGIS software onto attendee’s computers, and made sure that they all knew how to add shapefiles, change styles, categorise and duplicate layers of the map. The aim for this exercise was to offer a general introduction to all and encourage those who are interested to learn more about it.

“The workshop has added value to my daily activities, for example using QGIS to produce maps in just five minutes in contrast to the programme that I was using which takes up to 30 minutes to compose a map. With QGIS plugins it’s much easier” Haroun Bakari Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH) representative.

Some participant did not believe that flood maps can be produced, they come to realize it during the workshop.

“It’s interesting to see people mapping for floods, it’s not often mapped by many professionals. I’ve seen fantastic Ramani Huria Atlases and I am amazed how Ramani Huria can blend new technologies with a community participatory approach. Seeing the use of multiple layers of data and being able to establish trends that helps us to study flood prone areas that is freely available to anyone is very interesting. Now I know that there is good data out there which I can use for different purposes” he continued.

ODK form building

Participants were trained on how to create ODK forms using XLS. This exercise was facilitated through a  in a participatory format – community members were asked to write down on sticky notes what problems they faced in their daily activities that they thought Ramani Huria could help to solve. From participant responses, one was chosen as a case study to build an ODK form together with the attendees.

“When I first heard about the workshop I was really happy that I could get to know more about Ramani Huria. Apart from the Drain Modelling the most interesting part to me was ODK form building, and I will apply this knowledge to my students at the university for them to use ODK during their field work data collection for their dissertations. My point here is not for students to simply collect data but to be able to analyse and use this data for decision making such as using data to design housing development projects”. Aidan  Mhonda- Assistant Lecturer, Ardhi University.

Using OsmAnd application and Map Reading

Community members and Wajumbe (local leaders) received training on how to read maps and how to use the OsmAnd OsmAnd (a map and navigation application for Android and iOS. It uses the OpenStreetMap map database for its primary displays, but is an independent application and not endorsed by the OpenStreetMap Foundation). They were impressed to see maps of their own ward that they took part in producing via the Android application. Community members were able to locate their areas of residence on a map and navigate their routes to work.

PHOTO; Community Members reading a map during the workshop.

General discussion on Stakeholders involvement

There was a general discussion on stakeholders involvement and how we can involve these actors to improve impact on communities that are suffering from floods. The conversations were based around open (free) data and how the government could be further encouraged to provide support to initiatives, like Ramani Huria, that enhance community resilience from a ground-up approach.

The  discussion was based on three major questions

  • Why should we collaborate with you?
  • Why should you collaborate with us?
  • How can we collaborate?

Eight institutions were willing to fully collaborate with the Ramani Huria project. These include: Municipal Councils, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water, educational institutions, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and Tanzania Rural and Urban Road Agency (TARURA).

Participants expressed their views on what they feel is most important to improve cooperation and collaboration with key stakeholders in order to ensure that the data produced through Ramani Huria reaches key users for greater impact.

‘’This is open data, open software- the world is now moving from confidential/ closed information to open data, lets accept this and collaborate’’- Engineer Natt- Former city director of Dar es Salaam. ‘’I argue that government officials should  collaborate and community members take part in data collection- we can not do this without community members’’, He added.

‘’The government do not restrict to collaborate , there are different ways to involve them. The simplest way is showing them what you have done (as Ramani Huria is doing) then ask for their opinion and  include the suggestions in what you are doing. This is the simplest and collaborative way’’ William Christopher- Lecturer University of Dar Salaam.

As the main aim of the workshop was to increase collaboration with and involvement of more stakeholders in Ramani Huria, most  attendees suggested involving key stakeholders during the data collection process in order to increase data use and sustainability of the project.

’You need to call us to do the work together not to show us what you have done.We are ready to collaborate with Ramani Huria‘’ – Grace Kiharusi- GIS expert Dar es Salaam city council.

At the end of the workshop everyone was excited and willing to take part in the Ramani Huria initiative, networking with different actors. The event was a great success!