[Imports] Update: Somalia places imported; roads up next

Schuyler Erle schuyler at nocat.net
Fri Aug 19 21:57:25 UTC 2011

(crossposting because this is relevant to both lists, sorry)

On Aug 19, 2011, at 2:12 PM, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> If you do all this because there is practically no hope of there ever being a functioning volunteer OSM community in Somalia, and therefore we (or, more precisely, whoever wants to use OSM data in Somalia) need to use UN and other assorted third-party data, then go ahead.
> If, on the other hand, you are doing this because you hope to "kick-start OSM in Somalia" then I believe there is a very big danger that imports on such a scale will stifle rather than encourage the kind of growth we want. Yes, OSM will become more usable quicker, but people will have the attitude that OSM is done by "them" not "us".
> What you are doing here is a replacement, not a foundation, for normal OSM activity, and nobody must be allowed to publicly present such an import as if it were somehow "kick-starting OSM" or as if it were the way in which OSM works normally.

Frederik, I attended your panel at SotM EU, and I understand the arguments. I agree with everything you just said.

With all due respect to our Somali brethren, and with tremendous regret, I must say that I fear that the technically proficient people in Somalia will have other things to worry about besides open mapping their country for a long time to come. Meanwhile, OSM has an opportunity to serve the humanitarian aid efforts in Somalia, which, for now, seems like the greater good... and I fear that these efforts will be going for a long time to come, as well.

We do hope, through the Ushahidi community, to engage with the Somali diaspora around the world, and encourage to augment the imports by adding names, points of interest, and so on. This is a key center of activity for HOT, and I hope we will be able to report at least some success there.

Frankly... I look forward to the day when someone from Somalia itself complains that the imports are getting in their way. I pledge to help them, if I can, and (God willing) if I'm around when that happens.


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