[Talk-in] Indian Slum Mapping

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 27 20:21:33 GMT 2010

>I'm uncomfortable because this is the sort of tag that takes the map from a geek pursuit to one used to negotiate on the ground. Mikel's been through this with his various conflict zone mapping projects. We haven't had an episode in India yet.
 > The ground is the real test for the map and thats what we should work towards :)
> As far as empowering slum dwellers go, its easier said than done, although i want to do 'something' i really cant figure out what to do without getting into some sort of mess with 
> politicians.

Our initial approach in Kibera was to 1) state that we were only collecting what was visible, rather than intangibles of land tenure 2) emphasize that locals were the ones collecting the map data, and they had full access to it ... unlike any other mapping or enumeration 3) clearly state that the data collection was not connected to a particular activity (resettlement and clearance is a huge issue in Kibera too). With this understanding, pretty much 99.9% of people were supportive of the effort.

The ideological assumption of OSM is that open sharing of information is going to strengthen the unrepresented. Yes, in practice, definitely it takes effort to make open data accessible and empowering to all ... that's why a 3 week project in Kibera has grown to a 6+ month project. The empowerment touches on so many issues ... especially economic and educational ... and that's something we're starting to look at. But ultimately, my belief is that power is more distributed the more things are out in the open.

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