[OSM-talk] Mapping 'risky areas'

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 21 18:18:24 GMT 2011

On 2/20/2011 8:48 PM, Hillsman, Edward wrote:
> My impression is that in most US cities, the places where a lot of POIs have 
>been mapped from field work are in the older, gridded, more pedestrian-friendly 
>parts of the area. This could be because there are more interesting things 
>there, or 
> that people who live there tend to be more likely to have personalities that 
>lead them to get involved in OSM, but it also could be that it is just easier 
>and safer to map there. I recall seeing a piece of research noting that areas 
>with high 
> crime rates tend not to get mapped in OSM, so these would be exceptions to the 
>older-area trend, but support for the hypothesis that walkability matters a lot 
>(high crime means not safe means no mapping on foot).

This is an important problem to highlight, which has been backed up by 
quantitative analysis by Muki Hakley

The typical approach has been technological mediation, as you're suggesting ... 
use satellite imagery or other technologies to "safely" get into such places. It 
works just ok in my opinion.

OSM has always been about inviting people to make the maps of their own 
neighborhoods themselves. They're going to have the most interest and best 
knowledge. They're going to be comfortable in areas you may not be. What it 
takes is reaching out beyond our normal networks, and finding interested and 
willing partners in new communities. This was our approach to mapping slums in 
Nairobi with Map Kibera. No way I was going to be mapping Kibera!

The same is true in the US. The Atlanta Mapathon organized by Thea Clay included 
tougher neighborhoods of that city.

I'm starting to see opportunities in deprived areas throughout US cities from 
groups that want to map, especially with youth. Would be happy to discuss the 
possibilities more with anyone who's interested in making this happen.

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