[OSM-talk] Some thoughts against remote mapping

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Sat Jun 13 22:50:59 UTC 2015


>Western aid has a bad history of mostly aiding westerners. The one
simple trick for avoiding that is to ask the locals "How can I help?"

>And if the locals say "We need a better map for where we live", then
that addresses your concern.

Unfortunately the world isn't quite so simple.  If we look at the ongoing
Ebola outbreak for example.  Many health teams were met with rocks and a
strong negative reaction.  Should the west have done nothing and let Ebola
spread?

How do you know what the locals want?  At the department of Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada one of the problems is there is half a million
status Indians which means roughly half a million different points of view.

You don't mention the NGOs and others who consume our maps, are they not
legitimate clients?  Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)
works hard using Open Data to improve the quality of life for many.  They
make extensive use of OSM especially in the HOT areas.  The locals may
recognise GODAN's efforts and use their information without recognising the
value of OSM underneath.  They aren't the only ones using the data.  Even
quite small AID groups doing nothing more than providing access to clean
water use OSM to work out where the wells should go.

I think recently the World Bank noted that the cost of building a highway
in an African country when they were involved is about twice as high as one
where they aren't involved. They think that corruption plays a part in
this.  There are a number of issues involved in giving aid, for example
some US food aid must be carried in US registered ships I believe but the
HOT mapping delivers some value to the population often indirectly without
some of the problems of other types of aid.

Cheerio John


On 13 June 2015 at 17:01, Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:

> Frederik Ramm writes:
>  > I think the tl;dr of both these postings could be: "Whenever you give
>  > someone a map by remote mapping, you also take something away from
> them."
>
> Western aid has a bad history of mostly aiding westerners. The one
> simple trick for avoiding that is to ask the locals "How can I help?"
>
> And if the locals say "We need a better map for where we live", then
> that addresses your concern.
>
> --
> --my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
> Crynwr supports open source software
> 521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-600-8815
> Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog
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