[OSM-talk] Crowdfunding for OpenStreetMap in Bénin : 275km² high resolution satellite imagery for Cotonou by 1-May 2016!

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 11:50:06 UTC 2016

Hi John,

There is a local OSM group active in Benin since mid 2013,
This group is skilled they got trained via (capacity building missions run
by the collective Projet EOF) and had been always self training and growing
their skills, growing their community and training Academic, Benin Red
Cross Volunteers, Civil workers from local government, folks from the local
tech scene etc...
This group has a few equipments at hand,
They share a co-working space (Blolab) in Cotonou with other tech actors,
They have been active in their country (several places and various mapping
project) and in Western Africa through regional 3 to 4 weeks long capacity
building missions involving a lot of field and remote mapping work
They operate mostly on a voluntary basis with low means and they grow their
map and their community.
They decided to crowdfund for these 275km2 high res imagery in Cotonou
because this has been blocking them and that a few additional GPS Units
will not make the difference, but this imagery will do!

Since the Haiti quake, community empowerment is at the center of the agenda
of humanitarian and development actors as shown by the Katmandu Living Lab
experience in the Nepal Earthquake (praised in mainstream and professionals
see The Guardian (1)) or a glance at the agenda of the World Humanitarian
Summit will gather this coming May in Istambul. Benin (but also Sénégal,
Mali, Togo, Burkina, Niger, Ivory Coast) show the example of organized
OpenStreetMap collectives and communities. They are building their map and
their community without the support of charities, or supporting charities,
local / central government, academic, development/ humanitarian actors.

All this is happening in Western Africa as the result of capacity building
programs that I started for HOT US Inc in July 2013 with the support of the
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and then since Fall
2013 outside of HOT US Inc within the collective Projet EOF (mixing folks
from French speaking countries from the "north" & "south"). All those
actions have been conceived and carried out with very low cost budget
schemes (under which HOT US Inc decided not to operate) to support the
emerging of local OSM communities and this has been working thanks to
experienced persons (there are many of those in the ProjetEOF who by the
way build the HOT Project and HOT US Inc in the early days) and

Now that a local OSM community like Benin is organized, why can't this
community act autonomously, why should it resort to a charity to map their
town? Why should it inform and discuss only in the hot mailing list and not
on the talk list where the community life of OSM is happening? Your email
cast doubts or rise questions about how a charity work with local
communities, about partnerships and partners roles.

With a true respect for local OSM communities groups, no doubt that there
is some potential to fulfill from the projects you mentioned (and that are
not new to OSM Bénin as well as Projet EOF folks), let's see realize that
potential but not by speaking on top of those communities and by not
recognizing their strengths.

Distributing additional Digital Globe or Mapbox high resolution satellite
imagery in other Areas Of Interest (AOIs) of Benin and Weestern Africa
outside of those 275 km2 of Cotonou almost secured can be a first step.


(1) :

On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 1:52 AM, john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com> wrote:

> >John, Ulule does not charge 40%, the fees reasonably amount to 7 or 8%,
> that's a notable difference.
> If I donate $100 to a charity the net cost to me is $60 and $100 is more
> or less available at the end.  If I donate $60 to the crowdsourcing then
> $55 arrives at the end.  So if we can get creative with a charity the money
> goes further.  Different western countries have different rules but
> basically if it can be channeled through a charity more cash ends up on the
> ground.
> West Africa, WHO are vacinating against polio is either there or not far
> away, they need maps where do people live.  MSF have HOT projects around
> that area.  Have a dig in HOT and you'll see sponsored projects around.
> All the HOT projects suffer from having not that many people on the ground
> for street names etc.  The charities have purchased image data before but
> also DG and Mapbox have been very helpful to them.  If you're serious
> about wanting to improve the state of the map in Bénin then working with
> a charity might help both sides.
> I note there is HOT mapping in Togo which is close by at the moment
> "Bâtiments, routes, chemins, zones résidentielles" which I assume is the
> sort of thing you're after.  Have a chat to the organizers of that project
> and see which charities are involved if any.  There are four projects in
> Bénin at the moment.
> Currently for Cotonou there is some Mapbox imagery not the greatest but I
> think you could squeeze a few more highways etc out of it.
> The HOT mailing list is probably the place to start and to be honest I
> thunk that is where the discussion should be taking place, but currently
> they're distracted by a couple of earthquakes.  I think the most effective
> mapping comes out of a mixture of local knowledge and armchair mapping
> where the map is blank.  Some of the charities are very well organised MSF
> for example have developed expertise in the optimum size of HOT project and
> complexity.  They also have tame validators and that seems to be key to
> getting a HOT project completed in a reasonable time frame.
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Tasking_Manager/Validating_data is
> worth reading through.
> The Treasury Board Canada might seem an unlikely source of assistance but
> they have been instrumental in creating a open data license that is
> acceptable to OSM and are working with at least one African country to use
> the same license.  I think Jo has been importing a large number of schools
> complete with names in one African country, it took a considerable amount
> of time to get the license sorted out.  I understand if you have enough
> mappers on the ground everything can get mapped but for quickness sometimes
> a few high quality imports that are carefully imported can have benefits.
> So if you can raise the cash fine but if you can get the imagery in other
> ways perhaps a few GPS units or a few smart phones for collecting POI data
> might be an acceptable way of spending the cash raised.  If your crowd
> funding doesn't quite raise enough cash then sometimes there are other ways
> to get the imagery.
> Cheerio John
> On 25 April 2016 at 18:26, nicolas chavent <nicolas.chavent at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> Wow! None of the folks from the Association OSM Bénin nor those from the
>> collective ProjetEOF who worked with the Benin mappers on this crowdfunding
>> for imagery on 275km2 of Cotonou would have expected that email traffic.
>> Great to see this talk on the talk list!
>> Great also to read that this talk may develop into future new creative
>> ways for Digital Globe and Map Box Satellite to assist OSM in Benin (many
>> places outside of Cotonou which is likely to be handled through this
>> crowdfunding) and in Western Africa (many places also) not to mention other
>> places of this earth. I am not sure Christoph, if Kevin and Mikel will meet
>> your criteria of 100% opendata imagery, surely this would be creative and
>> awesome.
>> A couple of points from my side, prior the mappers from Benin will talk
>> and share their perspectives on this topic and the reasons that lead them
>> to crowdfund for Cotonou and to bring this project to its end.
>> At reading this thread in my late evening, comes first the surprise, that
>> Simon puts up nicely, I am re-using his very words:
>> *I'm slightly taken back by the number of people wanting to jump in and
>> make decisions for a local community on a topic that has little bearing
>> outside of their region. Surely is must be their prerogative to decide how
>> best to get imagery for their area, if at all (I do suspect that they will
>> welcome alternative offers, but that is obviously up to them). Further I
>> don't quite follow Christoph's argument. There is very very little imagery
>> used in OSM that is available on open (data) terms. As long as the results
>> of tracing etc  are essentially unencumbered nobody seems to have had
>> issues with using non-free sources starting off with yahoo in 2007 and yes
>> we've paid with money and in other ways for imagery in many places.*
>> Frederik, field work is highly valued and practised in Benin and Western
>> Africa as reflected in mappers stats, lists, wiki, social media (Twitter
>> and Facebook) of mappers and local groups. The Benin guys as emailed have
>> been actively mapping via field survey and remote mapping in Benin and
>> Western Africa over the past 3 years. They have been active also in Cotonou
>> through this time, with their own means, voluntarily in a poor country.
>> They figured out that this situation had to change in Cotonou and got
>> organized. One thing, you can be positive about, is that access to high res
>> imagery over Cotonou will not kill their appetite for field work.
>> Christoph you are right. Yes, it would have been better to acquire an
>> imagery that could be fully distributed in opendata and not for tracing in
>> OSM only the way this work for Bing, MapBox, specific humanitarian contexts
>> (some Charter activations, the Imagery To The Crowd/ Map Give program of
>> the US State Department) but this was out of reach. Shall the Benin folks
>> have to keep surveying voluntarily the economic capital of their country
>> instead of making the current compromise which has many precedents in OSM?
>> Although the imagery is not fully served and distributed in opendata,
>> through the generating of OSM data over Cotonou, it will mark a
>> breakthrough for the local opendata movement by making the OSM base map of
>> the city available to all. Like in many other places, this eventually will
>> foster over time via a critical mass approach, the opening of geographical
>> information. This is in that sense that opendata is meant in the email,
>> blog post and project description in Ulule. Last, I agree with your idea
>> (seeking full opendata imagery) but think that in making it happening one
>> shall differentiate territories and contexts and that Cotonou, Benin is not
>> ideal.
>> John, Ulule does not charge 40%, the fees reasonably amount to 7 or 8%,
>> that's a notable difference.
>> John, Kevin and Mikel. Without commenting any further Simon first
>> paragraph. Technically, what you are proposing (*using the crowdfunding
>> money for other purposes*) may not even be possible or at least is not a
>> good practise (not to say more). This may result into back clashes and
>> distrust with the over 56 people who funded this project (*the purchase
>> of high resolution imagery over Cotonou for OSM Benin*) or a bad record
>> with Ulule. This can be negative for OSM Benin folks in the future shall
>> they decide to crowdfund again for a similar or a different need.
>> Kevin and Mikel, the @OSMBenin twitter account indicates that
>> - your offers to assist OSM Bénin on Cotonou with imagery on the behalf
>> of Digital Globe and Mapbox have been well heard.
>> - the imagery need over that part of Cotonou will be addressed via this
>> crowdfunding.
>> - OSM Benin is keen on submitting other Areas Of Interest (AOIs) in Benin
>> and in Western African in coordination with other Western African local OSM
>> groups, they indicate that they are working on a uMap with priority AOIs.
>> This could be a creative and positive development of this crowdfunding.
>> Last, John which charities have you in minds to come to Benin and do the
>> field work Kevin alluded to for the amount OSM Benin proposed to raise E
>> 2,2k and how do you see this relating to the work of those mappers from
>> Benin ?
>> Best,
>> Nicolas
>> On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 10:47 PM, Martin Koppenhoefer <
>> dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> sent from a phone
>>> > Il giorno 25 apr 2016, alle ore 20:41, Christoph Hormann <
>>> chris_hormann at gmx.de> ha scritto:
>>> >
>>> > what is most readily available and most convenient for them and there
>>> > is little incentive in providing alternatives just because they are
>>> > open if they don't provide significant advantages for practical use.
>>> regarding Bing aerial imagery, other imagery will likely be better
>>> referenced, at least this is my experience around here, even if the
>>> resolution of Bing might be higher.
>>> cheers,
>>> Martin
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> talk mailing list
>>> talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
>> --
>> Nicolas Chavent
>> Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
>> Projet Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
>> Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
>> Mobile (FRA): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
>> Mobile (CIV): +225 78 12 76 99
>> <nicolas.chavent at hotosm.org>
>> Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
>> Skype: c_nicolas
>> Twitter: nicolas_chavent
>> _______________________________________________
>> talk mailing list
>> talk at openstreetmap.org
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

Nicolas Chavent
Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
Projet Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
Mobile (FRA): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
Mobile (CIV): +225 78 12 76 99
<nicolas.chavent at hotosm.org>
Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent
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