[OSM-talk] Crowdfunding for OpenStreetMap in Bénin : 275km² high resolution satellite imagery for Cotonou

Rod Bera rod at goarem.org
Tue Apr 26 20:16:48 UTC 2016

Hi John,

You seem not to imagine for a second people in the South can take
initiatives and do things by themselves, without resorting to a charity
from the North.

We agree charities can be effective (e.g. when there is a quake or
typhoon) by making possible a quick release of imagery.
Then only the real mapping work begins, by a reliable task force of OSM
mappers, maybe with HOT to organise things a bit.
However, such dramatic events happen in and around Cotonou too (esp.
floods), but seemingly not with enough casualties to hit the headlines.
Or to get proper imagery.

Besides, people in Cotonou and other areas of Benin have been waiting
for a while for decent maps, and OSM Bénin has worked a lot in an
adverse context (power and network outages, sometimes GPS, often field
papers with no workable base map, etc.)

As long as they were mapping in dire conditions, they seemed to attract
no attention from those imagery providers.

Now their initiative is having some success, imagery providers pop in.
Fair enough, and welcome, there are many more areas with no decent
imagery. And OSM Benin are keen to issue a list of other
imagery-deprived areas in Benin... and elsewhere.

You seem to argue resorting to charities and well established imagery
providers is better than doing thing oneself.
With such views OSM would simply not exist, we would still be relying on
mapping agencies, and there would have been no worldwide open alternative.

This argumentation "why would you do things by yourselves? we can give
you better" is a bit patronising and at the opposite of the OSM spirit.
Again, with such an ethos there would be no OSM project (back in 2004
and for several years after "well, mapping agencies are doing tremendous
work, after all, why sould we work on an alternative?" was a common answer)

This argumentation reminds me of the recent "go and buy yourselves
petrol for your bikes instead, and leave us the imagery stuff" (Mikel, I
know it's not an exact quotation, and that by the way you didn't want to
be insulting, but try and imagine how the fellow mappers in Benin can
take this).

Of course we are happy to see people "do better", but we are proud to
have communities who can cope without having to flatter those dominant
organisations, which by the way are useful as long as they don't want to
impose their views and practices in an exclusive way.

And more importantly there is room for everyone in OSM.

On cost effectiveness, granted (if you live in a country where tax
rebates of the kind apply, and if the charity you whish to donate to is
properly registered by the gov. of the country you live in... Common in
N. America and Europe, but don't assume this is the case everywhere).

However this $45 difference you're claiming is the cost of independence.
Yes, there are people who value independence this much.
There are people who feel better off if they don't have this impression
they owe something to an organisation (and a country, per their tax

OSM can and does accommodate various practices, and this is fine. Let's
respect this diversity. Let's respect local OSM communities and chapters.

And let's not replay in OSM what many of us had to endure (and still
endure) for years in HOT.



PS: Below the answer to Mikel's comment on Ulule. As his offer was
broadcasted on twitter and elsewhere my answer (on behalf of OSM Benin)
I think this should be too.

Hi Mikel, and thank you for your offer.

however, rearding your suggestions to use the funds differently:
- OSM Benin (like OSM Mali, OSM Senegal, OSM Togo, OSM Burkina Faso, OSM
Niger...) has already been organising mapping parties for a while
without having to turn to crowd-funding.
And OSM Benin, together with other West-African OSM communities intend
to carry on this way as much as possible.
- Donors so far have contributed for us to get imagery, not fuel. They'd
probably not understand such a change.

Now if Mapbox can update imagery this easily there are so many other
areas which need proper imagery in Benin alone.
Maybe Mapbox and you can better help by providing high resolution open
imagery for other areas such as
- Grand-Popo, West and South,
- Houéyogbé,
- Athiémé-Lokossa, East,
- Dogbo, SE,
- Toucountouna,
- Allada,
- Tori-Bossito,
- Zogbodomey, W,
- Za-Kpota,
- Paougnan,
- Dassa-Zoumè,
- Djabata,
- Ketou, E,
- Pobè,
- Adja-Ouèrè,
- Sakété, E,
- Bamounin, S,
- Tobré, NE,
- Kérou, E,
- Nassoukou,
- Nioro, E...
For a better account of imagery-deprived areas, You may have a look at
Bing maps, and play a bit with zoom levels. Of course if this helps we
can work on providing you with a corresponding geojson file.

Please let us know if you'd like to contribute this way,

Rod on behalf of OSM Bénin

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