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

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 23:20:17 UTC 2016

>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.

Yours was a long post and I won’t go into detail on each point but these
are the major ones:

I have no issue with someone spending their own money on imagery.  I think
there are better ways to do this but I have no concerns about them spending
their own money but this group which includes members from Benin Red Cross
have made a request for funds with an invitation to donate money to a crowd
sourcing institution and that changes things.

If I donate $60 to this institution then we first take off the exchange
rate of say 5% then the 7-8% that the crowd sourcing institution takes.  So
they receive around $50 in the field.  OSM maps are used for many many
different purposes some add economic value, some where do people live so we
can give them polio vaccines.  Polio is an issue in Cameroon which isn’t
that far away.  Meningitis is an issue in Togo the country next door.
Benin Red Cross will almost certainly be making use of these maps.  My $60
donation to the Red Cross gives closer to $100 in the field.  Moving larger
sums of money makes it worthwhile to seek out better rates.  Normally the
Red Cross is very effective at negotiating extremely favourable rates for
satellite imagery, which stretches the dollars even more.  If you’re asking
me to donate money then I do have legitimate concerns that is stretched as
far as possible at the lowest cost to myself.

In Africa we desperately lack people on the ground.  The French speaking
areas especially.  I’ve done a fair amount of mapping in Cameroon both HOT
and straight OSM and its rare we see a street name there and as for a
coffee shops these are exceptionally rare as well. We are also desperately
short of mappers.  In Cameroon we have some very good imagery but the HOT
projects are nowhere near complete.  Africa in general isn’t well mapped.
The problems are more chronic so don’t get the attention of an earthquake
but there is a very real need and the charities are operating there and
imagery is being released in support of them.  In the ideal world much of
this work would be done by governments but whilst in Europe governments tax
and spend  40% of GDP in Africa it is much lower.

HOT I agree isn’t perfect but it does have a couple of good points. The
first is the tile system, OSM Canada now has one set up for Canada.  The
second is the concept of validation or checking over the work.  You can
point new mappers in the right direction without having an instructor
physically present.  I work fairly closely with a mapper in the Philippines
and another in Wales and they’ve both developed into quite strong mappers.
I pulled in part of Cotonou and JOSM validation found a few errors and a
number of warnings such as roads almost meeting or crossing without a
node.  So using the tile system would help improve the quality of the map
locally.  Having Francophones available to validate and give feedback to
other mappers would help raise standards and educate them and that’s the
desperate need in French speaking Africa.

OSM operates differently in different parts of the world.  In many ways
it’s a map and in many ways its an eco-system.  JOSM for example was
developed in Germany but its used in all parts of the world.  In many parts
of Europe there are enough mappers to cycle round and map everything in
sight.  In Canada we have fewer mappers per inch of highway and winter
weather which is generally considered unfavourable for cycling so we’ve
imported a lot of CANVEC data very successfully.  We still map coffee,
cycle repair shops and wifi access points but in getting the basic road
framework in especially in remote areas we’ve leveraged other sources.  For
Africa I’m suggesting the same sort of thing.  This is a pragmatic approach
get someone else to do some of the remote mapping.  I’m quite sure that
there are programmers who could build their own version of  JOSM, mine
would be in C++, but we leverage the work of others.  I’d hate to debug a
new editor by the way.

I’m very much aware that OSM is made up of many different points of view
and this is one of them.

My hope is that we can leverage the OSM expertise in Benin across the rest
of French speaking Africa that they can do much better than an English
speaking armchair mapper and we can rough fill the Benin map of the world
using English speaking armchair mappers.  Remember though that many mappers
like to support “their” charity so having a Charity brand name attached on
it isn’t that bad.

Surely we aren’t at the stage where charities are seen as the darker side
of life.  I think in the 1930's in the UK this was so and many liked to be
independent rather than accept charity.  Hopefully today we can see them a
little more positively.

Cheerio John

On 26 April 2016 at 19:02, Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org> wrote:

> Hi Martin,
> I said South, not Southern Hemisphere.
> More, I said it as a way to make a distinction between "overdeveloped"
> countries and countries which deserve a proper development effort,
> following in this a common use in hum/dev.
> Regards,
> Rod
> On 27/04/16 00:37, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
> >
> >
> > sent from a phone
> >
> >> Il giorno 26 apr 2016, alle ore 22:16, Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org> ha
> scritto:
> >>
> >> 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.
> >
> >
> > on a side note, and not to dissent with your argument in general,
> Cotonou is still on the northern hemisphere ;-)
> >
> > cheers,
> > Martin
> >
> _______________________________________________
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