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Volunteers Crowd Source a Map to Improve Urban Life in Nigeria's Capital City

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 29 2013

A weeklong mapping initiative that kicked off last Saturday in the Nigerian capital of Abuja aims to crowdsource accurate, up-to-date information about the city’s amenities and public facilities. With a group of over 100 volunteers dispatched throughout the city, the “map-up” aims to improve the Google map of Abuja – a goal that could provide transparency for foreign investors and tourists, as well as for citizens seeking out resources at home.

Working with Map Maker — the same Google platform volunteers used to create the recently unveiled map of North Korea – collaborators in Abuja are marking hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and places of commerce. Many of them are covering the neighborhoods they already know intimately, putting inside knowledge to work to highlight local landmarks. It’s not just about finding a good lunch spot: filling in the gaps on Abuja’s streets could actually be a boon to emergency response in a city where incomplete roadmaps often stymie ambulances.

Organizers told the Voice of America that the ultimate goal is to bring mapping improvements to cities across Nigeria. A planned city that was officially named the capital in the early 1990s, Abuja is a more manageable testing ground than Lagos, Nigeria’s twice-as-populous former capital. If this initiative proves a success, it could bring transparent navigation to millions of Nigerians and visitors to the country.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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