Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Nigerian Volunteers Google Map their Capital, Despite Some Local Skepticism

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 15 2013

Abuja, Nigeria on Google Maps.

Reports have been coming in from the Google Map Maker initiative that was held in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja late last month, with Nigerians celebrating the project’s potential to improve commerce, navigability, and even public safety.  One of the map-up’s organizers wrote a blog post last week, collecting impressions from volunteers and Abuja citizens:

The participants were grouped into different teams, armed with printed satellite imagery of areas they are familiar with. While they move from one street to another, they tag each building on the imageries, inserted and adjusted roads, which they were able to upload on their various laptops when they get back to their convergence where wireless internet is been provided. This was the routine for four days!

“It was fun mapping my area, I enjoyed it” said the 18 year-old Python Programmer, Prince Robert Chetachukwu, a secondary school student... “I never knew my business can be open to the world online for free, please let me know when goes live – you are making history,” said an excited Mr. Jude, owner of Newton Parks and Resorts at Wuse Zone 4. 

GlobalPost noted that some populations in the Nigerian capital reacted to the volunteer army with discomfort.  A planned city, much of Abuja is still being built, often when residential already traditionally by villagers are torn down by the government; some thought the volunteers were surveyors.  Police forces, who are often the targets of criminal attacks, were also skeptical of the unusual presence on the streets – though once the mapmakers explained themselves, the project continued smoothly. 


Nigerian activists map Abuja in this report for VOA News.

Organizers say these efforts will add thousands of new locations to the digital map of Abuja, with a second event planned for early March. 

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

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

GO

thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

More