VOLUNTEER GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION IN AFRICA
Keywords: Volunteer Geographic Information, VGI, Crowd sourcing, Community Mapping, Africa
Abstract. During the past few years much effort has been put into developing community-based methods to capture and analyze a large amount of data in a systematic manner. This new source of geo-referenced data could be very important throughout Africa where crowd sourcing activities or volunteered geographic information (VGI) enhance participation and decision making based on local knowledge. VGI has the potential to be a significant source of information for a variety of applications. It will especially help national mapping authorities to build and update their national geospatial datasets, and improve the availability and currency of the countries fundamental and thematic datasets. Governments therefore need to take proactive measures to develop strategies maximizing on the opportunity in the current technological development. This calls out the need to developing strategic guidance on how to strengthen the communities’ participation in data collection.
The United Nations Economic commission for Africa developed a document on the best practices and principles for adopting community mapping and VGI in the mapping practices in Africa. An expert group meeting is held to gather experts in the field to discuss on the issues, review best practices and current status on citizen participation in community mapping and to develop a roadmap for the adoption of the technology and agree on the guiding principles. The outcome of the meeting resulted in the framing of guiding principles for community mapping which is published in 2017.
This paper therefore provides overview of VGI in Africa and the efforts made to date.