Using OpenStreetMap Data to Support Emergency Ambulance Response Service and Mapping of COVID-19 Amenities in Northeast Nigeria (by Humanitarian Mappers)
The lake Chad region (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun, and Niger) has witnessed insurgency attacks since 2013, which have greatly impacted the people of the region, especially children and women. Currently, the BAY (Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe) states are the most affected. Because of the already degenerated socio-economic and health conditions of internally displaced persons in north-eastern Nigeria, it is crucial to deploy sustainable solutions that mitigate their insecurity, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We are addressing this challenge through the use of collaborative mapping using the OpenStreetMap platform. We train community members to identify and map their communities and infrastructure, especially places related to health, emergency services, and displacement, such as roads, health facilities, isolation centers, safe spaces, etc. This data will be utilized by the community and institutions to respond to their needs. For instance, the state COVID-19 taskforce is managing cases and referrals through the efficient utilization of the OSMAnd navigation app by ambulance drivers while transporting patients.
In order to ensure sustainability and ownership of this project, we identified and met with the Albaraka health spring foundation (AHSF) and the COVID-19 task force team, the former being our local implementing partners and the latter being the Government response team for COVID-19. Over 30 community mappers have been trained in the use and benefit of OpenStreetMap, while five field officers have been trained in data collection, and seven drivers trained in the use of OSMAnd for navigation and mapping.
Over 2,000 buildings, 950 km of roads, 1,000 health facilities, 1,264 amenities (IDP camps, schools, banks, etc.), COVID-19 infrastructures (point of entries, testing centers, etc.) were digitized. A youth mapper association was created within the University of Maiduguri, and one at Ramat Polytechnic is in the pipeline.
We are looking forward to an ongoing, biweekly mapping session with the community mappers, which will also teach other skills such as GIS, project management, and communication. We are targeting students, and this skill set will help them in school and after graduation. We have learned that it is possible when the community and government are involved and partnered with to have a continuous engagement process with the stakeholders because the process is always fluid.
In the words of Dr. Ibrahim Kida, COVID19 Taskform Team, Incident Manager, Emergency Operation:
There are so many infectious diseases that require an emergency response, which includes Hepatitis, HIV, and Cholera, and Covid-19 is one of the most threatening infectious diseases in the world. Road accidents and bomb explosions are not exceptional.
To continue this work with the help of the commissioner of health, Humanitarian Mappers will be working in collaboration with the Borno state government to enhance ambulance emergency response by training the drivers in how to use OpenStreetMap, which will help them get to where they are needed on time.
Update: Humanitarian Mappers is still holding their monthly meetup, which focuses on not just OpenStreetMap, but also capacity building in data collection, GIS, cartography, and more.
Supporting Covid-19 Response in Mongolia via Community Mapping (by Public Lab Mongolia)
This post has been cross-posted from HOT News.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a diverse group of individuals representing the 21 provinces of Mongolia came together to support the Covid-19 response in Mongolia, organized by Public Lab Mongolia (PLM), a local non-governmental organization. PLM’s long-term, core program, Mapathon, brought together individuals to map health and essential services in their own communities to contribute to Mongolia’s effort in managing the pandemic as part of the “Covid-19 Community Mappers Program.”
PLM’s Mapathon program is intended to promote a culture of open-data, raise awareness and build capacity for geodata creation and use, and support data-based decision-making. Mapathon is unique in that anyone can actively participate as a contributor to open-source data creation.
By crowd-sourcing data using open-source technology, PLM hopes to make data accessible to key stakeholders such as civil society, local government agencies, researchers, and reporters.
As local community mappers, the 21 program participants learned how to use and make data contributions to OpenStreetMap through hands-on training by PLM. The community mappers then mapped all the health and essential services in the 21 provinces and 330 soums (counties) of the country. The data mapped included a total of 1,651 health services, 595 water kiosks, 2,065 grocery stores, 970km of highway, and 27,077 other services such as public bathhouses, petrol stations, schools & kindergarten, banks & ATMs, bus, taxi, and train stations.
The Covid-19 Community Mappers Program made a tangible, community-driven contribution to supporting the country’s pandemic response. OpenStreetMap serves as one of the key sources of available geodata in the country for key national agencies managing the pandemic response. Also, the data will remain open to all, continuing to serve many other positive local developments such as delivery services, tourism, and service planning and provisioning.
The rural community mappers from the 21 provinces highlighted the positive impact they were able to make in their own communities. As one of the community mappers said, “I plan on continuing to work on my province until [it is] completely mapped, and I think of it as my personal contribution to my province.” The program also brought people together; as another community mapper said, “I think we all realized and saw [that] the possibilities of working as a team on something important, even remotely, are boundless.”
PLM believes that this program of rural community mappers has been an exemplary case on how to foster civic engagement and enable everyday citizens to become leaders in their own communities through open access resources. As another mapper stated, “This program has been not only very productive for society, but also a great opportunity for personal and professional development.” Civic engagement in open geodata creation and use can be a powerful and engaging way for data-based, community-driven advocacy to improve lives and support democratic and informed community development.
Update: PLM is planning to organize a YouthMappers 2021 program with local universities and government organizations across Mongolia, training a generation of citizens and decision-makers who will be versed in creating and using geodata.