Mapathon staged for South Sudan
COMPUTING| May 2, 2011, 12:16 p.m.
South Sudan, about to become the world’
s newest country, is being mapped with the help of Google and the World Bank.
The World Bank reports that more than 60 members of the Southern Sudanese diaspora came together to help locate schools, hospitals, and other social infrastructure at a “ Mapathon” on South Sudan this week. Held at the World Bank’ s headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the US, the day-long event was jointly organized by Google and the World Bank. South Sudan is expected to become the world’ s newest country come July this year.
The event began with remarks from World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili, who talked about how today’ s technology can empower civil society, including the diaspora, to collaborate and support the development process. This is especially in places which face daunting development challenges, such as South Sudan. “ This is about shifting the center of gravity from organizations to people, and empowering them to solve their own problems and develop their own solutions using maps,” said Ezekwesili.
South Sudan is a large but severely under-mapped area, and without geospatial information on basic social infrastructure, it is challenging for the government, civil society, and development partners to visualize plans, see existing infrastructure, and select areas where they want to work and develop projects.
Having good maps of roads, settlements, buildings and other services will help key stakeholders to evaluate risks and current needs, and better target their efforts to support the development process. The World Bank Group has played an important role in Sudan’ s development since 2005, and is deepening its engagement in South Sudan as it prepares for independence.
“ Traditionally, you work with cartographic agencies to develop maps that take months or even years to publish. With innovations in geospatial tools and access to local knowledge and data gathered from people who know their communities best, maps can be created in real time that have real value, said Aleem Walji of the World Bank Institute.
The “ Mapathon” provided training for participants using Google’ s online mapping tool, Google Map Maker, and groups sat together to map the regions they know best. It is one of several events the Bank has organized with different private sector partners designed to showcase the growing importance of mapping for development.
Several hundred edits were made to the map of South Sudan in four hours by volunteers from the South Sudanese Diaspora, technology, and development worlds. As those edits are approved they will appear live in Google Maps.
The mapping exercise is a first step in tapping into the tacit knowledge that Southern Sudanese diaspora have on the region, and aims to build a community of practitioners that will remain engaged in South Sudan over time. “ South Sudan is so underdeveloped in many aspects, and technology is one of them. So by mapping South Sudan, this is a step in the right direction. It is also a useful way for the diaspora to connect with our people on the ground,” said Reec Akuak, a small business owner based in the United.States and Treasurer of the Southern Sudanese Community, an umbrella organization for the Southern Sudanese diaspora groups in the U.S.
MORE COMPUTING NEWS
Senegal looks to digital to enhance higher educationThe West African nation of Senegal is seeking the help of ICTs to boost its tertiary education, which it believes remains static due to the shortage of ‘physical’ institutions of higher learning. Read More
EMIS, MasterCard partnership on Angolan ATMsEmpresa Interbancária de Serviços (EMIS), operator of Angola’s only interbank network, and MasterCard have announced a landmark partnership that sees all ATMs in the country accept MasterCard debit, credit and prepaid cards. Read More
Congo Brazzaville IT wizard launches ICT bookCongo Brazzaville-born Vérone Mankou, the inventor of Africa’s first tablet and smartphone, launched his first book this week in the capital Brazzaville. Read More
Asset Finance: Purchase or Pay-Per-Use?There are three main financing options when it comes to acquiring new equipment, explains InnoVent. Read More
African Data Centre pricing increasing significantlyTCL forecasts that Data Centre space will grow to 107,000 square metres in Africa as of the beginning of 2015, and that average pricing is increasing across the continent. Read More
Moremi School launches own ICT HubMoremi III Memorial School in Maun has launched its own Information Communication Technology (ICT) hub aimed at improving the status of education at the school. Read More
BT announces new AMEA cloud servicesBT has announced new cloud services aimed at supporting the expansion plans of its customers in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa (AMEA). Read More
MWEB Business’ Top Technology Trends 2014 – 2015MWEB Business predicts the top local technology trends for the coming year. Read More
2014 EMC Forum to be staged in LagosThe 2014 edition of the annual EMC Forum themed ‘It’s Time To Redefine IT’ is set to be staged in Lagos on November 25, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island. Read More
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.
COMPANY NEWSLeading through volatility in Africa
For the businesses that are prepared to face the storm and manage the volatility afflicting the continent, there are still huge rewards to be had from doing business ...