Mapathon staged for South Sudan
COMPUTINGBy BiztechAfrica - 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
Ghana to benefit from Solar Powered Internet School projectGhana is soon to benefit from Samsung's Solar Powered Internet School project, which is taking ICTs to schools across Africa. Read More
Schneider Electric introduces Smart-UPS fifth generation range to Southern AfricaSchneider Electric has announced that two next-generation models of its Smart-UPS uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units are now available locally. Read More
PC & console games revenues declineGlobal revenues from PC and console games will decline from $46.5bn this year to $41bn by 2019, but will continue to account for over 50% of industry revenues, says new research. Read More
How the cloud can power entrepreneurship and urbanisation in AfricaCloud computing is not only fundamentally changing the way business operates, it is also driving a new wave of job creation opportunities, says SAP Africa. Read More
First Pan-African Women in Tech virtual meetup in AugustThe first ever pan-African Women in Tech meet up will take place as a virtual event in August, supported by simultaneous live viewing events in Uganda, South Africa and Ghana. Read More
Schneider Electric announces winners of Go Green in the City 2014Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has announced the winner among the 24 finalists in its global business case challenge, Go Green in the City. Read More
VMware named a leader in 2014 Magic Quadrant for x86 server virtualization infrastructureVMware is positioned in the Leaders Quadrant of Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure for the fifth year in a row. Read More
Acer announces management change in EMEAAcer has announced that Luca Rossi will be appointed president for Acer Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Read More
MEA external storage market: the slump before the surgeThe Middle East and Africa external storage market may have suffered a marginal 2% year-on-year decline in revenue during the first quarter of 2014, but the downturn can be attributed to an annual quirk in the market, says IDC. Read More
Togo anxiously awaits locally-made laptops, smartphonesStudents, office employees and business people in the West African nation of Togo are anxiously waiting for the first batch of locally-manufactured IT equipment to hit the market. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.
COMPANY NEWSSchneider Electric introduces Smart-UPS fifth generation range to Southern Africa
Schneider Electric has announced that two next-generation models of its Smart-UPS uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units are now available locally.