World Bank, Google, collaborate on maps
INTERNET| Jan. 17, 2012, 6:57 p.m.
The World Bank and Google announced an agreement aimed at improving the ability of developing countries to access a web-based community mapping tool and data to help better monitor public services, and improve disaster and humanitarian response efforts.
In a statement, World Bank said most developing countries do not have basic local data about where schools, hospitals, or water points are located, and the data they do have is often out of date or incorrect. One way to collect this information is to ask citizens directly, and crowdsource the locations of public infrastructure.
Under this agreement, Google will provide the World Bank and its partner organizations - including governments and UN agencies - with access to Google Map Maker underlying geospatial data that includes detailed maps of more than 150 countries.
Through this tool, citizens are able to directly participate in the creation of maps by contributing their local knowledge, and those additions are then reflected on Google Maps and Google Earth. These maps include locations like schools, hospitals, roads and water points that are critical for relief workers to know about in times of crisis, and will help NGOs, researchers, and individual citizens to more effectively identify areas that might be in need of assistance.
Crowdsourced mapping platforms have the potential to move beyond mapping individual projects, as in the World Bank Mapping for Results Initiative, which has mapped 2,500 projects in more than 30,000 geographic locations in all 143 partner countries. By combining the locations of all social infrastructure and citizens’ feedback, all development partners could better track the contribution they are making towards improving local public services and disaster preparedness in developing countries.
“A global community of Google users have been volunteering their time to improve maps, making them more comprehensive and ensuring that they remain accurate as the world around them changes. This is particularly important in vulnerable locations and for disaster preparedness and recovery as it helps citizens and governments to better prepare emergency response plans and act effectively when a crisis hits," said Shona Brown, Senior Vice President, Google.org.
This agreement also builds on previous joint mapping efforts. In April 2011, more than 60 members of the Southern Sudanese Diaspora joined a joint event to help map schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure in this new country.
“The remarkable success of the South Sudan ‘Mapathon,’ and our new collaboration with Google Map Maker represents an unprecedented opportunity to harness one of the most sophisticated mapping technologies. Being able to crowdsource data of schools and hospitals will create both transparency and accountability for citizens,” said Sanjay Pradhan, Vice-President of the World Bank Institute.
Initial World Bank country offices that plan to pilot the Map Maker agreement include Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, Moldova, Mozambique, Nepal, and Haiti. These countries are where governments have a strong interest in supporting the use of technology and data for decision-making and community monitoring, and in encouraging projects that support government and citizen engagement in geospatial mapping.
MORE INTERNET NEWS
PWC: Internet to generate most media spend across AfricaIncreased Internet access will generate more consumer spend than any other media product or service in the next five years in the South African entertainment and media industry, according to a report issued by PwC. Read More
Telecom Namibia launches 120Mbps FTTP high-speed broadbandTelecom Namibia has launched new unlimited high speed broadband service with speeds up to 120Mbps in certain parts of the country. Read More
DRC: 80 million people, few ISPsWith only around 20 ISPs operating in DRC, users report a lack of competition and high prices. Read More
Schoolboy named SA’s Social Media Star of 2014.Schoolboy Nadav Ossendryver, who founded the Kruger Sightings website when he was just 15, has been awarded for building his wildlife sightings service into the most viewed YouTube channel based in South Africa. Read More
Pamoja, Symantec unite on African cloud ecosystemPamoja, a leading cloud services company and aggregator for Symantec’s cloud range of security services, will, together with Symantec, host a partner information session in Nairobi, Kenya to launch their cloud services. Read More
1bn minutes through Nigerian interconnect exchange carriersWorld Telecom Labs (WTL) today announced that more than 1 billion minutes have passed through its specialist 2nd generation VoIP switches deployed by five of Nigeria’s interconnect exchange carriers. Read More
SEACOM introduces NAPAfrica Remote Peering serviceSEACOM has launched a NAPAfrica Remote Peering service that enables NAPAfrica members connected to at least one NAPAfrica exchange point to easily peer with all NAPAfrica exchange point members, across SEACOM’s South African IP/MPLS backbone. Read More
Scribes seek freedom in cyberspaceJournalists from the Southern African bloc were in Botswana for deliberations on the findings of an earlier survey on “Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace.” Read More
Demystifying LTEWhat is LTE really, how does it benefit the consumer and is there a downside to this technology? DCC explains. Read More
FEATURED STORYMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers
Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNIG President speaks his mind
Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.
COMPANY NEWSSAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct business
SAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels ...