Mapping cities and creating data is a critical process for urban planning and development, and it is important for African cities to have access to accurate and up-to-date data. Here are some steps that African cities can take to learn how to map cities and create their own data:
Collaborate with local universities and research institutions: African cities can collaborate with local universities and research institutions to build local capacity for mapping and data collection. These institutions often have experts in GIS and other mapping technologies who can provide training and support.
Use open source mapping software: There are a variety of open source mapping software tools available that African cities can use to create their own data. Tools like OpenStreetMap, GeoServer, and QGIS are all open source and available for free.
Participate in global mapping initiatives: African cities can participate in global mapping initiatives like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, which uses crowdsourcing to map areas affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Participating in these initiatives can help build local mapping capacity and create new data.
Use mobile data collection tools: Mobile data collection tools like Open Data Kit (ODK) and KoBo Toolbox can be used to collect data in the field using smartphones and other mobile devices. These tools are often used for data collection in developing countries and can be used to collect a variety of data, including location-based data.
Collaborate with other cities and share data: African cities can collaborate with other cities and share data to build a more comprehensive understanding of urban areas. Collaboration can take many forms, from sharing data through open data portals to partnering on joint research initiatives.
By taking these steps, African cities can learn to map their cities and create their own data, which can be used to inform urban planning and development decisions. The availability of accurate and up-to-date data is critical for effective decision making, and building local capacity for mapping and data collection can help African cities address the unique challenges they face.