Mapper of the Month: Constantine Tumwine (Tanzania)
01.09.2021 - Pierre Parmentier
Hello Constantine. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Yes, Well, I’m currently Volunteering at Tanzania Development Trust (TDT) on a crowdmapping project of rural Tanzania in OpenStreetMap and I am mapping rural Tanzania into OpenStreetMap via a remote mapping using satellite imagery. The reason I chose to go for this job is that I saw a call for volunteers on United Nations Volunteers (UNV) portal and I thought I would be able to help add schools, hospitals, roads, buildings and villages to OpenStreetMap so that communities can better navigate, plan their development and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to help activists better protect girls from Female genital mutilation (FGM). One of my key accomplishments in my current role has been helping Tanzania Development Trust achieve their target within a short period of time. I have so far managed to map over 3 193 buildings and over 87 kilometres of roads in the short time I have been mapping.
How and when did you get to know OpenStreetMap?
I got to know OpenStreetMap though Tanzania Development Trust where I started volunteering in May 2021 using Crowd2Map Tanzania to map rural Tanzania into OpenStreetMap. The Tanzania Development Trust is a registered UK charity (charity number 270462) that has funded development projects within Tanzania since 1975. They empower the poorest communities in Tanzania on a village-level. They are all volunteers and pair local Tanzanian representatives with UK-based project officers to support rural development and transform lives through various projects. Tanzania Development Trust has been working with grassroots organizations in the poorest areas of Tanzania for 40 years. TDT was founded as a Charitable Trust by the Britain Tanzania Society (BTS). BTS remains their parent body and pays the small administrative costs of TDT. The people who run TDT and BTS are all volunteers who know the country well. No salaries are paid. Project requests come from Tanzania via their website, from visits, by word of mouth, through the BTS branch in Dar-es-Salaam or from NGOs in the United Kingdom. They have built a safe house for girls refusing FGM and supported over 100 projects including bore holes for villages without water, school resources and solar panels for dispensaries.
How do you use OpenStreetMap?
I have been using Crowd2Map Tanzania to map buildings, roads and points in rural Tanzania into OpenStreetMap to help community development in Tanzania. Crowd2Map Tanzania is an entirely volunteer crowdsourced mapping project putting rural Tanzania on the map. Since 2015, they have been adding schools, hospitals, roads, buildings and villages to OpenStreetMap with the help of volunteers worldwide and on the ground in Tanzania. They do this so that communities can better navigate, plan their development and progress towards the SDGs, and to help activists better protect girls from FGM.
What kind of contributor are you and in which area do you map?
I am a volunteering Casual Mapper working with Tanzania Development Trust, a nonprofit organisation operating in the United Republic of Tanzania and I map the same area. Crowd2Map Tanzania has been mapping rural Tanzania into OpenStreetMap since October 2015. They have trained over 16 000 remote mappers from all over the world to map from satellite images and over 3 000 field mappers to add their local knowledge to these base maps, mostly using the free smartphone app Maps. Having better maps is vital in the fight against FGM and to help community development and am proud to be part of this fight against FGM by mapping.
What are you mapping? Do you have a specialization?
I have been mapping both roads and buildings and I do not have a specialization yet.
What is your greatest achievement as mapper?
Mapping has allowed me to further develop my knowledge competencies and skills.
Why are you mapping? What motivates you?
Having better maps is vital in the fight against FGM and to help community development.
Do you have any ideas to expand the OpenStreetMap community, to motivate more people to contribute?
Yes, I have so for trained over 16 remote mappers from Uganda to map from satellite images and over 10 field mappers to add their local knowledge to these base maps in Tanzania and I will continue doing so.
Do you have contact with other mappers?
Yes, I have contacts with some mappers.
What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?
One of OpenStreetMap’s greatest strength is that it doesn’t just give you a beautiful draggable map. It gives you the data, so you can do what you like with it. With an Export tab joining View and Edit at the top of the screen. It gives you an instant way to get the map data in a format you want.
What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?
In my own experience I think the challenge that I have faced with OpenStreetMap is that some imageries are not clear and this makes it difficult for one to make better maps.
How do you stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?
Be known for reliability. The definition of reliable is to be consistently good in quality or performance and able to be trusted. You don’t need a detailed explanation as to how having your own name associated with this kind of statement will benefit your reputation and career
To conclude, is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Respect your own time. Anyone who has ever lost valuable time finger-skipping around Facebook or responding to an overwhelming number of emails knows there is a big difference between being active and being effective. Productivity is the backbone of success and its kryptonite is burnout which, studies have shown, leads to far more than a just a bad day!
Thank you, Constantine, for this interview.