Mapper of the Month: lusdavo (Uganda)
01.01.2023 - Pierre Parmentier
- Hello David. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
- I am 35 years old, married and a father of four children. I live in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
- How and when did you get to know OpenStreetMap?
- In 2014 while working with Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), a group of contributors came to speak about OpenStreetMap to UBOS’s Division of GIS, and to ask for some datasets that the institution maintained for addition to OpenStreetMap.
- How do you use OpenStreetMap?
- I use OpenStreetMap based apps for navigation whenever I move in a place am not familiar with. Every week, I have the privilege of speaking to various organisations and agencies, and I point them to OpenStreetMap, either for them to contribute to or to use OpenStreetMap data in their work. I make a number of information products and I always look to OpenStreetMap as a data source and a base map in developing static or dynamic map products. So in that sense, I use OpenStreetMap in my work.
- What kind of contributor are you and in which area do you map?
- I mostly map in Africa. I am a regular contrubutor, mapping usually to support emergency response. I think a lot about OpenStreetMap as a tool for advancing development, and do enjoy mapping to put places on the map, especially in the remote parts of our world.
- What are you mapping? Do you have a specialisation?
- When you think of development and emergency response, the first step is knowing where people live and how they get there. This constitutes most of my mapping work. The next stage though is deriving insights from mapped data. This stage still has a lot yet to be done, and I consider it to be the next holy grail for the OpenStreetMap community.
- What is your greatest achievement as mapper?
- I consider my greatest achievement to be a builder and supporter of mappers. I have been involved in setting up, advising and building many OpenStreetMap communities across Africa, including our OpenStreetMap Africa Network. On top of my mapping contributions across the continent, supporting mappers helps us accelerate the speed of our movement building.
- Why are you mapping? What motivates you?
- I’ve always enjoyed geography and maps from my childhood. I am driven by a sense of responsibility to make our world a better place for all of us. I view mapping as a way of serving humanity, helping those facing emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, the hurricanes in the Americas, typhoons in the South Pacific region or for development purposes such as service delivery.
- Do you have any ideas to expand the OpenStreetMap community, to motivate more people to contribute?
- I find that far too many people do not yet know about OpenStreetMap. Our global community is growing, but we still have a lot of ground to cover. I think OpenStreetMap Foundation and national OpenStreetMap communities need to double down on their commitment to getting the word out, especially about the availity of downloadable OpenStreetMap data and amplifying different usecase of OpenStreetMap. Maybe a repository of usecases of OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap data is the missing link at the moment, including how corporate companies use OpenStreetMap.
- Do you have contact with other mappers?
- I am a member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, part of the OpenStreetMap Africa Network, and a board member of our OpenStreetMap Uganda community. I am also part of several forums for national OpenStreetMap communities in Africa.
- What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?
- A diverse global and open community of contributors. The bigger our community grows, the faster and better we map our world.
- What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?
- A lot of times the toxicity of our global community is uncalled for, and does a lot to discourage many voices and growth of the movement at a pace that benefits us all. As a global community, we still need to do more to get representation of all regions of our world to the happenings of the global OpenStreetMap community. When you look at for instance where State of the Map conferences have been held, or OpenStreetMap Local Chapters accepted, or OpenStreetMap Foundation board members are from, we just still need to do better and collectively acknowledge the need, and ensure representation, of all regions.
- How to do stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?
- I am part of several mailing lists, which is where most of the global OpenStreetMap community conversations happen. Also part of OpenStreetMap Africa WhatsApp and Telegram forums. I look to Twitter to catch up on some of the latest news as well.
- To conclude, is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
- OpenStreetMap is viewed increasingly in many circles as a trusted and beneficial source of data. Let’s continue promoting our work and get it perhaps in the academia, civil society and government.
Thank you, David, for this interview.