Strengthening Collaboration between Organizations and Local Communities in West Africa Through the OSMer in Residence Program

Room: Auditorium 2

Friday, 17:30
Duration: 20 minutes (plus Q&A)


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  • Jorieke Vyncke
  • Yves Emmanuel NIKOYO EMOUGOU

Improving the map in OpenStreetMap involves data availability and reliability. Through the operations in which they are involved, organizations have a vast amount of data at their disposal, much of which is confidential and goes against the spirit of Open Data, which is all about sharing. This session will show how the OSMer in Residence program has fostered this paradigm shift through collaboration between HOT’s Western and Northern Africa Hub and Médeçins Sans Frontières


The shared vision of creating a detailed, accessible, and community-driven map of the world continues to drive the open mapping movement. Increasingly, organizations across diverse sectors are recognizing the value of open data and its potential impact on societal development. Several organizations have made a commitment to open up their data and actively contribute to OpenStreetMap (OSM). However, as OSM is an open-source community project, decisions and action are guided by community consensus. For any organization seeking to integrate its data into this platform, obtaining local community support is essential. The OSMer in Residence program serves as a crucial link between these organizations and the dynamic OSM community in Africa. Based on the concept of the Wikipedian in Residence, the OSMer in Residence program is designed to embed an OSM subject matter expert in a host organization or institution to maximize the value for the host organization in terms of their ability to leverage OpenStreetMap as a database that supports improved humanitarian and development outcomes in accordance with OSM community norms. In its pilot phase, Open Mapping - West and Northern Africa Hub(WNAH) collaboratedwith Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), a humanitarian organization that provides emergency relief to some of the most vulnerable and excluded communities around the world, with data and maps being of high importance to supporting their operations. This pilot phase has led to workflow proposals facilitating the integration of an organization’s data into OpenStreetMap by involving the local community where the data was collected. Data confidentiality and organized editing in OpenStreetMap will be addressed during this session.