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Code for Africa: Using Drones to Map Makoko, One of Africa's Largest Slums




Training women as drone pilots to map Makoko, one of Africa's largest slums, to improve service delivery for residents.

2019 Microgrant
Makoko is one of Africa’s largest slums, with a third of the community built on stilts in a lagoon off the Lagos mainland, where transport is by canoe. The rest of the settlement is on swampy land, with little sanitation and few public services. The community relies largely on fishing, and is estimated to be 300,000 people but both government and residents claim the figure is higher: no one knows, definitively, because the area appears as a near-blank space on maps, with little information about structures, density or even streets.

Since land mapping proves difficult in this area, Code for Africa (CfAfrica) will be using fixed-wing drones to photograph and algorithmically map the community, training 5-7 women as drone pilots. Land-based data collectors will then help annotate the aerial maps with key buildings and infrastructure, and how they are used. The resulting open geodata will for the first time give community leaders, residents, planners, and development agencies exact intel on everything from schools and clinics, to waters sources, sewers, roads, markets and homes in Makoko. CfAfrica will make the data available in community gathering points to help residents use it for better planning or campaigns.

CfAfrica will also proactively share the maps and data with emergency response and public health and service agencies in Lagos state to ensure they have the best available geo-data for planning interventions.

About the community
Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest federation of data journalism and civic technology laboratories, with labs and affiliates in 10+ countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Senegal. CfA manages key digital democracy resources such as the data portal and the election toolkit. CfA’s labs also incubate a series of trendsetting initiatives, including the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative in East Africa, the continental africanDRONEnetwork, and the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) that spearheaded Panama Papers probes across the continent.

Recent news from Code for Africa: Using Drones to Map Makoko, One of Africa's Largest Slums (View all news)

Mapping Makoko Using Drones and Canoes

A floating inner-city slum is in the process of being mapped to make a case for improved public services and land ownership.

Anton Marshall — 4 January, 2021