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Shack Dwellers Federation Namibia: Guardians of the Map: Growing a community of OSM Mappers




Facebook Community Impact Microgrant

In Namibia, 40 percent of the urban population lives in informal settlements, with limited access to individual water connections, toilets, tenure security, and electricity. The increase in informal settlements is caused by slow land delivery by local authorities, many of whom are struggling to deal with the effects of urbanization. The spatial data required for planning and upgrading informal settlements is expensive to generate, which is often collected in silos, by the various actors involved in planning.

The consequences of this piecemeal data availability result in planners planning ‘over’ people. In addition, communities are frustrated by continued exclusion from mainstream planning, and limited efforts and strategies for long-term sustainable and equitable planning of human settlements in the country. Updating the data on OSM will be spearheaded by The Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG), in partnership with Namibia University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) departments from the Faculty of Natural Resources and Spatial Sciences. The Tobler Society YouthMappers Chapter at the University of Chicago, will evaluate and identify the gaps in the existing available OpenStreetMap data for Windhoek. The team will map all building footprints in formal and informal settlements in Windhoek, as well as streets, roads, rivers, and available basic community services such as water taps and sanitation/ablution facilities within informal settlements. The project aims to improve locally available data in OpenStreetMap to support data access for stakeholders working in urban planning and land administration.