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News — 31 December, 2010

Ivory Coast post electoral crisis

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) activated as political tension increased dramatically in Ivory Coast in the aftermath of the presidential election this late December 2010.  The risk of seeing the post electoral dispute escalating in a major political crisis is real.

As we know, maps can help with the relief efforts as responders on the ground grapple with problems like lack of  reliable baseline data to monitor, plan, implement and coordinate relief and recovery/development activities. So"¦

How can OpenStreetMap help?

We are coordinating mapping activities on the Ivory Coast wiki pages. This includes:

  • Map resources "“ For end users, perhaps on the ground responders. Downloads etc generated from our open data.
  • Mapping coordination "“ Where we can try to direct the community of mapping contributors
  • Imagery & Sources "“ A list of available imagery to trace from, and other sources to use for mapping.

In Ivory Coast, like in the 2010 activations which followed the Haiti earthquake, HOT had been facing the paucity of shared open vector and raster data amongst responding entities.

As a consequence of a dialogue initiated with HOT in 2010, Astrium GEO-Information Services (formerly through its subsidiary SPOT Image), both with its YouMapps initiative and as contributor of the SAFER project, has been providing an instrumental and timely assistance to the current HOT activation in response to the potential humanitarian crisis in Ivory Coast.

After France, Pakistan and Colombia, Astrium GEO-Information Services renewed its support to the OSM project by making available two 5m resolution image over Abidjan through a WMS (imagery details). This complements well the already existing Yahoo and Bing imagery. The past joint effort that HOT and Astrium GEO-Information Services did over Pakistan (see Pakistan Floods posts 1 and 2) made real quick and easy for identifying the relevant imagery, making the decision to share, license and serve. Work is still on-going to identify additional resources. Tracing is currently happening as the risk of an escalation of the crisis on the ground calls for extending the mapping (see details at WikiProject_IvoryCoast). From those actions emerge a cooperation framework between HOT and Astrium GEO-Information Service that we are seeking to streamline to make imagery support to humanitarian and development mapping predictable and actionable as needs arise.

Astrium GEO-information services, as contributor of the Emergency Support service within the SAFER project, shared also with HOT a spatial database centered on Yopougon, a neighborhood of Abidjan. This rich multi thematic data set is being analyzed in the view of being imported in OSM. It would then be made available to all entities engaged in the current crisis monitoring and response as well as in any geodata related work in Ivory Coast. The interest of the Astrium team in OSM in this context is twofold. First, prior to the breakout of the political crisis in Ivory Coast, the OSM data set in Abidjan was an important source of vector data for the Emergency Support service. Second, the case of Ivory Coast illustrates that data prepared in anticipation of a crisis is a suitable scheme, by delivering on schedule valuable geographic data on a well-targeted area (here in Abidjan). Sharing this database with the OSM community would allow the enrichment of the existing database and/or extent quickly the covered territory. This is where crowdsourcing can contribute in general and where the OSM project can play an instrumental role by providing remote support and on the ground mappers. This is now happening in the context of this crisis and this concrete use case is considered as a proof of concept by Astrium GEO-Information services and HOT/OSM. Know-how built from this experience will be carefully analyzed both HOT and SAFER partners and this will certainly help the raising of future cooperations.

Thanks Astrium GEO-Information Services for supporting this HOT activation in Ivory Coast.