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News — 28 June, 2013

Espace OSM Francophone in Togo Day+4 - English version

The fourth day of this set up mission of the project Espace OSM Francophone in Togo is coming to its end.With the support of the Direction de la Francophonie Numérique (OIF-DFN) from Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, members of the WoeLab Lomé of Africaine d'Architecture, Amadou Ndong of the project OpenStreetMap Sénégal deployed with me under the banner of HOT, we have been working to set up the OSM project in this country of Western Africa

The fourth day of this set up mission of the project Espace OSM Francophone in Togo is coming to its end.

With the support of the Direction de la Francophonie Numérique (OIF-DFN) from Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, members of the WoeLab Lomé of Africaine d’Architecture, Amadou Ndong of the project OpenStreetMap Sénégal deployed with me under the banner of HOT, we have been working to set up the OSM project in this country of Western Africa

This is on June, 24 that Amadou and I started our travels from Dakar and Vannes to reach Lomé and join the Woelab this first Fablab of the Togo established a year ago in the Djidjolé neighborhood after the ArchiCamp 2012 organised by Africaine d’ Architecture. The folks of this hub are inventing day fater day their own way towards digital democracy focusing on the core needs of the area and the town. Directly plugged on its close environment, the lab functions as an horizontal space for learning, producing and incubating ICT cultures and projects so that re-use by all from the neighborhood becomes possible

This is at the Innov’Africa forum held in Dakar this last Novembre 2012 that Gus and I met with Koffi of l’Africaine d’Architecture and Christian Ambaud from OIF and where the idea of harnessing on the vitality of the project OSM Senegal to expand to Togo and grow there an OSM community supported by a strong ecosystem took a first concrete shape. A couple of months after,this lead to the project Espace OSM Francophone which aims at consolidating the OSM communities in Chad and Senegal and starting the OSM project in Togo and Burkina Faso through training and data collection programs targeted to representatives from Government, Academy, Private sector (ICT), International Organizations and Civil Society. Espace OSM Francophone works by fostering the developing of concrete cartographies of territories through the mobilization of resources (cartography, software development, documentation and training) and reinforcing the relationships between the actors of the OSM ecosystem around this initiative of mapping the Francophone space. Eventually, the project will propose a model for deploying an OSM-based mapping approach that can be repliacted throughout other countries from the « South » belonging to OIF or other géographical zones.

Those four days of long and intense work convey a rewarding lesson for all of us : the OSM project is now part of the DNA of the Woelab which members took ownership with enthusiasm of the practices of the OSM project. A frist pool of mappers is emerging thanks to the meeting of their energy and the constant, humble and patient work of Amadou which pedagogical skills praised in Senegal truly achieved miracles down here in Togo. Data collection ; mapping session ; invitations ; collective brainstorming sessions filled up our days and allow the map of Djidjole to get richer despite the challenges of a scarse low bandwidht internet. In a parallel track our efforts to build the centrality of the Lab in the local ICT and GIS scene started to pay off. We reached out to the Department of Geography of the Lomé University where profs, researchers and students got interested by our outreach sessions which are leading to the organizing of two mapping parties next week in the Digital Campus of Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (CFN). Technical workshops have been also planned with the Minstry of Environment (Office de Développement et d’Exploitation des Forêts) as a consequnce of three work sessions with GIS experts of this structure. Lastly, we managed to resume discussions opened years ago with the Disaster Risk Reduction specialist of the World Bank around the use of OSM in crisis preparedness which lead to further introductions to other relevant statal entities not already touched.

[inline:P1000040_1.jpg] (Amadou training on OSM at the WoeLab)

[inline:P1000047_2.jpg] (Nicolas with GIS folks from ODEF - Office de Développement et d’Exploitation des Forêts)

It has been rewaring and exciting to see the OSM project taking shape in those past days in Togo. This start make us feel confident about the outcome from our next big mapping party that will be held tomorroz morning. It shall be a neat event, important for the project and surely well attended by ICT, free software folks, cartographs as well as normal folks called in by the media drums of the past days including a radio show attended this morning by some of the team who presented the project.

To keep up with the activities of the community OSMTogo, the achievements of the OSM project in Togo as well as the udpates of the initiative Espace OSM Francophone, follow OSMTogo and HOT on facebook and tweeter.

Nicolas