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News — 11 January, 2016

Commence - Mapping Financial Services Training

The Mapping Financial Inclusion in Uganda project is truly underway as we enter our second week of training in Mbale, Uganda. HOT is currently at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) introducing 30 local students to various open source tools with the assistance of students from Makerere University. There will be two days of training before we head out into the field on Wednesday to start mapping the district of Mbale.

The Mapping Financial Inclusion in Uganda project is truly underway as we enter our second week of training in Mbale, Uganda. HOT is currently at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) introducing 30 local students to various open source tools with the assistance of students from Makerere University. There will be two days of training before we head out into the field on Wednesday to start mapping the district of Mbale.

 In collaboration with the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) agency, HOT held a three day training course last week with 14 students from the Makerere University in Kampala covering several topics including OpenStreetMap (OSM), JOSM, OpenMapKit (OMK), OSMTracker and Field Papers. The classroom sessions are combined with field exercises to allow the students to really get to grips with the OMK software, which will be used to collect the financial service providers Points of Interests (POIs).

As a quick recap, the mapping project in Uganda is focused on collecting financial service provider data across Eastern Uganda as part an initiative to increase financial inclusion within the country. This is in connection with the larger Financial Inclusion Insight (FII) program which also includes the countries of Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, as well as Uganda.

The financial service data collected on this project will include Mobile Money providers, Banks, ATMs, Credit Institutions, Microfinance Deposit-Taking Institutions (MDI’s), Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs), Foreign Exchanges, Money Transfers and Post Offices. In addition to these financial POI’s, the students will also be mapping Educational and Health Facilities to help the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) improve their existing dataset.

A key part of this pilot project is to develop a sustainable mapping method that uses local knowledge and teaches skills so that the data can continue to be mapped and updated long after the project has ended. A key part to this process is the use of open source software and datasets so that they can also easily pass on their knowledge and skills. And it is the OMK application developed by the American Red Cross and the OpenStreetMap data at the core of all of this.

Sitting on top of the OpenDataKit Collect application, OMK can be installed on any mobile device that uses the Android operating system directly from the Play Store and uses OpenStreetMap data to power its layer files and basemaps. This data can also be pre-generated as OSM XML files and MBTiles prior to heading out into the field so that the application can still be used in remote locations with no internet connection.

This is a great tool that has been kindly customised by SpatialDev for us and will be fully tested throughout the project. Please follow along and contribute to its development at the dedicated GitHub repository. The students are quickly picking up the skills and are eager to get out into the field to put their newly attained knowledge to practice. The HOT team is also excited to get out and start mapping, so please stay tuned for further updates on our progress.