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News — 04 July, 2016

Using Financial Services data in OSM: GIS Poster and Mobile apps

Geospatial data lies at the basis of large portions of web and mobile applications, but sometimes tends to be undervalued and is often not well understood. The Geographical Information System Application Challenge, organised by HOT, Geogecko (a company in Kampala specializing in mapping, data services, and geo-intelligence products in Uganda) and Hive Colab (one of Kampala's startup incubators) in Kampala, focused on innovation, raising awareness and encouraging use of geospatial data in (mobile) applications, to solve real world financial access problems faced in Uganda.

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The GIS Mobile/Poster challenge saw seven wonderful teams participating in this competition to make visual, graphical, and text representations that make use of financial services' data on OpenStreetMap, other open data tools, and platforms, targeted at consumers, small businesses or informal Financial Service providers like mobile money agents, banks and SACCOs. This led to some very interesting analyis using geospatial data, with teams combining data such as road networks (to perform network analysis and evaluate travel time by car and foot), population data, administrative boundaries and income data to show specific relations. Themes chosen by the participants included:

  • Financial service distribution in populated areas
  • SACCOs and their impact on finance in Kampala. This team constructed a financial index people under 40 in Kampala, based on access to mobile phones, ownership of a bank account, a wealth index, and the presence of financial services, showing which areas are underserved.
  • The distribution of mobile money services in Kampala
  • Distibution of financial services per districtt population in Eastern Uganda
  • A measure of the ease of financial service accessibility after working hours (duration to walk to an ATM after dark)
  • SaccoFinder: an android app that enables users locate financial services, and thier charges in Kampala.
  • GeoFinA: an interactive, mobile GIS Application to inform effective decisions that affect end users as well as expanding Financial Service Access in areas occupied by low income groups.

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GeoGecko awarded a prize to the winners of the poster challenge, while HOT will support the winners of the application challenge to create an actual, usable application that can be installed through an app store or other common installation procedure for the chosen platform. All participants indicated they'd picked up some new skills along the way, in the creation of their app or poster and the feedback sessions, and we hope this encourages them to continue using and promoting OpenStreetMap and open data!