Mapping for development

Putting Zeze on the map

Zeze is a village of about 9000 people, but as recently as 2015 it did not appear on maps. On Google it is still blank, but on OpenStreetMap, thanks to the Crowd2Map Tanzania project which we have been an active part of since the beginning, every building and road is shown.

Crowd2Map is a crowdsourced mapping project putting rural Tanzania on the map.  Since 2015, we have been adding schools, hospitals, roads, buildings and villages to OpenStreetMap, an open source map available to all, with the help of over 11,500 volunteers worldwide and 1600 on the ground in Tanzania.  With minimal budget and no staff we have so far added over 4.1 million buildings and trained community mappers in 26 areas of Tanzania. It helps community development in places like Zeze as outlined here. We have helped set up Youthmapper chapters in 7 different universities in Tanzania and given training to many different community groups.

The mapping is in two phases – firstly online volunteers trace roads and buildings from satellite images such as in these tasks then volunteers on the ground add names ofvillages, clinics, offices, churches, shops and other points of interest using a free smartphone app Maps.Me.

We have also trained many local people around Zeze to use maps for navigation, community development and planning, and will continue to do so!