News / Africa

Nigerian Activists Google Map Capital City

Nigerian Activists Google Map Abujai
X
January 30, 2013 10:01 PM
More than a hundred young Nigerians are teaming up with Google to add restaurants, markets, hospitals and other attractions in the Nigerian capital to Google Maps. For VOA, Heather Murdock reports from Abuja that these volunteers see maps as a tool to improve security, reduce poverty and attract tourists and investors.

Nigerian Activists Google Map Abuja

Heather Murdock
More than 100 young Nigerians are teaming up with Google to add restaurants, markets, hospitals and other prominent locations in the Nigerian capital to Google Maps.  Youth leaders say by mapping their city, they could boost the local economy by attracting tourists and investors. They also see maps as a tool to improve security and reduce poverty.
 
In a training room in Abuja, there are almost as many laptops and smart phones as there are 20-something “citizen cartographers.”  At the front of the room, young men who volunteer for Internet search engine Google wear green and blue tee shirts that say, “map your world,” while the Google Abuja Map-up project director, Oludotun Babayemi, explains how to do it.
 
In the coming week, this crowd plans to fan out across the Nigerian capital armed with tech devices and ready to upload. Babayemi says the new maps will encourage more people to visit.

“The person I’m talking to can quickly know, ‘This is the number of recreation centers and wildlife you have in your country.’  So it opens your country to the whole world easily.”
 
He says mapping Abuja and eventually all of Nigeria will also draw foreign investors who may otherwise be unaware of changes in the country.

Google Abuja Map-up project director Oludotun BabayemiGoogle Abuja Map-up project director Oludotun Babayemi
x
Google Abuja Map-up project director Oludotun Babayemi
Google Abuja Map-up project director Oludotun Babayemi
For Babayemi, mapping Nigeria may also be a matter of life and death.  He says emergency services are slowed by incomplete maps and that when sectarian violence breaks out, it may be better contained if security forces can watch trends online.
 
The most accurate maps, he adds, come from local people who are experts in their own neighborhoods.

“Once there is the location of where someone is during an emergency you can quickly go in and rescue that person.  And how do you do that?  It means you’ve gotten that information from a particular person on the ground," he says.
 
Adepoju Abiodun, one of the Google volunteers leading the charge, says mapping Africa could also help governments and aid organizations make better use of the resources they already have.
 
But, he says, they have already started mapping on a small scale and not everyone is quick to agree. Residents sometimes fear mappers are taking notes and photographs of their area because they plan to demolish neighborhoods and build a shopping mall,  which is a reasonable thing to think in Abuja. Local police also are wary as they look out for men plotting attacks, often on the police themselves.

“Sometimes we have issues with the government," Abiodun says.  "Sometimes you try to map and they go, ‘Why are you trying to take pictures.  What are you guys doing touring around here taking notes?  Are you going to bomb us?'  We get used to it and when I speak to them alone and explain, they understand.”

Abiodun says the goal is to map not just Nigeria, but all of Africa in the next four to five years.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Oludotun Babayemi from: Abuja, Nigeria
February 12, 2013 4:23 PM
Dear Martin and Franz, am also a member of the OpenStreetMaps, and my team also encourages open data, nevertheless, we have to look at what map is readily available to the people of Abuja, and even Nigeria as a whole - Google Maps is well detailed and has helped lot of us navigate easily. We are already working with the HOT OSM team, and when we are ready to get on OSM, we'll also let the world know - no doubt, both maps are great, and have been changing our world!


by: Dr. S.Rumala from: New York, USA
January 27, 2013 11:12 PM
This great project would help boost Nigeria's economy including better use of resources, and serve as a potential catalyst for development to deprived communities. The government can zoom in on any area of Abuja and other cities and find out where over population and resource intensity is a problem. It would also help combat crime and attract foreign investors. Similar to other Google projects, mapping of interesting places, hospitals, police stations & tourist spots, including offering traffic information and directions from point A to point B will be beneficial to all.

In Response

by: Martin Koppenhöfer from: Rome, Italy
February 05, 2013 9:41 AM
What is the motivation for people to work for free to create proprietary data for a big corporation if they can contribute the same data to a global crowd sourced mapping project which creates open data free to use for everyone, e.g. OpenStreetMap?

In Response

by: Dr. Franz-Josef Behr from: Karlsrueh, Germany
February 01, 2013 11:47 AM
Why not using, supporting, and extending a really free and open collaborative approach like OpenStreetMap?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid