Our interview series about OpenStreetMap communities around the world continues today with a conversation with mappers from Cameroon.
1. Who are you and what do you do? What got you into OpenStreetMap?
We are Further Market an advanced business and social place where you communicate with the world, make and reach businesses that are crucial for daily basis and families. What leads us into OpenStreetMap is we are integrating a system called ‘Simple Tracking’ in our platform. It will allow people to monitor assets (vehicles, bike,…) location without internet on about 99% types of cellular phone through the USSD portal. So, a GPS module is hidden on a vehicle and its owner send a query to have the location of the asset. Here reverse geocoding is used to provide a text containing the address of asset’s location to the end user. This is how we first got in touch with OpenCage API. After browsing internet to know more, we realized that the power of the so named API is linked to the accuracy of data entered by contributors around the world into a powerful database called OpenStreetMap. This service is first deployed in Cameroon area which is not fully edited in OSM. So this is how we got involved deeply in OpenStreetMap contributors community.
2. What would you say is the current state of OSM and the OSM community in Cameroon?
OSM is a huge project which can only be achieved by working hand to hand. Thanks to the OSM community for its great and powerful job. In Cameroon, they is still a lot to do, and we are doing our best to reduce the gap everyday.
3. What are the unique challenges and pleasures of OpenStreetMap in Cameroon? What aspects of the projects should the rest of the world be aware of?
The unique challenge is give a structured name to buildings and places around us by following the community standard and the pleasure is to contribute by our work and time to the realization of this big project.
4. What is the best way to get involved? Are you looking for remote support or trying to get locals as your primary mappers?
From remote support, locals mappers and field survey. We think that it is by combining all the means, we will get best results.
5. What steps could the global OpenStreetMap community take to help support OSM in Cameroon?
The best step that the OpenStreetMap Community can do is to provide survey equipment such as GPS to our field mappers. By using those tools, we will not only do fast, but also have good results.
6. In 2014 OSM celebrated its 10th birthday. Where do you think the project will be in 10 years time, both globally and in Cameroon specifically?
We are newbies when it comes to mapping techniques, but from the little time we spent editing on OpenStreetMap, we realised that the project is growing extremely fast. This type of project cannot have an end because there will be always changes and optimization. As we are now putting effort together, we are sure that next 10 years OpenStreetMap will be the number one reference in terms of mapping in the world.
Many thanks! It is very inspiring to read that people see that by contributing to OSM they can then get the data back out. We’re delighted we help introduce you to the project. All good wishes to you and all the contributors in Cameroon.
You can see all the Open Geo interviews here. If you are or know of someone we should interview, please get in touch, we’re always looking to promote people doing interesting things with open geo data.