Today we resume our long-running interview series with OpenStreetMap communities around the world. We turn to the Horn of Africa to learn about OpenStreetMap in Somalia.
1. Who are you and what do you do? What got you into OpenStreetMap?
We are Openstreetmap Somalia team: a group of young and passionate volunteers actively engaged in working together to put Somalia on the map.
Members of the OSM Somalia community at SotM Tanzania in January 2023
2. What would you say is the current state of OSM and the OSM community in Somalia?
Currently we have more than 50 members in our OSM community, most of them YouthMappers members. There are YouthMappers chapters in Mogadishu at Somalia National University and in Qardho at East Africa Universiy.
3. What are the unique challenges and pleasures of OpenStreetMap in Somalia? What things should the rest of the world be aware of?
Digital technology illiteracy
Lack of political priority in geospatial technology
Insufficiency in IT students in general and Geospatial in particular
4. What is the best way to get involved? Is there a regular meet-up? A mailing list? Where does the community meet online?
We do personal meetings once every month the entire community group we update each other on the current state of the map in do some mapping. Online we are on twitter as @OSMSomalia.
5. What steps could the global OpenStreetMap community take to help support OSM in Somalia and east Africa in general?
The global OpenStreetMap community could help in two ways:
providing some sort of funding for improving and updating the map
providing technical support
6. Our standard closing question: OpenStreetMap will soon celebrate its 20th birthday, so we are well into the “teenager” stage of the project. But what will it look likes when it “grows up”? Where do you think the project will be in 10 years time, both globally, in Somalia specifically?
The heart soul of Openstreetmap depends entirely on its voluntary nature. In that process we have ups and downs, but we are optimistic to have big numbers and grow our community in the future based on the increase in digital accessibility .
many thanks to the members of the Somalia OpenStreetmap community for taking the time to speak withus, but most of all for mapping and growing thier community in difficult circumstances. Keep pushing, keep growing!
Please let us know if your community would like to be part of our interview series here on our blog. 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.