Digital Finds

joseph dot reeves at thehumanjourney dot net
@iknowjoseph

UN FAO to donate African spatial data to OpenStreetMap

Apr 15, 2009 by Joseph Reeves

I've just seen Robert Soden's recent post to the OSM Mailing list:

Over the last few months, I've been in contact with FAO's Africover program: http://www.africover.org/ . Africover maintains shapefiles containing rivers, roads, towns, and admin boundaries for a number of countries that we would like add to the OSM dataset. While they normally do not release data under an OSM-acceptable license, they have granted us permission to add their data to Open Street Map.

Over the next few weeks, we will be working on importing data for Tanzania, DR Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. We'll be working slowly in order to ensure accuracy and integrity of the OSM dataset. Please feel free to get in touch if you are interested in learning more about our progress, but we will also be posting status reports on the project wiki pages.

Africover also maintains datasets for Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan. We may work on these over the longer-term, and would be happy to collaborate with other folks on this.

Francesco de Virgilio wonderfully describes this as the great news it is.

Robert Soden has previously blogged comparing the state of mapping in various African capitals; such a data import will provide impressive improvements for large areas. It's much better news than the details of Google's Kenyan Map Maker downloads.

I'm a massive fan of OSM and am increasingly wanting to become involved in projects that provide free mapping data for Africa. The potentials for this data are enormous and its value immense; congratulations to Robert and the FAO for agreeing to begin pulling this into OSM.



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