Rwanda: E-Umuganda - Development Through Voluntary Skilled Work

Patrick Buchana | allAfrica | November 23, 2014

AFTER MONTHLY community work, umuganda, Rwandan youth that make up different ICT communities gather at kLab in Telecom House for an event they have named e-umuganda.  It was originally meant to map all public and private places in the City of Kigali on the OpenStreetMap, but this has since developed into something much bigger than that.  The Wikipedia of Internet-based maps is OpenStreetMap, geo developers will say. Contrary to the popular Google maps which already have detailed map of Rwanda and other countries, OpenStreetMap is new and still has lots of unnamed places.

Executive Director of Rwanda ICT Chamber Alex Ntale said that "Government of Rwanda and private companies have put up ICT Infrastructures like Fiber Optic Cables and ICT teaching institutions, we also need to do the necessary infrastructure preparation to enable appropriate harnessing of the systems for commence."  "There are enormous opportunities likely to accrue from a complete open street mapping of Rwanda especially as regards to hurdles that tourists and foreign investors faces while trying to access the location of different places like banks, hospitals, hotels and recreational," added Ntale.

Usually OpenStreetMaps are created using data from portable GPS devices, aerial photography or simply from local knowledge.  In particular, placing and editing objects such as schools, hospitals, taxi ranks, bus stops, pubs etc. is done based on the editor's knowledge of the locality...