The International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA), through its Data & Preparedness Unit team, successfully conducted its first-ever mapathon in Wajir County from the 16th to 18th September 2022. The two-day mapping event attracted 30 new mappers from the Wajir County government and the local community. The event focused on introducing the mappers to open data and platforms such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) and enhancing their capacity to map buildings footprints and other features of interest using the HOT tasking manager – a tool designed for a collaborative mapping process on OpenStreetMap.
A mapathon is a coordinated mapping event whereby participants can join physically or remotely to add map data of a particular area through a web-based mapping platform. The idea is that a small contribution from many mappers who know the area will ultimately lead to improved maps and data that organizations can use for decision-making before and after a disaster.
The mapping area focused on two wards within the Wajir West sub-county: Ganyure Wagalla and Hadado Athbohol. By the end of the exercise, the mappers managed to add close to 2,500 building footprints to OSM, which are freely accessible. The project has added close to 43,600 building footprints and 360 km of road. The project intends to expand its mapping efforts to cover the entire county.
ICHA’s Data & Preparedness Unit, with funding from the HOTOSM ESA hub, is currently conducting a Community Participatory Mapping for Disaster Resilience project in Wajir County. This year-long project seeks to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate-related disasters through open map data. The project aims to collect comprehensive and up-to-date datasets on buildings, roads, water points, markets, health facilities, schools, social amenities, etc. These datasets are important because they form part of the capacities and vulnerabilities that are found within the communities.
Open access to such datasets is imperative since it helps humanitarian actors make informed and targeted efforts on where resources are most needed. The project also intends to build the local stakeholders’ capacity to use map data for decision-making and educate them on disaster risk management.