Fields Mapping in Rural Areas in Mali

Fields Mapping in Rural Areas in Mali

Choisy-Le-Roi is a French town near Paris. It runs a cooperation program with Tringa Marena, a rural municipality in Mali, 90 kilometers East of Kayes. Any visitor to Tringa Marena, quickly gets a sense of the challenges its population has to face, but getting from that feeling to concrete steps that have actual positive impact that meets the needs of the people requires a detailed understanding of the local context. To that purpose, mapping is the paramount tool but, in such a remote region, cartography at the level of detail required to plan efficient action lacks severely. The use of geographical data would enable the Malian local partner authority with more efficient resource allocation for its projects portfolio of water access, health access and schools.

So, in September 2017, Openstreetmap Mali carried out a mapping project in Tringa, in collaboration with the Malian Association of Solidarity and International Cooperation for the Development and the town of Choisy-le-Roi The project focused on five villages highlighted on this map

In classic Openstreetmap methodology, the data collection began with the use of orbital imagery to map major features visible from the air (roads, residential land use, outline of public buildings etc.) and thus lay the foundations for fieldwork. We organized this stage using two tasking manager projects (1 and 2). With the support of contributors around the world, those two projects were completed in two days.

That set the stage for the critical step of garnishing the map with the fine-grained detail that makes it useful for planning – and that can only happen on the ground: only looking directly in front building and asking its inhabitants will let one know its purpose and its name. Covering the whole zone took us two days of intense walking around, accompanied by AMSCID agents with local knowledge. Geolocated photographs (some of them stored in Mapillary) completed our collection.

We had opportunity to interact with the customary authorities to inform them of the project, its objectives and benefits – and also to learn more about the traditions and customs of those villages, critical steps to not only foster acceptance of the project but furthermore to let the inhabitants appropriate its goals.

 

 

 

 

 

We went around the five villages and met the inhabitants who welcomed us while informing us about their living conditions and especially the disinterest of the national government and the lack of adequate infrastructures for the education of the children and particularly that of the girls.

 

 

 

 

 

The achievement of this project, a second of its kind, was a nice experience for us – not only because we completed our goals of collecting solid geographic data to support local development initiatives, but also because of the enthusiastic population among which honing our methodology has been a real pleasure.

In early March, I was honored to give a presentation of this campaign to an audience composed of the political and administrative authorities of this rural municipality and of the Circle of Yelemané, a delegation of the French Agency for Development (AFD) and officials of the Malian Association for Solidarity and International Cooperation ASMCID, in the partnership house in Bamako.

 

We thank the EOF (Espace Openstreetmap Francophone) and Les Libres Géographes for their daily friendly support, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) which let us benefit from their capacity building workshops, AMSCID for their trust and support, the Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT) for their microgrant and support and the Openstreetmap contributors around the world who gave us a hand… We are always humbled by how much support we get from the whole community and we are thankful to them for the success of our actions !

 

Original French-language report by Nathalie Sidibé, English version by Jean-Marc Liotier.

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