“OpenStreetMap4Transport” (o4t) day at SotM Africa 2019 in Grand Bassam

Nov 2019

The opportunity of SotM Africa to promote the use of OpenStreetMap in the digital field of public transport in Africa

In French-speaking Africa, where the OpenStreetMap4Transport (o4t) dynamic remains little known to the general public, to practitioners in the field and to members of the OSM project in the North. The o4t reality there is made up of a few funded economic projects alongside isolated voluntary community initiatives. Aware of the potential of this field of o4t practices, the French Development Agency (AFD) has undertaken since 2017 a work to support the OSM project in its application to the theme of transport in Africa through the DigitalTransport4Africa (dt4a) initiative: mapping of public transport in Accra and Abidjan, dt4a workshops of 2017 and 2018 in Paris.

In 2019, the Agency decided to facilitate as a platinum sponsor the SotM Africa, the bi-annual African conference of the OpenStreetMap project, to be held on November 22-24 in Grand-Bassam (Ivory Coast), thus contributing to make possible the participation of some 195 people (one third of them women) from 37 countries. In order to raise awareness and strengthen the emerging o4t field of practice in Africa, AFD also asked Les Libres Géographes to lead a working day of this o4t community of practice at SotM Africa with the main actors of this field in France (AFD, Fabrique des mobilités, Jungle Bus), Côte d’Ivoire (Ministry of Transport and members of the Ivorian OSM project) as well as other French-speaking African countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Senegal, Guinea) and English-speaking countries (Ghana).

A program covering the issues, practices, techniques and governance of OpenStreetMap4Transport

Together, these o4t actors followed a program aimed at transmitting the knowledge (approach, experiences, governance and tools) necessary to understand how the dt4a community of practice works when it comes to implementing “OpenStreetMap4Transport” projects in an economic or community context.

The program was structured around the following sessions:

  • The presentation of AFD’s approach and resources around digital commons in the field of transport and mobility through the dt4A initiative and its resource center.
    Feedback on the implementation by AFD within this dt4a initiative of mobility projects with an o4t component carried out in Accra (Ghana) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in partnership with the ministries concerned, the Jungle Bus association in tandem with mobility operators and in coordination with members of the OSM project in these two countries.
  • Feedback on other o4t projects carried out within the framework of a project financed by the World Bank in Bamako (Mali) or according to community approaches, essentially voluntary, in Antananarivo (Madagascar), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Dakar (Senegal) and Conakry (Guinea) by members of the OSM project in these countries and, where appropriate, their partners.
  • A presentation and feedback focused on the OSM governance framework (texts, OpenStreetMap trademark, practices of the OSM Foundation and its local chapters for service delivery) for the implementation of o4t activities or for other themes.
  • A presentation and feedback focused on the chain of applications to create, manage and visualize o4t data that can be mobilized for these initiatives and used successfully since 2017 in Africa.

A strong interest during the day extended by the publication of the proceedings and videos of the interventions

This theme “OpenStreetMap4Transport” organized on November 23 during the first day of SOtM Africa in Grand Bassam brought together about forty participants, actors of public transport and mobility or members of the OSM project from France and Africa and allowed to build a common understanding of the resources that can be mobilized as well as the conditions of success for the implementation of o4t activities according to a community of practice approach.

This understanding was echoed by the awareness of the collective strength, the power of the collective being built and affirmed through this community of practice “OpenStreetMap4Transport” articulated to the initiative “DigitalTransport4Africa” which comes out of this SotM Africa 2019 strengthened for the implementation of future activities by acquired, renewed or deepened knowledge.

In addition, at the request of AFD, LLg has published the proceedings of this day “OpenStreetMap4Transport” and on its own initiative, has also captured in video and edited the various interventions, which can be viewed here.


The text has been translated from French by DeepL translator.