Map Kibera

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

Kibera is home to an estimated 750,000 to 1.5 million people in an area two-thirds the size of New York City’s Central Park, making it one of the largest informal settlements in eastern Africa. Satellite images show a dense, vibrant settlement with many small, informal businesses, even as it appears as a blank spot on official maps. Mapping what exists in the community is a critical first step in understanding what is required to improve living conditions.

Map Kibera is a crowd-sourced community-mapping project. Using tools from the volunteer global mapping project OpenStreetMap, the GroundTruth Initiative partnered with community organizations and local youth to create Health, Education, Water/Sanitation, and Safety/Security layers by pinpointing every water and sanitation location, security problem, school, church, mosque, and health clinic. The information is uploaded directly onto an online map or gathered in workshops by marking and tracing over aerial imagery for the most current and reliable information. As part of the project, Voice of Kibera allows residents to share community information via news, videos, and SMS messages, which are added to the map using the Ushahidi platform.

Map Kibera was the GroundTruth Initiative’s first pilot project. To sustain the impact, it is partnering with other organizations to develop a direct link between the community and government agencies. Building on the success of Map Kibera, the organization plans to expand their citizen mapping and media to other invisible settlements.

Designers: Erica Hagen and Mikel Maron, GroundTruth Initiative, with Jane Bisanju, Simon Kokoyo, Primoz Kovacic, and Jamie Lundine. Collaborators: Kibera mappers, Kibera News Network, Voice of Kibera, Carolina for Kibera, Community Cleaning Services, Kibera Community Development Agenda, Ushahidi. Kibera informal settlement, Nairobi, Kenya, 2009–present

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