Nice crowd and active debate at the Dec. 5th MoMoDar on open data, OGP and mapping

Last Monday we held the last MoMo of the year 2011 by taking on a big theme of open data, Open Government Partnership and mobile mapping and content services.

To kick off the discussion in the topics, we had three presentions and four speakers: Mr Joseph Ngwegwe, Tanzania Program Manager of Twaweza, introduced us into Open Government Partnership. Mr Edwin Mugerezi, Managing Director of InfoBridge Consultants Ltd presented the development of mapping solutions from early days into today’s mobile solutions. Mr Msilikale Msilanga and Mr Deogratius Minja shared their experiences and learnings of a recent mapping project at Tandale, where their collected data of the unmapped community buildings and services together with the community members into OpenStreetMap.

Seemingly different topics merged into one in the discussion, which included a lot of questions regarding the plans of how to implement Open Government Partnership, the tools used and the involvement of the civil society. Mr Nwegwe emphasized that Tanzania joined the OGP just a couple of weeks ago, so there are still a lot of open questions on the implementation but it does show a significant step the government has taken towards openness and transparency.

Mr Mugerezi’s company has created an industrial or governmental grade GIS-compatible mapping platform of Tanzania and first there was a lot of questions on what is the added value for example compared to commercial version of Google Maps. We learned that there are many different sides to the mapping debate but at the end of the debate everyone understood more of the different use cases, accuracy requirements and possibilities of GIS-attribution for mapped content.

In the last presentation Mr Msilanga and Mr Minja showed the results of their community mapping project of the Tandale informal settlement. They shared very impressive learnings on how to create community involvement and participation, and conclusions of what the community learned or found important after the mapping project. Their presentation really brought the topics together, showing how sharing mapped and community collected information openly can work in Tanzania.

All in all, quite an interesting mix of a government, ngo, industry, academia and community-level approaches brough together in the presentations!

After the presentations we powered the discussion with some hot swarmas and networking and joined back together to look at one of the finalists of the Finnish Apps4Finland Open data competition, where a team from the civil society created a tax receipt application showing the citizen exactly how the Finnish government spends his/her tax euros.

The discussion would have continued well beyond 9pm when we had to call it a night, but luckily we can continue the discussion in the upcoming MoMo’s and online. Mobile Monday Dar’s Twitter hashtag is #momodar and you can already see the active tweets from during the event and continue with further thoughts and tweets. You can also check out all the photos from the event in our Flickr gallery.

The next Mobile Monday Dar is planned for January 9th at 18.00 so you can already mark that in your calendar. We believe it will be even bigger and better, because we got four new MoMo organizing team members after this event!

Finally, we’d like to hear feedback from you regarding this MoMo on Dec. 5th, and even if you couldn’t take part, feel free to suggest topics for the next Mobile Mondays! All fields are optional, so answer the ones you feel like.

Thanks and see you at the next MoMo!

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