Through the Missing Maps project, CartONG organises mapathons (mapping parties) in order to raise awareness of geographical data impact in international aid among the general public and let CartONG and partner NGO volonteers, OpenStreetMap (the Wikipedia of maps) communities and other interested people to actively contribute to humanitarian aid.
Last Décember, as there were no freely available cartographic data available in the Changara district, Tete province of Mozambique, Médecins Sans Frontières was asking for some remote mapping support. For running projects to improve HIV medication in this remote rural areas in Mozambique, MSF's teams needed an accurate map of the road network and settlements to reach their patients, and particularly the Community Antiretroviral therapy Groups (GAC). These groups gather patients that are travelling - sometimes for long - to receive their medication. It is therefore crucial to identifiy precisely where they are, and what is the easiest way to get to them.
Thanks to mapathons and the mobilization of online volunteers all around the world, we were able to collectively map around 13.000 km² (more than a quarter of the area of Switzerland) of Mozambique in less than a month; our first layer of information for a map in constant improvement.
Jean-Guy Audéoud, field GIS officer for Doctors without Borders, has given us his feedback on the use of OSM data.
Why the need for this map?
The objective was to evaluate the accessibility of these zones (GAACs) after the establishment of Health Facilities, which are followed by DWB and supplied via a partner NGO Access Reach in order to avoid the emergence of HIV resistant patients.
Thanks to new drafted routes in the OSM, as well as double-checking with drivers and local population, we aimed to have maps showing routes that might be cut or unseen during rainy season, making it harder to be reached. This allows the adaptation of follow-ups and medication supplies.
Where do we stand? What conclusions can be drawn?
We know that most of Health Facilities (HF) are permanently accessible. However, for the GAACs, it gets more complicated than that. We have made a map that displays the influence-zones of the GAACs' Health centers. As such, the map links each GAAC to its HF to have a more direct itinerary, as well as one board to see those routes that will be cut. This gives us a rather visual "GAAC profile", allowing us to understand the reasons why they don't work; some HF struggle to gain the trust of patients, essential to establish GAACs. If not, they face problems relating logistics as the GAACs are based in rather remote locations.