Tag Archives: Geographic information system

Using technology to map Nairobi slums for more toilets, less trash

Q+A – Using technology to map Nairobi slums for more toilets, less trash | Source: Katy Migiro, Reuters, Nov 28, 2013 |

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nearly seven out of 10 residents of Nairobi’s slums use shared toilets or pit latrines – while 6 percent have no toilets at all. Yet even if they wanted a toilet, getting one hooked up to the municipal system can involve insurmountable bureaucracy and corruption.

Meanwhile, their trash may be getting picked up by youth groups, but only to be dumped in the river or on the road – rather than picked up by city council trucks.

In an undated photo, Thuo Wanjiku, a data collector with Spatial Collective, collects mapping data via mobile phone in Nairobi's Mathare slum. Photo by Rick Roxburgh/Spatial Collective

In an undated photo, Thuo Wanjiku, a data collector with Spatial Collective, collects mapping data via mobile phone in Nairobi’s Mathare slum. Photo by Rick Roxburgh/Spatial Collective

Now, the Spatial Collective social enterprise is hoping to fix that by using technologies to map out the slums, providing the information and connecting the right players in hope of bringing in more toilets and disposing of the rubbish… and the crime.

Jamie Lundine, managing director of Spatial Collective, spoke to Thomson Reuters Foundation in Nairobi at the 2013 International Conference of Crisis Mappers, which she helped organise.

Q: How are new mapping technologies changing the aid world?

A: I think new technologies are allowing information that may previously have gone undocumented to be amplified and then shared… so that actual players on the ground, hopefully, have a greater say in how aid money is spent.

To be able to create a platform and share information gives global recognition to local problems – and local solutions. Somebody else knows where they are and is listening to their story.

Collecting 300, 400, 500 [criminal] incidents allows you to reveal trends and then share that with decision makers. Visualising them and showing this is a hot spot area, for example, might move somebody.

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