Young Professionals in Turku, Finland for Geo-ICT

Under the Geo-ICT project which is coordinated from the University of Turku in Finland, Universities in Tanzania such as SUA, SUZA, UDSM and ARU are working together to learn and share ideas. Part of the function of the project is to provide capacity building to trainers which is shared from within the University Network between Tanzania and Finland. From September, there is a team of young professionals who have visited the University of Turku from the four universities in order to learn and get support for their future studies as well as to prepare training materials when they get back to their respective universities. The team will stay until the end of November 2018.

On the other hand, from May this year, I was lucky to join the great team at University of Turku in the Geography and Geology Department to coordinate the Geo-ICT project and conduct training to the young professionals who came in Finland from SUA, SUZA, UDSM, and ARU. Many trainings have been done to the group such as remote sensing, geospatial analysis, pedagogical practices, etc, but my task was to conduct training on Participatory Mapping/Community Mapping, Geospatial Visualisation such as GeoNode as well as teaching the use open source tools especially the use of ODK for data collection. Furthermore, the use of simple codes has been shown in order to install Server which works with ODK.

Finally, I came to realize that transferring knowledge is something which do not only helping the trainee to learn but also the trainers. Now that there is many experiences from different projects, innovation and technologies especially from the fast-growing city like Dar es Salaam, knowledge through Universities could help to transfer all the experiences and knowledge to the students. If the teacher is well equipped with knowledge, the future decision makers who are currently students will also be equipped from the knowledge and experiences which have been collected.

I find this University Network very useful.

Well apart from studies and class activities, the Tanzanian Team have been able to visit different part of Finland in order to understand the culture and learn about nice places in Finland of course including visiting islands and do some Sauna activities. Apart from that, there has been a get-together activity whereas group cook some nice food and everybody including the Finnish team and other invitees gets together with Tanzanians to cook together, watching movies tother and learn about Tanzania cultures.

Ramani Huria Project – Dar es Salaam

About Me.

I am a spatial planner by professional from Tanzania but have more experiences from Europe and Latin America based on the same field. I have been working at the World Bank since 2011 as the Geospatial and community mapping specialist before I went to have my Masters for two years. Now I am back at the World Bank supporting GEO-ICT, Open Data and Tanzania Urban Resilience Program (TURP) team and more mapping projects in Tanzania Zambia and Mozambique. Furthermore, I am recently joined the University of Turku (UTU) team to support and coordinate the GEO-ICT and Participatory Mapping research projects between 5 partner universities in Tanzania and beyond.

There are couples of good projects which I have done personally with my Previous and my current works which are based on Geospatial. However, in this article, I would like to present Ramani Huria project. It is the community-based project where community members and the students are involved to create high accurate maps.  In this project, training of the local community members and the students is done to create highly accurate maps of the most flood-prone areas of the city. The project began in Dar es Salaam since 2015 which using open source tools like QGIS, JOSM and OpenStreetMap among other tools.


Dar es Salaam is one of the most rapidly growing cities in Africa. More than 70% of urban infrastructure comprises of unplanned settlements which is prone to annual floods. Due to poor infrastructure, inadequate drainage and lack of solid waste management, residents of these informal settlements are vulnerable to losses of property and sometimes loses of their lives amidst severe flooding.


One crucial dimension of the problem is lack of spatially explicit information of the infrastructures combined with lack of participation of local communities. In the absence of up-to-date map data of the settlements and infrastructures, data-driven decisions cannot be made. Furthermore, most of the decisions are made by individual persons, such as Ward Executive Officers (WEO) or local Mtaa Leaders who are the Local Government leaders. The decisions are therefore based on the experiences from the community and interpretation of information they get from being the leaders in respective settlements. Other decisions are based on outdated maps from 1980’s which shows only contours and natural features. Lack of up-to-date maps, up-to-date data of settlements and infrastructures hinders better decision-making from the Central Government and the Local Government as well. As a result, community members become less resilient to flooding each year due to 1). Lack of information regarding the flooding from the resident areas where most of the community members buy land during dry seasons, 2). The community lives into the areas where there is less cooperation between the government, NGO’s/CBOs and the community members.


The project aimed at enabling hazard and risk analysis of flooding and building understanding of community exposure to floods. Also, to improve understanding of urban infrastructure vulnerability and to inform maintenance and planning of infrastructure. Most importantly, it aimed to build local skills and capacity to communities, town planners and local leaders and to support risk awareness activities related to urban flooding by creating capacity for community feedback mechanisms during flood disasters.


The objective of Ramani Huria is to map the whole city of Dar es Salaam. By now (May 2018), more than 60% of Dar es Salaam has been mapped (45/90 wards). So far, the mapped area comprises over 4 million people, 450,000 buildings and 1,700 schools. Furthermore, more than 470 university students have been trained and more that 300 Red Cross community members have been involved in the mapping. The impact is geographically and expected to expand as Ramani Huria operations spread to other areas in Dar es Salaam.


How Dar’s experience is transferring over to Mozambique

In Tanzania, community mapping started in 2011 with a project called “Ramani Tandale”. This project invited community members of Tandale ward in Dar es Salaam to participate in data collection using very simple mapping tools – for example GPS, Modem, Notebooks, Pens, and Cameras. Over one month, assisted by students, these community mappers had covered an area of about 1.17 km2 with the total population of 54,781 (2012 Census). Data collected included features like drainage systems, buildings, churches, schools, roads, flood prone areas, etc. The same methodology was then used for the much more extensive Ramani Huria project, with a specific aim to improve the city’s flood resilience. Using the same simple tools, flooded areas, blocked drainage, inaccessible roads, areas affected by Malaria, and affected houses were identified using the knowledge of community and university students.

Ramani Huria, during data collection

Informal settlement in Mozambique is increasing every year which leads to a shortage of infrastructure – eg. roads and drainage systems – and an eruption of disease. Furthermore, heavy construction in these settlements obstructs water movement, leading to increased flooding, particularly during rainy seasons. Inspired by the success of the Ramani Huria project methodology, community mapping is going to be employed by MapMoz in Mozambique. MapMoz is the project under the World Bank in Mozambique that plans to train community members to use simple tools to collect information related to flooding. Community mapping in Mozambique, as it has been applied in Dar es Salaam, is going to be piloted in two municipalities, Maputo and Matola, to collect valuable information using community knowledge. The information to be collected will cover frequently flooded areas, drainage systems, buildings, hospitals, schools, etc. This unique form of data collection will help the community to participate in identifying more dangerous areas and will also increase their disaster resilience by showing the areas at greatest risk of flooding. The rich data will be valuable to all stakeholders, helping government and other organizations to analyze and discuss solutions to important infrastructural issues.  

Mozambique and Dar team after the meeting with Bairro leader

MapMoz shows how the Dar es Salaam community mapping methodology is spreading across the continent, recognizing that community members can collect valuable information that will help with planning and decision making. 

Community Mapping Mozambique

Maputo (Bing Map 2016)

In 2011 i had a chance to participate on community mapping in one of my community Tandale.

This has been ever an experience i had in my life where i got to participate on something could help my community immediately after i have graduated my Degree from Ardhi University. Due to its potential and importance especially to the community, in 2015 ramani Tandale was scaled up for more than 36 wards aiming to create more resilience to the community through Ramani Huria

All this experiences made me learn everyday how necessary it is when it comes to help communities problems. Now i got another change to be a project adviser where i am required to share the experience i took in Ramani Tandale and Ramani Huria from Dar es salaam in Mozambique. This is such another experience to help mozambiaque community through mapping.

The reviewing of reports and meeting with Mozambique University, the municipalities planers and Bairro leaders, Mozambique is another place where just Maputo and Matola are surrounded by more than 80% which is informal settlements. As it is for many informal settlement in the world, these settlements has many issues for example accessibility problem, Flooding problem, eruption of diseases, lack of drainage system, etc. Howerver, throught the speaking with the municipality planer, there is no maps which helps them to plan their bairros.

FOSS4G 2018: Dar es salaam

Baada ya kufanyika nchi tofauti duniani, FOSS4G2018 inakuja Tanzania. Hii ni kusema kwamba Africa kwa ujumla tunaungana pamoja kuonyesha na kujadiri kazi za utengenezaji na utumiaji wa reamani katika miji yetu kwa ajiri ya maendeleo endelevu. FOSS4G yenye kirefu chake “Free and Open Source Software for Geographic” ni mfululizo wa makongamano ambayo huandaliwa na OSGEO tangu mwaka 2002 ambayo hufanyika kila mwaka na kukutanisha wana geographia kutoka duniani kote watumiaji wa program zisizo za kulipia (OSGEO) kwa ajiri ya kutambua fursa na changamoto zilizopo katika mipango na uendelezaji wa mji unaoshirikisha Jamii.

Mfururizo huu wa makongamano ulianza rasmi kufanyika tangu mwaka 2002 na kushika kasi mwaka 2006 kama mwanzo wa makongamano kwenye nchi mbalimbali katika mabara ya Ulaya, Amerika, na Asia.

Mwaka 2018 kongamano hili ambalo litaleta zaidi ya watu 800 kutoka nchi mbalimbali duniani litafanyika Dar es salaam, Tanzania. Nikiwa kama Mwenyekiti wa kongamano nikishirikiana na mwenyekiti mwenzangu Mark Iliffe, baada ya kuandaa timu ambayo tulikaa na kuandika kuomba kongamano lifanyike Dar es salaam. Nia na mathumuni ni kukuza utumiaji wa ramani na kuunganisha watumiaji wa ramani ili pamoja kutatua matatizo yanayoikumba jamii. Baada ya mchakato wa uchaguzi, OSGeo ilichagua kongamano hilo lifanyike Dar es salaam kwa iyo tumewashinda wapinzani wetu ambao ni Thailand na Peru.

Kufanyika kwa kongamano la FOSS4G 2018 Dar es salaam litasababisha sio tu utalii wa Tanzania bali kujadili, kuonyesha na kusaidia maendeleo ya Tanzania na Africa kwa ujumla.

Mimi nina furaha kwa kongamano hili kufanyika Dar es salaam, kwa iyo tukutane mwakani (2018) kwa kongamano.

Different between drones imagery against other imagery

Two days ago I had an opportunity to have an interview with Deogratius Minja, one of the community mapping analyst at the World Bank Tanzania and currently a person who organize drone mapping project in Zanzibar; he accepted to have big difference between these two imageries. According to him, drone mapping has high resolution up to 2.8 centimeter which is very useful for planning and critical analysis while other imagery has the low resolution of about 50 centimeters.

Fredy (Drone expert) getting ready to take imagery using drones in Zanzibar.

This means that, drone imagery have less error when used into actual use. However, when I asked him on the way drones are able to overcome wind and clouds, he said drones are one among the few technologies that are free from clouds when capturing imagery compared to google where the clouds are everywhere in the imagery. This hinder some critical imagery analysis especially from google imagery for example land use capture.


Behavior of transport made transport implementation more costful – Dar es Salaam

Just one week since i came back from Chile. A lot has been changed in Dar es salaam city. But that is not my point that i want to mention out now. My city with more that 2 million people. Apart from planning problem that leads to increased informal settlements, Dar es salaam is the city (atleast is the city that i am familiar) that implementation of transport is more costful due to behavior of the people.

Just to mention few examples is that drivers especially public buses (Daladala) do not follow road rules where instead of waiting on the road lane normally, they always go fast thereore they divert from the main road which reads to more complicated traffic jams. To implement transport in that situation, more strategies should be followed during road construction in order to control drivers to go straight on the road regardless of the traffic jams (well that has more implications on the cost to construct road).

Compared to developed countries where people follow road rules and regulations. Furthermore, pedestrians are given priorities by the drivers espeacially on the zebras. Therefore, there is no need for more additional pumps especially on the main roads to control the drivers as it shows on the picture below.

Road in Germany (Picture taken from Google)

The situation is the same on zebra (the picture below shows), this is due to the fact that the driver do not give priorities to pedestrians therefore the planning on that is to put bumps “Matuta” in order to control the drivers when it comes to allow pedestrians on the transport.

Road in Germany (Picture taken from Google)

Therefore, behavior is the source of all the Situation happening on the tansporting system.

Those are just few examples from many that i have observed since i have arrived in Dar es Salaam. More to come…