Representatives of ECOWAS countries in Lomé for the establishment of geospatial data infrastructure

Thirty national directors of mapping agencies from countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were in Lomé July 13-14, 2015 to make cartographic production more flexible and to advance geospatial data infrastructure.

Opened by the Director General of mapping in the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing and the living environment, Koffi Dakey, in the presence of the Ambassador of Senegal to Togo, Tall Fall, and the Permanent Representative of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Garba Lompo, this two-day meeting was organized under the framework of the Vision 2020 of ECOWAS to improve how mapping agencies play their full part in achieving the Vision 2020.

Digital maps now find application in many sectors such as national planning, land management, the environment, natural resources, health, transport, and market studies. It is also an activity recognized as a fundamental infrastructure, along with physical infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications and other utilities.

Vision 2020 will contribute substantially to improving the quality and the amount of collected information for a better assessment of development planning and the environment of peace and security of ECOWAS countries. The director of early warning, Dr. Gueye Abdou Lat, recalled that Togo is one the first countries to realize its digital mapping to 1:50,000. “Today in many of our countries, if we talk about mapping, it is about maps that date back to colonial times, and while there are many who have made efforts [to improve the situation], much remains to be done. The technology today allows us to very quickly make maps from a satellite image at very large scale. Therefore, ECOWAS will support countries that are behind, for us to try to harmonize the mapping very quickly,” he said.

Nigeria: Spotlight on Nigerian tech start-up that seeks to identify patterns in traffic chaos

Emmanuel Adegboye attempts to bring order to the chaos of African public transportation systems with his tech startup, Bus Stop. Bus Stop is a transit application for navigating through African cities using public transportation.

In Lagos alone, the current population is estimated at 25 million people and a major percentage of these people rely on public transportation for their daily commute. The problem, however, is that the transportation system (in Lagos) is quite chaotic. Things are never the same. Bus times cannot be accurately predicted (there are actually no bus times!). You just go to the garage or stand at a bus stop hoping to get a bus, bus routes change, new routes open up, prices fluctuate and all of this makes moving around a challenge. It’s even worse when you’re going to a new part of town.

Bus Stop is trying to understand the patterns in the seeming chaos and model the present transport systems so that navigating with an app feels natural and gives you an exact representation of the reality on ground.

Bus Stop is still in development, but it will launch soon starting with Lagos, Nigeria.

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