How to map a city's public transport during a pandemic

Christoph Hanser

Playlists: 'sotm2021' videos starting here / audio

How to remotely map a city's public transport when due to the pandemic local trainings and community buildings are not possible.

Financed by the World Bank who wants to support the infrastructure of Mauritania and also the planning of the bus system, we from Trufi Association wanted to map the public transport of its capital Nouakchott. Our typical approach would be to train and empower local communities so that they can work with OpenStreetMap and public transport mapping in the long run, keep it updated, ensure ground truth, make it more sustainable. We would have made the mapping together and this way taught how to trace and upload bus lines, bus stops, and points of interest. The plan was to do this together with French organization “Les Libres Geographes” who are experts in this topic. Due to Corona, we were not allowed to enter the city and had to think of a plan B. We will show in this talk how a local team can do the collection of necessary data and how a remote team can do the mapping – organized by a regional partner who at least is nearby. We show how both sides could benefit nearly as much as if we had been there, and why this is in times of CO2 reduction and pandemic might be a wise choice for other cities and mapping projects as well. But we also show the limitations, for example that this would not have worked without a minimal preparation of the local people during the last years.


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