Collaborative web mapping and volunteered geographic information: a study in NigeriaCreated by Bello, I.E. & Ojigi, L.M.
This paper evaluates developments in mapping – from traditional, desktop cartography through to Collaborative Web Mapping (CWM), and it uses an experimental example from a developing country, Nigeria. We examine the status and limitations of CWM as a viable tool that freely contributes towards using globally assessed and free Web Mapping Platforms (WMPs) such as Google Maps, Google Earth, OpenStreetMap, Bing Maps and Yahoo! Maps. Here we use Google Map Maker Web 2.0 to conduct an experimental mapping analysis using 50 volunteered staff drawn from different departments of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD) in Abuja, Nigeria. We find that Geographic Information (GI) experts are faster at data integration, while the reverse is the case for non-GI experts due to limited knowledge of geo-spatial data management. We then describe how Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) revealed that all participants are willing to optimistically contribute towards a global map by using a free web mapping medium. Finally, we explain that limitations to the advancement of integrating Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in most developing countries like Nigeria include poor knowledge of geo-spatial data and analytical methods, unstable electric power supply, slow but high-cost Internet facilities, inadequate computer systems and lack of personal volunteerism.