Google Maps in Uganda
Google Tech TalksDecember, 5 2007Colonial rule left many scars on Africa and with tools like Google maps those of the cartographers can now be clearly viewed from cyberspace. With ubiquitous satellite coverage, the random nature of African borders is more evident than ever. Nations initially created on a whim with boundaries that cut through language and ethnic groups are now dealing with legacies dealt to them by cartographers. What about todays cartographers? How will they help change the face of Africa? There is little chance any boundaries will change, but there is great hope that characteristics about the landscape can change. Wednesdays tech talk tackles that issue as we speak with a creative group who has harnessed the power of Google maps to allow the online community in the US to impact the landscape from afar by planting trees. Users log on, buy a tree, get GPS coordinates for the village in which it will be planted...and soon enough a google maps mash up allows them to follow the progress of their tree as it is cared for by a village community. For their part, village communities are paid month to month, rewarded more and more for every living tree. The incentive system is simple and the motivation to keep the trees alive is enormous."We think this is the most exciting proposition for combating Ugandan deforestation to be unveiled in a long time," says Jimmy Kolker, former US Ambassador to Uganda. "With a tool like Google Maps and quality partners on the ground, there is no reason our success in Uganda can't be replicated all over Africa." Come check it out!Speaker: Mark MooreMark spent 10 years in Uganda helping communities 1 village at a time. He is currently a legislative aid assisting Senator Landreau.