[OSGeo Africa] Fwd: [SDI-Africa] Kenya: What can other African cities learn from Nairobi’s matatu map?

Gavin Fleming gavin at kartoza.com
Mon Sep 28 08:16:48 PDT 2015

apologies for any cross-posting

This is a great open data story. Time for SA taxis to get the same

Kenya: What can other African cities learn from Nairobi€'s matatu map?

Most cities in the developing world rely on informal networks of
minivans and buses to bring laborers to work and goods to market. Yet
little information or data are available about these networks, where bus
stops can change by the minute and fares can quadruple when it rains. In
cities from Bogotá to Addis Ababa, commuters and suppliers can only
find their way through word of mouth. And these informal but essential
networks are almost invisible to planners who pilot urban expansion and

Now this may change, thanks to Digital Matatus, a novel research project
in Nairobi, Kenya. A joint effort involving MIT, Columbia University,
the University of Nairobi, and Groupshot Design Consultancy, Digital
Matatus deployed Kenyan researchers equipped with smartphones to collect
and analyze data from the network of matatus — privately owned
minivans — that services the Kenyan capital.

The open-source data ( http://www.digitalmatatus.com/map.html ), which
were initially transformed into a popular paper map, are now searchable
in Google Maps as a transit option, making it possible for anyone with a
smartphone to navigate the city using a matatu.


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