Open Street Map Africa: State of the Map Africa 2023

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From the 30th of November to the 2nd of December 2023, the Open Street Map (OSM) Africa community will be coming together for yet another exciting conference: State of the Map Africa, 2023.

The conference aims to bring together OpenStreetMap enthusiasts from Africa and beyond.

As open-source and collaborative platforms continue to evolve, this year’s conference aims to highlight how open mapping has been and continues to play a powerful role in local development in Africa.

Open mapping continues to empower communities to better understand and address their own needs and challenges, from improving infrastructure and services to responding to other emergencies including natural disasters, thereby driving a positive change.

General Tracks

The conference will provide an opportunity for mappers to share and exchange ideas, knowledge, and experience; expand their network, and generate ideas to grow OSM within the continent.

We are inviting members of the OpenStreetMap community and other OSM data users to share with us about your mapping projects and ideas, OSM experiences at an individual, community or institutional level. From beginner mappers, OSM data users, to community leaders, we would like to hear from you!

With this year’s theme being “Open mapping as a support tool for local development in Africa”, we are keen to learn about:

1. Collaboration between stakeholders to promote open mapping tools for local development.
2. How open data has helped governments and communities to support interventions, e.g health-related projects, humanitarian projects, etc
3. How is Mapping helping Africa to foster development?

4. Mapping projects that highlights how open mapping can drive positive change for local communities
5. The future of mapping: how OpenStreetMap is changing the game
6. Policy support for open mapping tools to promote data sharing and collaboration.
7. Engaging with local communities to ensure open mapping tools reflect their needs and priorities.
8. Mapping collaborations across different entities, communities, and countries.

We are looking for submissions in these categories:

  • Data production
  • Data visualization
  • Data analysis
  • Community
  • Innovation track

Session formats:

  • Talk (20′)
  • Lightning talk (5′)
  • Workshop (90′)
  • Panel/Roundtable discussion (60′)

Other session types (not included in the current call for proposals):

  • Bird of a feather sessions (BoFs)
  • Poster presentations
  • Drone mapping sessions

Academic Track

This year, the State of the Map Africa conference 2023, will feature the first edition of the Academic Track – a full day of sessions dedicated to academic research about, and with, OpenStreetMap.

The goal of the Track is to showcase the research and innovation of scientific investigations into OpenStreetMap and beyond as a pathway to exploring OSM GISciences in Africa.

The SotM Africa Academic Track also aims at networking members of the OpenStreetMap community and the academic community in Africa through an open collaboration and exchange of ideas to drive OpenStreetMap project and open map data for research and geoinformation in Africa.

We expect empirical, methodological, conceptual, or literature-review-based contributions addressing any scientific aspect related to OpenStreetMap, in particular, but not limited to, the following:

1. Extrinsic or intrinsic quality assessment of OpenStreetMap data
2. Analysis of contribution patterns in OpenStreetMap
3. Generation of new and scientifically valuable datasets from OpenStreetMap

4. Assessments of data import procedures and their impacts on data and community
5. Integration between OpenStreetMap and other data sources (authoritative, user-generated, or otherwise valuable to OpenStreetMap)
6. Analysis/comparison of available software for scientific purposes related to OpenStreetMap

7. Novel approaches to facilitate or improve data collection and/or data quality in OpenStreetMap (e.g. through gamification or citizen science approaches)
8. Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning from, and with OpenStreetMap (e.g. AI-assisted mapping)
9. Open research problems in OpenStreetMap and challenges for the scientific community

10. Cultural, political, and organisational aspects of data production and usage practices in OpenStreetMap
11. Studies using OpenStreetMap data in scientific domains
12. Reviews of any scientific aspect connected to OpenStreetMap
13. OpenStreetMap education-Teachers in schools
14. Cyber Cartography and OpenStreetMap

And Lots more

In an effort to trigger a sustainable interaction and collaboration between the academic and the more general OpenStreetMap communities, authors are invited to particularly highlight the practical implications or impacts of their research on the OpenStreetMap community at large.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts should be between 800 and 1200 words. These limits will be strictly enforced for a fair and balanced review process.

Abstracts must be scientifically rigorous and the content should be logically structured as follows (without the need to include subsections): introduction/background, where the problem addressed is introduced; main aim or purpose of the study; brief description of the methodology and findings achieved; final discussion highlighting the scientific contribution of the study and its practical benefits/implications.

In the evaluation of proposals, the scientific committee will pay attention to the reproducibility of the research (where this is applicable). Reproducibility is ensured when the research makes all artefacts (input data, computational steps, methods and code) openly available to obtain consistent results. When available, the code shall be released under an open-source licence.

Abstracts are to be submitted online in plain-text format (no images or figures).

Abstracts will be evaluated by the scientific committee. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to deliver an oral presentation during the Academic Track sessions at the conference or to present a poster (in case a poster session will be organised).

Selected abstracts will be published as a collection, each with a distinct Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in Zenodo, an open access online repository.

The scientific committee may seek to further disseminate the contributions to this conference by investigating the organisation of a special issue in a relevant, open access, scientific journal. In such a case, authors of the selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper to this special issue. Successful submissions may benefit from partial or full waiver of publication fees.

Code Of Conduct

State of the Map Africa (SotM Africa) is dedicated to providing a positive conference experience for all attendees, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, age, religion, or national and ethnic origin.

We encourage respectful and considerate interactions between attendees and do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. We see the use of offensive language, sexual advancement and erotic imagery as inappropriate for any conference and networking.

Conference participants violating these standards may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Our anti-harassment policy can be found here.

Timeline and Deadlines

1st May 2023: Call for proposals launch
24th June 2023: Deadline general submissions
24th June 2023: Deadline academic talk submissions
30th November – 2nd December 2023: State of the Map Africa

Find more information here. You can enter proposals until 2023-06-24 23:59 (UTC), 1 month from now.


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