Nairobi: A group of activist cartographers called the “Spatial Collective” have started a campaign to put Nairobi’s slum of Mathare on Google Maps. The group has provided slum dwellers with GPS devices to map up the entire area.
The slum-mapping movement started in India about a decade ago. Recently, it migrated to Africa. The idea behind mapping slums is that once the map is ready it can be used as evidence in the court of law to stop eviction. It can also be presented to city planners as a challenge that demands immediate solutions. In Nairobi, the movement started last year. Slum mappers not only put information such as day care centres, informal schools but also details such as “dark corner with no streetlights” or “illegal dumping grounds”, thus bringing their urgent problems to the authorities.