How hard is it to popularize digital maps in Africa

  Humans are born in the geometry of space. Envisioning communities and people as myriad points, then observing their movement, drawing lines and surfaces, tracing and planning the direction of these movements, and drawing different boundaries and regions, this presentation is a map. Maps connect people’s inner geometry with the outer world.
  Maps also represent organized order. People may want the convenience of order, or they may fear the control of order. For example, in the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé, because the house number system has not been popular, in recent years, the municipal government has made great efforts to promote the marking of house numbers for each house and the promotion of a clear road name sign system. However, many people strongly resisted because they were afraid of the control and demolition that would follow. However, the difficulty of finding an address still bothered people.
  Attempts to map, and to resist the gaze of the cartographer, are historical wrestling. The Niger River is the most important river in the Sahel region of West Africa. This particular river originates 200 kilometers from the coast and stretches 4,000 kilometers deep into the dry interior. In 1824, when British explorer Clay Burton wanted to investigate the source of the Niger River, Sultan Belo of the Sokoto Caliphate fooled him, saying that the Niger River flows eastward into the Nile River, and goes out to sea from Egypt instead of Nigeria, in order to avoid the infiltration of colonial powers. In the maps of Africa drawn by Europeans in the 19th century, the narrow and narrow area known today as the Sahel is not yet understood. On the contrary, there is a mountain range that does not exist across the entire African continent from east to west. Explorers imagined this. The slender mountains may be the source of the Nile and Niger rivers.
  While Europeans were actively exploring, native Africans were already familiar with the local environment in their own way, as evidenced by the explorers’ reliance on local guides. It can also be seen in many travel records that the explorers were amazed that the locals could clearly draw maps of the depths of the jungle on the sand, but the local aborigines did not have written or printed media, so they would not output in the form of modern maps. Geographical knowledge.
  In small indigenous societies in Africa, geographic knowledge is often combined with a religious cosmology, presented through oral myths, ritual dances, tattoos, and petroglyphs. In larger political bodies such as the Kingdom of Bammu in Cameroon, the royal family will use murals, weaving or more modern methods to make maps after being stimulated by missionaries. How human beings think and communicate geographic knowledge is inseparable from social formation and communication technology.
  In the development and changes of Africa, the demand for geographic information from individuals to governments is gradually increasing. The problem of house numbers in Yaounde, Cameroon is also happening in many African countries. On the one hand, it is inconvenient due to the lack of house numbers and street names. On the other hand, it is not easy to implement normative measures. of.
  Just as the real world encounters difficulties, digital technologies offer different solutions. In 2015, Bama, a young entrepreneur from Cameroon, developed an App, which is similar to social platform software; ordinary people need to be familiar with nearby landmarks to find the location when they lack a house number; users can ask questions on the platform, and other users can help Reply. Another UK start-up in 2018 is building digital counterparts to physical geospatial locations. A unique digital address can be set in any corner of the earth.
  There are many other such digital solutions, for example, during the Ebola epidemic, an “open street map” website provided assistance to Congo (DRC), which lacked good maps. The lack of effective location information will cause huge obstacles to the prevention and control of the epidemic, and the “open street map” is an important help.
  Of course, the obstacle to digital solutions lies in the lack of Internet penetration. Africa’s digital space, like offline space, is struggling to develop in reality.