Interview with Lamine Ndiaye – The “winner” of the 100th millionth changeset

Third-party article by Rogehm


As editor of weeklyOSM, Rogehm was responsible to conduct the interview with Lamine Ndiaye – the winner of the 100th millionth changeset in OpenStreetMap – announced by the editors. The interview was conducted in French. Here translated into English and German. There were 10 questions considered by the editorial team. We thank Lamine very much for the very detailed answers.

The interview has been republished here in French (original), German and English.

Question 1.: Where and how do you live, do you have other hobbies or interests?

I live in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, and I live with my family in Yoff Apecsy 1. Apart from OpenStreetMap I have no other activities. Indeed, as a founding member of the OpenStreetMap Senegal community, I work on the popularisation of collaborative mapping, training and animation of OpenStreetMap mapping activities in my country as an independent consultant.

Question 2: Do you remember your first contribution to OSM? How did it come about?

My first contribution on OpenStreetMap dates back to February 19, 2013 and it was during an OpenStreetMap training session organised by Augustin Doury, at the time a volunteer of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team on a mission to popularise OpenStreetMap collaborative mapping in Senegal as part of the Espace OpenStreetMap Francophone project.

Question 3: What are you working with at the moment and how was it in the beginning? We mean your equipment, your PC environment and the connection to the WWW.

I am currently working on the mapping of health structures with Mark Herringer from Healthsites, whom I thank in passing for his trust and support every day. At the beginning, I was lucky to have the support and guidance of people dedicated to the OpenStreetMap project such as Severin Ménard and Nicolas Chaven ( LesLibresGéographes ) who have been very involved in my training on mapping techniques, organisational management and advocacy around the OpenStreetMap project. As far as my work environment is concerned, it boils down to a personal PC, my smartphone and the broadband connection at home.

Question 4: What do you like to map most and which countries do you prefer?

Building cartography is mainly what I do most, however, depending on the theme of a project I map the living areas, roads and points of interest. Senegal, my country, is the country that I map the most but depending on the Tasking Manager’s projects I work on other countries. Today I have worked on 36 countries around the world responding to crisis activations.

Question 5: Which contacts in the OSM environment do you maintain or have you even made friends through mapping?

Thanks to OpenStreetMap collaborative mapping, I have developed a strong network of friends and partners around the world, particularly in West Africa where from Senegal to Niger, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo and Mauritania recently. But also in Central Africa (Congo Kinshasa, Congo Brazzaville and Cameroon), East Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia), Madagascar, Europe (France, Spain, Italy, Holland, England, Germany), Asia (Japan, Bangladesh, India), the United States, Canada, Colombia and Peru.

Question 6. In your opinion, what are the advantages or disadvantages of OSM compared to other map providers or geodatabases as a user or hobby?

The benefits of OpenStreetMap mapping are commensurable especially in our developing countries. Indeed, with its open source aspect, this community mapping is a godsend to put on the map sustainable development issues such as access to education, health, environmental preservation, transport and urban mobility with Open Source infrastructures and software. The diversity of actors (cartographers, developers, humanitarian and private organisations and public authorities) creates a real synergy in the OpenStreetMap mapping project.

Question 7. What do you wish the OSM community would focus more on internationally? (Keywords: Humanitarian mapping, lack of infrastructure, greatest possible precision, addressing, roads as surfaces or 3D mapping).

In my opinion an emphasis should be put on the missing areas on the map without forgetting also the quality of the data produced to include more people around the OpenStreetMap project.

Question 8. What do you think about the organisation of OpenStreetMap (OSMF, Local Chapters, HOT)?

With the OpenStreetMap project’s policy of inclusion and diversification, both the OpenStreetMap Foundation and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap are working to ensure the sustainability of the project. As for the Local Chapters, their work in popularising and facilitating the project is essential for the appropriation of the project by the actors in the field and contributes to the knowledge of the efforts made by the community in the public authorities, the humanitarian community and the private sector.

Question 9. You know the weeklyOSM because you are an editor yourself. What can the current editors do better?

As an editor of the WeeklyOSM myself, I would like to thank all the members of the editorial staff for their hard work in sharing information about the OpenStreetMap project, which in my opinion contributes to the effort to promote the project but also to the learning by example of local communities.

Question 10. Does the OSM have a future? How important would you rate it, especially in Africa, compared to the competition?

OpenStreetMap remains a project of the future, especially in Africa, where it gives more scope for action and an exponential learning curve in terms of mapping techniques, the establishment of geospatial infrastructures, open source tools and software, but also the data to be produced. In conclusion, allow me to thank my family for their unconditional and unfailing support during all these years of volunteering, but also the OpenStreetMap Senegal community for its commitment and unfailing abnegation around this highly important project as a decision-making tool for our country.