Public Lab Wiki documentation


2 | 8 | | #75

Dear All, We are in the process of organizing a collaboration in Togo, many parameters are still very undefined, also it is good to aggregate whatever piece of information we have on this page.

1. Purpose

How is risk defined -- environmental, economic, personal? Coastal or riverine flooding? Other hazards, such as contamination, agriculture-based erosion, rapid urbanization, territorial dispute, corruption? What specific regions, i.e. what communities are at risk?

We are working with the people of Togo, not for the World Bank. The purpose of Public Laboratory in Togo should be defined by the People of Togo and paid by the WB. We want to listen to the people of Togo and define with them the terms of a possible collaboration.

  • Existing crisis: maybe there is already a problem that we want to help solve.
  • Potential crisis -> risks : Maybe we can identify and avoid a problem.
  • Flood, drough
  • Pollution
  • Urbanism
  • Territorial dispute & corruption
  • Sanitary infrastrucuture ( like Mapping Kibera help Kibera build its infrastructure, giving maps to people so they can find their ways, services, help etc)
  • Crisis readiness : Maybe we can train and let people adapt the technology we work with to help them be ready in times of crisis
  • Agricultural studies and infrastructure or practice improvement
  • General geological survey

For whom is the data? Both who will be receiving it (gov't of Togo, NGOs, WB?) and what is GFDRR position on open licensing for broader use? (I'm assuming good based on OSM collaboration but felt we should ask anyways.)

2. Partners

  • Who are GFDRR's local partners, and what plans are in place (or can we help to facilitate) to directly include at-risk community members? What role could they play in risk assessment? We envision a collaboration between Public Laboratory and grassroots organizations in Togo. Who else is at the table and in what capacity? GFDRR, World Bank, Gov't of Togo, others? Even if a small geographic region is specified, populations can be distinguished on cultural, socio-economic, political, ethnic bases...

3. Our team

Our team should not be assembled before we have defined the purpose of this expedition. If we define our team first, we would impose our group method when the diversity of our profiles could really adapt and serve whatever needs Togo communities would have. So, let's forget about who is going for now and let's focus on WHY / WHAT are we going there for.

4. Method

I think 2 weeks is the minimum if we want to :

  • identify a need with the people of Togo : learn about the community perception of what risk is to them * they are aware of their own situation better than we are.
  • get to know the people on a personal level
  • do the mapping
  • train the community
  • make sure the community knows and understand it's own interest in keeping the technology going / improving
  • I would expect the community to appropriate the technology and make it's own version of GM, make a different version with their materials and local knowledge. For instance they may not have access to helium / nor kite, so we may have to really grassroots with whatever they have. I think this is the essence of what we are trying to do : solve problems creatively with grassroots strartegies, with the people.
  • Long term relation, collaboration
  • Capacity building

5. Dates

Let me go forward and propose dates: 14 - 28 April 2011.

But it seems that depending on the purpose we would be most interested in long term work with local communities. So, it may not be only a 10/15 days expedition, but many trips of a committed team.

What is the long-term plan, if any? How will this become a sustainable effort, whose output effects change? Speaking from a skills-transfer perspective, a time perspective (considering volunteer time) as well as an economic one.

6. Technology & Deliverables capabilities

What are we capable of producing?

So, if we see brown on the picture we can be sure if it oil or something else. The Microscope cost $50. Same as we were able to modify cameras to identify grass etc, we may be able to modify microscope and extract specific informations (especially by chaning the LEDs inside the USB Microscope)

  • NVDI, infrared aerial.

what problem does it match? can we invent new usages / adapt of our existing techniques ?

7. Money

We do not know yet how much money would be available for us. WB obviously has money. We need to know if they want to do a one time experiment that will make them look good, or if they are trying to really establish a lasting positive impact.

What comes to my mind is that WB is focused primarily on the economy, therefore we could also match their criteria of success by helping the people of Togo adapt our techniques to

  • avoid losing money : avoiding crisis
  • minimizing how much money they loose : crisis readiness
  • making more money : enhancing the current state of affairs (healt, sewage, agriculture etc)

What I mean : the highest criteria of success for this is that Togo people have also a humanitarian + economic interest in using the technology after we leave. For example I know of a a wind turbine project in Kenya : they train people make their own turbines and some of them open wind turbine businesses : technology can be profitable and viral. We hope to find a purpose that makes our techniques relevant that they would use without us.

8. Safety

Of course. Vaccine, food, personal security.

9. Language

Establishing connexions with local partners. I think I can really help on this one with french. Many NGOs are already there, in english too.

10. Absolute Criteria

We should only get involved if we know we clearly serve the Togo community with a technology they can consider themselves as Grassroots.

11. Ethics

We need to develop a framework for how (in general) organizations like us, and hopefully like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, CrisisCommons, etc. can develop relationships with both large institutions and local communities. - we could point any potential partners towards it to give them an idea of how we'd like to work with them - other organizations which currently aren't very critical or careful, (is H.O.T. asking these questions? I think not...) could be pressured/inspired to adopt this framework - we could --as organizations between large institutions and small communities-- pressure large institutions to adopt these guidelines in their work by defining this as a standard -- like Fair Trade, but probably more like LEED standards for green buildings. - we could build in requirements for open data where relevant, other protections, which would also appeal to open data groups

Some examples to look at:

  • The security and ethics of live mapping in repressive regimes and hostile environments: (this sparked some criticism from open data folks regarding the 'keeping infrastructure secret' bit. Ethics section is more compelling than security, and sits better with me)

I mention in section 2.2.1 of my thesis ( this list (33 items) of "Practical ethics for participatory cartography" assembled by Robert Chambers and others:

  1. Rambaldi, R. Chambers, M. McCall, and J. Fox. Practical ethics for PGIS practitioners, facilitators, technology intermediaries and researchers. Participatory Learning and Action: Mapping for change: practice, technologies and communication, page 106, 2006.

Link to PDF

We could perhaps call this "PLOTS Collaboration Standard: A framework for community data production" or something.

12. Team ##

Adam Griffith is an ecologist/biologist specializing in coastal hazard reduction (flooding and land management) as well as fluvial geomorphology for riverine flooding. He seems like a natural fit and has been very involved in both balloon and small aircraft-based mapping in the Gulf, as well as leading student grassroots mapping-style projects at Western Carolina University.

I just jumped in the conversation so please don't feel offended if I did not include you here or did not understand your qualification * I apologize in advance.

Shannon Dosemagen leads our Gulf Coast effort to map the oil spill and has extensive experience working with communities around the region to measure and respond to environmental risk and disasters such as the oil spill. She's led many balloon mapping trips and taught many dozens of people to fly balloons in tough conditions.

Cesar Harada is another very experienced mapper from the Gulf Coast region who has led some of the more successful trips to map more remote wetlands areas in boats; he is a native speaker of French and has a similarly strong background of collaborating with community members. He and Adam share strong map processing and stitching skills as well, which is an important component of the whole process.

13. Where to start

UNDERSTAND PURPOSE : talk to local ngo's, people, read papers etc... Identify problems and people, we'll build from that.