The United Nations Human Settlement Programme estimates that more than 800 million people today live in slums, accounting for one third of the world’s urban population. Slum dwellers are confronted every day with substandard and often dangerous living conditions. Typically they face at least one of the following problems:
Maps are a vital component of activities to improve slums and the lives of slum dwellers. But many maps are out dated and slum areas continue to grow in size and number on a daily basis. The adage “if it’s not on the map it does not exist” has important implications for slums and slum dwellers not the least of which is continued neglect by official bodies charged with the delivery of public services.
The purpose of this project is to increase the quality and quantity of data on slum areas and their visibility through mapping. Updated maps of unplanned neighborhoods or slums will be generated via a bottom-up, collaborative mapping process.
We invite you to help map the unplanned neighborhoods or slums found in your city via the Google Map Maker platform. Completing a global slum map will require a sustained effort over a long period of time so more attention and recognition can be focused on the needs of slum dwellers around the world. We therefore kindly request that you start work on this as soon as possible and complete as many neighborhood delineations as you can so that an initial assessment of the approach can be made.But the work does not stop here, of course. Additional slum mapping events and activities will be created as the project continues and develops. Your ideas on how to improve this project and suggestions for activities are most welcome.
Some documents coming from recent meetings on slum mapping can be found here. Additional contributions and information about your slum mapping activities are most welcome.
Ultimately slum maps are needed for any city where slums are found. Even so, we do have some immediate priority cities which ITC and its slum mapping partners UN-HABITAT Global Urban Observatory, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) are interested in (see table below).
Current cities for which we have either specific priority for mapping or where collaborative slum mapping is already taking place are listed below.
(Note: this list will be updated over time)
Slum Mapping with Map Maker
If you would like to help with slum mapping in your city using Map Maker, this is the place where we need the most volunteers! In Map Maker, please fly to your city, click on Satellite or Hybrid map mode (under the Satellite View), to see the latest imagery available for mapping.
Do you have local knowledge on slum areas in your city or one that you are very familiar with?
Great! Here are four things you can do!
If you haven’t already done so, please alert the Slum Mapping Community about your local knowledge via the Slum Mapping Forum. Other people may contact you to help them with mapping a particular city or area. You can also check our other forums for people seeking help from local knowledge experts.
Google Map Maker: An Introduction for Slum Mappers
Are you a mapper who would like to help but without much local knowledge about slums?
No problem! You can still help in the following ways:
At the top left of the viewing window you will find the tools for zoom, pan, Find (to find or select existing features) or Add (to add new features) to the map.
Use the pan and zoom functions to move the area of interest. Adjust the zoom factor so that the scale bar (see bottom left of viewing window) shows between 100-50m. At these scales it should be possible to see the individual buildings in unplanned areas clearly so that the boundary of the areas can be digitized. Note: it is not intended to digitize the outlines of individual buildings only the extent of the unplanned neighborhood or slum.
Use the polygon tool in the Add menu to draw a polygon shape and select the label sub-locality-neighborhood from the pull down menu.
Digitize the outline of the unplanned neighborhood or slum. The polygon will close when the first digitized point is redigitized. A menu on the left hand side of the viewing window will appear in which extra attribute data concerning the digitized area can be added (see below). The name of the area and some other details can be added. If the population is known this can be specified and as well the date of the population data should be given. Under the category description please indicate what type of neighborhood this is and why.
The lack of services and infrastructure within unplanned areas is a major concern for their residents. If you are aware of the functions of any specific buildings or locations within the neighborhood these can be digitized as points. Use the Add point function to do so. We are especially interested to know locations such as: drinking water points, shops, workshops, religious buildings (e.g. churches, mosques, temples etc), schools, health facilities etc).
When you have finished digitizing please save the results and send a notification to Richard Sliuzas (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Rob Lemmens (email@example.com) or post a message to the Map Maker Slum Mapping Forum.
Thank you for your collaboration.