Creating gender data in open maps
2021-09-30, 14:00–14:30, Puerto Madryn

As more communities, organizations, and individuals are interested and are working towards solving some of the world’s biggest challenges, there has been a growing need for open data and FOSS. In as much as we have had progress in several sectors, underrepresented and marginalized groups, especially women and girls, are still being left behind. To cater to these groups, it’s critical that we have open gender data at micro levels to inform and support the development of these solutions. In 2020, the OpenStreetMap community in Kenya conducted a mapping project aimed at creating gender health data. Basing on our experience, we would like to share and answer: How does geospatial gender data look like? Does open geospatial gender data exist? How does this look like in open maps like OpenStreetMap?

Between December 2020 to March 2021, the OSM Kenya team ran a project whose focus was on growing the OSM community locally: both in terms of membership and diversity. The project was supported through the Facebook and HOTOSM community impact microgrants. In this session, we will share about the community, project: from ideation(community health), motivation to implementation. This will include the activities involved, our experience, challenges that we encountered, and the lessons learned.

Being one of the awardees for the 2020 Community Impact Microgrants by HOTOSM and Facebook, the OpenStreetMap community in Kenya ran a virtual three-month training program for women and girls interested in OSM. While the project was implemented towards the end of 2020, the ideation process began at the start of the year when discussing community health and brainstorming on activities to conduct virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. This included carrying out a community survey, identifying gaps and challenges, and figuring out what next. Our key focus was community growth, especially in terms of diversity and membership. We had some virtual activities that introduced new mappers to the community but still saw no diversity improvement.

We, therefore, designed a women-only training program that would run for eight weeks. We were able to train a group of 35 beginner-level and intermediate-level mappers on all aspects of open mapping. Activities included hands-on workshops, presentations, and mapathons. During this period, we had some successes, learned a lot, but we also had a good share of challenges. We hope that by sharing our experience, other communities interested in implementing similar programs can learn more about the same; we also hope to have discussions that would improve future iterations of the program.

Authors and Affiliations

Laura Mugeha, YouthMappers, Kenya.


Open data


Community & participatory FOSS4G


1 - Principiants. No required specific knowledge is needed.

Language of the Presentation


I am a Geospatial engineer working in the intersection of FOSS, open data, and development. I currently work with a social enterprise to support teams in using data. Additionally, I am a YouthMappers regional ambassador where I support chapters locally. In my free time, I volunteer with FOSS communities.

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