Flooding has plagued the Ghanaian capital of Accra for years, so HOT worked with Mobile Web Ghana and OpenStreetMap Ghana to develop data on local buildings, drainage, and infrastructure that communities and municipal authorities could use to make vulnerable neighborhoods more resilient.
Flooding has been a persistent and even deadly problem for the residents of Accra for years. The Ghanaian capital sees floods during the rainy season every year, and 60% of the city’s population lives in the flood-prone Odaw River basin. In April 2019, 5 people were killed by floods, and in 2015 between a hundred and two hundred people were killed either by floods or by fires while flooding confounded rescue efforts. The floods each year also displace many vulnerable residents, destroy properties, and spread waste, leading to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) teamed up with Mobile Web Ghana and OpenStreetMap Ghana to execute the Open Cities Accra (OCA Accra) project. This project provided Ghana’s Ministry of Inner-Cities and Zongo Development and the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) project with vital data to combat these deadly floods and to build the stakeholder’s capabilities to collect and use spatial data to improve the lives of people in the most vulnerable communities.
OCA Accra’s work focused on the under-mapped neighborhoods of Alogboshie, Alajo, Akweteyman, and Nima. These communities lie along the Odaw River and are not only vulnerable to flooding themselves, but are also major sources of waste being swept into the river during floods.
These efforts were funded through The World Bank and took place from June 2018 to February 2020. OCA Accra supported the wider GARID project and Open Cities Africa, a World Bank funded effort to use open data to build sustainable and resilient communities across 15 cities in Africa.
Starting with Remote Mapping
To help the local communities and government tackle the flooding and waste challenges, OCA Accra employed remote mapping, field data collection, and data validation. The project also aimed to build the capacity of the local government and communities to collect and interpret spatial data and contribute to the OpenStreetMap platform even after the project ended.