HOT/Mali Activation Discussion with humanitarians 2013-02-18

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Below is a transcript of a HOT chat with some humanitarian workers in Bamako, Mali. The timestamps in the chatlog are in US Central Standard Time (GMT -6). The chatlog below has been cleaned up a bit by breaking it into sections for readability and also by introducting some OSM permalink annotations to town names to make it easy to jump to the map for these places. I have also put some of the more important portions of the conversation in bold print to make them easier to find if you are skimming through. To see the original, unmodified raw chat text, see the original version of this page here.

Pre meeting agenda

The following is the text of the pastebin link shared at the beginning of the chat outlining the pre meeting agenda:

Some quick stats on things we have mapped:

Place names:

The UN OCHA COD file of place names has ~700 towns in it for Mali. All of these have been imported into the OSM DB with their OCHA unique identifier numbers.

The US GNS database ~14,000 place names of which ~2,000 have been imported into our database so far with residential areas traced for each of these. Each GNS node has a unique ID number on it that identifies it in the GNS database.

All of these GNS places that are imported have been moved to their exact location with aerial imagery and where confusion exists about the name or which town it applies to, 'fixme' and 'note' tags have been added to describe the exact situation.

Where both OCHA and GNS nodes for the same place have been imported, we have de-duplicated them in our DB and kept the OCHA and GNS unique ID's allowing cross referencing from one database to the other. See for example the town of Douentza:

At that link you can see the town name, an alternate spelling from one of the other databases, as well as the OCHA and NGA unique identifiers to allow objects that appear in both databases to be reconciled.

Here is an interactive map showing a live query with clickable points for all the places in north central Mali in our database (warning might be a farily big download).

You can change the bounding box coords to get other places in a similar fashion (or for the whole country). The data can also be downloaded for offline use.

Water Wells:

We have mapped quite a few water wells in the country from aerial imagery.

Currently we have about 1,600 water wells mapped (although some of these are like 'false positives').

We would like to get some 'ground truth' checking on some of these to know how accurate our assessment of these wells is, both how many we are likely missing, and how many are false positives.

A map showing some of these wells:

Cattle Chutes:

Probably less important for your work, but we did see a lot of special "pens" for putting cattle in with a long "neck" on the pen for lining the cattle up single file.

These are used for checking cattle one at a time and are important to the economics of many of these villages.

We currently have 121 of these mapped. Here they are on a map:

We would like to know what towns/villages you have field workers in so that we can generate a list of things for you to ground truth in the area.

For example, we see a lot of water wells with odd looking "fans" around them in the aerial imagery. Having on the ground pictures of these (and other features) would help us make better classifications.

Also, having your workers check them and add missing ones in a given "test area" will allow us to calculate false positive and false negative statistics, so we can give an indication of how "trustworthy" our well data is.

Due to the large size of the area we are mapping, and the empty nature of most of it. The user PovAddict has put together a croudsourcing tool to allow non-technical people to examine imagery for us and mark features of interest.

This saves us a lot of time by not having to search largely empty areas ourselves and lets us focus on mapping.

Users are shown a small area of imagery and either click on the things we are looking for (which gets recorded in a database for our mappers to map later) or they click the "There is nothing here" button if the image is just empty desert.

We have used the tool to classify over 40,000 images just in the last two days, covering an area of ~6,000 square kilometers of area just south of Mopti.

The tool can be found online here:

IRC Transcript (GMT)


[21:39:50] <pierzen> ACTIVATION FOR MALI DISCUSSION is starting. Welcome to these two humanitarians from Bamako, Mali. Wash Cluster and OCHA.
[21:39:59] <harveyben> Hey there!
[21:40:00] <scream> Hello Andrewbuck...nice to see you again
[21:40:19] <AndrewBuck> Yes, welcome back. Hope things are going better there in mali.
[21:40:30] <pierzen> Be carefull, they are prepared for a live show.
[21:40:49] <scream> we are ready :)
[21:41:00] <harveyben> Yep - ready to go!!

Pre chat notes

[21:41:08] <AndrewBuck> Has pierzen sent you the notes on pastebin?
[21:41:21] <pierzen> if both of you agree, we will post the log on wiki after de discussion.
[21:41:28] <pierzen> no.
[21:41:44] <pierzen> AndrewBuck: the link ?
[21:41:44] <AndrewBuck> here is the pastebin
[21:41:46] <harveyben> Fine - no problems!
[21:41:47] <scream> yeap no problems for me to be post on the wiki
[21:42:04] <harveyben> Taking a look at the postbin now!
[21:42:13] <AndrewBuck> That document is a quick summary of the questions/comments we had so far.
[21:42:50] <AndrewBuck> Just a note, the overpass turbo map links might be a bit large for downloads, and my "stress" your web browser a bit in displaying all the data.

Discussion of water wells

[21:43:01] <scream> 1,600 water wells mapped.....AWESOME!
[21:43:30] <AndrewBuck> Yes, the number is probably a bit higher now. The 1600 figure is from a few days ago.
[21:43:31] <pierzen> but this remote mapping has to be validated.
[21:43:56] <pierzen> This is observation from satellite image.
[21:44:15] <AndrewBuck> yes. That is one of the key things we would like on the ground help from. In checking and photographing some of these well sites.
[21:44:26] <PovAddict> how would we validate?
[21:44:45] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: By having people check them on the ground for some sample area.
[21:44:49] <PovAddict> people on the ground giving us GPS coords?
[21:44:55] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: Exactly.
[21:45:20] <PovAddict> or node IDs? or should we number the wells just for validation?
[21:45:47] <harveyben> There are assessment teams on the ground now - Oxfam GB for example have a team going to Douentza tomorrow for two weeks with a GPS unit.
[21:46:00] <scream> we can do some sample tests in Bamako and main cities in the south as the north remains very off limit still.....Ben, what do you think?
[21:46:04] <AndrewBuck> My suggestion would be to pick out a few towns/villages for your ground people to map wells in and then have us do an imagery survey as well and then compare the results afterwards to see the potential pitfalls and success rate in the imagery analysis.
[21:46:07] <PovAddict> excellent
[21:46:10] <scream> well ben answered already :)
[21:46:10] <harveyben> ACTED have just come back from looking at the water system damage in Diabaly
[21:46:41] <harveyben> Sounds like a plan - could provide them with a list of coords to validate.
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[21:46:49] <scream> ACTED did some field mapping of water points...would be great to get their files so we can cross check
[21:47:06] <PovAddict> hm what kind of GPS unit?
[21:47:10] <harveyben> I was looking on Google Earth this evening in Douentza - it's really difficult to spot the water points.
[21:47:18] <AndrewBuck> If we can get permission from them we will import their data into OSM as well to have an integrated dataset.
[21:47:36] <harveyben> Hmm - I imagine eTrex Vista - UNICEF gives them out to NGOs for free.
[21:48:12] <AndrewBuck> The imported well data helps us learn what to look for as well. This is actually how we started mapping wells in the first place. The millenium villages project imported about 200 gps located wells in ghana and then from seeing them in imagery we learned to identify them.
[21:48:33] <harveyben> Shouldn't be a problem
[21:48:44] <pierzen> povaddict and andrewbuck, Any url to bing imagery with well would show what we interpret as well and quality of imagery for this.
[21:48:57] <harveyben> It depends on the image resolution I guess!
[21:49:01] <AndrewBuck> If you can confirm the GPS unit type we can prepare custom maps to load on with OSM data of your choosing, showing well, places, etc.
[21:49:24] <scream> @AndrewBuck....this would be great!
[21:49:45] <harveyben> I have GPS coordinates (approximate) for all the piped water networks in Mali - I was looking at the ones with Solar Pumps to see if I could spot the solar panels - again, its tricky!!
[21:50:10] <PovAddict> here's an example of imagery
[21:50:20] <PovAddict> what do you see there? are they huts?
[21:50:26] <harveyben> OK - let me take a quick look!
[21:50:35] <PovAddict> (you can zoom in a bit more)
[21:51:15] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: There are huts and what looks like possibly 2 wells in that image.
[21:51:33] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: Is that one we have wells mapped in, or did yuo just choose imagery at random on bing?
[21:51:41] <harveyben> I can see the huts - I don't see the water point!
[21:51:53] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: it just happened to be close to a bing link I had on my browser history
[21:51:58] <PovAddict> I don't know what's mapped there
[21:52:36] <AndrewBuck> I would say the small round black dot to the west of the main cluster of huts with a differently colored ring around it could be a well.
[21:53:30] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: That is why we need some ground truthing on these. That one is not so obvious and is pretty questionable. We might record it in our DB just to have it for purposes of checking. Others we are much more sure about though.
[21:53:36] <PovAddict> harveyben: large villages are much easier to see:
[21:53:50] <PovAddict> but finding water wells in there, not so much
[21:54:40] <harveyben> Let me try the larger village - typically we are looking at one water point for 500+ people. There don't seem to be enough houses here. Also water points usually are closer to vegetation (a sign that there is water close to the surface).
[21:54:54] <TomT5454>
[21:55:03] <AndrewBuck> Here is a much more obsious well, with a classic "fan" around it.
[21:55:06] <AndrewBuck>
[21:55:28] <harveyben> Yes - normally there would be very clear "track marks" or paths coming to the water point.
[21:55:52] <scream> @Ben: what do you think if we can try to do a GPS training to teams going for assessments, so that they can collect gps points (schools, health centers, water points) rather than only collecting generic text humanitarian related info?
[21:56:07] <AndrewBuck> Here is the bing imagery for the link posted above by TomT5454
[21:56:21] <AndrewBuck> TomT5454's link shows another well with some cows around it.
[21:56:46] <harveyben> Guido - shouldn't be a problem - I've even some PPTs and practical exercises!
[21:56:46] <PovAddict> er wow
[21:56:54] <harveyben> Let me take a look at some of these maps.
[21:56:59] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: I just see a faint track fan
[21:57:49] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: scream: When your teams go out an survey you may also want to consider taking some of these with you as well:
[21:57:51] <AndrewBuck>
[21:57:51] <Norman> @ben: this track marks i saw sometimes in mali mapping, never though of a well
[21:58:00] harry-wood is catching up on this chat
[21:58:25] <TomT5454> A large herd here
[21:58:26] <scream> @Andrew/PovAddict: among the main cities in south/central Mali....would you have a list where you have major "doubts"?
[21:58:31] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: on my link ("large villages are...") do you see a well?
[21:59:04] <AndrewBuck> There is a newer site called "Field papers" which does a similar thing. You print a map with a QR barcode on it, write on it in the field, and then scan or photograph your map after your survey trip. The barcode will allow it to be orthorectified and viewed in our editors so we can digitize the information collected.
[21:59:06] <harveyben> The tracks should basically look like a fan - all converging on the water point. Usually they are also used by animals so it should be obvious!
[21:59:32] <harveyben> They would also usually be closer to the Ouaddi (dry river bed) - which is obvious in some of these images.
[22:00:12] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: We have noticed this. Not in the river where they would be flooded, but right near it, and also near "low spots" where water collects
[22:01:02] <AndrewBuck> Given the context of these points we mark we are fairly confident what we are seeing is wells (at least for most of them) but it is all guesswork until we get some "boots on the ground" to really tell us if we are right.
[22:02:06] <harveyben> @Andrew - still looking on the larger village map - i see a herd of animals in the middle of the village - my bandwidth in Mali is pretty shitty so it's taking a while to load up the images!
[22:02:36] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: I would suggest you start by assessing our well classifications in the JOSM editor against the aerial imagery. I can help you with this via skype voice chat if you would like detailed instrctions.
[22:02:51] <harveyben> @Andrew - yes - never in the river bed (as these dry rivers do flow for ~1 month a year!!
[22:03:02] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: No problem. Given the speed of your internet my josm suggestion may not work so well.
[22:03:03] <pierzen> This exchange is great. It will help us to better document what and how to observe.
[22:03:49] <harveyben> Bandwidth isn't so bad - I can stream low-stuff just about on YouTube. It's just a little slow tonight!
[22:03:53] <AndrewBuck> pierzen: yes. We can speculate all we want but having someone give us on the ground information really answers a lot of questions.
[22:04:16] <harveyben> I could probably spend a bit of time tracking down some wells - it just take a bit of patience!!
[22:04:23] <harveyben> That should help with the JSOM later.
[22:04:29] <pierzen> AndrewBuck: Yes. and a very stimulating discussion.
[22:04:39] <AndrewBuck> pierzen: definitely.
[22:05:10] <Norman> is this a well?
[22:05:23] <harveyben> @Norman - let me take a look!!
[22:05:25] <AndrewBuck> Norman: Looks like it to me.
[22:06:08] <scream> @Norman....given all what was said now....I would say it is
[22:06:09] <PovAddict> those are some unusually easy-to-trace roads :)
[22:06:11] <harveyben> Bingo!!
[22:06:23] <AndrewBuck> That also has some standing water to the south as well. We try to map that as well when we see it as these "watering holes" are important economically for watering animals.
[22:06:33] <harveyben> Well spotted !!
[22:07:24] <Norman> i mapped there and was wondering about this things
[22:07:40] <pierzen> This is a very good example to show this last image. It is clear.
[22:07:43] <harveyben> They should all look a little like this as we are looking at pastoralist communities. Usually water is more important for animals than humans. They say in Mali that the animals drink first and the children second.
[22:08:13] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: We got a "wash cluster water points" file from pierzen and loaded it into josm, but had trouble seeing identifiable things in the imagery for a lot of the points in that file. We were wondering how accurately these points are geolocated, and why we might not be seeing them...
[22:08:27] <pierzen> And you give us insight about how they live. This is both important to stimulate people and know what to observe.
[22:08:45] <AndrewBuck> My thought was that many of the 'solar wells' were too small to see as they are not the "hole in the ground" type we have been mapping. Would this make sense?
[22:08:57] <harveyben> @PovAddict - in the large village there seems to be a big pond in the middle of the village where the cattle are drinking. The satellite image must have been from the rainy season. It's probably easier to spot wells in the dry season.
[22:09:20] <PovAddict> harveyben: ah, good point
[22:09:37] <PovAddict> harveyben: unfortunately Bing gives very imprecise image dates
[22:10:01] <PovAddict> I have seen images that say they were taken sometime between two dates, and they are a year apart!
[22:10:09] <AndrewBuck> oh, that "large village" from PovAddict also shows a cattle chute just to the west.
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[22:10:49] <AndrewBuck> oh, also, we have mapped quite a few communications towers as well. Are these of use to your teams at all?
[22:11:05] <AndrewBuck> They make good landmarks but I don't know if you can do much beyojnd that.
[22:11:32] <PovAddict> well, it would be useful for us if they can confirm them...
[22:11:37] <AndrewBuck> Also, in some areas we can map powerlines, is this someting worth mapping for your ground teams, or would you not be able to make use of that information.
[22:11:44] <harveyben> @Andrew - You should be able to spot the solar panels for the pumps. Array size would be ~8 - 12 square metres.
[22:12:07] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: Towers don't really need confirmation as they are pretty hard to mistake, only smaller ones but these are rare.
[22:12:20] <PovAddict> ah right
[22:12:33] <scream> @Andrew: communications towers are always useful but what we are trying to get (an you are doing super) are POIs that have a benefit/impact in humanitarian interventions-assessments-surveys so for us a communication tower is not the biggest concern
[22:12:41] <scream> but always good to have them :)
[22:12:46] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: maybe someone can climb the tower and take a photo of the village from up there :]
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[22:12:48] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: how are the coords geolocated, are they not very precise and therefore we just aren't looking in exactly the right location?
[22:12:52] <harveyben> @Andrew - I see the communication tower in the large village. This might be of use to the Telecommunications Cluster - what do you think Guido??
[22:13:57] <harveyben> @Andrew - the only file with GPS coordinates I have is for piped water networks. The GPS coordinates are sufficient to identify the town - but not the system.
[22:14:02] <scream> @Ben and Andrew: we can discuss with them but those guys most of the times just set up their own towers even if already existing around
[22:14:30] <AndrewBuck> Oh, one other thing we are working on is geolocating some health facilities in mali from some files (I think from ocha but not sure). pierzen knows more about that than I do.
[22:14:50] <harveyben> It seems easier to look for water points with the map zoomed out - and looking for patterns (track marks) rather than zooming in close.
[22:21:17] <scream> @Andrew....that file has been corrected today and inserted in the good projection....Pierzen has it and will upload it soon
[22:21:20] <harveyben> Guido - what happened to Robert's GPS coordinates for Health Care facilities??
[22:21:26] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: Ok, so all your lat/lon values should be considered as approximate then. We might be able to refine some of them for you knowing that and what ou have told us to look for.
[22:21:35] <scream> @Ben...that is the file we are talking about :)
[22:22:00] <harveyben> OK - great!!
[22:22:17] <pierzen> yes, this time they look good.

Schools and other feature types

[22:22:38] <scream> @All: what about schools? that must be complicated....correct?
[22:22:41] <harveyben> By the way - Pierre from Terre des Hommes was showing me his maps of Health Care facilities in Macina, Segou.
[22:22:54] <AndrewBuck> I know we had one file that just listed health facilities by town name (which we were geolocating using our GNS imported database) but we recently got a better shapefile. This is probably the GPS one then. I haven't dealt with it myself though so I don't know th details.
[22:23:06] <PovAddict> scream: we can map buildings, we can't know if a building is a school... that's your jobs from the ground really :)
[22:23:11] <harveyben> Schools would be helpful - but there are over 10,000 !!!
[22:23:22] <harveyben> There are 1,220 Heatlh care facilities!!
[22:23:43] <pierzen> again, from the air we cannot say.
[22:23:53] <pierzen> so this new file will help.
[22:18:01] <harveyben> @PovAddict - spotting schools is much easier than waterpoints I would say!
[22:18:14] <AndrewBuck> scream: re schools. In the Congo we got some imported school locationgs from the Congolese govt. We can se what they lok like in imagery and have used this to find a few more. If you get us similar starting info we might be able to identify them in mali the same way.
[22:18:35] <PovAddict> if you tell us about specific towns you'll be going to, we can map the individual buildings on them, then you could print that map and write on it to mark schools, hospitals, etc
[22:18:41] <AndrewBuck> Not sure if schools look differnt then normal buildings though in mali. In the congo they have a very distinct layout of buildings.
[22:18:45] <scream> @PovAddict: yeap i fully understand and agree...I will need to discuss with the Education cluster to check if they would have some files but from what i know no coordinates existing :(
[22:19:33] <pierzen> For water cluster, what else then wells are you looking at
[22:20:33] <AndrewBuck> oh, by the way, for water cluster we have quite a few dams mapped as well, both in the niger delta region on streams, and in the mountainous regions across valleys.
[22:20:36] <harveyben> @PovAddict - this would be really helpful. Guido has a list of the assessments that are planned. I can ask the water NGOs at our next meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
[22:21:13] <pierzen> We see dams with wall structures around.
[22:21:19] <scream> @Ben: I think it would be really good to brainwash NGOs going in the field
[22:21:29] <harry-wood> We should have a document with some of these examples of spotting water wells in bing imagery (examples of the actual imagery). Create a wiki page? or is somebody already working on such a doc?
[22:21:31] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: For a town of ~5000 people we can trace every building in approximately an afternoon, so if you get us a couple days lead time we can have very detailed maps for you when your team arrives.
[22:21:36] <scream> to collect base gps coordinates for water points, schools and health facilities
[22:21:53] <AndrewBuck> harry-wood: we have talked about it but never got one made. Too busy mapping. :)
[22:22:02] <pierzen> harry-wood: we plan to build this wiki from this discussion. (UPDATE: See North Africa Tagging)
[22:22:12] <harveyben> @Andrew - dams are not so important for drinking water - but there are also a lot of agencies looking at Food Security programming i.e. Animal Husbandry (the Food Security Cluster) that I'm sure could be interested.
[22:22:32] <scream> I agree with Ben
[22:22:42] <TomT5454> Pity we don't have a tag to identify where we isee herds
[22:23:00] <TomT5454> I've seen some really large ones out in the open range
[22:23:01] <MissDee> caution=cows was once used years ago
[22:23:06] <harveyben> Mapping 5000 households in an afternoon is impressive!!
[22:23:21] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: ok, makes sense. A lot of these things are being mapped "oppportunistically". I.E. our primary focus is roads and village footprints, but whenever we see a well, dam, tower, etc, we mark it. But there is no dedidcated effort for these other objects.
[22:23:39] <pierzen> In nomadic areas, are they observations to make?
[22:23:42] <harveyben> I can get itineraries on Wednesday.
[22:24:43] <pierzen> PovAddict: You should sell your product from this weekend.
[22:25:25] <pierzen> Povaddict as prepared an application for crowsdsourcing.
[22:26:06] <harveyben> Just been going back through some of these maps - this again is definately a well
[22:26:22] <harveyben> As I said earlier - easier to spot zoomed out.
[22:27:21] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: We can fairly easily iterate over the wells in our DB and "classify" them into types. Ones with fans around them, small ones in a 2m by 2m stone walled area, etc. Would this kind of breakdown be useful?
[22:27:46] <AndrewBuck> The links we have shown you have all been of one type but there are ssome other common ones as well.
[22:28:07] <harveyben> @Andrew - did you say you had some way of processing the aerial images to spot well patterns?
[22:28:17] <pierzen>
[22:28:33] <pierzen> not for wells but..
[22:28:55] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: Here is one of the "stone wall types" if you could have a look.
[22:29:06] <AndrewBuck> it is about 50 m east of the town edge.
[22:29:16] <harveyben> @Andrew - sounds good. I think it would be harder to spot the water points that are used more strictly by humans - rather than cattle water points - i.e. in urban settings.
[22:29:58] <TomT5454> Darn, I think I've failed to realize what some of those were
[22:30:01] <harveyben> The excel spreadsheet I have with the GPS coordinates (approximate) of all of the 900 water systems in Mali also mentions the number of tapstands and the quantity of water produced by day.
[22:30:10] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: ok, makes sense. Would classifying these ones we have by type be useful? If so what "types" would there be, keeping in mind we can only clasify by what is in the imagery.
[22:30:25] <Norman> also in the south or?
[22:30:36] <AndrewBuck> TomT5454: You mean regaring the stone wells I just linked?
[22:31:15] <AndrewBuck> Norman: yeah southeast of the city. It is a small stone square with lines coming off the northeast and southwest of corvers of the square.
[22:31:15] <TomT5454> Yes
[22:31:51] <harveyben> There is basically a difference between open wells (i.e. point water sources) and piped water networks with public tapstands. For example, in Gao Town there is a piped water network with 42 public water points.
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[22:32:17] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: what harveyben said would be amenity=drinking_water I think?
[22:32:29] <harveyben> @Andrew- which map are you looking at with the small stone square?
[22:32:50] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: What I mean't was that we can query our database for all wells currently mapped and then there is a "checklist" plugin called the TODO list plugin in josm which lets us quickly jump from one well to the next. So we can loop over all of them. Look at each one, and add further tags about what kind it is, etc.
[22:33:36] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: Here is one of the "stone wall types" if you could have a look.
[22:34:22] <AndrewBuck> I actually see three wells in that last link.
[22:34:25] <harveyben> TODO list plugin sounds great - I think it wouldn't be difficult to say "Yes" / "No"
[22:35:03] <AndrewBuck> A stone one southeast of town, an stone one south of town, and a "black dot" well just on the very southern edge of town between the town proper and the stone well south of town.
[22:36:17] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: Yeah this todo list plugin was what I was suggesting helpng you get set up via skype. I can show you how to do an overpass query to pull in all of one feature type for an area, how to load the objects into the todo list, and then how to iterate over and/or edit them so you can examine them and/or add further tags.
[22:36:34] <PovAddict> afk ->
[22:36:56] <TomT5454> Some interesting features. A white square on the SW side seems to be a tower roof, from the shape of the shadow below it.
[22:37:23] <AndrewBuck> TomT5454: yes that is fairly tall.
[22:38:13] <pierzen> Would this be a mosque tower?
[22:38:24] <harveyben> @Andrew - I'm not sure. If you zoom out of the map a bit, you see there is a green band to the south. You are much more likely to find water sources closer to where there are green bands (basically ground vegetation is an indication of underground water).as it is incredibly labour intensive to build these water points.
[22:38:25] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: oh, we have also mapped ~30 of what we marked as man_made=water_tower I would like your opinion on these (will get some imagery links) They do not look like classic water towers in wester countries so I would like your opinion/confirmation on a couple.
[22:39:00] <harveyben> @Andrew - no problems - let me take a look.
[22:39:23] <scream> @Pierzen: it looks like a mosque tower indeed
[22:39:24] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: do you see the stone squares to which I refer? We have mapped a lot of these as wells.
[22:39:32] <AndrewBuck> We would reclassify them if you know what they are.
[22:40:57] <MissDee> regarding cows, see the first edit of this node:
[22:40:58] <MissDee> history
[22:41:02] <MissDee>
[22:41:12] <AndrewBuck> Here is a "water tower" zoom in it should be right at the center when you load. About 20 m east of the town edge.
[22:41:14] <AndrewBuck>

Planning for future work

[22:44:24] <scream> @Pierzen and all: should we
[22:44:28] <scream> discuss how to move forward
[22:44:36] <scream> and what you would like to achieve from our side
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[22:44:46] <scream> so that we can try to plan with Ben
[22:44:47] <scream> ?
[22:44:51] <scream> what do you think?
[22:44:53] <AndrewBuck> scream: sounds good.
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[22:45:27] <pierzen> Yes,
[22:45:48] <harveyben> OK!
[22:46:04] <harveyben> We talked about getting some ground truth!
[22:46:06] <AndrewBuck> scream: so What we really need from your end is two main things. 1) detailed lists of what is important to map, and where (mali is a big place, to big to mapp all quickly) and 2) some ground truth feedback so we can add to our DB and refine our aerial imagery interpretaion techniques.
[22:46:24] <harveyben> We have assessment teams going out - would it help to get a list of where they are going?

[22:46:43] <AndrewBuck> yes a list of towns would be great as we can map them in detail.
[22:46:57] <scream> @Andrew: the list of cities which are priorities were given to pierzen and you all (i think...)
[22:47:06] <scream> but we can add the ones
[22:47:11] <scream> that the teams go assess
[22:47:15] <AndrewBuck> That will let you print out detailed waling papers and/or load the data on your GPS units so you are not walking into the city "blind".
[22:47:18] <scream> since not all were in the intial list
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[22:47:20] <pierzen> The important is to establish a way to coordinate, to exchange information. There were very good propositions tonight.
[22:47:54] <harveyben> For example, tomorrow morning, we have teams going to Dallah[1], Dongel Bore[2], Dianwely[3][4], Kerena[5], and Douentza[6]

[22:48:03] <pierzen> Coordination with clusters when they go on the ground would be beneficial for all of us.
[22:48:03] <AndrewBuck> scream: the ones with ground teams are a better list for us. We have roughly mapped the major cities you mention but they are too big to map dowwn to building level for all of them on short notice.
[22:48:18] <scream> Pierzen: can we think of having a mailing list on google for all of us so that we can keep updated and posted without having to "meet" on IRC?
[22:48:23] <harveyben> In addition to Boni, Bore, Ngouma and Nkora
[22:48:26] <AndrewBuck> We have to road level for every major town in northen mali that we have imagery for already though.
[22:49:06] <pierzen> Scream: yes,
[22:49:33] <scream> @Andrew and Pierzen....we will try to get teams in the field collect GPS coordinates and pictures for you guys
[22:49:37] <harveyben> The team going tomorrow morning will be looking at the piped water networks in Douentza, Dallah, Dianwely and Dongel Bore
[22:49:42] <pierzen> I will just need email of each person.
[22:49:54] <harveyben> They are taking digital cameras and GPS units.
[22:49:59] <AndrewBuck> scream: we already have a mailing list for HOT.
[22:50:02] <scream> and we will talk with ACTED team that assessed water points in Diabaly to share the data with all of us so we can cross check
[22:50:11] <scream> @Ben.....SUPER!!!
[22:50:13] <pierzen> We can revise each city and assure that it is mapped in relative detail.
[22:50:46] <pierzen> Geolocated pictures are very usefull. a photo of a school or hospital and ....
[22:50:51] <harveyben> Because of the security situation in Douentza (it's still a conflict zone) it is actually a National NGO (JIGI) who is going. I was working with the Director last Saturday on the Assessment Tools.
[22:51:29] <AndrewBuck> when your teams go out to take picutres it really helps if they record GPS traces while they are taking pictures, and take at least one picture of the GPS unit itself with the time showing on the GPS. This will let us add geo-coordintate tags to the pictures so we can show them in our editor.
[22:51:53] <harveyben> I'm happy to talk to Lisa from ACTED on Wednesday. They are big into the mapping things with Vincent from REACH onboard - so I'm expecting them to have some good data.
[22:52:38] <pierzen> This is just fantastic. The map is at a point were we want to put all this detail. Plus following the teams on the ground would be great.
[22:52:45] <harveyben> @Andrew - they should take a photo of the GPS unit???
[22:52:45] <AndrewBuck> Here is a wiki page on how our software works for what we call photo mapping. There are instructions there for how to record the GPS trace to identify the coords for the picutres.
[22:52:46] <AndrewBuck>
[22:52:59] <harveyben> OK - let me take a look!
[22:53:23] <skorasaurus> AndrewBuck: has the wiki page for tagging been made yet ?
[22:53:59] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: yes. You begin recording a "tracklog" of wehre you walk while taking the photos. The tracklog has timestamped positions recorded. Then similarly your camera puts timestamps on the pictures. The JOSM editor can combine the two by matching up the timestamps to add the coords from the GPS to the picture itself.
[22:54:45] <AndrewBuck> But if the camera clock is offset the positions will be wrong. Making your first piccture a shot of the GPS screen showing the time lets JOSM calculate your clock offset and properly position the images.
[22:55:10] <AndrewBuck> Basically if you give us the GPX tracklog from the GPS unit, and the pictures we can do the rest.
[22:55:21] <pierzen> The simplest thing is to place in a directory both the pictures and the gps trace.
[22:55:37] <harveyben> OK - I get it! I've used the GPSUtility tracklog stuff quite a bit for topograhical studies and we use the timestamp to correct for barometric pressure errors using a stationary unit.
[22:55:58] <AndrewBuck> And if one of the pictures is of the GPS iteself showing the time we can correct for the clock skew. If not we just have to assume your camera clock is set right or try to "guess" the correct offset.
[22:56:34] <AndrewBuck> yeah, it is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Something to teach your teams before they go out.
[22:56:35] <harveyben> OK - the teams will need training on this though - I think they are probably at the level of turning the GPS on and writing down the reading with a pencil and paper!
[22:56:48] <harveyben> Let's see if we can work on this!
[22:57:22] <pierzen> It would be great to organize distance training over internet if necessary.
[22:57:37] <scream> @Ben: we can work and OCHA can support
[22:57:40] <scream> training
[22:57:44] <scream> for GPS utilisation
[22:57:48] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: The other thing you cn do is make a continuous audio recording of field notes with a gpx tracklog in parallel. Josm can then correlate these just like it can with the pictures. We get a moving arrow in our editor showing where you were when you said the give field note.
[22:57:59] <AndrewBuck>
[22:58:22] <pierzen> And video too.
[22:58:33] <AndrewBuck> There is the link for that audio method. Both are very good ways to collect a mass amount of data. Like every street name and house number in a small town.
[22:58:59] <harveyben> Interesting approach - sounds like a great time-saver!
[22:59:05] <pierzen> Plus name of public buildings.
[22:59:29] <AndrewBuck> I can walk you through any of this from either the field procedure side, or the "in the office with josm" side via skype if you need help beyond what is on th wiki pages.
[23:00:01] <AndrewBuck> basically though, if you get us the GPX files and the pictures/audio/video we can do the rest.
[23:00:11] <harveyben> Sounds great - that's kind of you!
[23:00:21] <pierzen> We can also provide learning videos.
[23:00:46] <AndrewBuck> Keep in mind though for security reasons for your teams when you send us GPX traces you should let us know how public they can be or if they should be kept secure and only show to team memebers
[23:01:02] <AndrewBuck> We don't want to compromise the security of your teams.
[23:01:03] <harveyben> Let me see what I can do - as I said, capacity is currently a bit low so let's see.
[23:01:26] <scream> @Andrew: I think all this is super cool and useful
[23:01:31] <PovAddict> I think for GPX we should assume confidential for everything
[23:01:32] <scream> but I would rather stay simple
[23:01:37] <scream> and go for the basics
[23:01:40] <harveyben> Yes - some agencies would have problems with this - especially in the conflict areas.
[23:01:49] <scream> here the community is not that technical
[23:01:55] <scream> so we need to start from zero
[23:02:02] <AndrewBuck> scream: yes this is maybe something for later. For now even non geo-located picturs and notes are good.
[23:02:18] <scream> plus the security situation is not the most suitable for these approaches
[23:02:26] <pierzen> But the technical volunteers on internet are there to support you.
[23:02:30] <AndrewBuck> scream: yes that was my concern.
[23:03:23] <AndrewBuck> You should definitely check out the walking-papers site for your ground teams. Much more non-technical. Yuo just print out maps for them to write notes on and then scan them or photograph them when they get back to you and we can do the rest once you send us the scans.
[23:03:41] <scream> exactly the walking papers are cool and will be useful i think
[23:03:44] <AndrewBuck>
[23:03:46] <scream> i was looking at those actually
[23:03:47] <harveyben> OK - I saw the link up above
[23:03:59] <harveyben> OK - I'm taking a look.
[23:04:16] <AndrewBuck> That fieldpapers site is just like walking papers but it is a newer site that lets you print out atases with many pages and indexes and whatnot.
[23:05:36] <scream> @All:
[23:05:47] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: note that as far as I know, the 'black&white' style in fieldpapers is *very* old
[23:05:49] <harveyben> OK - you print the map, take it with you, scribble on it, and send it back!
[23:05:54] <scream> could we list 3 action points which are priority for the coming weeks from our side?
[23:05:59] <harveyben> Sounds great!
[23:06:04] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: like, pre-license-change old
[23:06:15] <harveyben> Exactly!
[23:06:18] <pierzen> scream: yes.
[23:06:20] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: Yes I just looked at it and it is old. You will want to switch to the "open street map" layer for up to date maps.

Action items

[23:06:48] <pierzen> Ok, already 95 minutes, we conclude with actions now.
[23:07:00] <harveyben> OK - I might prepare some field papers for the teams going out.
[23:07:21] <harveyben> 95 minutes - really?? Time flies!!
[23:07:35] <pierzen> Ok about the 3 action points.
[23:08:28] <harveyben> OK - #1 Prepare a list of locations being visited. #2 Prepare field notes for teams. #3 Give a small training. #4 Lets see what we get??
[23:08:53] <AndrewBuck> My suggestion for action items would be 1) get your teams using either waling papers or some combination of that and audio/photo/video mapping 2) a list of priority cities you want mapped with a breakdown of what you need for each (do you want buildings, walls, wells, etc) and 3) pictures of "life in mali" water wells, cattle pens, houses, etc, to improve our imagery classification...
[23:08:54] <harveyben> #5 Make sure we get some ground truth photos.
[23:09:03] <AndrewBuck> anything you want mapped we would like images of.
[23:09:37] <scream> sounds perfect to me
[23:09:40] <scream> Ben, any comment?
[23:09:48] <AndrewBuck> Looks like our action item lists were basically identical :)
[23:09:51] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: I need to investigate a b&w map style to render myself; OSM's default style seems terrible for printing
[23:09:56] <pierzen> From us. 1. Assure proper mapping for locations visited.2and3, support you, 4and 5, import and. make the point with you,
[23:09:56] <harveyben> OK - would be good to start a collection of water point photos that are geo-referenced so we can start to match patterns.
[23:10:18] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: It prints decently in B&W but an up to date black and white layer would be good.
[23:10:22] <harveyben> @Andrew - I think yours was a little more eloquent ;)
[23:10:29] <scream> perfect
[23:10:33] <scream> do we all agree that for now
[23:10:38] <scream> priority remains water points?
[23:10:47] <pierzen> Yes for me.
[23:11:12] <harveyben> I think schools and health centers are also helpful.
[23:11:14] <AndrewBuck> sounds good to me. We will try to do building level detail in all the cities you mentioned above that you have teams going to.
[23:11:29] <AndrewBuck> When are the teams going out so we know when to get you maps for field papers?
[23:11:56] <harveyben> Because basically out strategy is making sure there are good water provision at these facilities (schools and health centers)
[23:12:02] <scream> @Ben: I agree but i think it is better to focus on 1 theme at the time.....maybe i am wrong.....maybe the teams in the ground can collect data/pics/info for those three at the time?
[23:12:33] <AndrewBuck> scream: I would try to do all 3. It is easy to mark them all on a walking papers page and it save you making 3 trips.
[23:12:44] <scream> so you think teams can picture/geolocate schools, health centers and water points at the same time/field mission? that would be great
[23:12:51] <scream> @andrew: you are pretty correct
[23:12:52] <scream> :)
[23:13:01] <harveyben> Most teams from the WASH Cluster have been out already. They've visited around 38 communities. However I think there are still quite a few teams planning to go out.
[23:13:18] <pierzen> If they get used to take picture, it is easy to do all at the same time. !. water as a priority. 2. others if they have time.
[23:13:34] <scream> perfect
[23:13:49] <scream> Pierzen can you copy/paste this conversation on the wiki?
[23:13:49] <AndrewBuck> For the geolocating pics, if you just start their GPS recording a trace for them when they leave they don't have to touch it again the rest of the day (assuming they are only out for 8 hours or so.
[23:13:51] <harveyben> Guido - did you want to keep this a WASH initiative or open it up to all Clusters - i.e. say that if teams are planning to go out for assessments it's possible that we could prepare basic maps for annotation?
[23:14:13] <scream> maybe a small blog post about this cool conversation would be nice as well :)
[23:14:18] <AndrewBuck> if longer than ~8 hours that won't work though as the GPS will either fill up or the battery run down.
[23:14:24] <pierzen> scream: for sure.
[23:14:34] <scream> Ben: this is we need to start engaging all the clusters
[23:14:36] <PovAddict> that's a good idea
[23:14:52] <scream> mainly education ( i know Joa would be interested in having such a session)
[23:21:34] <scream> i will try to get in another session, next monday same time the education cluster
[23:21:36] <PovAddict> turn GPS on, enable recording, take a photo of the GPS clock, give GPS and camera to the guy going to the town and he can just take photos, no need to touch the GPS
[23:21:38] <scream> what do you guys think?
[23:21:39] <harveyben> Guido: I agree - let's open this up at InterCluster level. I think it relies on Cluster Coordinators being motivated though.
[23:21:56] <AndrewBuck> The walking papers maps are actually useful just being used as maps too. It would be good to issue them to all your teams whether they plan to mark them or not, and if they see something worth recording they can just note it on the map and give it back to you later so we can digitise it.
[23:22:04] <scream> @Ben: I fully agree....that is why I started with you man!! :)
[23:22:04] <pierzen> PovAddict: turn gps on, wait 5 minutes, important...
[23:22:15] <PovAddict> pierzen: heh, good point :)
[23:22:30] <pierzen> Precision of a gps varies a lot.
[23:22:33] <harveyben> I think Joa would be really psyched - there are tons of schools - he has a great database but no coordinates. I think it would be pretty easy to identify schools from images.
[23:22:42] <pierzen> if you dont wait enough at the start ...
[23:22:54] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: I'm actually thinking that making my own walking papers wouldn't be too hard, the needed styles would be much simpler than what is usually needed for cities
[23:23:20] <AndrewBuck> PovAddict: Yeah, I don't know if the code is open or not. But something to look into for sure.
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[23:23:36] <pierzen> as a candy, we can show you PovAddict app.
[23:23:37] <scream> @All: would you agree in having the education cluster participating next monday (9.30 pm bamako time) in a similar session? Ben, you are more than welcome to join as you are becoming a super user :)
[23:23:40] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: oh for the b&w styles? it's not open
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[23:23:54] <harveyben> I think walking papers are the way to go - that way you motivate the agencies by offering them a product (a map of where they are going) and everyone gains from the data at the end of the trip.
[23:23:56] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: but I mean writing a mapnik style myself would be easy since we use few tags, and the map would be visually simple
[23:18:08] <AndrewBuck> scream: harveyben: oh, one other action item. Tell us what kind of GPS units you use so we can prepare map files for the.
[23:18:24] <scream> i have etrex legend
[23:18:29] <scream> and the office has those
[23:18:39] <scream> i am buying others for needs assessments
[23:18:40] <AndrewBuck> harveyben: definitely. Show them the benefit and then ask for information to improve it.
[23:18:44] <harveyben> I have an etrex vista.
[23:19:13] <scream> @All: would you agree in having the education cluster participating next monday (9.30 pm bamako time) in a similar session? Ben, you are more than welcome to join as you are becoming a super user
[23:19:18] <AndrewBuck> ok. I think all the garmins use the same format and it is well supported on our side so we can get you files to load onto them.
[23:19:18] <harveyben> I mean - who wouldn't be happy to get a map of the area they are visiting??
[23:19:20] <scream> (you guys are not answering me :( )
[23:19:29] <pierzen> From our part, this discussion was very helpfull. I think we should repeat with other clusters eventually.
[23:19:35] <pierzen> and next monday , surely.
[23:19:56] <AndrewBuck> scream: on the education cluster, that would be good (sorry I missed your question).
[23:20:05] <harveyben> I don't think I brought my data cable?? Let me check?? Haven't seen it for a while??
[23:20:11] <scream> eh eh no worries just joking :)
[23:20:14] <AndrewBuck> Hard to keep up with the fast conversation. :)
[23:20:23] <harveyben> Which question Guido??
[23:20:37] <AndrewBuck> We will talk to anyone in your org who has time to devote to us.
[23:21:03] <AndrewBuck> The more interaction we have with you the better we can help.
[23:21:03] <PovAddict> AndrewBuck: unfortunately I'll be busy most of the week, I don't think I'll be able to map, let alone play with mapnik; but I'll keep maintaining the crowdsource app and add areas on request etc.
[23:21:11] <scream> @All: would you agree in having the education cluster participating next monday (9.30 pm bamako time) in a similar session? Ben, you are more than welcome to join as you are becoming a super user
[23:21:24] <harveyben> I think as long as you can show people the immediate benefits - they will understand the importance of the work..
[23:21:31] <pierzen> Agree.
[23:21:40] <scream> i think this is super
[23:21:49] <AndrewBuck> scream: That time works for me.
[23:22:36] <pierzen> Then, we conclude on that.
[23:22:40] <harveyben> Yes - Monday 9:30pm works well for me - let's get Joa onboard - I don't think he'll take much convincing.

Closing remarks

[23:22:52] <harveyben> OK, thanks guys!
[23:23:07] <AndrewBuck> Thank you for your time. We know you are busy there.
[23:23:20] <pierzen> In the meantime, if you need infos, we will setup the discussion list. send me the emails.
[23:23:24] <AndrewBuck> This has been very helpful to us.
[23:23:49] <AndrewBuck> pierzen: Do we want to discuss on hot@ or are you making a new list>
[23:23:51] <AndrewBuck> ?
[23:23:58] <harveyben> I'm sure you are all pretty busy too - thanks for your time and support - we appreciate it and believe it or not I get the feeling it has the potential to make a big difference!
[23:24:22] <pierzen> a discussion email for the small group us + cluster.
[23:24:35] <pierzen> Thanks a lot the these two humanitarians. Great guys.
[23:24:55] <harveyben> No worries - catch you next week!
[23:24:59] <scream> I would like to personally thank Ben for joining us, I know you are fully busy but I think this is very important and as you said we can gain a lot of benefit out the work of these guys....thank you Ben!
[23:25:32] <harveyben> Hey Guido - this is a good initiative - you have my full support!
[23:25:33] <pierzen> I think that we are all overwhelmed by this session, thanks all.
[23:25:51] <AndrewBuck> pierzen: yes. Far better than I expected.
[23:26:08] <AndrewBuck> Shall we adjourn then?
[23:26:16] <harveyben> Sounds good - I better be going now then - thanks again - bye to all!!
[23:26:25] <scream> take care all of you
[23:26:26] <scream> cheers
[23:26:29] <pierzen> bye to both of you, good night.
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