Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#594 Ghana maps

To better understand Winneba, Ghana, we need maps.  Ideally we would find locally produced geographic datasets showing roads, streams, and elevation contours along with point locations for important sites like schools, clinics, and drinking water sources.   

But in conversations with Winneba government officials on the first day of our visit, we learn the creation of local scale GIS datasets has not yet happened.  So we use a printed Google Map with minimal landmarks to orient ourselves as we tour Winneba.

On our second day, our colleague Benjamin Akuetteh with the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services at the University of Ghana, Legon, works the phone and finds a lead at the Ghana Survey Office in Accra, Ghana's capital. 
Ghana Survey Office
A series of meetings there lead us to a private office where amid stacks of paper maps, those very detailed Winneba GIS datasets we seek appear on the screen!  Cue big smiles all around.

Although these geographic datasets are created by the government, they are not freely distributed.  
Since we are not prepared for a large data purchase on the spot we make some notes, snap a photo, and opt temporarily for a less-detailed paper map from the analog “Map Sales Office”.

Yours in map sleuthing,

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