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FOLKSOMAPS - towards community driven intelligent maps for developing regions

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5 Author(s)
Arun Kumar ; IBM India Research Lab., 4, Block C, Institutional Area Phase II, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110070, India ; Dipanjan Chakraborty ; Himanshu Chauhan ; Sheetal K. Agarwal
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Many services taken for granted in the developed world are often missing from the developing countries. One typical example is that of map systems that form the basis of several location driven services. Its heavy reliance on content, provides a huge barrier towards building such systems. Further, in developing countries like India, the infrastructure typically has a history of unplanned development, leading to unorganized addresses and absence of standard naming conventions for roads. Detailed map systems such as online maps have only recently started becoming available but for major cities. Remote towns and villages remain out of reach till date. In this paper, we investigate a community-driven approach for creating maps in developing regions - following Web 2.0 principles, but not entirely relying on the existing Web. Our system, dubbed FOLKSOMAPS is an intelligent, community constructed map system, particularly architected with developing regions in mind. We present the design of FOLKSOMAPS, followed by an implementation of our proof-of-concept system. We present user studies aimed at understanding the uptake, usability and utility of FOLKSOMAPS. The results indicate a strong need for such a community-generated mapping ecosystem.

Published in:

Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), 2009 International Conference on

Date of Conference:

17-19 April 2009