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GISCorps’ Geocoding Project – Niger

In support of the UNOCHA initiative to upgrade Common Operational Datasets, The University of Georgia/ITOS requested support from the GISCorps to geocode the locations of populated places in Niger. The task was to take the name of a populated place, along with information about the administrative unit in which the place should be found and use ancillary data to geocode it.  The ancillary data included existing (older) populated place datasets and online services from Google Earth, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Bing Maps, etc.

The project began on October 20, 2015 when a request for volunteers was sent to GISCorps. Ten volunteers were recruited: Elesho Abidemi, Blake Eickmeyer, James Smith, Fahad Jahangir Abbasi, Shaivalya Punnam, Jonathan Haller, Hameed Khorami, Thanh Le Minh, Joel Irish and Nicholas Szelak.

A total of 3,323 records were divided up into an average of 330 records each (the number depended on how many places were in each administrative unit).

It is estimated that at least 100 hours were dedicated by the volunteers to geocode 428 populated places (if 15 minutes per 1 place geocoded). 327 of those were identified from dataset “NER_plp_ocha.shp”.

The dots on this map are a visual representation of the places geocoded by volunteers

The project ended on February 8, 2016 when an email was sent to the volunteers informing them of the conclusion. Project data was sent back in Excel Sheet “NER_PP_Post_GISC.xlsx” to the UN contact, Robert Colombo, who was the Common Operation Datasets Services Manager. The Excel Sheet includes the volunteers’ geocoded localities with the previously geocoded ones (a total of 29,905 unique locations in all). Also included in separate tabs are non-geocoded localities (2,886) and possible duplicates (1,264).

The dots on this map represent 44 geocoded places with identical geometry to other places.

This data is served, along with other Common Operational Datasets, as static files at the HDX repository, and as live services (both ESRI and OGC) from ITOS.

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