Well, after a lot of field activity, introducing OpenStreetMap to Ugandan rural, humanitarian and govenmental communities in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and through conference presentations, Namibia and Tanzania, I finally decided to write a chapter about ‘Motorcycle Mapping’ - a concept and practice developed by Ivan Gayton (and myself) in West Africa, and scaled into Uganda under my watch as Country Manager.

The book in which this chapter appears was expected to attract a relatively niche market, until COVID happened globally, and a newly-found interest in Data Ethics was born out of various scandals around government treatment of COVID data in the UK.

Free downloads of the book are available:, and an abstract for my chapter can be found here:

For nearly a year, the government outbreak effort extensively overlooked humanitarian knowledge and experience on how to manage COVID data in the UK, but it seems they are consulting Epidemiologists now (including MSF).

During the last few months, COVID figures have been making headlines in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, and OpenStreetMap now has an opportunity and support to map the South Wales Valleys. I feel fortunate to have lived and worked in the Valleys in the 1990s, and am excited to be part of this venture. At time of writing, there is every chance that Merthyr Tydfil will see african refugees working in its streets and alleys, helping its community to map their own vulnerability metrics.

Location: Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough, Wales, United Kingdom

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