OpenUp is delighted to invite users of its flagship Wazimap data explorer to take a look at the latest version of this internationally renowned public participation geographical information system (PPGIS), and see how the application has evolved.
From a groundbreaking civic technology application designed with journalists and activists in mind, Wazimap is now available as a fully-managed service for bespoke deployment, with market-leading features for ingesting and communicating data, all backed up by OpenUp’s nine years of experience in developing impactful PPGIS for global organisations.
Wazimap is where humans meet data.
The name “Wazimap” comes from the isiXhosa word “ulwazi”, which means “knowledge”. When OpenUp launched the first Wazimap explorer nine years ago, in partnership with Media Monitoring Africa, it enabled journalists and civic society organisations to access political and demographic data about South Africa at the ward level. It remains a unique tool that integrates information from the Independent Electoral Commission, the national census and sources such as StatsSA’s Community Household Survey to provide a detailed picture of the real South Africa at the hyperlocal level. Since launch, the original Wazimap has been accessed 900,000 times, has generated graphics and data for hundreds of news stories and has been featured in district development model documentation. It has also been widely used for training journalists, civil servants and activists alike.
“After almost a decade,” says product owner JD Bothma, “Wazimap remains the only place you can quickly find data relating to household income, voter registration and turnout, and contacts within local councils all in the same place.”
The codebase that powers the original Wazimap has also been used by OpenUp for other unique and award-winning applications, such as Municipal Money in South Africa, and other organisations for HURUmap in Kenya and NepalMap.
Data for democracy
Now, after years of making spatial data easy to use for the purposes of public participation in the democratic process and resource planning in the public sector, Wazimap is changing. Over the last four years, OpenUp has worked with a series of partners, including National Treasury and Southern Africa Labour Development and Research Unit at the University of Cape Town to redefine how to navigate rich datasets with a map-based interface, to overhaul the Wazimap platform from the ground up.
“The power of mapping tools for public participation is well understood globally,” says Bothma, “It’s an interface everyone is immediately familiar with. Which is why we centred everything on the map view in the new Wazimap, with contextual rich data overlays available to view in a click or tap.”
More than a flagship application, Wazimap is now simply the fastest, easiest to use GIS application for the public sector. From public participation in the integrated development planning process to user generated maps for community upliftment, Wazimap has a market-leading feature set in an open source and free to use application. It is backed by OpenUp’s experienced team of data wranglers and consultants who can help to set-up, deploy and maintain a Wazimap instance, advising on all aspects from data acquisition, preparation to accessible presentation and evaluating feedback and impact for donors.
“We wanted to create an identity that embraced Wazimap’s South African roots,” says OpenUp’s Creative Director Matthew Stark, “While also ensuring it is flexible enough to enable the promotion of Wazimap as a tool that is applicable for telling international data stories.”
You can find the most up-to-date public instances of Wazimap at wazimap.com.
Ready for 2022 Census data
One of the key strengths of Wazimap is that every new instance of the tool creates new opportunities for others to be enriched through any additional new datasets created. Right now, Wazimap has access to over 400 datasets in the OpenUp repositories from geospatial boundaries, to crime statistics to the location of critical public infrastructure, which are fully maintained.
When any of the underlying datasets are updated, including new electoral boundaries or the results of the 2022 Census when they are released, all clients will have immediate access. OpenUp’s repositories have already been fully prepared for visualisation, which means they can be merged and overlaid onto an organisation’s own data quickly and cost effectively to provide additional context and insight for users, and unique views of work on the ground.
Wazimap has a proven track record as a tool for resource planning at the municipal and ward level, and for engaging citizens and participants in CSI schemes. It can be used by itself, or alongside data skills training programmes for your team, as well as citizen empowerment. Best of all, Wazimap can be deployed in the way that makes most sense for an individual organisation. Administrators can opt to self-host the open source version of Wazimap, or OpenUp’s team of experienced experts can provide as much or as little support as required, right up to and including a fully managed service in a cost effective package.
For more information about Wazimap, please see the brand new homepage at wazimap.com, and to discuss opportunities to use Wazimap, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 087 2655 954.
Contact us at email@example.com to be added for future media communication.