In deprived (slum) communities, most COVID-19 guidelines, like social distancing, are hard to follow. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack accurate and up-to-date data of where, and how many, people live in deprived urban settlements. The IDEAMAPS Network, which has been launched this May, wants to develop an accurate and integrated mapping system to provide accurate maps and population data of deprived communities in LMICs.
According to ITC researcher and Co-PI of the network dr. Monika Kuffer, basic information to handle a crisis, such as the current situation with COVID-19, is missing in the slums of LMICs. Dr Monika Kuffer says: “In slums, there is often no clean water, and people have to share a lot. In a place where hundreds of people share a single toilet seat, it is hard to follow social distancing guidelines.”
The IDEAMAPS Network welcomes field-based community mappers, local governments, academics, and data scientists to collaborate and map deprived urban areas routinely and accurately at scale in low- and middle-income countries. This network aims to develop and maintain an Integrated DEprived Area MAPping System (IDEAMAPS) that leverages the strengths of current silo-ed approaches to "slum" area mapping.
Part of the IDEAMAPS Network is the project SLUMAP. Researchers from ULB (Brussels) and ITC (Twente) are developing an open-source and low-cost framework for processing remote sensing (satellite) images for mapping slums and characterizing their physical environment. It is strongly engaged in the evolving collaboration among “slum” community mappers, government statisticians, spatial data scientists, and others aiming to integrate methods to map deprived areas routinely and accurately at scale.
Dr Monika Kuffer is Assistant professor at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management. She is Co-PI of both the IDEAMAPS Network and the project SLUMAP.