afrimapr was established in 2020, and Talarify had the privilege of being part of this project which was funded by the Wellcome Open Research Fund and Wellcome Data for Science and Health. afrimapr’s mandate was to create R building blocks and learning resources to make it easier to make data-driven maps of Africa in Africa. These resources were promoted in Africa and beyond to grow a community of users and developers to maintain and improve them.
The R building blocks created in this project make performing spatial data management tasks easier. This includes summarising data by administrative regions of different levels, joining and displaying data referenced by administrative region names, access to environmental, socio-economic and health data and displaying data in static maps and interactive web applications. The afrimapr team also developed tutorials and ran online and in-person workshops and presentations, which grew the interest in R programming, mapping and working with African data.
Significant milestones were achieved through the afrimapr project. Besides the development of R building blocks, part of the successes of afrimapr was creating and supporting a community of practice and contributing to events that moved the African community forward. Below are highlights of this project’s achievements. More details can be found on the website
2020 was a very exciting year for afrimapr. Not only did afrimapr embed itself in African communities to further understand its needs, but the team also enjoyed beautiful collaborations and built the first apps and packages. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, afrimapr seized the opportunity to contribute to the increased use of data to make data-driven decisions.
With a sound basis; tools, connections and resources built in 2020, afrimapr was set to showcase all the previous years’ hard work, find new collaborators and continue to contribute to different projects and communities in the African continent. Afrimapr launched tutorials and training, online meetups to support the growing community and offered a tutorial in French and English at the useR!2021 conference.
Throughout 2022, Talarify sponsored and supported the monthly afrimapr community meetups launched in 2021. The meetups featured conversations ranging from GIS, and journalism, to health, and many other data-driven stories. Recordings are available on the afrimapr YouTube channel. Two other highlights of the year were:
- The opportunity to give a keynote address at the UseR!2022 conference; and
- Supporting the UK Health Security Agency and Africa Centres for Disease Control with an Intro to R for Epidemiological Analysis course in Addis Ababa (our lesson material was incorporated into the weeklong course).
Open Resources and material
The afrimapr team developed several open-source resources through various collaborations. These resources are summarised below and are available on the afrimapr website under resources.
Word of thanks
Talarify is grateful for the opportunity to share knowledge and support change through this project. A very special thanks to the Wellcome Trust for making this project possible and all the team members and collaborators who invested significant efforts to make this project a success. A heartfelt thanks to all the speakers who made every meetup vibrant by sharing their excellent work. And lastly, a special thanks to all community members who participated in the meetups and were part of the community in one way or another. This project has truly helped us experience and appreciate the brilliance and wealth of knowledge found on the African continent.
Author: Nomalungelo Maphanga & Anelda van der Walt