Africa Map: Browse and Explore African Datasets
The Africa Map project, currently in beta, is an online map and data viewer created by Harvard University. The map combines data sets of numerous categories from a wide variety of sources, allowing thematic maps to be viewed and explored. The purposes of the project, according to the project web site:
- Interact with the best available public data for Africa
- See the whole of Africa yet also zoom in to particular places
- Accumulate both contemporary and historical data supplied by researchers and make it permanently accessible online
- Work collaboratively across disciplines and organizations with spatial information about Africa in an online environment
Currently, the various data sources consist of base maps (both historical and contemporary) and data sets which can be overlaid on top of the base maps. The state of publicly available contemporary African data is clearly visible here - most of the base maps and data sets include colonial maps as well as some Soviet-era maps in Cyrillic. As of this writing, approximately sixty data sets are available, including approximately 10 base maps, ranging in subject from health to economics. The breadth of the data sets is limited as well: of the four data sets in the "Health" category, all result from a 2007 malaria study - the lack of HIV/AIDS-related statistics is notable.
Hopefully the project will increase the amount of data in their collection quickly. Because the project uses open geodata standards, such as the use of Web Map Server and GeoRSS, it should be possible to use Africa Map data in other applications as well as integrate other available data sets.