afrimapr supports analysts in Africa with open-source R approaches for mapping and visualizing data. afrimapr provides open-source code components, open-access training materials, and is building a community of practice. We see a great potential to improve the use and sharing of code for routine African data workflows.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The afrimapr project is supporting analysts in Africa to make maps from data in 3 ways :

1. Code Building Blocks -- afrimapr are developing open-source R components that can be used to put together reproducible reports, web applications, and ad-hoc data visualizations. We aim to support local data-analysts to develop and modify their own solutions to local issues. Components are modular and can be linked to each other and/or other data systems where they exist.

Code components:

  • Health facility location data in Africa from different sources.
  • Administrative boundaries
  • Sub-national COVID-19 case data
  • Extraction of population estimates

We have put components together into a series of demonstration web applications.

afrimapr published a peer-reviewed paper comparing open data on African health facility locations available from ministries of health and other sources. The paper, and the accompanying software tools, give the most comprehensive description of the current availability of health facility location data across Africa.

2. Training -- afrimapr have developed a range of open-access, interactive training resources to introduce analysts to making maps in R with African data. We maintain resources in French and English for a 4 hour introductory interactive session delivered in 2021 at the main R user conference. We also maintain a series of shorter tutorials that can be run online without needing to have R installed. We have started a book providing step by step instructions for mapping African data in R.

3. Community -- afrimapr are supporting a community of R users and developers in Africa. We run a monthly online community meetup, where we invite users and developers to share their experience. This approach has long-term sustainability at its heart, supporting the development of local solutions to local issues. afrimapr are keen to collaborate with others that can use and contribute to our open code and materials.