The MapServer Ethiopia projectMapServer Ethiopia is a web-based open-source platform for the dissemination of geospatial data maps and information about Ethiopia. The website contains three main web apps that enable
Accessibility of WALRIS and MapServer Ethiopia for non-registered and registered users
Data and Technology
Origin of data
MapServer Ethiopia datasets and layers are taken mainly from the National Geospatial Database System EthioGIS-3. This third version of EthioGIS, completed in 2018, represents a comprehensive update of geospatial vector layers first published in 1999 as an initial set of shapefiles on a CD-ROM under the title of “Geospatial Database EthioGIS”. A first update with new raster and imagery datasets was published as EthioGIS-2 in 2014. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence, EthioGIS-3 is now the main source of geospatial layers used to compile the new topographic and thematic map series presented on the MapServer Ethiopia platform at www.mapserver-ethiopia.org. EthioGIS-3 is a geospatial modelling resource developed by experts from WLRC in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and CDE at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The team welcomes any information that might serve to improve the map series. For comments and suggestions, please contact WLRC at email@example.com or CDE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open geospatial data
Data and in particular geospatial (cartographic, map) data are a valuable asset in natural resources monitoring and management. They account for an estimated 80% of public sector information and are the most significant category of open public data (see www.opengeospatial.org). However, until fairly recently these data were accessible only to public authorities and institutions concerned with geodesy and cartography. Two developments over the past decades have fundamentally changed the ways in which we work with geospatial information: first, the omnipresence of maps and imagery in navigation and online services, and second, the “open access” movement, which supports free and unrestricted access to tools, software, and data. The MapServer Ethiopia platform and its applications provide users with open geospatial data as well as pre-produced and user-specified maps for all kinds of mapping activities involving a wide range of end users. There is broad agreement that increasing the availability of open geospatial data removes a key obstacle to widespread use of geospatial technologies (GIS and related tool sets), making it possible to leverage “spatial literacy” across disciplines and applications. These global developments go hand in hand with the advancement of spatial data infrastructure in Africa. Users of MapServer Ethiopia are not only encouraged to use open data to their full potential, but are also invited to contribute additional data from their own projects and data holdings. The concept of “sharing openly” will only succeed if, in addition to requesting free access to government data, non-governmental users – institutions and individuals – also contribute their own data, for example to crowd-sourcing efforts. Accordingly, sharing and exchange of geospatial information is the core aim of the new MapServer Ethiopia platform.
The Water and Land Resources Centre Project
Picture: The WLRC teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Switzerland at their 2018 annual workshop in Bern, Switzerland.