Who: Kolorob Bikkhon

When: Summer 2015

Where: Western Sydney

In developing urban areas like the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, essential services like health, education, training, finance and employment can be difficult to find. They may not be registered, they may operate informally, or details about their locations, cost and operating hours may be inaccessible. Even though mobile and smartphone use is growing rapidly, location services like Google Maps or Open Street Maps provide only partial solutions. To address this, Save the Children is sponsoring an ambitious project called Kolorob in several slum areas. Through the project, communities are mapping different services, and the project is also developing an app to show where these services are and provide detailed information on them.

Our challenge was to tackle one specific part of this puzzle: how to navigate from A to B. We will be building upon existing routing services provided by OSM and try to handle some of the unpredictable routing challenges in informal settlements – no formal roads, frequent changes, walking only paths and narrow passageways that rickshaws can navigate, even if cars cannot. The team produced a working webpage which allows their partners in Dhaka to test multiple mapping algorithms against each other to see which work best for routing trips through the slums of Bangladesh.