Mapping Mobility with Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is a research study conducted with a smart phone app called myJoziMoves. The project is headed by Lindsay Howe, a doctoral student at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture in Switzerland and a visiting scholar at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is assisted by Mr Mike Makwela, with the coordination of the project along Lucky Nkali who provides technical expertise.
The app was developed by Markus Ringel.
MyJoziMoves entails giving 100 phones to 100 community members in 10 different communities such as Thembelihle, Soweto Orlando east, Daveyton and Diepsloot. The purpose of the study is to investigate the places travelled by the selected community members on a daily basis for social and economic reasons and how they get there. The application installed on the smartphones sends anonymous reports on location, distance travelled, destinations, time travelled as well as the mode of transport used.
The study also takes into consideration the quality of the means through which they embark. The information gathered from the study will help researchers, including Planact and other interested stakeholders, understand where people are in the city, the places they frequently visit and their travelling patterns and how they manoeuvre between places of social and economic opportunities. The information will also be of good use to the city officials who could try to direct development towards most visited locations and hopefully curtail travelled distances to look for or go to work as well as legitimize their neighbourhood claims.
This will also be a good opportunity to start looking at ways through which the efficiency and affordability of public transport can be brought into line with the conditions of these communities. Lastly, it will help scholars abroad learn about local communities and their lives. Lucky Nkali introducing the project to different communities and assisting with the installation of the app.