Slater explained in a virtual interview with TechCentral how maps have been created of just about everything that can be mapped. Even Eskom’s national electricity grid and those of other utilities around the world have been mapped in incredible detail. More than two million people worldwide contribute to OSM, though there are “never more than four or five people working on the OSM infrastructure”.
And very interestingly about cooperation (or not) from municipalities: The City of Cape Town provided up to date, 6cm aerial imagery – very much higher than people are used to seeing in maps. The City of Johannesburg weren’t as helpful. I begged them for years to release aerial imagery to the project, but they were commercially minded and wanted an insane amount of money. (OSM was later able to get the same imagery from another source, Esri.)
OpenStreetMap data is widely used now. If you use Apple Maps, the data for South Africa comes from OSM, and Apple contributed a lot of data two years ago, including high-resolution aerial imagery. Apple traced all the roads, including farm roads, and new developments that weren’t previously incorporated.
South African National Parks also contributed data for Table Mountain, and hikers from the University of Cape Town have added more detail. Ride-hailing company Bolt has also contributed data.
There is quite an interesting interview though with Grant Slater where he gives more insight into how it started and how they got Eskom related data, and some of the gamification they do on OSM.
See The volunteers mapping South Africa's power grid - and more - TechCentral
OpenStreetMap's Grant Slater talks to TechCentral about the power of crowdsourced maps and how a detailed map of the Southern African power grid was created.