afrimapr community meetups

• Anelda van der Walt, Anne Treasure, Andy South

In May 2021 the afrimapr team launched a monthly community meetup for people interested in R, mapping, and African data. The events are hosted online and take place on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 10:00 - 11:00 UTC. To learn more, people can sign up to the afrimapr Google Group and follow @afrimapr on Twitter.

community meetup flyer

The first event included participants from South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the UK, Switzerland, and more. During the event participants were invited to discuss their vision for the community events. We had some great discussions and ideas from everyone.

For the June meetup we invited two speakers. Dr Anwar Musah from UCL did a code walkthrough during his talk “Areal-level mapping of mosquito-borne arboviruses in the city of Recife, Brazil”. Jeroen Ooms introduced the work of ROpenSci and specifically the R Universe .

Megan Beckett, co-organiser of the RLadies Cape Town group, joined us for the meetup in July. She gave a splendid walkthrough of using OSRM for mapping out the accessibility and distribution of health clinics in Cape Town, South Africa. Her code and slides are available on Github. A recording of her presentation is on the afrimapr YouTube channel (unfortunately we didn’t record the first bit where she provided context for her project).

The most recent meetup at the end of August was again an interactive session and an opportunity for participants to tell us (and each other) what they were working on, what was tripping them up, and how we could support them to move forward with their African maps in R. During the conversations we realised (again) that many of the challenges that people experience when it comes to mapping, do not necessarily relate to the mapping itself, but often to package installations or other data manipulation issues. We are exploring opportunities to embed the afrimapr community in a broader ecosystem of online R communities to ensure our members gain access to support and opportunities that will help them move forward.

We’ll soon share more information on what people can expect for the fifth community meetup scheduled for 22 September at 10:00AM UTC.