Simple Cartographic Exercises Can Radically Alter the Real World

A matatu in Nairobi. Credit: noodlepie on Flickr.

The lifeblood of Nairobi’s transit network is a collection of colorful minibuses so unregulated that a map of the whole system didn’t exist until a year ago.

Most people in Nairobi rely on these buses, called matatus, to get around. Thanks to a team of researchers at MIT, Columbia, and the University of Nairobi, an online map of matatu routes has already caused changes in Nairobi. This map-building approach could address transportation issues in many other places, since “the majority of global cities have these informal transit systems,” said Sarah Williams, a professor of urban planning at MIT and project contributor.

Read the full article in NOVA Next.