Rio shantytowns mapped for first time

World Today

For decades, Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, or shantytowns, couldn’t be found on city maps. But a new project between tech-giant Google and a local nonprofit is changing that. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco has more on Tan-o-Mapa which means ‘It’s on the map”.

Rio shantytowns mapped for first time

Rio shantytowns mapped for first time

For decades, Rio de Janeiro's favelas, or shantytowns, couldn't be found on city maps. But a new project between tech-giant Google and a local nonprofit is changing that. CCTV America's Lucrecia Franco has more on Tan-o-Mapa which means 'It's on the map".

Overcrowded, with self-constructed housing, Rio’s favelas face pressing issues. One of them is that most residents don’t have legal addresses. Google has partnered with nonprofit, Afroreggae to recruit residents to walk the streets with smart phones and enter data for mapping.

“Many of these areas are in the hands of criminal factions, so even residents and officials are afraid of doing the mapping,” said Afroreggae project coordinator Renato Herzog. “Afroreggae has the experience of building bridges between the communities and the city.”

Relying on trusted residents that are well known in the communities, Tan-o-Mapa used Google map maker to document the location of many shops, schools, and supermarkets in several favelas for the public to see.

It’s a difficult task. Most streets and alleys don’t have official names, and there are about 1,000 communities in Rio.

Thiago, one of the owners of a family-run fish market in Rocinha Favela, couldn’t be happier with the project.

“We have been here for 20 years and many people didn’t know us, and now through Google Maps they will, so it going to be very good for our business,” he said.

His shop, The Thunder of the Seas, is now on a map for the first time.