The AfricaMap project out of the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard aims to address an increasingly relevant problem of social science and humanities spatial research: how to build an infrastructure to manage the spatial data.
From the website:
Despite the existence of excellent public maps for Africa, to date there is no common source that allows students, researchers, and the general public to:
- Interact with the best available public data for Africa
- See the whole of Africa yet also zoom in to particular places
- Accumulate both contemporary and historical data supplied by researchers and make it permanently accessible online
- Work collaboratively across disciplines and organizations with spatial information about Africa in an online environment
Applying open source standards it makes use of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) compliant web services such as WMS (Web Map Service), emerging open standards such as WMS-C (cached WMS), and standards-based metadata formats.