OpenStreetMap Uganda
3 min readAug 22


A Breakthrough in Sailing Safety, First Safe Sail Prototype Field Test

Navigating the expansive waters in Uganda and beyond has never been more precise, and reassuring, thanks to this groundbreaking technology, Safe Sail. On June 8th, 2023, with anticipation, the pioneering team behind this innovation embarked on its inaugural trial run in Kibanga Port.

Kibanga Port - Kisoga, Lake Victoria, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

The Day of the Trial

Bright and early at Kibanga Port on Lake Victoria, the assembly of the Safe Sail device was finalized, signaling the beginning of a potentially monumental leap for sailing safety. Upon activation of the Safe Sail web application, the team could vividly visualize their location on the Safe Sail web interface with the familiar OpenStreetMap base map. But how would the on-land accuracy translate once they hit the waters? That was the day’s burning question.

Meet the Team Behind SafeSail

The team on field day, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

The brainchild of an exceptional team, SafeSail is a testament to collaboration and innovation. Spearheading the trial were:

Ephraim Oburu, the mastermind, and lead of Safe Sail

Sandra Waniwroth, the insightful eye for Innovation and Research

Edwin Kiyimba, a core pillar in Innovation and Research

Orishaba Donitar, the voice the Communications Lead

Ronald Tumusiime, the Operations Manager from OpenStreetMap Uganda

Together, this team embarked on a journey that had been months in the making.

Setting Sail with SafeSail

Sailing with the GPS tracker, real-time location monitored on the SafeSail web application, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

With the device active and the web application running, the team began their expedition. As the boat cut through the serene waters, SafeSail painted a real-time track of their movement on Lake Victoria’s map. A glance at the screen pinpointed their position, giving the crew an unparalleled sense of assurance. This moment was the pinnacle of countless hours of embedded programming, meticulous design, and web application development.

Returning with Insight

As the journey progressed, the team accumulated invaluable data. Upon returning to shore, the track’s accuracy was undeniable. With this treasure trove of information, the following steps were clear: calibrating the Safe Sail device and web application in preparation for upcoming trials. This maiden voyage was merely the dawn of a new era for Safe Sail.

Return to the shore after a successful field test, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

What’s Next for SafeSail?

The trial’s success proves SafeSail’s ability to offer real-time, accurate location data while on water. In moments of distress or emergencies, this could be pivotal. Having access to accurate location data can expedite rescue operations, potentially saving lives.

The team discussed the Safe Sail project and testing outcomes with the Chairperson of the area, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

The brilliance of SafeSail extends beyond mere location tracking; it signifies hope for enhanced sailing safety. As sailors and enthusiasts alike await future developments, one thing is clear: SafeSail has set sail, and it’s charting a course toward a safer tomorrow.

Special mentions


Oburu Ephraim; Innovation and Research Associate

Edwin Kiyimba; Innovation and Research Lead

Sandra Waniwroth; Innovation and Research Associate

Author: OpenStreetMap Uganda

Written by: Orishaba Donitar



OpenStreetMap Uganda

OpenStreetMap Uganda (OSM) is an NGO working across Uganda, promoting community mapping, GIS awareness, & Open datasets.