Refugee Camp Mapping

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Mapping refugee camps, or communities for displaced peoples, can be advantageous to have mapped in OSM. Though traditionally temporary, many sites around the world have existed for years -- decades even -- and host shelter or other facilities for millions.[1]

Even if not permanent, mapping sites in OSM offers a way to quickly share open data about camps and communities between humanitarian agencies. If only temporary, the data can be archived after the site closes.

OSM can serve as a common data repository and a base map for agencies to download for field use with their own local data or site-specific camp management offline. With multiple actors assisting at some locations, having a common reference for addressing can aid communication and coordination. Using OSM is a low-tech, low-investment option for humanitarian actors. It offers a shared base reference system, but also allows decentralization. Actors and agencies can maintain and verify their own information, while still benefiting from a shared collective data repository from which to draw.

The following article covers the common tags that have been adopted through several field projects across Europe and the Middle East. Some tags are pre-existing, while others have been developed for a specific location or situation.

WARNING: Before mapping any refugee camp or displaced community, communicate with other humanitarian actors and be wary of mapping such communities in conflict areas. While it is often advantageous to have a map, the safety of the residents must come first. In some situations, a local version is the best route.

Common Tags for Site

The site should be a polygon covering the bounds of the camp. If bounds are unknown, use a point instead, or a polygon with a fixme="Check site boundary" with the best estimation of the site.

The following set of tags are applicable to the OSM feature for a single site. Not all are needed, but as many as is possible (when known) should be used.

NAME KEY VALUE DESCRIPTION USUAL VALUES
Social Facility amenity social_facility Defines the site as a social facility amenity.
Social Facility Type social_facility shelter Defines the site as a shelter social facility.
Shelter Type social_facility:for migrant Defines the site as a shelter for migrants.
Name name User Defined Name. Usually in local language.
English Name name:en User Defined English name of site. Use ISO code for other languages (fr, el, ar, etc.).
Alternate Name alt_name User Defined Alternate name of site. Usually previous name if site used for other purpose in the past.
Local Name loc_name User Defined Local name. Usually in local language or resident language.
International Name int_name User Defined International name. Usually government or humanitarian-agreed-upon name.
Short Name short_name User Defined Common abbreviation, useful for searching.
Owner owner User Defined Name of the site owner. Not necessarily the same as operator.
Operator operator User Defined Name of the site operator.
Operator Type operator:type User Defined Defines the type of site operator. government; ngo; military
Access access User Defined Defines the right of access to/from the site. public; private; open; closed
Capacity of Site capacity User Defined Defines the official capacity or population of the site.
Landuse landuse residential Defines the site as a residential area.

Case Study: Refugee Camp in Jordan

In Jordan, Refugee camp are designed and planned by a dedicated unit. Surveyors are using the "Palestine 1923 / Israeli CS Grid" [1] to draw the camp master plans in Autocad.

For the initial data collection, REACH used use OpenDataKit http://opendatakit.org/. Tags were selected from pre-existing tags from the Humanitarian OSM Tags/HDM preset.

UNHCR Jordan imported the first dataset for Zaatari Camp on 25 of June 2013 [2]. UNHCR Jordan then contracted REACH[3] to further map facilities within Za'atari Refugee Camp.

In April 2014, the map for Azraq has been pushed in OSM.

The two camps can be monitored through the following links:

Camp View in OSM Compare different rendering from this location Data Extract RSS Feed to monitor edits Dedicated page on UNHCR portal
Zaatari http://osm.org/go/xtP2cVjM-?m= http://mc.bbbike.org/mc/?lon=36.33106&lat=32.29246&zoom=14&num=8&mt0=mapnik&mt1=osm-roads&mt2=google-hybrid&mt3=esri-satellite&mt4=osm-administrative-boundaries&mt5=mapquest-eu&mt6=bing-hybrid&mt7=mapbox-satellite http://export.hotosm.org/en/jobs/6968 http://simon04.dev.openstreetmap.org/whodidit/scripts/rss.php?bbox=36.310932,32.279348,36.345565,32.30496 http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/settlement.php?id=176&country=107&region=77
Azraq http://osm.org/go/xtkUCNq5-- http://mc.bbbike.org/mc/?lon=36.58314&lat=31.90411&zoom=13&num=8&mt0=mapnik&mt1=osm-roads&mt2=google-hybrid&mt3=esri-satellite&mt4=osm-administrative-boundaries&mt5=mapquest-eu&mt6=bing-hybrid&mt7=mapbox-satellite http://export.hotosm.org/en/jobs/6970 http://simon04.dev.openstreetmap.org/whodidit/scripts/rss.php?bbox=36.54525,31.882639,36.630909,31.932258 http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/settlement.php?id=251&country=107&region=73


Contributing and Editing the map

Editing the map requires an account to create an account in OSM: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/new? (for better monitoring of the edits, we suggest to include the name of your organization within your user name).

Then just go to the "edit" tab in the OpenStreetMap page https://www.openstreetmap.org/edit and start contributing. You add or edit tags: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Beginners_Guide_1.4.1 or create new objects: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Beginners_Guide_1.3

A very good introduction can also be gfound here: http://en.flossmanuals.net/openstreetmap/editing-with-josm/

Offline map edition can also be done with JOSM: . Specific preset for tcamp mapping are available in Github: https://github.com/unhcr/presets. The presets have been organized to match sectors terminology as known by humanitarian workers.

Note that a specific preset has been designed to be used with Vespucci, (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.blau.android), the Android Offline OpenStreetmap editor: https://github.com/unhcr/presets/blob/master/HDM-camp-vespucci.xml

Using imagery to map the camp

Consult the resource here: Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide: Displaced Population Camps: http://hhi.harvard.edu/publications/satellite-imagery-interpretation-guide-displaced-population-camps

Tagging

Note that addr:postcode is used to register the Addressing systems as used in UNHCR registration database. This will facilitate export and join with aggregated refugee profile information.

Administrative levels within the camp are recorded at 2 levels:

For level 1 (Camp sectors or modules)

               <key key="place" value="suburb"/>
               <key key="admin_level" value="8"/>
               <key key="boundary" value="administrative"/>
               <key key="refugee" value="yes"/>


For level 2 (Camp blocks or communities)

               <key key="place" value="neighbourhood"/>
               <key key="admin_level" value="9"/>
               <key key="boundary" value="administrative"/>
               <key key="refugee" value="yes"/>


Common Tags

These tags can by used freely to all camp facilities. It dosen't mean that each facility need all of them, but each tag can be used with every type of facility .

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Local name loc_name User Defined Local name of the shop/service/facility Key:name
International name int_name User Defined International name of the facility Key:name
English name name:en User Defined The name of the facility given in English Key:name
Owner owner User Defined Name of the owner or donor Key:owner
Operator operator User Defined Name of the operator or person/instition/subject that is responsible for maintain it Key:operator
Type of operator operator:type public, private, government, religious, ngo, community Type of operator key:operator:type
Camp facility type See below See below Different camp facilities

Facilities

Below are the common facilities available in Za'atari Refugee Camp. Within these facilities are a wide range of services available to the residents of Za'atari refugee Camp.

See other tables below for more specific description of each facility.

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
Toilet/latrine amenity=toilets For more specific description see below for Toilets Tag:amenity=toilets
Water point amenity=water_point Independet water point where you can get large amount of drinking water Tag:amenity=water_point
WASH centre amenity=washcenter A solid communal structure to collect water, wash hands and use toilet. Somtimes also there is a shower Tag:amenity=washcenter
Kitchen amenity=kitchen A solid communal structure where to cook Tag:amenity=kitchen
Bin amenity=waste_basket Key:bin
Lamp posts/Street lamps highway=street_lamp A street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road, which is turned on or lit at a certain time every night. Tag:highway=street_lamp
Amenity amenity=* See below for common Za'atari shops and services to find values Key:amenity
Shop shop=* See below for common Za'atari shops and services to find values Key:shop
Craft craft=* See below for common Za'atari shops and services to find valuess Key:craft
Restaurant amenity=restaurant Tag:amenity=restaurant
Clinic amenity=clinic Tag:amenity=clinic
Mosque amenity=place_of_worship religion=muslim See below for Mosque to find more attributes Tag:amenity=place_of_worship
Distribution centre amenity=social_facility; social_facility=distribution Key:social_facility

Facilities linked to Youth & Education

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
School amenity=school Tag:amenity=school
Child friendly space amenity=social_facility; social_facility=outreach An area safe for children to play Key:social_facility
Recreation area landuse=recreation_ground Tag:landuse=recreation_ground
Playground leisure=playground Tag:leisure=playground
Community centre amenity=community_centre A public facility which is mostly used by local associations for events and festivitie Tag:amenity=community_centre


Water and sanitation

Toilets and Latrines

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Toilets amenity toilets The location of a toilet open to the public Tag:amenity=toilets
Latrine toilets:disposal pitlatrine Toilet is a latrine, a receptacle (as a pit in the earth) for use as a toilet. Use with amenity=toilets Tag:amenity=toilets
Latrine type movable yes/no If the latrine is movable or permanent Proposed_features/Attributes#movable.3Dyes.2Fno
Female, male female,male yes/no female=yes when access is ONLY for female, male=yes when access is ONLY for male Tag:amenity=toilets
Access to toilet access public, private, multifamily If the toilet is public and open to whoever walks up or it is private Key:access
Condition of facility damage_status intact, minor, medium, heavy, completely How well the facility is functioning taginfo: [http://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/damage_status

Septic tank

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
Septic tank man_made=septic_tank Septic tanks can be used as a separete item or in a Relation Relation with a amenity=toilets with toilets:disposal=pitlatrine if the latrine has septic tank Tag:man made=septic tank

Drinking Water

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility type amenity drinking_water Place to get "drinking water" in smaller amounts for personal usage Tag:amenity=drinking_water

Water Points

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility type amenity water_point Independet water point where you can get large amount of drinking water form water tanks Tag:amenity=water_point
Water tank size water_tank:size two_cubic_metres, oxfam_water_point Type of water point Key:water_tank
Water tank location water_tank:location displaced Use it with amenity=water_point for indicate taht water tank is not where it should be Key:water_tank
Water tank amount water_tank:quantity Number Amount of water tanks assigned to that water point Key:water_tank
Condition of facility damage_status intact, minor, medium, heavy, completely How well the facility is functioning taginfo: [4]

WASH Centres

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility type amenity wash_centre A solid communal structure to collect water, wash hands and use toilet. Somtimes also there is a shower Tag:amenity=wash_center
Local name loc_name User Defined (text) Name of the WASH Centre Key:name
Male WASH Centre male yes/no Male WASH Centre Key:male
Female WASH Centre female yes/no Female WASH Centre Key:female
Outside lighting lit yes/no Is there outside lighting Key:lit
Condition of facility damage_status intact, minor, medium, heavy, completely How well the facility is functioning taginfo: [5]
Facility is disused disused yes/no Facility is disused

Kitchens

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility type amenity kitchen Kitchen facility for the community Tag:amenity=kitchen
Operator operator nobody, street_leader_volunteers Who is responsible to upkeep kitchen Key:operator
Condition of facility damage_status intact, minor_damage, mediumr_damage, heavyr_damage, completelyr_damage How well the facility is functioning Taginfo[6]
Bin present bin yes/no Does the Kitchen contain a bin for Kitchen Waste Key:bin
Waste collection collection:waste daily, every_2_3_days, every_3_7_days, more_than_week, never How often does the bin get emptied Key:collection:waste
Gas cylinders appilance gas_cylinder Did the kitchens has gas cylinders present Key:appilance
Gas cylinder amount gas_cylinder:quantity Number How many gas cylinders are present
Non functional cooker cooker:nonfuncional Number Amount of cooker that are non functional at the time of assessment. Use with appilance=cooker
Functional cooker cooker:funcional Number Amount of cooker that are functional at the time of assessment. Use with appilance=cooker
Access to kitchen capacity Number How many people use this kitchen Key:capacity
Residential status squatted yes/no Are people living in the kitchen Key:squatted
Tank amount water_tank:quantity Number Amount of water tanks assigned to that kitchen Tag:water_tank:quantity=*

Bins

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility Type amenity waste_basket Bin Tag:amenity=waste_basket
Waste Type waste trash subkey for amenity=waste_basket Key:waste

Lamp Posts

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
Facility Type highway=street_lamp Lamp Post/Street Lighting Tag:highway=street_lamp
Lit lit=yes/no Is the lamp post lit Key:lit

Shops and Services

These tags can by used freely to all Shops and Services facilities in camp. It dosen't mean that each facility need all of them, but each tag can be used with every type of facility .

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Facility type shop,amenity,craft See below for common Za'atari shops and services Shop, craft, business
Obtain good goods_supply outside_camp, inside_camp Where the owner gets their goods/produce from Key:goods_supply
Waste disposal methods waste:disposal bin, septic_tank, backside, on_the_street How the waste is dispose of Key:waste:disposal
Access to water drinking_water yes/no Does the facility have access to water Key:drinking_water
Source of water water_supply bottled_water, paying_water_truckers, external_private_supplier Source of drikning water supply Taginfo:[7]
Tank amount water_tank:quantity Number Amount of water tanks assigned to that facility Tag:water_tank:quantity=*
Appliance appliance small_refidgerator, big_refidgerator, deep_freezer, rotisserie, oven, water_filters, boilers, welding_machines, television, computer, other What type of appliances has facility Key:appliance
License regulation license:unhcr yes/no Need licensed regulated Key:license:unhcr

Types of Shops, Services, Crafts

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
Electrician craft=electrician tag:craft=electrician
Blacksmith craft=blacksmith Metal Work Service Tag:craft=blacksmith
Tailor craft=tailor Service for creating and fixing of clothes Tag:craft=tailor
Bakery shop=bakery Tag:shop=bakery
Greengrocers shop=greengrocer A place which sells vegetables Tag:shop=greengrocer
Beauty Salon shop=beauty A shop which provided beauty treatments and hairdressing Tag:shop=beauty
Clothes Shop shop=clothes A place which sells clothes Tag:shop=clothes
Mobile Phone Shop shop=mobile_phone A shop which sells mobile phone and mobile phone services Tag:shop=mobile_phone
Cheese Shop shop=cheese A shop which sells cheese Tag:shop=cheese
Money Exchange amenity=bureau_de_change Service of exchanging money Tag:amenity=bureau_de_change
Water Filterisation amenity=water_service Service of filtering water Tag:amenity=water_service
Yogurt Shop shop=dairy_products A shop which sells yogurt and/or other dairy products Tag:shop=dairy_products
Computer Shop shop=computer A shop which sells computers and provides computer based services Tag:shop=computer
Bed Shop shop=bed A shop which sells, beds, mattresses and blankets and tents Tag:shop=bed
Confectionary Shop shop=confectionery A shop that is specialised in selling sweets (candy) or even producing them Tag:shop=confectionery
Kiosk shop=kiosk A Kiosk is a little shop selling cigarettes, newspapers, sweets, snacks and beverages. Tag:shop=kiosk
Butcher shop=butcher A shop primarily selling meat or meat products. Tag:shop=butcher
Convenience Store shop=convenience A small local shop carrying a small subset of the items you would find in a supermarket to household items Tag:shop=convenience
DIY Store shop=doityourself A shop selling basic home equipment such as and tools, power tools, self-assembly furniture, decorating products, bathroom and kitchen furniture and fittings, garden furniture, electrical goods, fencing, flooring, and more. Tag:shop=doityourself
Dry Goods Shop shop=food A shop selling cereal, flour, coffee and other food that is solid and dry. Tag:shop=food
Shoe Shop shop=shoes A shop which sells shoes Tag:shop=shoes
Appliance Store shop=appliance A shop selling large electrical items (aka white goods) such as washing machines, fridges, cookers, ovens, fans etc. May also include smaller items such as rice cookers, blenders, toasters and/or entertainment electronics such as televisions and stereo systems. Proposed features/Appliance Store
Vacant Shop shop=vacant A shop that is vacant Tag:shop=vacant
Fuel Shop shop=gas A shop that sells gasoline and gas canisters Tag:shop=gas

Shop Categories

These tags can be added as additional information for specific type of shop.

Name Key Value Description
Cloths shop clothes Key:clothes May be used in combination with shop=clothes to give further information on the kind of clothes sold. You can use several values, separated by semicolons, if the shop sells different kinds of clothes.
Second hand second_hand yes, only For Shop that sell special kind of product use "yes" if it sell new and 2nd hand or "only" if it sell only 2nd hand.

Restaurants

Name Tag Value Description Hyperlink
Restaurant amenity restaurant generally formal place with sit-down facilities selling full meals Tag:amenity=restaurant
Warm meals restaurant:warm_meals yes/no Is it served cooked on premises hot food Key:warm_meals
Handwashing restaurant:handwashing yes/no If there are handwashing bucket taps Taginfo: [8]
Toilets distance toilet:distance_meter number
Waste Disposal Methods waste:disposal bin, septic_tank, backside, street How the waste is dispose of Key:waste:disposal
Access to water water_access:paid yes/no If the restaurant owner pay for access to water
Source of Water water_supply bottled_water, paying_water_truckers, external_private_supplier Source of drikning water supply Taginfo:[9]
Tank amount water_tank:quantity Number Amount of water tanks assigned to that facility Tag:water_tank:quantity=*
Appliance appliance small_refidgerator, big_refidgerator, deep_freezer, rotisserie, oven, water_filters, boilers, welding_machines, television, computer, other What type of appliances has facility Key:applicane
License regulation license:unhcr yes/no Need licensed regulated Key:license:unhcr

Types of Cafes and Foodstands

Name Tag Description Hyperlink
Falafel amenity=fastfood, cuisine=falafel Falafel food stand Tag:amenity=fast_food Key:cuisine
Cafe amenity=cafe Coffee Shop, Cafe Tag:amenity=cafe

Mosques

Name Key Value Description Hyperlink
Amenity Type amenity place_of_worship In combination with 'religion=muslim' signify mosque Tag:amenity=place_of_worship
Religion religion muslim key:religion
Local Name loc_name User Defined (text) Local name Key:name
International Name int_name User Defined (text) Name in English Key:name
Mosque type mosque:type masjid, mussalla Type of mosque Key:mosque:type
Material building:material caravan, tent, large_tent, pre_fabricated_structure From what material is made building key:building:material
Capacity capacity User Defined (number) How many people can pray key:capacity
Male mosque male yes, no If only male can pray in this mosque (yes), or not only male (no) Key:male
Waste Disposal Methods waste:disposal bin, septic_tank, backside, street How the waste is dispose of Key:waste:disposal
Source of Water water_supply bottled_water, paying_water_truckers, external_private_supplier Source of drikning water supply Taginfo:[10]
Tank amount water_tank:quantity Number Amount of water tanks assigned to that facility Tag:water_tank:quantity=*




  1. "Figures at a Glance." UNHCR.