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Iraq, Asia

latitude: 33.321, longitude: 43.802
Browse map of Iraq 33°19′15.60″ N, 43°48′07.20″ E
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Iraq is a country in Asia at latitude 33°19′15.60″ North, longitude 43°48′07.20″ East.

You can help!

There are a lot of things you can help with in Iraq, either in person or mapping remotely.

  • A lot of villages and towns have been imported from old data and not added by people who know them. As a result, they usually have an error, are misplaced, misspelled or old name, or something else. These should be verified by people with local knowledge of these towns.
  • Many major highways are missing. Connecting towns and villages to each other is still on the to do list.
  • Very few waterways are drawn, including the major ones.
  • Huge amount of villages are marked as multiple points and require deduplication.


Cities are big settlements and usually lack agriculture, while towns are smaller than cities and have some agriculture. Villages are agricultural.

There are a lot of abandoned cities, they should be tagged with abandoned:place=village.


Names of objects used currently should be in name=* and should be in the local language. While old names (like names used before the renaming post 2003) old_name=* for compatibility with historic documents. For places written in the Arabic alphabet which have no name in the English languages, use name:ar-Latn=*. For other languages use name:code=* where code is a lowercase language's ISO 639-1 alpha2 code (second column).


Villages and towns should be linked with highway=tertiary or highway=road.

Tagging basics

Highway/Roads classification in Iraq

Road Classification Arabic Purpose - English Purpose - Arabic
highway = motorway طريق المرور السريع used for fast travel over long distances, used as a shortcut to avoid traffic in some cases. يستخدم للسفر السريع لمسافات طويلة، و يستخدم كاختصار لتجنب حركة المرور في بعض الحالات
highway = trunk طريق شرياني used to connect the centers of the governorates, and to link with the border crossings. يستخدم للربط بين مراكز المحافظات، و الربط مع المنافذ الحدودية
highway = primary طريق مرور رئيسي used to connect the centers of districts and sub-districts within the borders of the governorate. يستخدم لربط مراكز الاقضية و النواحي داخل حدود المحافظة
highway = secondary طريق مرور ثانوي used to connect the centers of sub-districts within the borders of the district. يستخدم لربط مراكز النواحي داخل حدود القضاء
highway = tertiary طريق مرور ثالثي used to connect neighborhoods and residential complexes with primary and secondary roads يستخدم لربط الاحياء والمجمعات السكنية مع الطرق الرئيسية و الثانوية
highway = residential طريق سكني used within neighborhoods and residential complexes. يستخدم داخل الاحياء و المجمعات السكنية
highway = service طريق خدمي used in service facilities and roads that require permission to pass يستخدم في المنشآت الخدمية و الطرق التي تحتاج الى أذن للمرور
highway = pedestrian طريق مشاة used for pedestrian traffic. It requires permission for cars to pass يستخدم لمرور المشاة، يحتاج الى اذن لمرور السيارات

1- highway = motorway

2- highway = trunk

Numbers 1-12 radiate in clockwise order from Baghdad .

Boundaries (proposal)

 Administrative divisions of the country - proposed 09/2016 by User:Øukasz

Level العَرَبِيَّة‎‎ - Arabic - central and southern Iraq سۆرانی - Kurdish (Sorani) - northern Iraq English Proposed OSM place Proposed OSM admin_level
1 أقليم [Aqlim] هەرێمی [Herêmî] Region region 3
2 محافظة [Muhafaza] پارێزگا [Parezga] Governorate province 4
3 امانة بغداد [Amanat Baghdad]* شارەوانی بەغدا [Sharwani Baghda] Baghdad Municipality city 5
4 قضاء [Qadha] قه‌زا  [Qaza] District district 6
5 ناحية [Nahya] ناحيه‌  [Nahiya] Subdistrict municipality 7
6 (urban) حي [Hay] گه‌ڕه‌ك [Garak] Quarter/Borough borough 8
6 (rural) مقاطعة [Mukata'a]** كه‌رت [Kart] County county
7 (urban) محلة [Mahalla] N/A Neighbourhood neighbourhood 9
7 (rural) قرية [Qarya] گوند [Gund] Village village

*Amanat Baghdad is a special case administrative division that is only applicable to Baghdad City as it is the capital city of Iraq. it contains several mini-municipality within it's border. and it overlaps with Baghdad Governorate and it's districts and sub-districts. see Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries shapefile

**Mukata'a is a subdivision of a nahya for agricultural purposes, ignoring urban areas and therefore not lining up with hay and mahalla division. Still, qaryas can be said they fall inside mukata'as.

To add to the confusion, many new city boroughs across the country are developer gated communities that sometimes are called 'Italian village' or 'Lebanese village'.

This is explained in 2009 census methodology. Relatively recent list of units at levels 1-3 is available on this Iraq's Central Statistics Office page, but there have been some changes made locally, particularly at level 3, that have not been reflected yet by the central administration.

Current implementation in OSM

admin_level Type Progress Source
2 National boundary Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
3 Iraqi Kurdistan (Erbil, Duhok, Sulaymaniyah) region Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
4 governorates (muḥāfażah) Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
5 Baghdad Municipality (Amanat Baghdad) Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
6 districts (or qadha) Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
7 sub-districts (or nahya) Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
8 Quarter/Borough (or hay) Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
9 neighborhood (or Mahalla) Done. Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries
10 mini-municipality Baghdad City Done Iraq - Subnational Administrative Boundaries

Place names (proposal for handling multiple names and multiple languages)

Many of the placenames have been renamed once or more over the last decades. It is common in official sources to refer to such as New Placename (Old Placename).

It is common for the same name to be recycled and applied for multiple places (villages, city quarters/suburbs), however usually not within the same governorate.

There are cases where a village or a city quarter is named according to origin of people inhabiting it, so there may be a quarter in a city called after another governorate, district, or a city.

There are multiple languages used in Iraq. Two official languages are Arabic and Central Kurdish (Sorani), both written in Arabic script. In many pockets of various ethnic groups additional languages are used: Syriac/Neo-Aramaic ('suret' - locally referred to as 'christian language') which uses Syriac script, Azeri ('Turkomen') in Latin and Arabic scripts, Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) in Arabic and Latin scripts, and others. In areas of mixed ethnicities it is common for a village or town to have a name in each of multiple languages - often these names sound completely different, so they are not the same names in multiple scripts. City and street name signs throughout the country often feature Latin transcriptions of those, usually inconsistent - meaning the same name can be spelled differently on various signs (e.g. Sulaymaniya, Sulemaniyah, Slemani).

The OSM's very flexible data model can be used to accommodate all of these. Here is an example town with multiple name tags, including various transliterations:

Tag Value Notes
name ܒܓܕܝܕܐ‎ Although not the most widespread name, and not the one used by the central government, this one is in the language spoken by most of he population according to the Wikipedia
name:syr ܒܓܕܝܕܐ‎ Repeats the main name tag what specifies language used in it .
name:syr-Arab بخديدا‎ Arabic transcription of the Syriac name
name:syr-Latn Bakhdida
alt_name:syr-Latn Baghdede;Bakhdide
name:ckb قرة قوش
name:ckb-Latn Qaraqosh Most common Latin transcription
alt_name:ckb-Latn Qara Qosh;Karakosh;Kara Kosh Various transcriptions to facilitate search
name:ar الحمدانية Standard name in Arabic
name:ar-Latn Al Hamdaniya Most common Latin transcription of Arabic. It would be nice to choose a standard one. Examples include UNGEGN, ALA-LC, and others.
alt_name:ar-Latn Al Hamdaniyah;Al Hamdaniyyah;Al Hamdaniyya Various Latin transcriptions of Arabic to facilitate search
name:en Bakhdida
official_name:ar مركز قضاء الحمدانية Only in Arabic, as there isn't an official translation/transliteration/transcription authority in Iraq. This actually says "Al Hamdaniya district centre", also indicating the administrative status of the town.

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