WikiProject Laos

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Laos, Asia

latitude: 18, longitude: 104.9
Browse map of Laos 18°00′00.00″ N, 104°54′00.00″ E
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Laos is a Country in Asia at latitude 18°00′00.00″ North, longitude 104°54′00.00″ East.


Project page

There is, a website that provides the slippy map in Lao and English language as well as data downloads in different formats.


These are some users in Laos, add your own username if you map in Laos by adding the following category to your user page (you can add your town or city at the same time).

[[Category:Users in Laos|name]]


Summary of names

Usage Example
name=Local name, normally the Lao name but can also be a foreign name as for example the (French) restaurant La Terrasse name=ຂອບໃຈເດີ
name:en=English or romanization of Lao language name:en=khopchaideu (thank you very much)
name:lo=Lao name:lo=ຂອບໃຈເດີ
name:lo_rm=romanization of Lao language name:lo_rm=khopchaideu

Notes about names

name should always represent the local name, most often this name will be the Lao name (with Lao characters). However, name could be a foreign name (name of a French restaurant or similar). Hmong and Khmu language are also common in Laos. The language can change from village to village. Hmong sometimes use latin letters for their language. name:lo should always contain the Lao name with Lao characters, even if name already uses the Lao name with Lao characters.

name:lo_rm should contain the romanized name. There are several ways of romanize and there is no official standard, however traditionally the BGN/PCGN standard has been used for geographical names. See the Wikipedia page for Lao romanization and a Perl module for romanizing with BGN/PCGN at CPAN.

It is recommended to use name:en or name:fr if the name is translated into, for example, English or French. However, if translation does not exist it is recommended to use the romanization of the local name in name:en as with the case of Japan.

Examples of names

The Swedish Embassy in Vientiane

  • name = ສະຖານທູດສະວີເດັນ
  • name:lo = ສະຖານທູດສະວີເດັນ
  • name:en = The Swedish Embassy
  • name:lo_rm = sathanthout savidén
  • name:sv = Sveriges Ambassad

Possible Data Sources

GIS 2015 donation

In December 2015, OSM received a donation of a 2010 official GIS data containing 11000 villages, lots of rivers, roads and administrative boundaries of Laos until province level. Use those .osm files as reference layer(don't import directly) and use Mapbox or BING imagery to manually trace each of the items. More info and files here, it is very important that the data is not imported automatically, but manually by checking the imagery. Otherwise the import will be inmediately deleted.


The AsiaGPS forum contains many GPS traces from Laos and Asia in general. Please contact them to encourage them to release their data into OSM.

GEOnet Names Server

GEOnet Names Server (not confused with which is not usable) is a database for geographic features outside the United States and Antarctica. There are no licensing requirements or restrictions in place for the use of the GNS data, so it is suitable for OSM use.

It is strongly recommended to set a source tag with a hint to GNS.

For Laos the populated places from GNS (i.e. the villages) are not considered to be reliable enough to upload them as they are. Furthermore GNS provides only romanized names. Nevertheless the data can be used as a source for place names when entering villages or other geographic features manually. The peaks (in GNS code: PK) have been imported in Changeset 3075539, some of them have been translated to Lao. Nodes from this import have the source value gns_pk_import.

NGOs / Projects

In Laos there are many NGOs and projects working in the field and collecting data. Probably there are GPS tracks, waypoints around from field trips.

The TABI project provided village locations from Phonxai and Phoukout district, the import ist tagged with tabi_phoukout_import resp. tabi_phonxai_import.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provided the basis for road and river digitization in Luang Namtha and Sayaboury Provinces by donating high resolution Quickbird Imagery for these areas. The roads, rivers and other data derived from these sources are tagged with h-res imagery 2010 or quickbird ortho-imagery 2010.

Route 13 Mountains


Laos consists of more than 10'000 villages.

Key Value Example
place village place=village
name Local Lao name name=ຈອມມະນີໃຕ້
name:en Romanized Lao village name name:en=Chommanytai
is_in:continent Asia is_in:continent=Asia
is_in:country Laos is_in:country=Laos
is_in:country_code la is_in:country_code=la
is_in:province Romanized province name is_in:province=Vientiane Capital
is_in:district Romanized district name is_in:district=Xaysettha

Since also larger settlements like Vientiane, Savannakhet or Luang Prabang are composed by many single villages, the existing definition in Map Features cannot applied directly in Laos.

It is proposed to apply the following tagging by considering the administrative relevance instead of number of inhabitants:

Key Value Element Administrative unit Example
place city node province capitals Phonhong
place town node district capitals Thalat
place village node villages Chommanytai


Road status

There are many roads that are visible from aerial imagery that are missing from the map, you can add them! Especially around Vientiane, Lak Sao, Phonsavan and Pakse.

Route 13 is the most important route in Laos, other important routes are routes 7, 8, 9, 12 and 18.[1]

Highway classification

Highway classification
Key Value Element Reference Comment
highway motorway way Controlled access dual-carriage highways: Vientiane–Boten Expressway
highway trunk way One- or two-digit Proposed: National roads of national importance. Discuss: Talk:WikiProject Laos
highway primary way One- or two-digit National roads, main connection between provinces and to neighboring countries, paved in most cases.
highway secondary way One- or two-digit National roads, main connection between districts and/or district capitals, paved or unpaved.
highway tertiary way Four-digit Provincial roads, other important connections between districts, unpaved in most cases.
highway unclassified way Intra-district connections between villages, unpaved in most cases


The only completed and under construction motorway is the Vientiane–Boten Expressway.

Primary roads

North of Salavan

Some roads belongs to the Asian Highway network, see the Asian Highway Handbook and [2] for further information.

Hwy 4C - the eroded section
Hwy 4C - the eroded section near the viewpoint (2018)

Road status overview (please update!)
Road From Via To Comment Status
1 Not 100% paved unknown
3 Boten Vieng Phouka Houay Xay Has been mapped accurately, but needs more POI's. Road surface generally good but still has a few short unpaved sections, and random potholes (Jan 2019). completed
3A Bouamphieng (Rd 3) Luang Namtha Phonxaisavang (Rd 3) Has been mapped accurately including the dual carriageway SW of Luang Namtha. Road condition is all paved and generally good (Jan 2019) completed
4 Pak khan Pong-Dong Now accurately mapped. The condition is relatively good from the Pak Khan to the Pong-Dong junction (Jan 2019). completed
4C Pong-Dong Kasi Accurately mapped now, including the new sections constructed in 2015. The condition is very good for the first 33 km after which the 17 km descent down the mountain is badly deteriorated in many places due to landslides. The remaining section to Kasi is generally good (Jan 2019). completed
7 Phoukhoun Phonsavan Between Phoukhoun junction and Phonsavan the road is in good condition, it was finished in 2003. to verfiy
8B Lak Sao Mahaxai Dirt road with heavy lorry traffic because "nam theun 2" hydropower plant construction (finished in 2009) to verfiy
10 Done Noune Junction Phonhong completed
13N Vientiane Luang Prabang Nateuy (-Boten) Now shown on OSM as just Hwy 13, reflecting the mileposts. The road is plotted accurately but more POI's would be good. The condition from Nateuy to Oudomxay is terrible with a lot of destruction caused from the trucks building the new railway. After the Qudomxay bypass, the condition is excellent to Pakmong, then a varied asphalt surface for the rest of the way to Luang Prabang (Jan 2019). completed
13S Vientiane Thakek - Savannakhet Pakse - Cambodian Border From Cambodian Border to Luang Prabang the road is in good condition. completed
18 Road Nr. 18 in the deep south is not passable if it's raining. If it is not raining you can go there by motorbike or maybe 4wd. There are several river crossings and the water can be 40cm in dry season. There are villages every 5 km and people are used to travellers getting stuck in the mud. (road 18 is not in the osm map) unknown

Secondary roads

Road status overview (please update!)
Road From Via To Comment Status
10 Donnoun Junction Phonhong completed

Other roads

Between Sepon and Salavan (Saravan) there should be some roads, but it seems the jungle came back and the roads are gone. Other roads in this area are not passable because of too much dust. Road 23 was destroyed by the USA Army and it seems nobody repaired it.

South of Mahaxai there is a road that maybe has no dead end.

From Paksan to Phonsavan there is a road that is easy to go in dry season (two small river crossings). There are many junctions and if you speak no Lao you maybe don't find your way. North of Tha Thom there is a road to Saisombun. This area was not accessible for many years it is a big adventure to go there.


GPS Tracks!!!

Mappers who read / write lao to translate place names, road names etc.

Laos is a Country with very nice people. It's save to travel everywhere in this country. If you like it to travel on bad roads this is your country. If you go there bringt GPS Data. It would also be good to know where to find guesthouses.