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Libya mapping project Main page | Using OpenStreetMap data | Mapping coordination | New mappers | Imagery | Vector data sources | News

Libya, Africa

latitude: 27, longitude: 17
Browse map of Libya 27°00′00.00″ N, 17°00′00.00″ E
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Libya is a country in Africa at latitude 27°00′00.00″ North, longitude 17°00′00.00″ East. Libya is a country located in North Africa, between Egypt (on the east) and Tunisia / Algeria (west). Libya has a population of approximately 6 million, concentrated along the Mediterranean coast in the north of Libya. Largest cities include Tripoli and Benghazi.

Community channels

Facebook user openstreetmap.libya

Humanitarian mapping

With the current uprising and humanitarian crisis in Libya, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is coordinating efforts to improve OSM's coverage of Libya, and needs volunteers to help.

"OCHA, UNOSAT and NetHope have been collaborating with the Volunteer Technical Community (VTC) specifically including the CrisisMappers, Crisis Commons, Open Street Map" ...more. See also [1], and [2] for tweets from UN and WFP about the volunteer effort of which OSM is a part.

The OpenStreetMap community can assist the response by tracing various satellite imagery and other data sources, and collecting existing data sets below. If you have connections with expat Libyan communities, consider getting in touch to work with them to enter place names, etc.

  • Help trace imagery and add roads, other features
  • If you have local knowledge of Libya, help label roads and identify places of interest on the map.

The security and ethics of live mapping in repressive regimes and hostile environments

  • Please do take the time to READ THIS FIRST if you are in a "non-free" country, including for example some parts of Libya. People have been arrested in Tripoli, for example, in connexion with their activities on the Internet. Note that this wiki is also available through mixed content https - see [3] for a description of associated risk. OSM admins have also lifted the anti-wiki-spam block on exit Tor nodes, in consideration of this crisis, so you should be able to access OSM through the Tor network. HOWEVER this offers no security warranty, so if you are in Libya, and feel it is really necessary, please only send information to OSM through email, as explained in the following document.
  • There have been independent reports that some hospitals were specifically targeted, and wounded there killed. Existing hospitals are widely known, so there is no risk to mapping them in OSM. Newly established field hospitals may not be, so we are in discussion with responding partners on process with this kind of sensitive information. Further discussion in this document: File:Security Concerns for Libya Crisis Map.pdf

Using OpenStreetMap data

OSM data covers much more that just roads and boundaries, including...

  • transportation resources
  • water and sanitation infrastructure
  • health / medical facilities
  • ad hoc settlements = refugee camps

OSM Libya-specific maps

Data download

No regularly updated OSM data extracts are currently available for Libya.

How to setup a custom map on your Garmin GPS unit?

  • Connect your unit as a hard drive to your computer, and copy a .img file as gmapsupp.img into the Garmin folder.
  • If you are on Windows, you can use MapSource installer.

Other maps

Mapping coordination

Humanitarian mapping needs

  • Areas close to border crossings to Tunisia (Ra’s Adjdir or Ras Ejder) and to Egypt (Sallum or as-Sallum)
  • Full road/overland route from Sallum to Benghazi and to Tobruk [personal comment: road routes through Derna, Al Bayda, Al Marj are missing in OSM [personal comment on personal comment: OSM mappers are amazing! The previous request was made obsolete a few hours after being posted...]]
  • "Regarding humanitarian areas, the main focal areas are the roads and towns into Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Sudan, right on the border." Roads from densely populated areas, like the coast, to all of these borders would be useful.
  • MapAction is looking for some life line data - facilities and infrastructure that keep a population going - fuel, energy, water, dams, power stations, power lines, etc.
The teams current priorities would be for anything on:
  • Water Infrastructure - water pipelines, pumping stations, water treatment facilities
  • Electricity Infrastructure - electricity lines, substations, power stations.
If you find anything please email libyadata at

Tunnel System

Maping tunnel-entrances, ways and rooms. Tripolis relation 1822814


New mappers


Bing imagery coverage, see also: Bing Aerial Imagery Analyser

Bing road detect API works well in Libya.

What to map - Areas where hi-res is available

  • As Salloum / السموم - Egypt side of border map

Areas where 10 m resolution imagery is available

Here is a global view of the areas covered by EO-1 that are available online. To use this imagery, set background image to this in Potlatch 1, and to that in Potlatch 2.

In JOSM, copy and paste this link for TMS. I.e. Imagery URL should be:


For WMS, use this root service URL, and select one or several layers.

According to observations by users jgc and Liotier around some places such as Misrata and Zintan, EO-1 imagery is slightly misaligned compared to Bing, Yahoo and Landsat which have been found to correlate much better with GPS traces. Think twice before you align ways on EO-1 imagery - aligning on GPS traces is preferable where they are available. EO-1 imagery is nevertheless otherwise useful - and probably no worse than Bing, Yahoo, Landsat and others who all have their own alignment problems in some places... Though for alignment purposes in Libya the latter are probably a better choice.

Global 15 m resolution imagery

  • A fully zoomable Landsat WMS layer is at Telascience. (TMS URL to copy and paste in JOSM/Preferences/WMS-TMS, WMS URL to copy and paste in JOSM/Preferences/WMS-TMS - or Base of WMS service URL link to copy and paste in JOSM/Preferences/WMS-TMS/Add).

Photographs from the International Space Station

Andrew Buck found and rectified astronauts photographs that cover Misrata, Sirt, and more, and can be used for mapping. He describes this in his diary.

Places that need imagery

  • مصراتة - Misrata map - See above for EO-1 imagery covering eastern part of the city.
  • Sirt
  • Ras Adjir (current imagery)
  • Naeemah or Nai'mah, in Zlitan district (current imagery)

Potential Data Sources


Other resources

  • Public domain 1:250,000 and 1:100,000 topographic maps for Libya from the US Army Map Service (1940s and 1950s), as well as historical city maps, are available at the Perry-Castañeda Map Library.
  • Wikipedia has good coverage of many cities and towns, including names in English and Arabic, that can be copy-pasted in OSM even by non Arabic-speaking mappers. It can also be used to match old Italian place names to the current ones. Key:wikipedia is available to link to Wikipedia articles from OSM elements.

Specific tricks for mapping Libya

  • Lot of residential, unclassified and tertiary roads have unpaved surfaces. Just because a way is unpaved does not mean it is just a track.
  • In mountain regions, particularly the coastal area of the eastern part of the country, creek and river beds appear in a lighter color that may easily be confused with a dirt road.
  • When using low resolution imagery, if you can see something you can be sure it is at least a track or an unpaved road - footpaths are not visible at that scale.

Quality controls


  • Libya situation map (as of 1 Mar 2011, 6 AM GMT). Best viewed in full size.
  • Western Libya situation map (as of 1 Mar 2011, 6 AM GMT). Best viewed in full size.
  • Sirt-Ras Lanuf map - Central Libya (as of 9 March 2011, 6 PM GMT)
  • North Western Libya map (as of 9 March 2011, 6 PM GMT)
  • Sidra Bay map - Central Libya (as of 9 March 2011, 6 PM GMT)