Northern Zambia Buildings Import

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Proposal to import building perimeter outline collected by Akros Global Health to OpenStreetMap


Akros Global Health is an organization that works to strengthen national health systems in developing countries. One of the programs Akros has initiated is mSpray, for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) for Malaria prevention. IRS is one of the world's best tools in fighting malaria. Insecticides are sprayed on household walls, killing mosquitoes that spread malaria. Stop the mosquito, stop malaria. Funded by the Global Health Bureau and the Presidents Malaria Initiative (PMI) at USAID, mSpray is a revolutionary new tool that incorporates three processes to achieve the maximum impact for your IRS dollars. Through this program, Akros collects data on when to spray, what to spray, and where to spray. Getting these three factors to line up takes lots of planning, and having the best information available increases the effectiveness of a spray campaign.

The main goal of this work is to not only do a large import of buildings (268k records) into Zambia, but set an example for how Akros and other organizations can use field based operations to contribute back to OpenStreetMap. Data was verified by Akros Global Health contributors with assistance from the USAID GeoCenter's Remote Sensing Program. This proposal suggests a one time import, with possible future imports once additional datasets have been cleaned and verified.

There is strong support from various OSM community members:

   Dan Bridges, Akros
   Matt Berg, Ona
   Chad Blevins, USAID GeoCenter
   Lauren Jacobson, Development Seed
   Nate Smith, Development Seed

Current Status

The buildings dataset is prepared and ready for import. We are waiting on feedback from the OSM Import listserv and Talk-Africa listserv before we begin the import process

It appears that the import was completed in 2015.


All data has been approved by Akros Global Health for import into OpenStreetMap.

Import process

1. Create country extract of Zambia to compare the Akros data against

2. Create an overlay between the OSM root data and Akros data so as to avoid uploading duplicates

3. Once the data has been modified, add the data upload plan to the OSM wiki. As per the wiki: "Write a 'plan' for the data upload on the OSM wiki, as per the wiki: "This plan must include information such as plans for how to convert the data to OSM XML, dividing up the work, how to handle conflation, how to map GIS attributes to OSM tags, how to potentially simplify any data, how you plan to divide up the work, revert plans, changeset size policies, and plans for quality assurance."

4. Email the the data imports listserv, and Africa listserv letting them know they can review the upload plan

5. Create a designated user account for the upload

6. Conduct the upload

Dedicated user accounts

As per OSM import guidelines, this import will be conducted with dedicated user accounts, that pattern for creating user accounts will be as follows:


In this project, for the username laurencjay, the account name would be


Conversion Code and Converted Data

We have created two scripts for this project:

Extract Script -to create the Zambia OSM extract

Overlay to create the overlay between the Zambia OSM extract, and the Akros dataset

Both of these scripts and our import process documentation can be found on our github repo

Attribute mapping tags

Tags follow OSM guidelines, currently the only tag being used by this dataset is “building=yes.”


Proposal review August 18th - October 1st 2015

Submit proposal October 6th 2015

Proposal Period October 6th-15th 2015

Small test import and incorporate community feedback October 19th-20th 2015

Development Seed imports October 21st - October 23rd 2015

Finalize import by end of October 2015

Timeline above is an approximation


It appears that the import was completed in 2015.