OpenCities Jamaica

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Jamaica is one of the larger Caribbean Islands with a substantial urban area around the capital city of Kingston. The rapid urbanization has caused issues with solid waste disposal and pollution.

Much of the pollution is visible in the concrete waterways throughout Kingston, its many suburbs and the Kingston Harbour. This leads to problems, including urban flooding and heavy marine pollution. Several studies have been conducted to identify and assess the effects, however, longer sustained methods of data gathering and monitoring are either lacking or not readily available for general use and analysis.

Against this background, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has partnered with Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), through its Caribbean School of Data (CSOD) project, to train persons in the collection and application of geospatial data, while developing an open mapping community in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. The Open Cities: Jamaica project is one component of the partnership that looks at how community mapping data can be used to address issues related to solid waste management, flooding and the gullies.

The Open Cities: Jamaica project recruited participants from the Greater Allman Town area, St. Patrick’s Rangers, and graduates of existing CSOD programmes. Participants were trained in interactive community mapping, and how to define, collect, use and work with geospatial data. The group also participated in a field mapping exercise, mapping in Allman Town and Kingston Gardens along the Barnes Gully and the surrounding areas. This allowed the team to capture an understanding of the layout of drains, solid waste buildup, and their relational position to flood sites and different buildings in the community.

As part of the stipulated import features and tags allowed by OSM, only concrete waterways will be uploaded to the platform.


Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is providing support to local partners through a local implementing team, to create an analysis of the solid waste accumulation and its effect on urban flooding and harbor pollution. The aim is to develop open-mapping methodologies to capture data, from both ground and aerial mapping. Partnerships with local and international actors in emergency management and marine protection will be integral to the development and sustainability of this initiative.

An additional aim of the project is to expand the use of open-mapping and open data technologies, especially among youth and academia, to establish and grow alternative avenues of geodata capture and mapping.


As this is a small one-time import, the goal is to upload all information in a 1-week window after import is approved.

More Information about the project

Project source site:

OSM Data Files

GeoJSON available here

Data Preparation & Import Workflow

Most of the data preparation involves joining drainage nodes, captured during the project using kobo collect, to form linear (way) features as this is the preferred format accepted by OSM. The features are then updated with OSM compatible tags and converted to GeoJSON.

Data Import Workflow

All import was done via a simple OSM account. The one utilized here is kharriott. The workflow followed a simple JOSM import process. The steps are as follows:

  • Load OpenCitiesDrains.geojson and Buildings.geojson into JOSM.
  • Zoom in to the Allman Town area and Download OSM data to a New Layer
  • Add Bing Imagery layer
  • Activate each Data Layer and match (update) keys and values to OSM catalog
  • Activate each Data Layer and run the JOSM Validator
  • Find and Fix any warnings
  • Click Upload, verify there are no further warnings or errors in the changeset
  • Make sure there are no erroneous Relations or other unwanted objects about to be uploaded.
  • Upload to OSM