Organized Editing/Activities/Refugee-displaced Site Mapping for UNHCR

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The refugee/displaced site mapping project is implemented by CartONG in partnership with UNHCR as part of our Organized editing activities in OpenStreetMap.

Please notice CartONG is not the only organisation mapping displaced/refugee sites, you can check the standard approach for site mapping, as well as other organization’s projects on the page about Refugee/displaced site mapping.

Contact

For any question on CartONG's activities around OpenStreetMap, in particular on an Organized Editing activity and/or if you try to contact a specific contributor linked to us and don't get a fast answer, please email us.

Coordination CartONG’s Missing Maps team, in partnership with UNHCR’s Global Data Service section.
Contact missingmaps[at]cartong[dot]org
Hashtags #CartONG #missingmaps #RefugeeSiteMapping #UNHCR
Timeframe Since 2017 (ongoing)


CartONG is a member of the Missing Maps project, where our preparedness projects such as this one are coordinated. This project also encourages occasional participation from one member’s volunteers to another organization’s project, in which case CartONG remains responsible for the contribution completed under our projects.

Project background and objectives

UNHCR, a UN agency, is dedicated to the protection of refugees, internally displaced people and communities otherwise affected by displacement, as well as stateless persons. UNHCR provides people affected by displacement with life-saving assistance, including shelter, food and water, and intervenes as necessary and appropriate to safeguard their safety, dignity and access to basic rights.

CartONG is one of UNHCR’s implementing partners for mapping and information management (IM) projects. We support the agency in a large range of activities, but particularly with OpenStreetMap (OSM).


Overall objectives of the project

  • To improve the availability and quality of OSM data on displacement sites around the world
  • To facilitate the contribution and use of OSM data on areas and thematics linked with displacement, including via documentation, data model (tagging) definition, training and cooperation among actors
  • To create analysis products (e.g. maps, interactive visualization of sector-specific indicators, etc.), utilizing OSM as well as other data sources, and making them available to UNHCR and other field actors as appropriate. .


The products are used by UNHCR to facilitate decision-making and programming/planning activities that directly contribute to the improvement of living conditions for displaced communities, such as planning camp extensions, filling the gap of access to basic services, identifying best installation sites for new facilities, etc. Please refer to the Impact section below for detailed examples..

In addition to meeting the specific needs of UNHCR, the data generated remotely on OSM can be used by other organizations providing assistance to displaced populations, thus ensuring better coordination and use of resources, avoiding duplication and supporting the overall efficiency and sustainability of information management in sites.


Activities

Getting data on refugee camps, and displacement sites in general, has always been a challenge given their fast evolution and the diversity of situations around the world. UNHCR and CartONG have implemented together various projects since 2006 to improve this mapping and in general the quality of data available to support displaced communities aid efforts.

OpenStreetMap has been identified as a key resource to produce accurate, recent and open data that can complement UNHCR’s existing databases, and also facilitate the access of other actors (in particular local ones) to the information.


To do so, CartONG implements the following activities in OpenStreetMap:

  • Remote mapping of displacement sites based on satellite imagery: this first step is essential to get an initial understanding of many aspects of the site and its nearby environment, in a context where most of the time no data at all (or almost none) is available in the beginning. This step allows to generate critical information such as the number and density of shelters (which allows to estimate the population of the site), the conditions of access to the site, the presence of host villages or other displaced communities settlements in close proximity, the morphology of the site, type of structure and disposition of the shelters, etc. This initial data can be used to directly produce maps, or to plan further assessments and in particular field surveys.
  • Standardize the data model and improve the methodologies used in OpenStreetMap for refugee/displaced sites mapping. This allows various organizations and users to easily create, find and share data, including the location of sites, map features (shelters, infrastructures, etc.) as well as specific information from this area of work. It includes coordinated efforts of data cleaning/standardization/completion of sites referencing around the world.
  • Collect field data and import it in OpenStreetMap. CartONG supports UNHCR in implementing their own field data collection tools & methodologies (that are not necessarily using open source software or producing open data), and then imports relevant and qualitative field data into OSM to improve the database accessible to all.


Data model and imports

CartONG is working on improving the standardization and documentation on mapping of refugee/displaced sites in OpenStreetMap. In collaboration with other organizations working in this field, in particular the Humanitarian OSM Team, REACH, or the International Organization for Migrations (IOM), CartONG has updated and is maintaining the page documenting the data model and mapping methodologies.

This has also included the work to create and vote a new tag to reference sites.

Following the approval of this tag, CartONG is leading a global effort to update the location and referencing of sites in OSM. CartONG has also used the standardized data model to import data created by UNHCR during field data collection into OSM.

In full application of the OSM guidelines, all imports are listed on the catalogue of imports, with a dedicated page for the imports performed by CartONG for UNHCR.


Remote mapping

The remote mapping is based both on the specific data model for displacement sites mapping (cf. previous section) as well as OSM general guidelines.

Beside mapping and referencing displacement sites using the tags detailed above, CartONG encourages the mapping of nearby areas of the specific site, especially host villages, spontaneous settlement around, significant natural features and paying specific attention to the connection of roads to the road network especially at a larger scale.

We encourage OSM contributors who would like to support these mapping projects to join our mapathons for beginners and advanced mappers, cf. the last section of this page.


list of Tasking Manager projects :

Site Tasking Manager # Statut Project start date project end date Country Imagery Data quality control
Lebanon All site [mapping done outisde the TM]

referencing of all refugee site known and administered by UNHCR

changeset : #UNHCR#RefugeeSiteMappingLebanon#CartONG

Completed 15/03/2022 22/03/2022 Lebanon Maxar Premium
Touloum #12259 Cartographie des camps de refugiés-Touloum-Tchad On going Chad Maxar Premium
Iridimi #12256 Cartogrpahie des camps de refugiés-Iridimi-Tchad On going Chad Maxar Premium
oure Cassoni #12179 Cartographie des camps de réfugiés- OURE CASSONI- Tchad Completed Chad Maxar Premium
Mayukwayukwa Cartographie de camps de réfugiés - Mayukwayukwa - Zambie Completed Zambia Maxar Premium
Maheba #11819 Cartographie de camp de réfugiés - Maheba - Zambie Completed Zambia Maxar Premium
Mantapala #11817 - Cartographie de camps de réfugiés - Mantapala - Zambie Completed Zambia Maxar Premium
Sheder #11623 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Sheder - Ethiopie Completed 18/10/2021 22/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Tongogara #11460- Cartographie des camps de refugiés- Tongogara - Zimbabwe Completed 20/09/2021 14/10/2021 Zimbabwe Maxar Standard
Tsore #11358 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Tsore - Ethiopie Completed 04/10/2021 13/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Gure Shombola #11347 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Gure-Shombola - Ethiopie Completed 18/10/2021 29/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Sherkole #11357 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Sherkole - Ethiopie Completed 04/10/2021 14/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Adi Harush #11088 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Adi-Harush - Ethiopie Completed 05/07/2021 23/08/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Pugnido #11045 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Pugnido - Ethiopie Completed 19/07/2021 15/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Nguyeniel #11041 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Nguenyiel - Ehtiopie Completed 27/07/2021 27/09/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Sheder #11040 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Sheder - Ethiopie Completed 24/06/2021 23/08/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Aw-Barre #11033 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Aw-barre - Ethiopie Completed 24/06/2021 20/08/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Bambasi #11010 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Bambasi - Ethiopie Completed 06/09/2021 01/10/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Jewi #11018 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Jewi - Ethiopie Completed 21/06/2021 29/06/2021 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Kalma #10669 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Kalma - Soudan Completed 08/04/2021 10/06/2021 Soudan Maxar Standard
Sayam Forage #10360 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Sayam Forage - Niger Completed 23/03/2021 25/03/2021 Niger Maxar Standard
Foubé #10299 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés - Foubé - Burkina Faso Completed 11/02/2021 25/03/2021 Burkina Faso Maxar Standard
Abuda #9988 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés d'Abuda - Soudan Completed 14/12/2020 16/12/2020 Soudan Maxar Standard
Wad Sharife #10054 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Wad Sharife - Soudan Completed 14/12/2020 14/01/2021 Soudan Maxar Standard
Um Gargour #9976 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés d'Um Gargour - Soudan Completed 07/12/2020 13/12/2020 Soudan Maxar Standard
kilo 26 #9975 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Kilo 26 - Soudan Completed 07/12/2020 13/12/2020 Soudan Maxar Standard
Shagarab I, II, III #9932 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Shagarab I, II et III - Soudan Completed 30/11/2020 04/12/2020 Soudan Maxar Standard
Helaweyn #9850 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Helaweyn - Ethiopie Completed 13/11/2020 31/12/2020 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Kobe #9849 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Kobe - Ethiopie Completed 13/11/2020 02/12/2020 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Bokolmanyo #9848 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Bokolmanyo - Ethiopie Completed 13/11/2020 22/12/2020 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Buramino #9847 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Buramino - Ethiopie Completed 13/11/2020 07/12/2020 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Melkadita #9771 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Melkadita - Ethiopie Completed 05/11/2020 28/11/2020 Ethiopie Maxar Standard
Gendrassa #9366 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Gendrassa - République du Sud Soudan Completed 15/09/2020 22/10/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Kaya #9365 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Kaya - République du Sud Soudan Completed 15/09/2020 16/11/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Ajuong Thok #9364 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Ajuong Thok - République du Sud Soudan Completed 15/09/2020 29/09/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Pamir #9362 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés de Pamir - République du Sud Soudan Completed 15/09/2020 01/10/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Etat du Nil supérieur #9029 -VALIDATION - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Etat du Nil Supérieur - République du Sud Soudan Completed 07/07/2020 29/09/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Etat du Nil supérieur #8928 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Etat du Nil Supérieur - République du Sud Soudan Completed 22/06/2020 13/08/2020 Sud Soudan Maxar Standard
Rakhine (zone 5) #8236 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Rakhine - Myanmar (Zone 5) Completed 30/03/2020 01/04/2020 Birmanie Maxar Premium
Rakhine (zone 4) #8235 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Rakhine - Myanmar (Zone 4) Completed 30/03/2020 03/04/2020 Birmanie Maxar Premium
Rakhine (zone 3) #8234 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés - Rakhine - Myanmar (Zone 3) Completed 30/03/2020 02/04/2020 Birmanie Maxar Premium
Rakhine (zone 2) #8178 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés – Rakhine – Myanmar (Zone 2) Completed 23/03/2020 02/04/2020 Birmanie Maxar Premium
Rakhine (zone 1) #8177 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés – Rakhine – Myanmar (Zone 1) Completed 23/03/2020 02/04/2020 Birmanie Maxar Premium
Maratane #7390 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés Maratane-Mozambique Completed 04/12/2019 09/03/2020 Mozambique Maxar
Ifo #7249 - Cartographie du camp de réfugiés Ifo - Kenya Completed 13/11/2019 16/12/2019 Kenya Maxar Premium
Kakuma (zone 1) #6174 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés Kakuma - Kenya (Zone 1) Completed 19/06/2019 01/08/2019 Kenya
Tabareybarey #6072 - Site Mapping Tabareybarey-Niger Completed 28/05/2019 28/05/2019 Niger Digital Globe Standard
Kakuma (zones 2-3) #6069 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés Kakuma - Kenya (Zones 2-3) Completed 28/05/2019 18/12/2019 Kenya Maxar Premium
Kakuma (zone 4) #6068 - Cartographie des camps de réfugiés Kakuma - Kenya (Zone 4) Completed 28/05/2019 18/07/2019 Kenya
Kebribeyah #5891 - Site Mapping Kebribeyah - Ethiopia Completed 04/04/2019 08/07/2019 Ethiopie DG Mapgive
Mai Aini #5890 - Site Mapping MaiAini- Ethiopie Completed 04/04/2019 23/05/2019 Ethiopie
Aysaita #5889 - Site Mapping Aysaita - Ethiopie Completed 04/04/2019 26/05/2019 Ethiopie
Shimelba #5861 - Camp Mapping Shimelba - Ethiopie Completed 04/04/2019 21/05/2019 Ethiopie
Berhale #5847 - Camp Mapping Berhale - Ethiopie Completed 27/03/2019 18/05/2019 Ethiopie
Smara #5571 - Camp mapping HCR - Smara - Algérie Completed 28/11/2018 13/12/2018 Algérie DG Standard
Ausserd #5446 - Camp mapping HCR - Ausserd - Algerie Completed 09/11/2018 29/11/2018 Algérie DG Standard
Layoune #4979 - Camp mapping HCR - Layoune - Algeria Completed 07/09/2018 25/10/2018 Algérie DG Standard
Al Alagaya #4909 - Camp mapping HCR - Al Alagaya - Soudan Completed 25/07/2018 26/07/2018 Soudan DG Standard
Kiryandongo #4857 - Camp mapping HCR - Kiryandongo - Ouganda Completed 12/07/2018 Ouganda DG Standard
Mentao #4577 - Camp mapping HCR- Mentao - Djibo, Burkina Faso Completed 01/05/2018 Burkina Faso Bing
Betou #3946 - Betou, Congo - Réfugiés en zone urbaine (zone prioritaire 1) Completed 15/12/2017 Congo Bing

Impact

The overall impact of CartONG’s multi-year support to UNHCR is presented on our website.

A few case studies and products to highlight:

  • The standardization of tagging in OSM as well as assessment of data available in OSM performed by our volunteers feeds in the UNHCR’s Site Maps world view, to visualize which sites are already mapped in OSM and/or using UNHCR’s own data collection. The OpenStreetMap humanitarian rendering is also used in the portal, in particular for sites where OSM is the only available data.
  • This storymap by the UNHCR illustrates the support to the Shelter and Settlement Section in 5 refugee camps in northern Ethiopia - MaiAini, Shimelba, Berahle, Aysaitta and Kebribeyah - during the month of July 2019.
  • This news by CartONG describes the same field deployment with additional details on technologies used.
  • Use of GIS to support the UNHCR WASH team on the deployment of WASH Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices mobile surveys to help plan out the survey logistics and the sampling, and to allow to analyze survey results by taking into account the spatial context and the actual location of the WASH infrastructure, with examples in Congo, Uganda and Burkina Faso from 2018. The project included remote mapping of infrastructure to plan the survey, as well as field data collection using OpenStreetMap in Bétou (Congo).
  • OSM data is also used as a background on several tools designed to map out local household survey results for instance in the SENS and the WASH KAP Mapper, as well as the Balance Score Card Application visualizing Assessments of supported Health Facilities.


Contribution to refugee/displaced site remote mapping

Since 2017, CartONG mapped 40 sites in 11 countries involving 1800 volunteers’ contribution, who help map 390 000 shelters and other facilities. Between 2019 and 2020, CartONG ran 60 mapathons for camp mapping, our team of volunteers spent more than 1300 hour of mapping and validating data on displacement sites.

Future roadmap

Efforts continue to expand the use of OSM data within the UNHCR’s Site Maps portal. We will work on trying to automatically detect existing OSM data quality and changes, to make the update of the information easier.

In parallel, CartONG & UNHCR are exploring the possibilities to automatically produce analysis from OSM data (shelters and point of interests), complementary to the sector analysis already performed in the platform with UNHCR’s data. Sites are regularly mapped in OpenStreetMap based on field requests from UNHCR teams:

We continue testing methods to improve data communication between UNHCR’s platforms and OSM, including imports, exports, field data collection and maintaining data models, together with other stakeholders.


How to contribute

You want to participate in the effort of mapping refugee/displaced sites, and join our team of volunteers ? All the details on how to participate in our volunteer’s projects are available on our OSM Wiki page.