WikiProject Haiti/Mapping Coordination

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WikiProject Haiti Mapping coordination · New mapper · Status · Earthquake maps data · Imagery · Data sources · Tasks and ideas · Street names · Public transport · Weekly meetings · News · Press mentions · Press info
  • WikiProject revisions: Revisions to front page of WikiProject completed = everything consolidated into a single table or moved to different pages. --Ceyockey 16:34, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
  • WikiProject revisions: Revisions are underway (slowly) to revise the WikiProject from crisis-response to mapping-as-usual mode. --Ceyockey 16:34, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
  • On-the-ground: Fourth deploy write-up - 2010-09-08
  • On-the-ground: HOT Mission 3 complete [1] - 2010-06-28
  • Hot website launched with blog category 'Haiti' - 2010-05-??
See also blog, twitter


What needs to be mapped?

See WikiProject_Haiti/Tasks_and_Ideas#Mapping Tasks.

How to map

If you're new to mapping for OpenStreetMap you can get tutorials and further instructions here.

Please upload frequently to avoid conflicts! When using JOSM, please also update data frequently to avoid conflicts!

Data collection

  • Collection and freeing of other data sources (vector and raster), for names, features. And for imagery outside Port-au-Prince
  • Connect with individuals familiar with Haiti geography
  • Help warping map images on a special instance of Tim Waters's map warper dedicated for this purpose. Once a map is warped, a WMS link can be copied from the "Export" tab of the warper to use as a basemap in JOSM.

Coordination of tracing/mapping efforts

Please add your name here.
Online-Tool to coordinate the mapping found here by osm-matrix.
Shared spreadsheet available here.


Notes can be used to:

  • report possible errors in OSM data
  • request verification of features (e.g. building collapse, refugee presence)
  • request completion of features (e.g. waterway extension)

Best Practices

  • Mapping individual buildings
  • In areas with densely packaged small buildings do map an area tagged with landuse=residential
Don't map individual buildings in these areas. Use an area tagged with landuse=residential

  • Trees
  • Don't map individual trees unless you have access to hi-res imagery, i.e. Googles aerial imagery
Don't map individual trees in residential areas like this one

  • Tagging highways

Proposed best practices

for consideration - rewording - acceptance or rejection

  • When looking at an area new to you, make sure the imagery source that you're using is the most updated to best match the existing mapped information rather than diving into moving mapped elements to match the imagery.
  • Use the Imagery Offset DB plugin in JOSM to
  • When in doubt about whether to use highway=residential or another highway value, use highway=unclassified. Avoid using highway=road.

Requests from Responders

Responders on the ground are making requests for specific thematic and geographic data sets. Please specify time, who, and where the request was made. If possible, please communicate with them if the request has been filled. Think of this a lightweight ticketing system.

Who's Helping

Add your name here...

Also see who's editing! (... which BTW shows only mapping history of "greater PaP" area. Whole Haiti is shown here ... but that's too large of an area to show editing history for. ... Maybe the mapping history should be divided into, say, four segments? ... And yes, I assume that this should be put on the talk page -- but it's easy to move. ... Wanted to put it here since there hasn't been any acticity on the talk page since January and I have no idea if anyone follows that. ... I'll move this to the talk page as soon as someone's commented it here... or I've asked about this on an email list or something... -- Jaakko Helleranta)

Mapping meetups

Mappers in Haiti started to arrange "Mapping meetups" as "Mapping Fridays" in June 2011. These are not necessarily mapping parties but regular meetings for building the local mapping community, provide training and the alike. Please see the linked page for more information.


Potlatch links below can be used as bounding-box URLs in JOSM; the Town/City node links provide access to place meta-data and an alternative starting point for navigation

Cap-Haïtien, bbox=[-72.2525,19.7135,-72.1631,19.7717]
OSM |working on

Saint-Marc, bbox=[-72.7372,19.08617,-72.67379,19.1296]
OSM |working on

Entire country

Haiti, bbox=[-74.76,17.78,-71.43,20.26]
OSM |working on

The bbox shown covers all of Haiti including territorial waters. This can be used as a "bbox predicate" in Xapi queries to retrieve a .osm file for a single tag value (an Xapi limitation), such as amenity=hospital; the url for this query would be*[bbox=-74.76,17.78,-71.43,20.26][amenity=hospital]. See the Xapi article for more information.

  • Even look at these Map.

Administrative units and boundaries

Haiti is organized into 10 Departments which are further divided into 41 Arrondissements and 133 Communes (from Wikipedia). Communes are further divided into sections. For the Haiti Earthquake mapping pcodes have been associated with various relations; pcode:1 for Departments, pcode:2 for Communes and pcode:3 for Sections.

For a list of OSM Relations for the boundaries that have so far been imported/created see WikiProject_Haiti/Status/Boundaries

Administrative boundaries and invalid relations created with Gary68's script [2][3].

An admin boundaries shapefile can be downmoaded at It countains proper polygons for all boundary=administrative objects (whether closed ways or closed multipolygons), including the national borders of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The shape file does not contain such administrative areas that have an invalid geometry in the current OSM data set. This shapefile is not updated automatically. If needed ask to


Lists of Tags

Specific Tags

  • Bridges using bridge=collapsed for damaged bridges. Particularly wanted 17:00 GMT 2010-01-14. (Gene Longenecker, FEMA Region IV Physical Scientist and NEHRP Manager, stated a need for a 'bridge shape file layer' for damage assessment and loss estimation). These are now provided in the roads layer thanks to Geofabrik, but need mapping.
  • Spontaneous camps using tourism=camp_site and refugee=yes. GIS practitioners at the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) mentioned the following mapping requirement: "NEED to map any spontaneous camps appearing in the imagery with size in area". The given tags tags would fully specify this, and be rendered immediately
  • Buildings using building=collapsed (note that this is a deliberately incorrect usage of building tag that is supposed to contain original purpose of the building, not its state - see building=*) or earthquake:damage=collapsed_building primarily, though other tags are used -- see Humanitarian_OSM_Tags.
zvenzzon made a map that shows tag usage for the tags above:
earthquake:damage=spontaneous_camp should soon appear in osmarender too is a minutely updating Mapnik render that shows is too.
  • Road blockage
    • barrier=obstacle for small obstacles on the highway which may be visible in GeoEye imagery.
    • impassable=yes for a stretch of road which is impassable due to multiple obstacles or a debris field.


The primary language of Haiti is French; additionally, there is much discussion of Haitian Creole, with potential tagging as name:ht=* for Haitian Creole names. Sources may cite names of facilities, infrastructure in French. A glossary of French topographical terms may be found here.

Note that name=* stands for "the default name, used locally". Multilingual support may be of value, this can be achieved through multiple use of name=*, name:ht=*, name:en=*... tags and translating as appropriate to populate multilingual variants as applicable. Also I would anticipate that multinational support will be providing aid from Latin America as well, e.g. Spanish - name:es=* and Brazilian UN peacekeeping troops name:pt=* to support Portuguese.

Effort should be made to include properly accented characters. Users who don't normally use accented characters can cut-and-paste these from other features, or look up how to use a different character set with your keyboard (example).

JOSM presets

See JOSM presets for the Haiti Earthquake Response.

Additional Ideas

  • large open spaces to serve as relief operation areas
  • food distribution points
  • How to map tent hospitals, hospitals in ships in the harbour, drinking water production places?
  • Map village names from Public Domain CIA Maps. Sample WMS link suitable for JOSM OpenStreetMap Editor. Important for orientation.
  • Water and sanitation features are crucial
  • Someone should check at least all the main roads (red and yellow) if all the bridges/fords are marked as such. Not only in the Port-au-prince area, but everywhere. And if you find a bridge without a mapped river below, please mark a bit of the river as well.

Fix errorlogs for better data

Frequently updating errorlogs you can find here. The C06-Check find river and streets crossing and having the same layer. Normaly the street has a bridge over the river. Tagging the bridge is important because after the eathquake every bridge can be damaged or out of use. So fix the bridges meaning making better data for routing. Quite a lot of minor crossings are fords, please use highres imagery to identify and tag (make a crossing node and tag just that node with highway=ford).