WikiProject Uganda/Uganda Water Infrastructure Mapping Project

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Access to water for basic handwashing is critical to creating more resilient communities - the COVID-19 pandemic made it increasingly clear that people with the least access feel the most dramatic effects. UN-Water states that a lack of access to safe and sufficient water disproportionately affects women as they usually bear primary responsibility for a household’s water needs, are more likely to be abused or attacked when collecting water, and have specific hygiene needs. Also, of great concern is water supply and availability. World Resources Institute (WRI) research projects that there will be a 56% deficit in water supply relative to demand by 2030. Understanding where water is currently available via functioning water points and estimating current and future access will help water authorities understand where to invest in both short-term maintenances of water points and long-term water management policies and practices leading to better management of infrastructure and allocation of available supplies.

The YouthMappers Chapter in Gulu University in partnership with the Water Point Data Exchange (WPdx) is carrying out a mapping campaign to update the existing WPDx water point database and demonstrate the potential for more directly crowdsourcing water point data to improve decision-making. With improved accuracy, the decision-support tools will serve to help stakeholders develop better national and district budgets and work plans to optimize limited resources by prioritizing locations for investments including preventative maintenance, rehabilitation and new construction, and will provide updated information on likely drinking water access in rural areas for local communities, host country governments, and watershed authorities.

The project involves activities that will build the chapter student members’ technical knowledge of the water sector and serve to connect these youth with their communities. The project also emphasizes gender considerations through the YM Everywhere She Maps campaign which seeks to improve the availability of geographic datasets for women’s economic empowerment.

The project activities are a precedent to raise global awareness among YouthMappers Chapters of the importance of evidence-based decision making on effectively managing water points and water resource allocation and also build on WPdx’s current work to improve access to water around communities.


  1. Pilot using open data collection methods to update water point data in OSM and WPdx will provide a better understanding of current water access and create a more updated dataset for analysis.
  2. Build capacity of Gulu YouthMappers chapter through an introduction to rural water challenges and practical experience in collecting field data.
  3. Partner with the Government of Uganda at the district, regional, and national levels, and with water-related NGOs in Uganda, to integrate findings from decision-support tools into budgeting and planning decisions.
  4. Explore the feasibility of using satellite imagery to identify existing water points, both manually and through AI/ML predictive models to help build a more comprehensive inventory which can then be used to help prioritize investments in water point monitoring, preventative maintenance, and rehabilitation to support sustainable service delivery.

Map of Gulu and area of Interest

Project Area Map Final.png

Imagery and Tools


Satellite imagery of up to 50cm shared by the USAID GeoCenter will be used for the remote mapping exercise in the project. Maxar satellite imagery of up to 50cm resolution was shared by the GeoCenter and this will be used in the remote mapping exercise of the project.


Open-source tools will be applied through the entire project exercise such as remote mapping, field mapping and map production. OpenStreetMap and WPdx will be the platforms where all data collected both remotely and in the field will be made available. Other tools applied in the project exercise include;

Remote Mapping

  • HOT Tasking Manager: The Tasking Manager is a mapping tool designed and built for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team's collaborative mapping process in OpenStreetMap. The purpose of the tool is to divide up a mapping project into smaller tasks that can be completed rapidly with many people working on the same overall area. It shows which areas need to be mapped and which areas need the mapping validated. This platform is set to host all projects for active remote mapping exercises. To contribute: Please visit:
  • Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM): This online/offline tool supports loading GPX tracks, background imagery, data layers and OSM data from local sources as well as from online sources. It allows editing of OSM data (nodes, ways, and relations) and their metadata tags. This is restricted for use in the project for the purposes of custom imagery applied in the remote mapping exercise. An updated version and instructions on how to install JOSM can be found here:
  • OSM Cha: will be used to monitor the edits made by the users uploading data to OSM, Filters will be made using UserIDs to give a summary of modified, deleted, added nodes, which the QA person will review and either flag as bad or good, sending feedback to the person who uploaded the data. Example of filtered changesets.

Field Mapping

  • KoboCollect: KoboCollect is a free and open-source tool available for researchers and humanitarian organizations to apply for digital/mobile data collection. It is a component of the Open Data Kit environment/ server where researchers can design and deploy surveys in a format suitable for their given objectives. It can be deployed as an online, online-offline form or through the KoboCollect App to conduct field surveys. For this specific project, the Kobo Collect App was applied to support data collection of specific water infrastructure points within the area of study. A KoboCollect form was designed to include the designed data model and OSM language which will enable easy integration of data into both OpenStreetMap and WPdx platforms.

Field Monitoring

  • OSMAnd: OSMAnd is a smartphone app providing the complete OpenStreetMap interface within the Android environment. It can be used not only for its GPX line-tracking, but also to edit and upload notes in OSM, used as a ‘SatNav’, and collect points and analytics at field-level. For this project, it is mainly applied in the GPX data collection and ensuring coverage of all the project field zones.
  • Field Papers: This will be a great tool in providing a supported lens for the ML/AI prospects of the project.

Map production

  • QGIS: This is a free and open-source geographical information system software that allows users to create, edit, visualize, analyze and publish geospatial information on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. This will be used for an atlas products development for the data outputs of the project.


Gulu District OSM preliminary Analysis and Mapping

The Uganda Water Atlas provides country and district water supply performance based on access rates, rural functionality, equity, gender and overall management. According to data from 2015, with a population of approximately 339,849, Gulu has 75% coverage with access to safe water. However, when this data is broken down into rural vs. urban areas, the data demonstrate much higher access to safe water sources for Gulu’s urban residents. Bungatira and Unyama counties are intersected by the urban and rural population in the Gulu district and thus were identified as the specific target geography for fieldwork within the larger Gulu district boundaries. The team will also collect data in a limited area of Gulu city as a proof of concept; however, the primary focus is to gather data on rural water points. The target geography can be extended depending on the total number of students available to contribute to their project and their schedule availability. 548 and 13 water infrastructure points were identified within Gulu administrative area in WPDx and OSM respectively. 45% of the WPdx points are located within Bungatira and Unyama sub-counties. A summary of the current WPdx and OSM water points for the project area.

Area WPdx OSM
Bungatira county 139 2
Unyama 109 0
Total   248 2

Community Approvals

  • IRS
  • National Research Ethical Clearance | Uganda
  • LC Visits


  • Remote Mapping

In order to update and validate the OSM base layer YouthMappers team has set up remote mapping tasks; a), b) c) to be mapped by the YouthMappers chapter in Gulu University. This imagery provided will be used to digitise and remote map gaps found in OSM databases. The remote mapping exercise will be executed using both JOSM. Scheduled monthly mapping challenges will be organised at the university monitored by the project team. The project mapping tasks will be set up from January to the end of March 2022.

  • WASH

The training will cover the following areas of interest;

  1. WASH infrastructure planning, management and monitoring in Uganda
  2. Understanding WASH
  3. Institutional Framework for WASH in Uganda
  4. Common WASH infrastructures/technologies in Uganda
  5. Planning for water supply and sanitation (WSS) infrastructures at district/community level in Uganda
  6. O&M WSS infrastructures at district/community level in Uganda
  7. Monitoring areas and indicators for WASH performance measures and planning in Uganda
  8. WSS information/data sources, analysis and use
  9. Directorate of Water Development Management Information System (MIS)
  10. Gulu district rural WSS infrastructures status
  11. Computerizing District Monitoring and Evaluation
  12. System (DiMES) for WASH: A case of Ghana
  13. The users and the use of WSS monitoring information/data
  14. Existing WSS DiMES and DiMES system design
  15. Integrating mobile data collection with Akvo FLOW to augment DiMES
  • WPdx
  1. The training will include;
  2. Introduction to WPdx
  3. Exploring the global data repository
  4. The decision support tools
  5. WPdx data standards
  6. Data sharing with WPdx
  • Field Mapping

The field mapping exercise will be conducted for 14 days from the 9th- 25th of May 2022. A total of 30 well-trained students will be engaged in the exercise. Field mapping will mainly focus on locating and collecting physical water points. Smartphones with the Kobo Collect App and field data questionnaire hosted on them will be utilised as the main tools for storing the collected points.

Community involved

  • Gulu University
  • The Water Point Data Exchange program
  • West Virginia University
  • YouthMappers - Gulu Chapter
  • NGOs/Local stakeholders
  • Gulu District Water Office

Field Data Collection

The field data collection exercises will be conducted in two sub-counties composed of six (6) parishes namely; Pabwo, Atiaba, Punena, Agonga, Pakwelo and Oitino. These parishes consist of twelve (12) villages. The villages include; Kulukeno, Rwot-Obilo, Cet-Kana, Lukodi, Lagwiny, Ayac, Panykworo, Paminmel, Layik, Katikati, Otularoya,Paminano.

The 30 students will be paired in groups of 2 to 3 students per village across the 12 villages. For smooth communication with the field team and administration, Whatsapp groups for each parish team and the main WhatsApp group for administration communication were set up. The project will have a total of two (2) mapping supervisors.

14 days of data collection working Monday to Friday will be assigned for field data collection activities. Each day all teams will meet with the project mapping supervisors to acquire instructions before heading out the field. Data collection started at 9:30 am to 5:30 pm in the evening totalling seven (7) hours of work and an hour (1) for a lunch break. All data collectors and supervisors put on will wear or possess branded visibility material with a YouthMappers logo at all times as a symbol for security and easy identification within their areas of work.

Data Model

Unlike the previous related WASH projects on OpenStreetMap, this project suggests a unique model that integrates both the existing OSM tag schema and the WPdx data standards. A thorough evaluation of the OSM mapping schema was conducted based on the map feature, wiki, and OSM tag info and against the WPdx and other humanitarian water infrastructure data collectors, and a water infrastructure data model was derived. The model will enable simultaneous integration of data into the OpenStreetMap and the WPdx analysis platforms.


WPdx Standard Key (OSM tag) Value Comment Use OSM Upload
source source u_wimp Who is the data provider? Yes
Lat_deg, Lon_deg addr: point coordinate point What is the location of the point? This is the location of the water point Yes
report_date date (YYYY/MM/DD) What is the date of data entry? Yes
water_source amenity water_point What is the type of infrastructure? Yes
water_source type tank, Deep Borehole, Protected Spring, Rain Water Harvest Tank, Shallow Well Yes
Status  operational_status Functional/Not Functional/Decommissioned[Yes/No] What is the water point status? whether the water is working or not.  Yes
water_tech pump Powered/Manual or [Handpump, Afridev, Mechanise Pump-Solar, Tapstand] or Yes/No What the method of drawing water from the water point. This is the water generation system applied Yes
usage drinking_water Drinking Water/washing [Yes/No] What is the purpose of the water point Yes
Management operator Name of operating entity What is the operating authority? Yes
Pay fee Yes/No Is it for payment or not? Yes
Install_Year install_year Year(YYYY) What is the year of establishment? No
Rehabilitation_Year Year(YYYY) Incase it is non-functional No
Rehabilitator Name Who rehabilitated the water point? The company or institution in charge of repairs No
Subjective_Qality Good/Smelly/bad No
addr:country country Uganda Yes
addr:district district Gulu Yes
addr:county county Aswa No
addr: subcounty subcounty Bungatira, Unyama No
addr:parish parish Pabwo, Atiaba, Punena, Agonga,Pakwelo,Oitino,  No
addr:village village Kulukeno, Rwot-Obilo, Cet-Kana,Lukodi, Lagwiny, Ayac, Panykworo, Paminmel,Layik, Katikati,Otularoya,Paminano No

Project Timeline

Project Timeline

Data Cleaning & Upload to WPdx & OSM

  • Data was collected in two language formats using Kobo Collect. (i.e. English language format and .osm language format)
  • Using the Kobo API a direct link was made to the WPdx database and data was submitted at semi-real time once uploaded by the youthmappers in field.
  • For osm, the required osm fields were selected, using advanced setting in kobo and geojson file was download for cleaning and upload using josm.
  • Following reccommendations from the osm data working group a few changes were performed onto the osm file before upload.--TBD