WikiProject Zambia

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Zambia, Africa

latitude: -13.229, longitude: 27.850
boundary: 195271, label: 432425123
Browse map of Zambia 13°13′44.40″ S, 27°51′00.00″ E
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Zambia is a country in Africa at latitude 13°13′44.40″ South, longitude 27°51′00.00″ East.

Zambia OpenStreetMap community

Anyone can join in with mapping Zambia. Welcome to the community! Some community organisations / gathering points:

  • - "OSM Zambia is a non-government not for profit organization that aims to detail map every area in Zambia with the community as the main mappers"
  • Twitter user@OSMZambia - "We are the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team in Zambia"


If you have a goal that you are working towards or one that you would like to see get done (and are maybe willing to get the ball rolling) then add it to the list here, create a section where it can be coordinated and tracked, and a way of measuring progress.


Before you map please take the following points into consideration as there are a few things remote mappers may not be aware of:

  • Follow the East Africa Tagging Guidelines when tagging highways, if in doubt tag a highway as unclassified rather than trying to guess its classification. Most highways outside of the major towns are unpaved and may be in very poor condition so tag them as unpaved where possible. But note many ways are in fact tracks and not a real roads, they have been made by much foot and ox cart traffic and their routes my change with the seasons, if you were to map all of these tracks as roads the map will become a dense network that will have no practical use. Note vehicles drive on the left in Zambia, this is important when drawing the direction of highways that are one way, especially dual carriageways. In parts of rural Zambia, especially in the east and the Southern Province, people have a large number of cattle and these are usually penned at night, this means the animals create many tracks to and from the water sources and their night time pens which may appear to be tracks or even roads.The Western Province of Zambia is very sandy so tracks may take on the appearance of major roads as vehicles have traveled off the road on the sides to avoid getting stuck. This is also the case with other rough tracks where there appears to be a loop that branches off and may may run for some distance before rejoining the main road, this is where vehicles have avoided particularly rough or boggy sections. In situations where this appears to be the case draw the way along the centre line of the road or track unless the branch travels some distance from the original road in which case map it.
  • Zambia has only two real seasons, a wet and a dry season which correspond to summer and winter in the southern hemisphere. While this may not seem important it has a great bearing on the appearance of ground cover in satellite imagery. As most satellite imagery is taken during the dry season, due to the absence of cloud cover, the ground cover may appear sparse and more like scrubland, during the rains or wet season the trees will be in full leaf cover and it would appear heavily wooded. There are no real forests in Zambia so avoid that tag. What is known as 'commercial' farmland, as opposed to small scale or subsistence farming, very often shows up as large dark green areas, generally circles - these are fields irrigated by centre pivots and again show up because the imagery is taken during the dry season. The surrounding fields would be planted during the rains, rather confusingly called dry land fields as they are not irrigated.
  • The two seasons also mean that generally all rivers are seasonal, even the larger rivers that flow all year round such as the Zambezi, Kafue and the Luangwa will vary in level quite substantially, most notably the Luangwa. Lake and dam levels will also vary greatly from year to year owing to the varying rainfall each season. The body of water held back by the damming of a river is called a 'dam' in this part of the world and is the case over most of Southern Africa, the structure built to hold back the water is termed a dam wall. Some mappers like to classify seasonal rivers as intermittent but this can be misleading as during the rains these rivers will run continuously. In dryer areas such as the Zambezi Valley they would be considered both seasonal and intermittent as they will generally only flow on the surface after heavy rains, they will still be flowing below the riverbed. These rivers are technically ephemeral but here is no ephemeral tag in OSM.
  • Another word on satellite imagery, it is not regularly updated in this part of the world. Don't assume that it is not there if it is not in the imagery. Local mappers may have put it in from their local knowledge. There is a great deal of infrastructural development going on at present (2019) so the situation on the ground is always changing. If in doubt don't delete anything unless it is obviously wrong. Like most of Africa there has been a great deal of unplanned development in the larger towns and cities so you will notice it appears quite structured in the town centres but more haphazard as you progress outwards. This makes it difficult to apply normal 'First World' classifications to land use, residential and commercial areas are intertwined. Even residential densities are hard to classify as there are high density areas right next to low density, higher income areas. This will also affect highway classification as the road moves from a residential area to a commercial area and back to a residential one.

How to participate? If you have a GPS or a GPS Data Logger device:

  • upload your tracks and edit them :)

If you haven't any GPS but are still willing to contribute you can participate in many ways:

  • you can enhance this wiki page :)
  • you can take contact with other wiki sites (Wikipedia, Wikitravel, etc.) and provide them with image of already mapped area
  • you can inventoriate and tagg, using Potlatch with Yahoo imagery or using JOSM if it is already in a mapped area, any POI (point of interest). I think here about schools, universities, hospitals, restaurant, tourist sites or attraction, monuments, parks, train station, piers, forest, etc.
  • you can start adding local names to cities, villages, etc.
  • you can add the names to rivers, lakes, etc.
  • you can take contact with some public surveying institutions and ask them about the licencing of their data. Is there any of their geodata that are compatible with the OpenStreetMap opencontent licence?
  • You can start mapping bus road or train tracks (using relations) - perhaps take contact with the main coach to ask about their road and their stop?
  • you can download all the data from Zambia area, and make a .img file (with mkgmap) ready to be uploaded to your Garmin or your phone. You can eventually let people know about where one can access it by mentioning it at this page OSM Map On Garmin/Download


Game and nature reserves, national parks

2009 Flooding

  • UNOSAT has released a shapefile of flooded areas in the March 2009 Floods.
  • flood shapefile : This data is free to use for non-profit, with attribution to “UNITAR/UNOSAT”.