MapLesotho Exhibition

On the 12th February 2019 #MapLesotho with the help of Fingal County Council and Action Ireland Trust held an exhibition at Avani Maseru.  The idea behind the event was to present the journey the project took from 2013 to date and the way forward.  The country is completely mapped, and the base map is available on OpenStreetMap.


In 2018 a trial or pilot to use the data to create Local Area Plans (LAP) began and about fifteen LAPs from various districts were produced as a training exercise.  From that pilot it has been realised that the current planning system needs higher level plan known as the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) which will guide the production of the lower level plans, that is the regional plans, district plans, local plans and more detailed structure plans.  The NSS is intended to guide development through a set of shared national objectives and principles and for this plan to be implementable it has to be aligned with capital budget plan.


Some of the LAPs Produced

This initiative is done with the assistance of the consultant brought by Fingal County Council from Ireland Bruce McCormack who is the Town and Regional Planner.  In order for this plan to succeed Bruce advised that there is need for coordination with different Ministries, Departments, Organisations and Service Providers.  The exhibition is therefore one of the strategies that will create exposure and awareness of this initiative.  The posters are also mounted at Alliance Franscaise for the public to see some of the outcomes of #MapLesotho.

WhatsApp Image 2019-02-17 at 10.57.22

Some of the #MapLesotho Posters at Alliance Francaise

From the basemap one can see the sprawl and haphazard development and the NSS will help to effectively Manage the growth of the City and towns.


My First FOSS4G Experience

I was delighted to be selected for a traveling grants for the HOTSUMMIT / FOSS4G to Dar es Salaam from the27th August to 2nd September. The Free and Open Source Software 4 Geospatial (FOSS4G)conference is the largest community gathering focused on open source geospatial software. The event brings together developers, users, decision-makers and observers from wide range of organisations and field operation. The event comprised of a series of workshops, presentations, community events as well as social events and hangouts. I learned that FOSS4G is a platform for collaboration, business and networking.


The workshops were held by developers of various software, and that gave us an opportunity to meet face to face with people using software one is interested in. My interest was on QGIS and I was able to attend a number of QGIS specific workshops. There was also a wide range of QGIS related presentations during the main conference. I became fully aware of how diverse the open source community is and how it is used by people from various discipline and that to me became prominent in the keynotes.

I learned from the conference how other countries make use of open source and I made a decision to create Lesotho OSGeo Local Chapter of which I wish to see Lesotho taking part in FOSS4G community. As a spatial planner all I thought was useful to me was how QGIS is used to manipulate data in making spatial plans but from what I learned from this conference I have to go beyond that and spread my wings. Open Source is important to everyone it is of assistance socially, economically and environmentally. There are some ministries or departments in Lesotho besides Physical Planning which I think can benefit from open data such as health and education to name but a few.


I met a lot of people I have been in contact with through social media from HOTOSM, OpenStreetMap, OSMAfrica, Mapillary etc. That gave us a chance to exchange ideas and learn from each other. I was also able to hold my head high as Lesotho is well known for being the mostly mapped country through the #MapLesotho. However I realised how detailed Dar es Salaam OpenStreetMap is and learned that we can only achieve that if we can all come together as organisations, ministries, departments etc and map our country.


I also volunteered and chaired some of the workshops and presentations and that taught me a thing or two; time management, coordinating and immediate decision- making. I’m really grateful and appreciative to the FOSS4G for granting me the opportunity to have such an amazing experience.


End of #MapLesotho Phase 2

The mapping is over after a year of hard work and dedication by a number of us. We were  used to seeing the progress chart, and mappers watching how their districts are doing. Each day came with change, more tiles getting done, changing from white to orange to green when validation started.

However, some of the districts got this all wrong in terms of required effort.  That is to say, that we often appeared to not know the required accuracy and engagement.   That led to some of the tiles being invalidated and percentages simultaneously increasing and decreasing at some points, which seemed to frustrate some people. That is a normal thing for a collaboration involving the work of a lot of people.  The project slack feed would show that a core of 10 people contributed regularly, and others less frequently. Of the eleven tasks, only three Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Thaba-Tseka got to 100% done and validated within the year, the rest either still needed some mapping or some more validation.

#MapLesotho phase II was designed to map the things that would help planners make plans, therefore we have to move on and make the map tidier and more useful. As a planner before making plans we have to map what’s there, in that case we would know what’s lacking in an area. We still have a long way to go when it comes to planning. It’s true we work at a local level, but we need guiding tools, there has to be a national plan that guides us as planners to plan our local areas. #MapLesotho is our foundation to make National, District then Local plans long into the future, so long as we get the hard work over with now.



Good news for #MapLesotho on festive holidays, second district completed. Quthing is the second district to reach the finishing line and beat the dead line which is February 2017 for eleven tasks launched in June 2016.Quthing was the first district to host the mapathon on the 1st and 2nd of June 2016.

#MapQuthing mapathon was held by Quthing APPs and people from other districts joined to launch phase II. This time around tasks have got to be more detailed mapping more than just buildings and highways. On the 13th October Quthing was all mapped, that is, all tiles being yellow.


That was good news but then validation was to be done and all in all there are 485 done by 15 mappers. The table below will illustrate,


I would like to thank every one who helped complete Quthing, this is for the good of the entire Mountain Kingdom not just one district completed. Geofrizzbdiscoe and DeBigC thank you so much for big effort you have put in making #MapLesotho successful. Welcoming 2017 in style, #MapLesotho. Happiiiiiiiiiiiiiii🎉🎉🎉🎉

New Stats Dashboard for #MapLesotho – a review

There is a new site created by Colin Broderick from the Fingal training team. This shows a number of features that measure progress, or help us to map. To summarise this portal site has a  number of features showing stats and progress maps for #MapLesotho.

On the dashboard we first see the #MapLesotho blog widget that shows all these blogs. The blogs give a clear picture of what #MapLesotho is all about, as well as different side dishes… about technology and geography and planning.

Scrolling down on the dashboard there are 5 more features:

1. The Leaderboard – showing maplesotho league table since February 2015. This is good for an “all time” picture. However, it excludes a lot of mapping done in 2014 not showing what those involved did.

Screenshot_2016-07-27-05-22-48-12. Since February – this is showing the since the beardies left this year.. it is good to see who is currently engaging since the beardies Ciáran, Dave and Colin left in February 2016.Five million edits in 6 months!!


3.The Progress Map is very cool. Its a map showing in colour codes we have in the tiles done and tiles validated on all the districts. It feeds off the task manager, but needs a hard reset every once in a while or you miss the latest.



4.Maseru aerial imagery is useful in ID if you are involved in the Maseru City task and using the ID editor. I use JOSM and I havent figured out how to use this LSPP data.



5. Another Rusty special is the Lesotho Landuse Classification System for spatial planning which is also updated weekly based on landuses we create in ooenstreetmap.


How can Rusty improve this? Well he could put in a few links to the vizualising things to look up to see your mapping. These things are scattered out there but I like the site P. Neis has developed.

Thank you Rusty for dedicating your precious time to make this tool for MapLesotho. We appreciate what you are doing for the mountain kingdom. We need to understand our efforts on a group and individual basis.

#MapLesotho month day 3 in Mohale’s Hoek

Day three of the #MapLesotho month was a one-day  mapathon in Mohale’s Hoek.


My pin when she arrived

It was a success for us here. It started off at 0945 hours and went until 1700 hours. The time seemed to pass fast as we were busy coordinating things for the different levels of users.

There were nine of us Mosa, Mpaleng, Ntjalleng, Tanki, ‘Malikupa, Makoakoa and Lereng, the Community Council Secretary (Rethabile) and me who brought us the modem from 50km in the south where it was mapping in Quthing yesterday and the day before. We started by creating OSM accounts for the five people who didn’t have them. Like we have known from the advice in LEARNOSM we had them on the ID Editor, while others who were not first time users used JOSM.

We read the the task instructions. In some ways it is easy for new people to adjust, since they don’t know what was mapped in phase 1, we just said “kaekapakae”. As we went along we discussed things as we encountered them, like Kralls and how they should be marked as “walls” in ID and “barrier”=”walls” in JOSM.


Some of the mappers when we finished in the evening

The day started off slowly and progressed as it went on. The first 1% of the task took a while to reach. We joked that we were going too slow considering that there was #MapLesotho royalty in the room.


We had five new mappers and we got 5% of our district done

There will be a follow up mapathon here on the 29th where hopefully we will be moving faster and more people will take part. The goal for the Mohale’s Hoek Mappers is to have a detailed map for Mohale’s Hoek, and they want to be the first to finish.

#MapLesotho Month starts with #MapQuthing mapathon

We had two wonderful mapping days at Quthing on the Quthing Task with my colleagues, Motsieleli Mafatlane,  Katleho Makotsane, Tankiso Damane and Itumeleng Nthunya.


Ithumeleng now using JOSM and her left hand


Phase II is more detailed and we are mapping missed objects and modifying previously edited objects. What everyone had to remember was to run JOSM Validator before and after editing, in that way we get to see errors and correct them first. On the first day we got to 17% done tiles, on the second day we got the task up to 28%. We spent a lot of time adding farmland and drawing buildings where previous tasks just marked areas.


Task progress rising to 28%

We would like to thank everyone who joined mapping our district. They are most welcome to help out until the task is all green. I have taken the modem that #MapLesotho uses north to Mohale’s Hoek for the start of Day 3 of #MapLesotho month. Goodbye Quthing, Hello Mohale’s Hoek!

Rural Quthing

Rural Quthing

#MapLesotho Basemap Complete

I am really glad to tell you that overnight our fellow mapper Ben Discoe clicked the last green tile. In the last few weeks there was a great effort, almost nostalgic for people to map the simple base-map tasks as they could sense they were running out.


894 the last to finish

Great news for MapLesotho as the basemap is completed!!! It has been going since July 2014. In that time of almost two years there were four big tasks:


  • #599 #MapLesotho Mapathon – Rural Base Map,
  • #894 #MapLesotho – Rural Task 2,
  • #597 #MapLesotho Mapathon – Urban Base Map and
  • #1169 #MapLesotho – Urban Mapping Task 2

The table below will show the start and finish for each one of them, as well as the number of contributors and biggest contributions in each.


Rural 1


Urban 1


Rural 2


Urban 2

Start Date

14th Jul 2014 14th Jul 2014 10th Feb 2015

21st Jul 2015

Finish Date

14th Jul 2016 10th Mar 2016 22nd May 2016

1st Dec 2015

Number of Tiles


1113 1634


Number of Mappers


102 63


Biggest Contributor


DeBigC Eireidium


Average tiles per mapper


10.9 26.1


The four tasks of MapLesotho had more than 400 contributors and with all the tasks completed there are 11,915,128 edits (nodes plus changes to nodes) which are always tracked by Colin Broderick here. Node creation (literally measuring the expansion of the map) are tracked thanks to the weekly extract by Soren every Sunday here. This is showing 9,606,320 which is lower than the total for created and changed nodes.

I can’t wait for more details of the second phase tasks being arranged by Dave Corley. I know the objective is to add much better detail to the map, and those details will help me as an Assistant Physical Planner. It is a special day, since for the first time in a long time we don’t have any squares to map.

#MapLesotho Training at Quthing

This week has been a great one for Quthing Assistant Physical Planners and the district surveyor. Seven of them were introduced to OpenStreetMap and were trained by 2 training team members Lineo Mothae, Motsieleli Mafatlane and 1 analysis team member Mats’eliso Thobei. The new mappers were introduced to ID editor, as recommended in TeachOSM. Everyone was excited to gain the knowledge. They were mapping in which is left mainly with validation.


What I liked about the group was participation, and making sure they understand what OSM was all about. I liked the competitiveness everyone had on the number of edits each of them had.


Itumeleng Nthunya, Nts’omo Jankie, Tankiso Damane, Bohlokoa Tshabalala, Likeleli Thejane

I am proud of my colleagues and I believe #MapLesotho will move to the next step with them involved.

Where are we with #MapLesotho

We are now left with two rural tasks in #MapLesotho, which are both 99% done, and above 70% validated. The task that is being pushed hard recently is Rural Task 1 with most APPs working on the districts in which they are based. This task was on 56% validated about 3-4 weeks ago, and now we are on 79%. DeBigC made an observation and he says, “Based on the speed we are doing if everyone does a tile a day, we can say the basemap would be finished by June”.

The pic below shows the two #MapLesotho tasks:

On both tasks, the south is green, with Quthing done and validated. Qacha’s Nek, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng, Maseru and Thaba-Tseka still need a lot of validation as there are more gold tiles. The North is green as well because of @bdiscoe who has been steadily validating it with Butha-Buthe, Leribe and Berea completed in #599 and Mokhotlong to be completed in a few days. In Rural Task 2 on the other hand the north has more gold tiles, but most areas were in urban 2, which is done, and mapping there might be faster.