#MapLesotho phase 2 begins

It’s all too exciting!

Yesterday evening #MapLesotho DaCorr launched another eleven tasks on HOTOSM. These tasks match perfectly the ten districts of Lesotho, with a task for Maseru City being the eleventh.


Taking Buildings to a higher quality level

Three things drive the mapping tasks. of course it is designed to do what is orthodox in improving from a basemap. But it also has a to find unmapped things and improve the tracing significantly. Finally there are a number of items that will drive forward the foundation of settlement  planning in Lesotho.

In the first phase a lot of buildings were skipped over in the rural mapping as they were optional in the task instructions.


On this last point there is an initiative to apply a methodology to mark the areas of human settlement on all scales. This will help enormously to start with the calculations of built up area and density, rather than calculating from known sizes of districts and community council areas. This is a big help to Lesotho’s Planners. They can see low densities and try to earmark those places to meet demand for land, rather than allowing the land take to constantly and unsustainably sprawl out, at the expense of Agriculture.


Marking out residential areas to assist settlement planning


In order to kick-start this new phase the OSM community in Lesotho means to pass a modem clockwise around the country starting on the 1st June and finishing on the 30th.


Schedule for June Mapping


A schedule was developed to maximise access to the Modem. Its like a big relay race, with gatherings in the district camp-towns and of course Maseru.

Watch out for the tasks on the hotosm projects list. We have Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng, Maseru City, Maseru District, Berea, Leribe, Buthe-Botha, Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, and Qacha’s Nek. Also watch out for #MapLesotho tweets in June as the Modem travels around the mountain Kingdom.

#MapLesotho First Steps towards Evidence based planning

#MapLesotho has now reached a point where we are now drawing down the data and we are now at a stage where important conclusions can be drawn about the physical layout of the country.

Through MapLesotho every water body in the country is being mapped, with approximately 80% complete to date. Even in this incomplete state we are able to download the data and import into a PostGIS enabled database. The Lesotho data is downloaded from geofrabik (download.geofabrik.de/africa/lesotho.html) who provide daily snapshots of all the data.

By taking one of the well mapped features streams and rivers, and analysing this in tandem with buildings has allowed us to see the proximity of buildings to waterbodies.

As further localised extract was taken from Leribe in order to assertion the number of buildings and their respective which are potentially at risk from flooding due to proximity watercourses.

It was found that of the buildings mapped in Leribe approximately 38% were at risk of flooding. When adding features to OSM we use satellite imagery which can be up to 2 years old. When further examining the building type, of those tagged as under construction it was found that over 50% of those were at risk of flooding.


#MapLesotho travels for the Fingal Team

The Fingal #MapLesotho team left Ireland and Germany on Friday with Dave Corley and myself going through Dublin and Colin from Münster. We left amidst great good wishes from our friends in Action Ireland Trust, Fingal County Council and openstreetmap IRL. For a brief few moments our planes were racing for the coast of northern Africa as seen in Colin’s flight tracking tweet.

We arrived in Maseru with a fond feeling of being welcomed. On the descent in the smallish Embraer RJ135 we had an opportunity to study the landscape for all the features that we regularly map, houses, buildings, rivers, roads, tracks etc. It is very interesting to see this from a different perspective, i.e. not the static satellite image – but the vantage point on a human scale and in real life, where we could see people driving around, animals in fields and the breeze waking up a beautiful and sunny Lesotho.

We soon made our way to the Pioneer Mall for some supplies, and then straight to the Avani Maseru Hotel where we checked in and recieved another warm welcome from our old friends in the hotel, including Moshoeshoe the barman who knew we needed something cold and thanked us for visiting Lesotho in doubtful times.

We have a lot of work ahead, so keep and eye on this blog for how we are proceeding with #MapLesotho

#MapLesotho – The benefits to Physical Planners

Lineo Mothae and Ithabeleng ‘Moleli are Assistant Physical Planners assigned to the Districts of Maseru and Mafeteng respectively.

Lesotho 025

Lineo Mothae – APP – Maseru District Council


Ithabeleng ‘Moleli – APP – Mafeteng District Council

Last February was the first time our partners from Fingal County Council in Ireland introduced OSM as a tool for spatial planners. We can see a direct benefit of the spatial data being added by #MapLesotho each and every day.


Ithabeleng ‘Moleli talks about the usefulness of OSM:

OSM is used to plot information on the map for streets, sewer lines property boundaries electric, ambulance and fire extinguishers utility lines, parking spaces. Having data of this type makes it possible to carryout diverse tasks in planning; be it extension of road networks etc. OSM helps to map the situation as it is on the ground at the same time updating of maps is easier.

Lineo Mothae details her experience of using OSM for planning:

My first hand experience with using OSM was in February.As a planner in order to make a village layout, a number of factors are considered. One being the direction of growth the development is taking. Using osm makes it easier to decide where plans for for new development could be made as data on osm is accessible and up to date since it can be updated from time to time to incorporate new developments.

Ha’Foso – Our first area mapped in February

OSM to me is an essential planning tool.

Mazenod for example, not much development was depicted of the map but now after Osm there is so much change. I have also seen it is possible to map any area, no local knowledge is required except here and there for description of land uses.

Compared to other options in the past openstreetmap is free and has a more frequent update cycle (always being updated). Planners in other countries are relying on it, and we think we should start to do the same.

Would you like to help us finish mapping Lesotho? We are currently at 76% complete. Join in today and map a tile from our mapping task. All you need is a web browser and some time!

#MapLesotho Edits January – 11th October

We’ve come along way with #MapLesotho so far this year, where recently we achieved 52% of our rural mapping task complete.

Now maybe is a time to look back at the massive amount of edits made by everyone involved.Over 80 individual mappers have contributed to the map so far. Thank you! There are now over 1.7 million nodes in Lesotho, where there were only 500,000 in July 2014.

Below is an animation showing the diff’s (the changes made to the OSM database) from January to 11th October 2014.

Spread the word we’re only counting down to completing the first pass of the Open Street Map basemap for Lesotho now, 48% to go! Give us a hand by taking a tile on our HOT OSM Rural Task.

From the Archives: Last Day Mapping On Site 18/02/14

Today was our last day on site with our planners. It started out as a scorcher with the mercury touching over 33 degrees celsius today.

We collected over 120 points of interest in the two hours and as you can see the map is very rapidly becoming filled with useful data for the planners to use in their day to day work.

The information collected today consisted of the location of various facilities such as septic tanks, telephone poles, shops, boundary walls, latrines and many more points.

*More updates to follow this evening the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Lesotho Government and Fingal County Council. *

From the Archives: Monday Mapping Contest between the Planners 17/02/14

The area to be mapped today will be divided into three groups. Groups 1 – 4. The map below show’s their boundaries. We will be digitizing from 13h00GMT today if you would like to join tweet us.


If you would like to watch some live updates please checkout the map below. note that you must wait a minute of two before it starts pulling in updates.