OpenStreetMap Uganda
5 min readJul 13


OpenStreetMap Uganda Empowering Communities

OpenStreetMap Uganda’s primary goal is to contribute geospatial data for the creation of a comprehensive and user-friendly global map. This is driven by the active engagement of local communities through organizing different mapping activities like mapathons, university outreach programs, and online mapping campaigns. These activities bring people together to contribute to this valuable open resource. We have seen considerable growth in the number of contributors of geospatial data in our community as we continue to build capacity, encourage collaboration, validate and update data, and advocate for the use of OpenStreetMap in Uganda.

Engaging the Community through Mapathons

One of our cornerstone activities is the monthly mapathons. These events bring community members together to contribute to OpenStreetMap by adding missing geographic information such as roads, buildings, points of interest, and other essential features. This year, over 200 mappers have participated in our monthly mapathons, lending their skills to the cause.

MapWithRapid mapathon led by the Meta Open Source team, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

Two notable mapathons included mapping local town councils in Kasangati in Wakiso District and Namungalwe in Iganga District. We also extended our efforts globally, responding to the Kahramanmaras Earthquake in Turkey and Syria by mapping the affected areas to aid in the response operations and rescue of victims.

#MapHerWorld Campaign

In June, we launched the #MapHerWorld campaign, sponsored by the OpenMapping Hub Eastern, and Southern Africa, aimed at #Inclusive Mapping. This campaign mobilized over 40 women from the Uganda OSM community to participate in a mobile field mapping activity.

Some of the #MapHerWorld Campaign participants, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

Utilizing the Every Door App, participants identified, mapped, and updated essential points of interest such as health facilities, schools, childcare centers, and police stations around Ssebowa village, Kyambogo, Kampala. This campaign greatly enriched our database while highlighting the significant role of women in community mapping.

EveryDoor app display, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

University Outreach Programs

To further our mission, we have visited six Ugandan universities this year including Makerere University, Kabale University, Ndejje University, Institute of Survey and Land Management, Muni University, and more. Through these knowledge exchange visits, we trained over 400 students on geospatial data collection skills and tools, introducing them to the world of open data and the use of OpenStreetMap editors. This initiative aims to equip students with digital and open mapping skills that will prepare them for future opportunities in the realm of geospatial technology.

Ndejje University Open Mapping skills session, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

The training includes data collection, local and remote mapping, and the use of tools like JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap) and QGIS for data analysis and visualization. As a result, we have built a community of young mappers who have mapped over 1,846 buildings and over 32km of roads, a significant contribution to OpenStreetMap.

Community Achievements

Our efforts have seen considerable success. The OSM community has mapped over 14,121 buildings and over 855km of roads, a testament to the increasing enthusiasm and dedication of our members. Our community continues to expand as we engage with locals on a day-to-day basis, making the map more comprehensive and accurate.

Disaster response mapping for the Turkey and Syria earthquake, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

Supporting Talent in the community, Football Leagues

OSM Uganda also supports teams in the local football leagues, to empower emerging talent and foster a broader sense of community through geospatial awareness. These leagues include the Mwiri League, Namilyango League(The Ngo League), and Kampala North Oldies League.

Mwiri League match day, Photo Credit: MPALA CLICKS.

Sponsoring these leagues not only provides a platform for talented individuals to showcase their skills and potential but also creates opportunities for unity, and a positive social impact in the local communities.

Our Goals for Community Engagement

As OpenStreetMap Uganda, we aim to achieve the following through our community engagement:

Mapping: We aim to map the entire country and beyond, engaging locals in mapping their areas and improving map data accuracy and coverage through training workshops and mapathons.

Collaboration: Our engagement efforts foster collaboration among OSM contributors, who share their knowledge and experiences through online forums and mailing lists.

Capacity Building: OSM Uganda provides training and resources to equip community members with open mapping skills, contributing to a self-sustainable mapping community.

Data Validation and Updates: Enthusiastic OSM community volunteers validate and update the map data, ensuring that it remains current and reflects real-world changes.

Local Knowledge and Context: We tap into the valuable local knowledge of our community members, which significantly enhances the quality and relevance of the map data.

Advocacy and Awareness: We raise awareness about OpenStreetMap among the public, businesses, NGOs, and government agencies through outreach events and partnerships with local stakeholders.

Volunteers and the OSM Uganda team after a mapathon, Photo Credit: OpenStreetMap Uganda.

Community engagement allows us to foster a vibrant mapping community, ensure the accuracy and completeness of map data, and promote the usage of OpenStreetMap for various applications across Uganda. We’re committed to continuing these efforts to make our country more navigable and accessible to all.

Special mentions


Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

Meta Open Source Team, mapwithrapid

Author: OpenStreetMap Uganda

Written by: Orishaba Donitar



OpenStreetMap Uganda

OpenStreetMap Uganda (OSM) is an NGO working across Uganda, promoting community mapping, GIS awareness, & Open datasets.