How to: Map creation of static maps with QGIS

When creating maps, you can either create static maps (which stay fixed, for example to print paper copies of a map) or dynamic maps (which are updated as the source material is updated, i.e. whenever OpenStreetMap (OSM) is updated, and are accessed digitally with an internet connection). All of our maps draw data from OpenStreetMap and all of the data we collect is uploaded to this platform. To create static maps, Ramani Huria uses the GIS software, QGIS, and to create dynamic maps, often known as ‘Slippy Maps’, we use Mapbox Studio. In…Read more

How to: QGIS and InaSAFE

QGIS is a full-featured, open-source, cross-platform Geographic Information System (GIS). The software has been developed by volunteers from the free and open-source software (FOSS) community and thus is well in-line with Ramani Huria’s approach of using open source tools whenever possible. QGIS runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows and Android and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities. QGIS also supports a number of plugins that can offer a user many additional features. One of these plugins is InaSAFE. InaSAFE is a plugin for QGIS that produces realistic natural hazard…Read more

How to: Ground Survey Mapping with Aerial Imagery

The ground survey mapping process undertaken by the Ramani Huria team depends upon high quality aerial imagery. Mappers collect data on site with the help of the field papers produced by drone images (mbtiles) that offer direction and location to the mapper. Equipped with GPS units, Ramani Huria team members mapped all city centre wards using this approach. These include Kivukoni, Kisutu, Kariakoo, Jangwani, Gerezani, Mchafukoge, Upanga Mashariki and Upanga Magharibi. Ground survey process with the help of aerial imagery First visit the fieldpapers website and make field papers for the area upon…Read more

How to: Satellite Imagery

Whether mapping remotely or in the field, it is extremely useful to have an image of the area to be mapped. If you’re mapping remotely, an image from above is essential, and the higher resolution the image, the more detail you can map. While you can map in the field without a top down image of the area, it serves as a helpful tool to guide your work and allocated tasks. The images used in mapping, that are captured from space, are usually taken from a satellite link/contact and therefore referred to as…Read more

How to: Street View Mapping

Often when you think of maps, many people imagine only a view from above. Street view imagery allows maps to have an additional dimension, with a view from the ground, as if you were standing on the street! Sometimes also known as Mobile Mapping Imaging Systems, street view imagery can allow you a 360 horizontal (and sometimes also vertical) panoramic view from the ground. Street view imagery can be used in numerous ways, including to take virtual walks & explore landmarks, map key points of interest, and survey solutions. In remote mapping, combined…Read more

How to: JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor)

JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) is a desktop application to conduct mapping activities, the data from which can be added to OpenStreetMap (OSM). It is an open source editor, written in Java. While initially the interface may seem daunting compared to some other editors, JOSM offers many features which are extremely useful and isn’t too difficult to master. Another major benefit of JOSM is that mapping can be done offline, unlike with other editors such as iD or Potlatch. This has been very useful when mapping Dar es Salaam as our mappers do not…Read more

How to! A series of blog posts on how to use mapping technology

Ramani Huria uses a range of mapping technologies to collect, process, and share our maps. We strongly believe in the ethos of open source, and when possible endeavour to use these tools in our work. Open source also has the added benefit of allowing anyone who is interested in mapping to learn our processes and either contribute to Ramani Huria or apply it to mapping work elsewhere. In a series of ‘how to’ posts, we’ll be detailing the tools we use and how to use them. The posts will be rolled out over…Read more

How to: Data collection tools

 There are many data collection tools you can use to gather the information required to make maps, depending on your needs and resources. Working in Dar es Salaam, the Ramani Huria team have developed a systematic approach to collect data from a variety of sources and allowing us to develop accurate & sophisticated maps. In this how to blog post, we will give you information about the tools we use specifically to map flood-prone wards of the city and the collection of data for flood resilience. All the data collected with these tools…Read more

How to: HOT’s OSM Export Tool

The HOT's OSM Export tool is a tool created by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) that allows you to create custom OpenStreetMap (OSM) exports, you can download up-to-date maps for GIS analysis or use in GPS devices and/or smartphones. The OSM data available from the tool is updated at one minute intervals so very accurate and a number of file formats are available for exporting data in, including Esri SHP, Garmin IMG, Google KMZ, OSM PBF and SQlite SQL. Some of the features include the ability to: create customized maps with tags and markers…Read more

How To: OSM Tasking Manager

Throughout the world, many people contribute to the collaborative community of OpenStreetMap. For anyone who is interested in volunteering their time to map unmapped parts of the world, OSM Tasking Manager is a great way to find projects to assist on. OSM Tasking Manager ( is a mapping tool designed and built to coordinate mapping by Humanitarian OSM Team volunteers, making it easier for mappers to work together and avoiding conflicts in areas in the process of being mapped. The purpose of the tool is to divide up a mapping job into smaller…Read more
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