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Mapping with OSM

How can I map a settlement in detail remotely?

Data on the Open Street Map (OSM) platform is utilised for off-grid areas in this project. This is detailed data of building outlines and any other geospatial datasets, generated either from on-site knowledge or from high resolution satellite imagery. If an off-grid area is not currently on the OSM database, it can be easily added.

Do you have an area of interest for an electrification project that you want to do further assessment on? Or do you want to contribute to data to assist electrification efforts in Nigeria? Check out the OSM tools below to help you get started:

  • Create an OSM account on
  • Read the beginner’s guide on for an introduction.
  • JOSM is a desktop application in which you can map areas of interest.
  • The HOT Tasking Manager is used to manage tasks of areas to map. Get in touch and send us your OSM username if you want to be involved.

Generating off-grid clusters

Using the OSM data as a primary datasource, off-grid clusters are then calculated for areas greater than 5 km from the medium voltage grid. These are displayed on the SE4ALL webmap as “remotely mapped settlements”. The building data from OSM is buffered outwards, merged and buffered inwards again. Key statistics are calculated on each of the remotely mapped settlements including:

  • Area in km² of the remotely mapped settlement
  • A count of the number of buildings within the cluster
  • The total combined area of building footprints, divided by the total area which results in a “built-up ratio”
All of these criteria can be filtered on, to provide you with a custom filter of clusters.