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Mapping for Climate Ready Cities - East and Southern Africa

Through our Mapping for Climate Ready Cities program, HOT is supporting the development of a thriving ecosystem focused on the creation, interpretation, and use of maps to respond to and reduce climate risks in urban areas across four priority regions. This project page highlights our work in East and Southern Africa.


The Mapping for Climate Ready Cities projects in the East and Southern Africa Open Mapping Hub (ESA Hub) are focusing on cities in Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The team will use open mapping tools and technology to generate open map data in and around the major cities of Kinshasa, Addis Ababa, Nakuru, and Nairobi to aid communities, governments, and NGOs in effectively planning and implementing city climate resiliency programs and creating awareness of how climate change is affecting urban dwellers.


Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a city that faces frequent wide-scale flooding caused by a multitude of factors. A data management working group made up of a number of humanitarian organizations have requested updated data to assist them in making informed decisions on tackling flooding scenarios in the city.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as urbanization continues, there is a continued reduction of green spaces and insufficient road infrastructure. There are also data gaps in transportation planning, including insufficient comprehensive traffic flow studies, in-depth analysis of commuter patterns, non-motorized transport audits, road safety audits, and real-time monitoring of transportation systems. The lack of accurate and up-to-date information hampers effective decision-making for infrastructure development, planning, and traffic management. HOT aims to address some of these deficits through this program.

In the city of Nakuru, Kenya, similar to Addis Ababa, the Nakuru City Council is looking to develop and implement a city-wide mobility plan that will help support the increasing population size and create a city-wide flood resilient/sponge city plan.

Nairobi, Kenya, is also experiencing significant population growth, including within informal settlements. According to the county government and local implementing organizations, informal settlements tend to be less developed with critical infrastructure and services due to their unplanned nature. This makes access to critical services like health and education very expensive or non-existent in these areas. Together with the Nairobi County government, the team looks to tackle the inadequate service delivery in informal settlements in the city, which this program will support.



Across these four cities, HOT plans to start with multiple stakeholder engagements to create awareness of the program. During that time, city-wide remote mapping with open mapping communities and validation campaigns using tools like Tasking Manager, MapRoullete, and will be initiated. Through the Spatial People Network and Open Mapping communities, the ESA Hub plans to engage over 300 volunteers across the region to remotely map and validate buildings and roads and add place names.

The team also plans to deploy ten 360° cameras across Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and Kinshasa to capture street-level imagery using Mapillary. The imagery captured will be used to add updated infrastructure and service details for significant parts of the cities. HOT will also utilize field data collection applications, including Open Data Kit and Field Tasking Manager, to locate and map critical infrastructure and services.

With the generation of these open datasets, HOT will hold multiple participatory mapping sessions with key program stakeholders, including city authorities, communities, and NGOs, to capture more in-depth insights, perceptions, and possible community solutions to tackle the identified issues.

Using GIS tools like QGIS, R, and Google Earth Engine, the team plans to work with a multitude of partners to analyze and develop information products that showcase the extent of cities’ climate-related issues like transportation, heat waves, service delivery, and disaster planning and response to create awareness and possible solutions.

Expected Outcome and Impact

Through the Mapping for Climate Ready Cities Program, the team plans to map and validate over 1 million buildings, add over 5,000 place names onto OpenStreetMap, and collect over 50,000 street-level images across these cities.

The ESA Hub plans to engage eight city and government agencies, work with 15 community and national organizations working in and around the cities, and train and equip over 120 community, national, and regional experts in the use of open mapping tools and technology in order expand the knowledge and scale up the work beyond the initially identified cities in the region.