Inform Open Street Map
Environmental Monitoring and Governance
General News

Story highlights

  • The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), through the Inform Project, has made OpenStreetMap data available to increase awareness among Pacific Geographic Information System users of the richness of OpenStreetMap data in Pacific countries.
  • This data can improve the basis of decision making on a range of subjects related to sustainable development in the region.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), through the Inform project, has made data from OpenStreetMap (OSM) available through the Pacific Environment Portal to enable users to directly download OSM data.

OSM is a free map of the world that people can use and contribute to. It is built by “a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about buildings, roads, trails, waterways, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.” The resource emphasizes local knowledge, is community driven, and is “open data,” meaning that anyone can use it for any purpose as long as OSM is credited.

OSM data that can be accessed through the Pacific Environment Portal, comes as a bundle of individual Geographic Information System (GIS) layers, pre-styled in a Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) project, which people can use as a base map or combine with other spatial datasets.

Datasets like buildings, roads, rivers, and points of interest are available for all 14 Pacific Island countries involved in the Inform Project: the Cook Islands; the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM); Fiji; Kiribati; the Marshall Islands; Nauru; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea (PNG); Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tonga; Tuvalu; and Vanuatu. In addition, OSM data for seven Pacific territories will also be added: Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; American Samoa, French Polynesia; New Caledonia; Tokelau; and Wallis and Futuna.

The goal is to increase awareness among Pacific GIS users of the richness of OSM data in Pacific countries, as well as potential gaps, so that they can take advantage of the tool and contribute to it by joining the OSM global community.

Highlighting the usefulness of this data a representative from Kiribati has said “the available OpenStreetMap data was well received by the newly established GIS Unit from the Environment and Conservation Division (Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development) in Kiribati. The unit explored the use of the OSM map of Tarawa as a base map for our ongoing waste management map project, particularly for the densely populated urban areas. Over the course of time, staff plan to make some adjustments, map additions and corrections to the OSM project, at least for Tarawa. The good quality of the OSM project could have other benefits for our project reports and presentations in the future.” [IISD Knowledge Hub Sources] [Pacific Environment Portal]

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This story was made possible with funding support from the Government of Sweden through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and was developed with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) using the Pacific Environment Portal, which enables users to find, access, and use regional and national data. The portal has been developed by the regional UNEP-GEF Inform project executed by SPREP, which has established national environment data portals in 14 Pacific island countries to help address the challenges of storing and accessing data. The online database of information and datasets aims to help improve decision making and reporting on the environment. 

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