Enjoy Tracing Your Area Using Super Resolution DG Image!!!

OpenStreetMap has the several million contributors and obvious that it gonna get higher in near future too. Everyday more and more features are being added allover the world what making OSM more special. Accurate, high-resolution and up-to-date satellite imagery is an essential component for improving this continuously evolving map of our planet – whether it is to trace new features or to use as a reference layer for validation. DigitalGlobe has supported the OSM community for years through partnerships, and today, we are pleased to announce that we will also support OpenStreetMap directly.

Yesterday (9 May 2017), two new global satellite imagery layers are live for tracing on OpenStreetMap, courtesy of DigitalGlobe. Now, mappers have even more sources of high quality, recent imagery layers to trace, identify, and validate roads, places, and buildings to continue to expand this free and open database of the Earth’s features.

OSM contributors will see a new imagery source in addition to imagery being provided by  Bing and Mapbox. You will now see the following two image services from DigitalGlobe:

DigitalGlobe-Premium is a mosaic composed of DigitalGlobe basemap with select regions filled with +Vivid or custom area of interest imagery, 50cm resolution or better, and refreshed more frequently with ongoing updates

DigitalGlobe-Standard is a curated set of imagery covering 86% of the earth’s landmass, with 30-60cm or resolution where available, backfilled by Landsat. Average age is 2.31 years, with some areas updated 2x year.


  • Go to Imagery> Imagery Preferences
  • Find and select DigitalGlobe Standard  and DigitalGlobe Premium
  • Activate
  • OK

In iD Editor:

  • Zoom to Edit
  • Click on Background Settings
  • Find and select DigitalGlobe Standard  and DigitalGlobe Premium

Please use the attribution: source=DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe anticipate questions and feedback about this release. We are addressing them through an active forum with FAQs here. We have a short human readable End User License Agreement to summarize terms for editing OpenStreetMap :

“DigitalGlobe, Inc. is pleased to provide its high resolution satellite imagery to OpenStreetMap in support of its mapping initiatives. By using our imagery in the OSM editor, you understand and agree that you may only use our imagery to trace, and validate edits that must be contributed back to OSM. You cannot download our imagery or use our imagery for any other purpose. We retain all right, title and interest in and to our imagery. We provide our imagery “as is,” with all faults and as available; we disclaim all warranties, express or implied, to the extent permitted by applicable law. You can recover from us only direct damages up to an amount equal to the fees you have paid to us to use our imagery on OSM, if any. We are not liable for any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect, incidental or punitive damages.”

Enjoy Mapping !!

Source: blog.digitalglobe.com & Kevin Bullok

Download OpenStreetMap Shapefiles

Open Street Map – is free editable and community driven dynamic spatial data portal supporting to almost all disaster responses, community services and many more use cases. A growing collection of shapefile map downloads by continent, region and country. These maps are community edited and are not always complete. There are various portal what support open street map shapefiles  downloading free for the users:

OSM Boundaries: Different administrative levels from Open Street Map can be downloaded as follows – please note these are community edited, and not always complete:

  • Select a country, then *right-click* the country and click on “select children”.
  • To drill down to further levels, *right-click* on one of the regions (or “children”) displayed, and again click on “select children”.
  • Once you have selected what you need, choose “shp” in the bottom-left corner and click on the “Export” button in the bottom of the screen.

VDSTECH:  A good source of premade shapefules download from Openstreetmap

GEOFABRIK: If you need shapefiles for your GIS applications or processes, look no further. Geofabrik produces shapefiles of all kinds.

OSMCOAST DATA:  OSM collects an amazing amount of geodata and makes it available to the world for free. But the raw OpenStreetMap data is hard to use. On this web site you’ll find some of that data pre-processed and formatted for easier use. Pre-processing includes removing or fixing of wrong data and assembling of different parts of the data into a usable whole. The data is formatted into Shapefiles for easy use in the usual GIS applications.

OSM2SHP: here you can download openstreetmap data in shapefiles format. Data divided by regions: North and South America, Australia and Oceania, Africa, Europa and Asia.61 layers for download. Data filtered by “Map Features” conditions.

BBBike: offers shape files for more than 200 cities and regions worldwide, updated weekly. Separate shapefiles for points, places, waterways, roads, railways, landuse and buildings with relevant tags, then shapefiles with all points, lines and polygons together.

For more please see wiki.openstreetmap.org

Download Free Shapefiles

Shapefile is one of the most common and extensively use vector file format of GIS (Geographical Information System), developed by ESRI as an open Specification, which consist of collection of files viz .shp, .shx and .dbf extension with same prefix name. You might be hunting to Download free shapefile for completing either your small industrial work for POC or for academic project use or for any NGO work.

Thousands of shapefile maps can be downloaded for free here from the following websites, including country shapefiles, shapefiles at province or state level, and other administrative boundaries maps. The shapefile (or ESRI shapefile) format is a geospatial vector format, and is one of the most commonly used map formats.

Physical Geography


  • Natural Earth – Vector: Includes coastline, land, oceans, islands, rivers, lakes, glaciated areas and bathymetry. Available at multiple levels of detail. A version of this data is also available in the Wagner VII projection, which has good equal area properties, here.
  • Natural Earth – Raster: Includes various raster images, intended for use as backgrounds for other data, for example hypsometric tints, satellite derived land cover, shaded relief etc.
  • Global Map: A set of consistent GIS layers covering the whole globe at 1km resolution including: transportation, elevation, drainage, vegetation, administrative boundaries, land cover, land use and population centres. Produced by the International Steering Committee on Global Mapping. (Registration Required)
  • DIVA-GIS Country Data: A collection of data collected from a number of the sources below – includes administrative areas, inland water, roads and railways, elevation, land cover, population and climate. Probably the easiest place to get a simple set of data for a specific country.
  • UNEP GEOdata: A wide range of data from the United Nations Environment Programme including Global Forest Cover, Global Potential Evapotranspiration, Global Average Monthly Temperatures, Dams, Watershed Boundaries and much more. To get data, choose Advanced Search and select Geospatial Data Sets from the top drop-down link
  • Koordinates: GIS data aggregation site including data in a number of categories such as elevation, environment, climate etc. Some global datasets, some based on continents, some for specific countries. Mostly vector, but some raster. (Registration Required)
  • MapCruzin: GIS aggregation site including wide range of data for various areas of the world. Some datasets appears to be of low quality, but others are good.
  • GeoNetwork: GIS aggregation site including a wide range of data under various categories (both human and physical).
  • Map Library – Country shapefile maps for Africa in the public domain.
  • StatSilk – Interactive country-level shapefile maps
  • European Environment Agency: Maps and datasets from the European Environment Agency, covering a huge range of physical geography and environmental topics. Europe only.

Land and Ocean Boundaries

  • GSHHS: A Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database – which basically means it’s good quality (no internal inconsistencies, good accuracy).


  • GDEM: 30m resolution global elevation data derived from ASTER satellite images
  • SRTM: Approx 90m (3 arc-second) resolution elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission for the whole world.
  • EarthEnv-DEM90: 90m-resolution near-global DEM created by merging the GDEM and SRTM products and post-processing to fill voids and smooth data.
  • ETOPO1: 1 arc-minute resolution relief model including ocean bathymetry.
  • Global Multi-Resolution Topography: Gridded elevation at approximately 100m resolution, covering terrestrial and sea-floor topography.
  • OpenTopography: A community-based site giving free access to high-resolution topography data. Data at the moment appears to be clustered on the West Coast of the USA and in Greenland, and is available both as dense point clouds and processed DEMs.

Weather and Climate


  • HydroSHEDS: Hydrological data and maps based on the STRM elevation data. Includes river networks, watershed boundaries, drainage directions and flow accumulations for the globe.
  • Catchment Characterisation and Modelling: Data on river basins, catchments and rivers for the European Union area.
  • Major Watersheds of the World Deliniation: Vector data showing the outlines of major watersheds (river basins) across the world.
  • Water Isotopes: Global grids of hydrogen and oxygen isotope composition of precipitation and environmental waters in ArcGRID format. Data can be downloaded for whole globe or individual continents.
  • JRC Water Portal: European water data from the EC Joint Research Centre, including data on quantity, quality, price, use, exploitation and irrigation.
  • General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans: A range of gridded bathymetric datasets compiled by a group of experts.
  • EarthEnv Freshwater Ecosystems Environmental Information: 1km-resolution environmental information for freshwater ecosystems, covering almost the whole globe. Information includes climate, land-cover, soil and geology.


Natural Disasters

  • Natural Disaster Hazards: Hazard Frequency, Mortality and Economic Loss Risk as gridded data for the globe. Covers cyclones, drought, earthquakes, flood, landslide, volcano and a combination of them all (‘multihazard’).
  • USGS Earthquakes Database: KML files of all earthquakes recorded by the USGS (across the whole world) from 1973 to present. Available as one dataset or grouped by magnitude or year.
  • Global Seismic Hazard Map: Gridded data showing hazard risk of seismic activity across the globe.
  • IBTrACS: Hurricane and tropical cyclone tracks, including attributes such as minimum pressure, maximum winds. (Also, USA tracks can be visualised here)
  • NOAA/WDC Historical Tsunami Database: Location information of tsunami sources and run-up events, including many attributes (eg. maximum water height, travel time). Available in TSV format which can be imported into GIS systems.
  • MODIS Fire Detection Data: Frequently updated data (including last 7 days of fires) in 1km grid format, derived from thermal anomalies from MODIS data.
  • Lightning and Atmospheric Electricity Dataset: Wide range of data on lightning activity, including average flashes per grid cell per year.
  • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks: Hurricane tracks for all North/Central American hurricanes. Data can be exported by clicking the Download button on the top right.
  • Natural Disaster Hotspots: A wide range of geographic data on natural disasters (including volcanoes, earthquakes, landslide, flood and ‘multihazards’) with hazard frequency, economic loss etc.

Land Cover

  • USGS Land Cover Institute: Great set of links to almost all land cover datasets. Links here include most of the datasets below, and many more esoteric data such as river observations, aquifers data and ocean colour information. Although the page starts with US data, it continues with data for other continents lower down the page
  • Corine Land Cover Map: Europe only. Satellite derived land cover, available as at 1990, 2000 and 2006 in vector and raster formats. 100m and 250m resolutions.
  • GLOBCOVER: Global land cover dataset at 300m resolution from the MERIS sensor on the ENVISAT satellite.
  • Climate Change Initiative Land Cover map: Global land cover dataset at 300m resolution, for 1998-2002, 2003-2007, 2008-2012. In many ways the ‘successor’ to GLOBCOVER.
  • MODIS Global Land Cover: 1km and 4km resolution global land cover maps derived from MODIS images.
  • UMD GLC: 1km resolution global land cover maps from the University of Maryland created using a classification tree approach from MODIS data
  • EarthEnv Global Consensus Land Cover: 1km-resolution global land cover, produced by integrating many other land cover datasets, and providing information on the consensus (or lack of consensus) between them
  • Global Land Cover by National Mapping Organisations: 1km data of land cover for the globe, with a classification scheme based on the UN FAO LCCS, facilitating easy comparison with other land cover products.
  • GLC-SHARE: Global Land Cover data combined from ‘best available’ national land cover maps. 1km resolution.
  • Global Lakes and Wetlands Database: Global vector datasets showing areas of lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, swamps, bogs etc.
  • Vegetation Map at Last Glacial Maximum: Broad-scale map of the world showing vegetation cover at the Last Glacial Maximum (25,000 – 15,000 BP)
  • Grassland GIS: Grassland extent data, along with grassland usage (eg. livestock intensity per area of grassland)
  • Forest GIS: Percentage tree-cover, population density and tree cover, share of wood in fuel consumption etc.
  • PALSAR Forest/Non-Forest map: A very detailed (50m resolution) forest map for the whole globe, created from SAR data.
  • Global Forest Change 2000-2014: Loss and gain in tree cover between 2000 and 2014, globally, at 30m resolution.


  • Atlas of the Biosphere: Raster maps of environmental variables including soil pH, potential evapotranspiration, average snow depth and many more.
  • Lifemapper: Species distribution maps – both recorded and predicted (based on climate, terrain and land cover). Covers a huge number of species. *Data is available by clicking on Species Archive, searching for a species and then clicking on the number of points and choosing the SHP link at the top. Alternatively, web services are available.
  • WWF World Ecoregions: Shapefile of ecoregions as defined by the WWF Conservation Science Program.
  • Anthropogenic Biomes: Ecosystem unit maps derived from human interactions with ecosystems creating ‘anthropogenic biomes’. Gridded data at 5 arc-seconds available.
  • Amphibian Species Distribution Grids: Approximately 1km resolution gridded data showing species distribution. One file per species.
  • Net Primary Productivity: Gridded Net Primary Productivity data across the globe, including a novel measure of ‘Human Appropriation of NPP’ measuring how much of the NPP of an area humans are using.
  • World Soil Information: Gridded datasets covering the world’s soils at a maximum resolution of 5 arc-minutes with 22 attributes for each cell including organic carbon content, gypsum content, water capacity etc. Data is given for topsoil and subsoil. More detailed datasets for individual countries and continents are available.
  • Harmonized World Soil Database: Combining regional and national soil databases and maps from many countries under the Land Use Change programme of the UN FAO. Includes soil units and parameters (such as pH, depth, and texture) and is at a resolution of 30 arc-seconds.
  • ERS/MetOp Soil Moisture: 25-50km resolution soil moisture data from satellite scatterometer measurements.
  • Global High Resolution Soil Water Balance: Raster data containing actual evapotranspiration and soil water deficit with a resolution of 30 arcseconds (approx 1km).
  • Global Carbon Storage in Soils: Gridded carbon storage in soils for the world, from the World Resources Institute.
  • ReefBase GIS: GIS data about coral reefs worldwide, including extensive attribute data.
  • Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems: Data from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis on human impacts to marine ecosystems. Includes fishing impacts, ocean acidification, sea surface temperature, pollutants and more.
  • Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center: All data products from this center are available for download, including atmospheric CO2 concentrations (including the famous Mauna Loa dataset), precipitation data, long-term modelling data and more.
  • UNEP WCMC: Variety of datasets from the United Nations Environment Programme including global wetlands, global distribution of coral reefs, mangrove distributions and more.
  • Aquamaps: Standardised distribution maps for over 11,000 species of fish, marine mammals and invertebrates. *Data available for download under High Resolution Maps and Environmental Data links.
  • Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: Vector data showing a biogeographic classification of terrestrial ecological regions across the world.
  • Freshwater Ecoregions of the World: Vector data showing a biogeographic classification of freshwater ecological regions across the world.
  • Marine Ecoregions of the World: Vector data showing a biogeographic classification of marine ecological regions across the world.
  • BioFRESH: Contemporary distributions of freshwater species, mapped in vector format across the world
  • Global Habitat Heterogeneity: A set of 14 metrics on the spatial heterogeneity of global habitat, at 1km, 5km and 25km resolutions, derived from MODIS EVI data.

Mineral Resources/Oil and Gas

Human Geography


  • UNEP GEOdata: A wide range of data from the United Nations Environment Programme including Nighttime Lights, Pollutant Emissions, Commercial Shipping Activity, Protected Areas and Administrative Boundaries. To get data, choose Advanced Search and select Geospatial Data Sets from the top drop-down link
  • World Bank Geodata: A wide range of World Bank datasets converted to KML format, includes GNP, schooling and financial data.
  • Humanitarian Response Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets Registry: List of freely available datasets for many countries run by the UN Humanitarian Response programme. Contains administrative boundaries, transport, population and more. Fairly empty at the moment but due to be updated soon
  • Atlas of the Biosphere: Gridded human data including per capita oil usage, literacy rate, population growth rate, built-up land and many more.
  • Koordinates: GIS data aggregation site including data in a number of categories such as administrative boundaries, transportation etc. Some global datasets, some based on continents, some for specific countries. Mostly vector, but some raster. Registration required
  • GISTPortal: Wide range of GIS data from a project funded by UNAID to provide spatial data for humanitarian purposes. Registration Required
  • ESPON Grid Data: Various human geography indicators in gridded raster form across Europe, including GDP, population and unemployment in 2003 and 2006.
  • MapCruzin: GIS aggregation site including wide range of data for various areas of the world. Some data appears to be of low quality, but others are good.
  • GeoNetwork: GIS aggregation site including a wide range of data under various categories (both human and physical).
  • Google Maps Gallery: A wide range of user-submitted geographic data, available as a KML file
  • History Database of the Global Environment: Gridded time-series of population, land-use for the last 12,000 years. Also includes GDP, agriculatural areas, yields and greenhous gas emissions for the last century.

Administrative Boundaries

  • Natural Earth: Includes countries, disputed areas, first-order admin (departments, states etc), populated places, urban polygons, parks and protected areas and water boundaries. Available at multiple levels of detail.
  • GADM: Global administrative boundaries, with extensive attribute sets. Covers countries and up to four levels of internal administrative boundary (states, departments, counties etc).
  • World Borders: World country borders with attributes including country codes (FIPS, ISO etc), area and populations.
  • Europe in the World: Administrative boundaries for Europe with lots of attribute data for each country/region including information on economy, demography and infrastructure.
  • CShapes – Historical Boundaries: Historical state boundaries and capitals post-WW2, world-wide, including all changes and dates of changes.
  • VLIZ Maritime Boundaries: Maritime boundaries and areas of Exclusive Economic Zones, including detailed attribute data on treaties etc. From the Flanders Marine Institute.
  • TZ timezones: A map of timezone areas in the world as used in the Unix TZ database format, from which we get the naming Europe/London, America/New_York etc. In shapefile format.

Environmental Boundaries

  • World Spatial Database of Protected Areas: Global vector database of marine and terrestrial protected areas. Rather complicated to download from – instructions at bottom of linked page.
  • IUCN 2013 Red List: Set of shapefiles produced by the IUCN showing the distribution of endangered species of plants and animals across the world
  • Protected Planet: Map of protected areas across the whole world, of almost all types. Available for download by clicking the ‘Download All’ link on the homepage, and then scrolling to the bottom and choosing KMZ, SHP or CSV.

Land Use

  • Global Land Use Dataset: Gridded data at 0.5 degree resolution showing population density, potential natural vegetation, cropland extent, grazing land extent, built-up land extent, crop extent (for 18 major crops) and land suitability for cultivation
  • Human Influence and Footprint: Human Influence Index and Human Footprint calculated from various factors which exert human influence on ecosystems, for example population distribution, urban areas, navigable rivers etc. Available at 30 arc-second resolution.
  • Global Agricultural Lands: Extent and intensity of use of agricultural lands (both cropland and pasture) in 2000 from MODIS and SPOT images and agricultural inventory data.
  • Global Irrigated Area and Rainfed Crops Areas: Vector mapping of global irrigated cropland and rainfed cropland.
  • Crop Calendar GIS: Gridded data on planting dates and harvesting dates across the world for 19 crops. Available at 5 minute and 0.5 degree resolutions.
  • EarthStat: Agricultural Land Use and potential use: A number of GIS datasets on agricultural land use, including global cropland and pasture from 1700 to 2007, harvested areas and yields for 175 crops, and global fertiliser application rates.
  • ESPON Urban Morphological Data: Data on urban areas for Europe including many attributes.
  • European Urban Morphological Zones: Data derived from the CORINE landcover dataset showing all sets of urban areas lying less than 200m apart.

Lakes, Oceans and other Water Sources

  • Coastal Water Quality: Quality of coastal waters across the globe measured by chlorophyll concentrations from SeaWIFS satellite. Data for 1998 and 2007.
  • Global Reservoir and Dam Database: Geographically-referenced data on all reservoirs with a storage capacity of more than 0.1 cubic kilometres. The data consists of polygons outlining reservoirs at high spatial resolution with extensive metadata about the dam and reservoir. Registration required

Wars, Conflict and Crime

  • ACLED: Armed Conflict Location and Event Data – containing all reported conflict events in 50 countries in the developing world. Data from 1997 to present, and in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2006 until present.
  • Uppsala Conflict Data Programme – Georeferenced Event Database: Locations of instances of political violence in Africa and Asia.
  • Global Terrorism Database: A database of terrorist events (both domestic and international) across the world from 1970-2008, including location and attribute information.
  • Peace Research Institute Oslo: A range of data including armed conflict locations, replication data, arms trade flows and resource datasets.


  • Gridded Population of the World: Includes raw population, population density, both historic, current and predicted.
  • Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project: Based on the above, but includes information on rural and urban population balances.
  • WorldPop: High-resolution, contemporary data on population across Africa, Asia and Central/Southern America. Combines the AfriPop, AmeriPop and AsiaPop projects.
  • Large Urban Areas 1950-2050: Historic, current and future estimates of populations in large urban areas of the world.
  • Global Urban Extent: Maps showing urban extent across the world, at 500m resolution, derived from MODIS images. Requires email to author to download
  • GeoHive: Population and country statistics. Not provided in GIS data formats, but can easily be converted from CSV

Buildings, Roads and Points of Interest

  • OpenStreetMap: Crowd-sourced data for the whole world consisting of most things you’d find on a standard local paper map: points of interest, buildings, roads and road names, ferry routes etc.
  • OSM Metro Extracts: City-sized extracts of the OpenStreetMap dataset, updated weekly for cities across the world
  • POI Factory: Point of Interest files originally designed for use in GPS units, but they can be loaded into a GIS fairly easily. Widely varying quality, and coverage, but includes such things as shop and business locations (eg. all Tesco stores, all McDonald’s restaurants) as well as places of worship, speed cameras etc. Registration is required. To download data in a GIS-ready form choose Garmin CSV format on the download page. The CSV file will contain Latitude and Longitude in WGS-84 co-ordinates, as well as descriptions.
  • SimpleGeo’s Places: Point of Interest data from SimpleGeo, provided as a 2Gb Zip file and licensed under the Creative Commons license. Contains over 21 million POIs for over 63 countries.
  • Nuclear Power Station locations: Locations of all nuclear power stations worldwide (according to the IAEA), provided as a Google Fusion Table. Export to CSV for easy import to a GIS system

Transport and Communications

  • Open Flights: Airport, airline and route data across the globe. Data is provided as CSV files which can be easily processed to produce GIS outputs. Data includes all known airports, and a large number of routes betwen airports.
  • World Port Index: Dataset from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency listing approximately 3700 ports across the world, with location and facilities offered.
  • Global Roads Open Access Data Set: A vector dataset of roads across the world, using a globally consistent data model, and suitable for mapping at the 1:250,000 level. Only roads between settlements are included, not residential streets, and the dataset is accurate to approximately 50m. This dataset is in beta-testing at the moment and will be fully available shortly
  • Undersea Telecommunications Cables: Open source undersea telecommunication cables map, updated frequently. Data can be visualised in the embedded viewer or shapefiles can be downloaded by clicking the Raw Data link on the top right.
  • Capitaine European Train Stations: Metadata for all train stations in Europe including latitude and longitude.

Gazetteers (place/feature names)

  • NGIS Country Files: A list of names of regions, areas and populated places for each country in the world, provided by the US Government, with geo-references for each place.
  • Geonames Country Information: List of all countries in the world with ISO and ISO3 country code (eg. GB for the United Kingdom and FR for France) with capital city, area, population, internet top-level domain, currency, official languages and neighbours.
  • GRUMP Settlement Points: Locations of individual settlements (as a time series, showing new settlements appearing over time), derived from the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project.


  • G-Econ: Geographically-based economic data, basically providing measurements like GDP but on a raster cell basis (known as Gross Cell Product).
  • Internet Map: Data which can be used to produce maps like those shown here showing major linkages in the internet, as well as density of people online.





Understand the Shapefile !!!

A shapefile is an Esri vector data storage format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. It is stored as a set of related files and contains one feature class. Shapefiles often contain large features with a lot of associated data and historically have been used in GIS desktop applications such as ArcMap. If you have a small amount of data in a shapefile—generally fewer than 1,000 features—you can make it available for others to view through a web browser by adding it as a .zip file containing the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files to a map you create with the map viewer.

Shapefiles are made up of mandatory and optional files. The mandatory file extensions needed for a shapefile are .shp, .shx and .dbf. The optional files are: .prj, .xml, .sbn and .sbx

If you have several hours to spare, you could go through the  34-page ESRI Shapefile Technical Description document.

Let’s take a closer inspection at what makes up an ArcGIS shapefile.

List of shapefile extensions (Mandatory)
.shp: ESRI file that represents the feature geometry. Each shapefile has it’s own .shp file that can represent points, lines and polygons in a map. Mandatory

.shx: ESRI and AutoCAD shape index position. This type of file is used to search forward and backwards. Mandatory.

.dbf: Standard database file used to store attribute data and object IDs. .dbf can be opened in Microsoft Access or Excel. Mandatory.

Shapefile Extensions (Optional)
.prj: This file type contains the metadata associated with the shapefiles coordinate and projection system. If this file does not exist, the error “unknown coordinate system” will appear. To fix this error, the “define projection” tool generates .prj files. Optional.

.xml: This file type contains the metadata associated with the shapefile. Delete this file, and you essentially delete your metadata. This file type (.xml) can be opened and edited in any text editor. Optional.

.sbn: Spatial index file that optimizes spatial queries. This file type is saved together with a .sbx file. These two files make up a shape index to speed up spatial queries. Optional.

.sbx: Similar to .sbn files, this file type speeds up loading times. It works with .sbn files to optimize spatial queries. We tested .sbn and .sbx extensions and found that there were faster load times when these files existed. It was 6 seconds faster (27.3 sec versus 33.3 sec) comparing with/without .sbn and .sbx files. Optional.

.cpg: These are optional plain text files that describes the encoding applied to create the Shapefile. If your shapefile doesn’t have a cpg file, then it has the system default encoding. Optional.

In Windows Explorer: When moving shapefile files from one folder to another, you should drag and drop all the mandatory and optional files.

In ArcCatalog: When moving shapefiles, it will move all the mandatory and optional files for you.

There are over 150 different GIS file extensions that exist. These file types are exclusively used in GIS. This doesn’t even include AutoCAD and common image formats.

The most common GIS file type are shapefiles. Even the USGS Earth Explorer accepts shapefiles as input to define boundaries.


Download Opensource PortableGIS 5.6 !!

The Opensource PortableGIS 5.6 has been released recently ! This version (v5.6) has the following changes:

  • QGIS 2.14.1 LTR
  • By popular demand: Geoserver 2.8
Older versions are still available but have been archived to avoid confusion.  For reporting any issue contact via the Portable GIS google group.

You can download the setup exe and the md5 checksum here .

Bangladesh Map Projection Systems with Parameters

Bangladesh’s longitude is from about 88º East to about 92º East. As UTM uses 6º band on longitude to divide the earth into zones, Bangladesh falls into two different UTM zones: Zone 45 N (West of 90º E) and Zone 46 N (East of 90º E). However, the parameter values that characterize a UTM zone are varies with zones. Therefore, issue arises in terms of projection accuracy when user goes for mapping the area of Bangladesh that falls in both 45N and 46N UTM zones (e.g., the whole Bangladesh Map). To solve this issue, in Flood Action Plan 19 (FAP 19) study a new projection system was evolved from the UTM, and is known as BTM projection system. Usually, the mid longitude of a Zone is taken as the central meridian in UTM. For example, if user choose Zone 45N, the central meridian should be 87º East, while if s/he choose UTM Zone 46, the central meridian should be 93º East. Therefore , the geo-spatial expert in Bangladesh have been using different projection parameters to create maps. There are numerous map projections being used in Bangladesh. The following is a list of known map rojections their parameters, and their known users, or uses. Hope this will solve the issue of map projection for Bangladesh and help the spatial people.

Name: TM (Transverse Mercator)
User/ers: SPOT XS Satellite images, FAP6
Spheroid: Everest (probably 1830)
Central Meridian: 90 ° E of Greenwich
Latitude of Origin: 0° (the equator)
False Northing: 0 meters
False Easting: 500,000 meters
Scale Factor: 0.9998

Name: Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Zone 45N
Projection: Transverse_Mercator
False_Easting: 500000.0
False_Northing: 0.0
Central_Meridian: 87.0
Scale_Factor: 0.9996
Latitude_Of_Origin: 0.0
Linear Unit: Meter
Zone: Zone 45
Datum: WGS1984
Spheroid: WGS1984

Name: Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Zone 46N
Projection: Transverse_Mercator
False_Easting: 500000.0
False_Northing: 0.0
Central_Meridian: 93.0
Scale_Factor: 0.9996
Latitude_Of_Origin: 0.0
Linear Unit: Meter
Zone: Zone 46
Datum: WGS1984
Spheroid: WGS1984

Name: Bangladesh Universal Transverse Mercator (BUTM)
Projection: Transverse_Mercator
False_Easting: 500000.0
False_Northing: 0.0
Central_Meridian: 90.0
Scale_Factor: 0.9996
Latitude_Of_Origin: 0.0
Linear Unit: Meter
Datum: WGS1984
Spheroid: WGS1984

Notes: Regular UTM splits Bangladesh in two at 90° E; a modified system is used to cover all of the country – BUTM.

Name : Bangladesh Transverse Mercator (BTM)
Projection: Transverse_Mercator
False_Easting: 500000.000000
False_Northing: ¬2000000.000000
Central_Meridian: 90.000000
Scale_Factor: 0.999600
Latitude_Of_Origin: 0.000000
Linear Unit: Meter (1.000000)

Geographic Coordinate System: GCS_WGS_1984
Angular Unit: Degree (0.017453292519943299)
Prime Meridian: Greenwich (0.000000000000000000)
Datum: D_WGS_1984
Spheroid: WGS_1984
Semimajor Axis: 6378137.000000000000000000
Semiminor Axis: 6356752.314245179300000000

Notes: Same as BUTM except False northing is -2,000,000.

Name: LCC1 (Lambert Conformal Conic- Standard Parallel) 

User/ers: Panchromatic Sat-photos SSC, LGED maps

Projection: Lambert Conformal Conic
False Easting: 2743185.699 Meters
False Northing: 914395.233 Meters
Central Meridian: 90.0 (DD)
First Standard Parallel: 23.15 (DD)
Second Standard Parallel: 28.80 (DD)
Latitude of Origin: 26.00 (DD)
Linear Unit: Meter
Datum: Everest_1830 or D_Everest_Bangladesh
Spheroid: Everest_1830 or Everest_Adj_1937

Notes: This is the same as the Indian Zone IIB Grid. According to Northwest Hydraulic Consultants & Finn map this is a LCC of the one standard parallel type.

Name: LCC2 (Lambert Conformal Conic – Two standard Parallels)
User/ers: aviation charts
Spheroid: (Everest 1830)
Standard Parallels: 170 20’ N 220 40’ N
Convergence Factor: 0.34215

Notes: Information on aviation charts from Northwet Hydraulic Consultants

Name: India Zone IIB Grid (is a LCC projection)
Uses/ers: SOB Maps
Spheroid: Everest 1830 or Malaya RKT Len.
semi-maj axis: 6974310.6 yards
Sq. of eccentricity: 0.00663784663
Central Meridian: 900 E of Greenwich
Latitude of Origin: 260 N (Standard Parallel)
False Northing: 1,000,000 Indian yards
False Easting: 3,000,000 Indian yards
Scale Factor: 0.998786408

Notes: This is the same as LCC1 (with a single standard parallel) Information provided by British Directorate of Military Survey Plans (as recorded in Northwest Hydraulic Consultants documents). It is not clear which Everest spheroid is used many assume it is the 1830 but some think it is Malaya RKT. The Indian yard is equal to 0.91439523 meters. The southern tip of Bangladesh (Cox’s Bazar south) maybe in the IIIB Grid (according or aviation charts but not SOB maps).

Name: India Zone IIIB Grid (is a LCC projection)
Uses/ers: SOB maps
Spheroid: Everest 1830 or Malaya RKT Len.
semi-maj axis: 6974310.6 yards
Sq. of eccentricity: 0.00663784663
Central Meridian: 1000 E of Greenwich
Latitude of Origin: 190 N (Standard Parallel)
False Northing: 1,000,000 Indian yards
False Easting: 3,000,000 Indian yards
Scale Factor: 0.998786408

Notes: This grid may only apply to the southern tip of Bang1adesh (Cox’s Bazar south), according or aviation charts, but not SOB maps. This is also a Lambert Conformal Conic with one standard parallel Information provided by British Directorate of Military survey Plans (as recorded in Northwest Hydraulic Consultants documents) It is not clear which Everest spheroid is used many assume it is the 1830, but some think it is Malaya RKT. The Indian yard is equal to 0.91439523 meters.

A helpful video tutorial on YouTube for converting BTM to WGS84 in ArcGIS Platform

GeoDASH – A New Approach to Open Geospatial Data for Bangladesh

GeoDASH – A New Approach to OpenGeospatial Data for Bangladesh
By : Ahasanul Hoque; GIS & Data management Specialist


As we all know the importance and varied application of geo spatial data now a days. It become the integral part from everyday lives to good governance, resource planning, risk management so on. But managing and sharing of geo spatial data are always high technical, time consuming, security dependent. Opensource GeoNode application brought an state-of-art solution in this regard, which is a platform for the management and publication of geospatial data. It brings together mature and stable open-source software projects under a consistent and easy-to-use interface allowing users, with little training, to quickly and easily share data and create interactive maps. In a nutshell, GeoNode is the application of the lessons learned from social media platforms to spatial data infrastructures. GeoNode has been customized and being used successfully by many international and national organizations as well as Governments. As part of the country’s OpenDRI to facilitate data sharing between government stakeholders, academia, and the public World Bank in Bangladesh also has established a customized geonode application called GeoDASH what has been hosted in Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) and fully functional by government.

GeoDASH allows for integrated creation of data, metadata, and map visualizations. Each dataset in the system can be shared publicly or restricted to allow access to only specific users. Social features like user profiles and commenting and rating systems allow for the development of communities around each platform to facilitate the use, management, and quality control of the data the GeoDASH instance contains.

At its core, GeoDASH is based on open source components GeoServer, GeoNetwork, Django, and GeoExt. These provide a platform for sophisticated web browser spatial visualization and analysis. Atop this stack, the project has built a map composer and viewer, tools for analysis, and reporting tools. GeoDASH also supports facilities for styling data as well as collaborative features like ratings, comments, and tagging for data, maps, and styles. GeoDASH is built on four key tenets: Collaboration, Distribution, Cartography and Data Collection. To promote collaboration, GeoDASH is designed on Web 2.0 principles to:

  • Make it extremely simple to share data
  • Provide user statistics
  • Easily add comments, ratings, tags
  • Allow collaborative filtering
  • Provide rankings of best ‘views’ and data sets contributed o Highest rated, most viewed, most shared
  • Allow connectivity between several GeoDASH instances to augment the collaborative potential of government GIS databases.

Simply put, users will be able to comment and rate data; these ratings will influence search results, much the same way that YouTube uses user feedback to promote quality works. To allow for more institutional oversight, GeoDASH will also all participating groups to endorse data. Endorsement provides a “lightweight” way for organizations to provide official guarantees on data without stifling unofficial but productive crowd-sourced data collection, neo-geography, and amateur cartography.

A good amount of data has already been collated, and it is envisioned that in the near future, GeoDASH will include further information and visualization to the platform from various global and in-country sources, expanding institutional commitments to open data, supporting community mapping activities, and developing decision support tools that leverage open data to assist the Government of Bangladesh with contingency, planning and management activities. We do hope you can share your or your institution’s datasets on the GeoDASH portal to enable others to benefit from this work. Please join the GeoDASH Bangladesh community group for getting updates and sharing your issues and comments too.

OpenAerialMap will lessen the tension of humanitarian image sharing


As a disaster manager or GIS and remotesensing expert you will easily accept how much it is difficult to collect, manage the remote sensing data (either aerialmaps or satellite images), during emergency. These remote sensing data is valuable in detecting and mapping many types of natural hazards when, as is often the case, detailed descriptions of their effects do not exist. If susceptibility to natural hazards can be identified in the early stages of an integrated development planning study, measures can be introduced to reduce the social and economic impacts of potential disasters. The good news is OpenAerialMap(OAM) brining a solution to this for disaster  manager or humanitarian mapping communities arround the world.  OAM is a set of tools for searching, sharing, and using openly licensed satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/ drone imagery. OAM is a browser for openly licensed satellite and drone imagery. Disaster response organizations like Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and satellite companies like Astro Digital have contributed thousands of overhead images from around the world. OpenAerialMap infrastructure will be extended to make it easier for individuals and communities to use, from the drone hobbyist with imagery to share, to the community worker who wants to analyze and annotate public areas in need of improvements. From many perspective OAM is better than the WMS which is a common standard for mapping service but bit old and useful for small area where OAM

  • Can access to larger areas – In general, WMS services limit request sizes to smaller than a certain area. This limit can be impractical for users who need to produce images for reports or other similar offline use.

  • It can be used offline – One of the canonical use cases for OAM-style imagery is for use in disaster situations. In those situations, access to an ‘online’ API is inappropriate due to poor internet connectivity, and downloading data is neccesary. WMS does not make this possible.

  • Possible mosaicing  – In general, when delivering output data as JPEG, mosaicing responses from multiple services together is hard or impossible.

  • The primary purpose for not making OAM host imagery products/access tools itself is to help eliminate bottlenecks in mission-critical services by allowing them to be replicated in the places they’re needed most.

The key to this approach is to make each step of the process as simple as possible; that way, there is very little that can’t be replicated or replaced easily, and there are no complex moving parts that require significant maintenance. The key parts of such an infrastructure are:

  • Imagery Index – a readily accessible way of finding information about imagery that is available and how to access it.
  • Storage – A distributed set of resources through which imagery can be made available for access by OAM tools.
  • Access Tools – Tools which use the Index and access data from Storage to build output that users of the OAM data will want. This includes everything from a WMS to a set of tiles that can be made available offline.

The imagery index is the core of the OpenAerialMap project. It acts as a clearinghouse for the OpenAerialMap imagery data. The core object in the imagery index is an License API. There are two types of images – an Archive image, and a Processed image.

  • Archive Image: This is designed to be metadata about a file which has not been processed for OAM, but which could be processed either by tools or by a human. This might mean that the imagery is only available in a compressed format, or is in an unusual projection. Generally speaking, this is the case for imagery provided over the web by most government agencies.
  • Processed Image: A processed image is an image which has been specifically created for OAM, or fits the needs of an OAM client well. For more details, plz visit OpenAerialMap Archive Image.

The concept behind the storage layer is:

  • Use simple, existing technologies
  • Search out friendly patrons in the short term, and investigate more complete solutions in the long term
  • Treat the URL/HTTP access as the primary way to find information, and don’t tie storage to any aspect of the catalog directly. For more, plz visit Storage

And the area of OAM that has the most room for experimentation is access tools, or other tools for building products out of the Imagery Index.

OAM was available at http://openaerialmap.org/ between November 2007 and December 2008. HOT were working to relaunch OpenAerialMap and have been award a Humanitarian Innovation Fund grant to DevelopmentSeed that has launched OAM Beta version

Currently OAM has imagery from the Nepal earthquake response, high resolution satellite imagery of Finland, agriculture imageryover Nebraska, and drone imagery from Vanuatu.

DevelopmentSeed team are welcoming to the user community for feedback on Twitter. Or open an issue or make a contribution on Github.

Challenges :

Definitely OAM is a great tool and stress remover for disaster data handlers arround the world but still it has to go a long way to develop the system more and make this great initiative it running. From my side OAM have to look in-
1. Image availability  for whole world

2. Image quality – Spatial resolution and contrast

3. Scale of the image

4. Temporal resolution of the image

I wish successful growth for this great initiative and thanks to  Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to carry this forward.





10 years of OpenStreetMap

In 2004 one man set out with a bicycle and a GPS recorder. Back then creating a map of the world from scratch seemed crazy to many people, but even so, people joined the effort. A few people at first, but 10 years later OpenStreetMap has grown to a global community with over 1.7 million registered members, with around 3,000 members editing the map every day. This map built by hundreds of thousands of people what is now used for serious work: for example Médecins Sans Frontières works with OpenStreetMap to help its doctors in West Africa keep track of the current ebola outbreak. 25 million miles of roads in every country in the world have been mapped. Here is a look back (developed by mapbox.com) at how the most detailed map of the world started.

or the Video prepared by ScoutbyTeleNav

Routing on OpenStreetMap.org

Good news for OpenStreetMap: the main website now has A-to-B routing (directions) built in to the homepage! This will be huge for the OSM project. Kudos to Richard Fairhurst and everyone who helped get this up and running.


You might be thinking, “Why would this be huge? Isn’t it just a feature that other map websites have had for years now?” Well, the first thing to note is that the philosophy of OpenStreetMap is not to offer a one-stop-shop on our main website, but to create truly open data to empower others to do great things with it. So there has already been fantastic OSM-based travel routing for many years, on excellent websites such as OSRM, Mapquest, Graphhopper, Cyclestreets, Komoot, cycle.travel… the list goes on and on.

But all of those things are on other websites and apps, so people don’t always realise that OpenStreetMap has this power. What this latest development has done is really neat: the OSM website offers directions which are actually provided by third-party systems, but they are included in the main site via some crafty JavaScript coding. So as well as being really handy in itself to have directions available, it helps “first glancers” to see all the things they can do with OSM.

But that’s not what makes it huge.

What makes it huge is the difference it will make to OpenStreetMap’s data by creating a virtuous feedback loop. One of the main reasons we show a “slippy map” on the OpenStreetMap homepage is because people can look at it, see a bridge that needs naming or a building to add, click “Edit” and fix it straight away. That feedback loop is what allowed OpenStreetMap to build up what is now the most complete map of many regions around the world.

But we have a saying: “what gets rendered, gets mapped” – meaning that often you don’t notice a bit of data that needs tweaking unless it actually shows up on the map image. Lots of things aren’t shown on our default rendering, so the feedback loop offers less incentive for people to get them correct. And that goes doubly for things that you never “see” on the map – subtle things like “no left turn” at a particular junction, or “busses only” access on a tiny bit of road, or tricky data issues like when a footpath doesn’t quite join a road that it should join on to. Now that people can see a recommended route directly on the OSM homepage, they have an incentive to quickly pop in and fix little issues like that. The end effect will be OSM’s data going up one more level in terms of its quality for routing. This will empower everyone to do great things with geographic data and getting from A to B.

So find yourself some directions today!