Organizations use digital maps to understand a variety of development-related issues: critical outbreaks and health other issues; the monitoring of natural disasters and emergency risk management; distribution of food programs and products; and drawing attention to issues of human rights abuses, corruption, and social welfare.

ICT4D practitioners use mapping and geospatial information systems (GIS) approaches to assist in community assessments, participatory analysis, and program-specific projects.


  • Record geospatial data associated with field surveys and project activities.
  • Use maps as a reporting feature as part of any project.




  • A Guide to Geocoding International Locations -- Quite relevant for projects that are trying to clean up a great deal of messy data. (Website > maps > guide, datasets)
  • AidData -- Geospatial data and tools enabling development stakeholders to more effectively target, coordinate and evaluate aid. Lots of good datasets and analysis in the International Development sector. (Website > maps > datasets)
  • Climate Change and African Political Stability Map - Robert Strauss Center -- Comparing climate change to political stability with an Esri map (complete with controls and sliders). (Website > maps > case study, cliimate change)
  • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection -- 80,000 maps and historical images from all over the world. (Website > maps > historical, images)
  • Demographic and Health Surveys - DHS -- DHS analyzes and distributes survey results regarding health, nutrition, HIV for over 75 countries. (Website > maps > dataset, health)
  • Ellipsoid World with georeference lines and names -- Site with a bunch of links to vector-based maps and shapefiles of the whole Earth. Good for building things in Illustrator or Sketch or the web. (Website > maps > map shapefile, stock, vector)
  • Free GIS Data -- A list of links to over 300 sites providing freely available geographic datasets, all ready for loading into a Geographic Information System. (Website > maps > library, dataset)
  • Geodata for Development: A Practical Approach -- A surprisingly good read that walks through a lot of the main issues involved in developing and using maps in the International Development sector. (Website > maps > guide)
  • GeoPlatform -- Shared and trusted geospatial data, services, and applications for use by the public and by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs. Integrated with (Website > maps > dataset)
  • GIS Lounge -- Introduction to using GIS data, find up to date and interesting types of raster and vector data and further resources to other downloading sites. (Website > maps > dataset, library, introduction)
  • HealthMap -- Real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse audience including libraries, local health departments, governments, and international travelers. (Website > maps > health, case study)
  • LearnOSM -- Tutorials on a variety of OSM topics, including the ID editor, the JOSM editor, Field Papers, organizing mapping trainings, remote mappings, using a GPS device and more. Tutorials are in English, German, French, Croatian, Bahasa Indonesia, Italian, Chinese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Kiswahili. (Website > maps > introduction)
  • Malaria Atlas Project -- Disseminates free, accurate and up-to-date information on malaria and associated topics, organized on a geographical basis. (Website > maps > health, malaria, dataset)
  • Map Pron - Reddit -- Subreddit devoted to new/interesting maps. Great for inspiration and falling down black holes. (Website > maps > case study, fun)
  • MapGive -- An initiative of the State Department's Humanitarian Information Unit. Several highly recommended video tutorials explaining the importance of OSM for humanitarian response and how to edit using the ID editor. (Website > maps > introduction, platform)
  • Mapillary -- Crowd-street Street Views. (Website > maps > crowdmapping, ground-truthing)
  • Open Educational Geography Resources - Penn State -- Wide range of free online geography and GIS courses, including Problem-Solving with GIS, Cartography and Visualization, Open Web Mapping, and Location Intelligence for Business. (Website > maps > course, library)
  • Poverty Net - World Bank -- Resource site for measuring and analyzing poverty - includes Poverty Mapping section under Topics link, with Poverty Mapping Documents and Links which has good links to examples of articles and programs. (Website > maps > dataset, poverty)
  • The Upsidedown Map Page -- Site showing different types of maps as 'upside-down'. Awesome resource to use in lessons with students about the cultural and political nature of maps. Which way is 'up'? Why does it feel 'wrong' if indeed it does? (Website > maps > learn, fun)
  • The World Bank Maps - World Bank -- Mapping data globally, regionally, country-level, and thematically across all World Bank projects. (Website > maps > dataset)
  • UNDP Projects - UNDP -- Detailed information on the UNDP's 6,000+ development projects in 177 countries and territories worldwide. Browse the summaries, click a filter on the right, or search through the full list of projects. (Website > maps > dataset)
  • What3words -- A universal addressing system based on a 3mx3m global grid. (Website > maps > platform, fun)
  • WorldPop -- Open access archive of spatial demographic datasets for Central and South America, Africa and Asia to support development, disaster response and health applications. (Website > maps > dataset, library)


  • Animated Choropleths -- Step-by-step approach to creating an animated, interactive choropleth map using rMaps and DataMaps. (Service > maps > choropleth)
  • Big Map -- Print large maps of OSM data from your browser. (Service > maps > openstreetmap, offline, physical map)
  • Carto -- Browser-based mapping and analysis of location data. Use CartoDB Map Academy to learn how to create maps on the web and visualize geospatial data using CartoDB. (Service > maps > platform)
  • Choropleth Map Example -- Beautiful example from Mike Bostock (D3 creator) that shows the code and raw data for creating a choropleth map (color-gradient map). (Service > maps > choropleth, d3)
  • D3 -- JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. Helps make awesome maps -- but has a high learning curve. (Service > maps > d3, javascript)
  • D3 Bostock Bubble Map -- Building a simple map with D3. (Service > maps > d3)
  • Datamaps -- Customizable SVG map visualizations for the web in a single JavaScript file using D3.js. (Service > maps > d3)
  • Distillery -- Simplify geoJSON at variable rates. (Service > maps > data, geojson)
  • -- Browser-based GIS powered by Mapbox.js and Turf.js. (Service > maps > platform)
  • Esri Story Maps -- Combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. They make it easy to harness the power of maps. (Service > maps > platform, storytelling)
  • Field Papers -- Print an atlas, record what you see in the world through street mapping, and upload the data to OpenStreetMap. (Service > maps > openstreetmap, offline, physical map)
  • GeoNames Name Server -- Official repository of standard spellings of all foreign geographic names, sanctioned by the United States Board on Geographic Names (US BGN). The database also contains variant spellings (cross-references), which are useful for finding purposes, as well as non-Roman script spellings of many of these names. Download the Country Files for offline use. The GeoNames site compiles a lot of these and additional datasets as well. (Service > maps > dataset)
  • Google Fusion Tables -- An experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize, and share data tables. Allows for maps, charts, Motion Chart a.k.a. GapMinder, etc. (Service > maps > data, table, chart, database)
  • Google Maps -- An industry standard. Has directions, ability to add custom layers/point, Street View, and a bunch of other things. Also, has apps with more and more increased (and offline) functionality for smartphones. (Service > maps > platform)
  • Google Spreadsheet Chart Maps -- Quick but can sometimes be limited. Convenient if you're already using Google Sheets. (Service > maps > data, spreadsheets)
  • Great Circles Connections -- Mapping connections globally with circle arcs. (Service > maps > arc lines)
  • Here Maps -- Road-centric maps. Built by a consortium of car manufacturers -- the offline apps are really great. (Service > maps > platform, turn-by-turn directions)
  • Leaflet.js -- an open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps. (Service > maps > leaflet, realtime)
  • MapBox -- Pick from a dozen beautifully designed maps and create an application from it in just a few seconds. Great for creating visually appealing maps from pre-existing or pre-cleaned data. Also has iOS, Android, and mobile web versions. (Service > maps > platform)
  • Mapbox.js -- Built on top of Leaflet, is an open-source library to be used with JavaScript. (Service > maps > javascript, mapbox)
  • MapHub -- Make your own map by adding points, lines, polygons or labels; allows you to import and export easily. (Service > maps > platform)
  • MapOSMatic -- Generate maps of cities using OpenStreetMap data. The generated maps are available in PNG, PDF and SVG formats and are ready to be printed. (Service > maps > openstreetmap, offline, physical map)
  • Mapshaper -- Tools for editing geospatial vector data. (Service > maps > geojson, topojson)
  • Mike Bostock Maps Tutorial (D3) -- Make a modest map from scratch using D3 and TopoJSON. (Service > maps > code, d3)
  • ModestMaps -- Small mapping framework. (Service > maps > code, developer, platform)
  • Natural Earth Data -- Public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data. (Service > maps > map shapefile)
  • OpenStreetMap -- Open-source map created by community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world. Check out the wiki for more information. (Service > maps > openstreetmap, platform)
  • OpenStreetMap Directions -- Google Maps alternative for directions (routing from point A to point B) using OSM. (Service > maps > openstreetmap, platform, turn-by-turn directions)
  • PolyMaps -- JavaScript Maps Library. (Service > maps > javascript, library)
  • Stamen Maps -- Toner, terrain, and watercolor maps, free for the taking. (Service > maps > library)
  • Topojson -- Extension of JSON for topography. (Service > maps > topojson)
  • Vector Maps -- Various formats and projections. (Service > maps > map shapefile)


  • Adobe Illustrator -- Typically used for vector art, but also great for doing visualization of certain map parts. (Software > maps > data visualization)
  • ESRI - ArcGIS -- The industry-standard in GIS software and solutions. The suite of ESRI tools is pretty expansive, ranging from consumer-level items like their smartphone apps all the way up to enterprise-level server platforms. (Software > maps > software, platform)
  • Mapbox Studio - Mapbox -- Design studio to create stunning interactive maps (formerly TileMill). (Software > maps > platform)
  • -- Download fast, detailed and completely offline maps for mobile devices. (Software > maps > platforms)
  • Photoshop -- The industry standard for imaging and design. (Software > maps > data visualization)
  • QGIS -- Free and Open Source Geographic Information System. Basically, compares to ArcGIS Desktop. Has Windows, Mac, and Linux versions available. Check out their QGIS Tutorials and Tips, this QGIS Walkthrough (video) - TechChange, and this QGIS Interactive Tutorial - Harvard. (Software > maps > platform)
  • R -- Software programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. (Software > maps > data visualization, code, data science)
  • Tableau -- Data visualization and business intelligence software (with built-in mapping charts and widgets). (Software > maps > data visualization, code, data science, business intelligence)


  • ESRI -- GIS enterprise organization offering software and training. (Organization > maps)
  • GIS Corps -- Coordinates short term, volunteer based GIS services to underprivileged communities (Organization > maps > volunteer)
  • GroundTruth Initiative - Department of State -- Helping communities use digital media, mapping, and open data tools for greater influence and representation in development and democracy. (Organization > maps > government)

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