Birgunj from above

Updates from KLL’s ongoing efforts to map Province 2 in Nepal

Birgunj metropolitan city has special economic importance to Nepal. As an entry point to the country from the Indian cities of Kolkata and Patna, most of the trade between these two countries happens via Birgunj and the neighbouring Indian city of Raxaul. Given its geography, and the large mobility of people in the region, the city unfortunately is also more vulnerable to the spread of communicable diseases and disasters like floods. 

We noticed that compared to the other major cities of Nepal, Birgunj was relatively less mapped in OpenStreetMap. Therefore, as part of our ongoing campaign to map Province 2, our team at KLL came up with a plan to map basic infrastructures of Birgunj city, with a focus on roads, buildings, and agricultural, commercial and residential land. Through the activity, our hope was to enrich geospatial data in Birgunj, so that stakeholders can make better use of them. 

A month later, we wanted to share with you some updates on our efforts through this blog.

35000+ buildings, 150 kilometers of roads

Over the period of one month, 4 mappers at KLL contributed to tracing over 35,000 buildings and 150 km of roads. Through satellite imagery, we also mapped over 200 square kilometers of agricultural, industrial, and residential land in and around Birgunj. 

 The difference in the data prior to our work and after our work can be observed through the graphs below:




Before and after: an interactive map

Using Maperitive, I have created an interactive map that allows you to compare Birgunj metropolitan city before and after the mapping exercise. 

Click to load interactive map

Some screenshots of the tool are provided below.

Building density in OSM has significantly improved after the exercise
Building density in OSM has significantly improved after the exercise
More details to the map was added by making use of appropriate landuse=* tags
More details to the map were added by making use of appropriate landuse=* tags

Help us do more

Due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, all of the work so far has been carried out remotely, using satellite imagery, which has its own limits in terms of the volume, variety and quality of data we can add to OpenStreetMap. Satellite imagery, despite its usefulness, cannot provide local information about neighbourhoods, businesses, schools and hospitals. 

If you are a local resident of Birgunj, and would like to contribute your knowledge to our ongoing efforts, we welcome you to send us a mail at

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