Community members in Dar Es Salaam validate hyperlocal “shina” boundaries while reviewing neighborhood maps.


Map hyperlocal boundaries for targeted decision-making

Who is this resource for?

This resource is useful to any organization, statistical organization, or community planner to generate crowdsourced location information about hyperlocal boundaries.

Use this resource to produce data that can be crossreferenced with other information to target investments, isolate areas of greater need, or track disease outbreaks.

What does this resource include?

This resource contains:

  • A how-to guide to map hyperlocal boundaries
  • A budget example to help you cost out this activity
  • Shina maps for several wards across Tanzania

Who owns and updates this resource?

This resource was created by HOT and is hosted online at the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI website).

For questions, ideas, or comments, please contact

Where has this resource been used?

This resource introduces a methodology by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to map “shina”, which are hyperlocal boundaries in Tanzania. As of 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics is considering using this approach to help inform the upcoming census. This effort was part of Data Zetu, a two-year project to amplify data-informed decision-making to improve health, gender, and economic outcomes for local communities.

What intangible assets are needed?

While technical skills for community mapping are a must, the team should also include facilitators and educators who can encourage dialog and decision-making among stakeholders while also training others on how to interpret maps. Leads should be aware of local cultures and norms to build trust in the process and engage hyperlocal formal and informal leaders. Communication and design capabilities are also essential and can be incorporated through local or international support.

What other resources could help?

Many efforts are under way to support community mapping for sustainable development:

How do I get started?

Begin by reading this blog post about the shina mapping process. Next, review public community-mapped data to understand what the outputs might look like. Next, read the how-to guide to follow the methodology.

Are the costs worth the while?

Total costs for mapping hyperlocal boundaries will vary considerably based on the country and the size of the community being mapped. As shared in this how-to-guide, it can cost between $250 and $500 to map an administrative boundary known as a “ward” in Tanzania, and approximately $54 to map one sub-ward. These costs include only the immediate costs in the community, including compensation for local community members and leaders who facilitate and implement the process. In light of the great potential benefit of collecting this data, this is a relatively meager sum that can result in extraordinary benefit for community stakeholders and decision makers. It should be noted that this $250 to $500 range does not capture the additional and important programmatic and administrative costs for the implementer leading the management of this initiative, which can increase the cost of conducting mapping in one ward to between $3000 and $10,000.


Get the latest news and updates from DATAREV.

You have Successfully Subscribed!