Jorhat is a small town in Upper Assam in India and is known as the cultural capital of Assam. While small at its heart, it is one of the major centers of education and commerce in the state of Assam. Jorhat also has historical significance as one of the capitals of the Ahom dynasty, which ruled Assam for close to six centuries before the colonial era. Surrounded by lush and verdant tea gardens and numerous wetlands and rivers, it is the only place that tells me I am home. This was the place where I started mapping with OpenStreetMap.

Jorhat by night. Image by Vikramjit Kakati: An evening view of Jorhat.

The city before I started mapping

Though some initial mapping had been done in the city, the city was still missing a majority of the roads, streets and the numerous iconic institutions that make Jorhat such an integral part of Assamese culture.

The town of Jorhat before my work.

To get started, I read the Mapping with OpenStreetMap guide as I was intent on making the most detailed map available of Jorhat. I did this by paying extra attention to details, such as:

  1. Tracing and tagging missing streets and roads that were familiar to me, I did this by referring the Indian Roads Classification Tags.

  2. Mapping features like bus stops, schools, colleges, playgrounds, universities, airports and railway stations in my town were made easy by using the map features guide.

  3. Mapping the major shops, buildings, man-made structures, railway lines, railway crossings, golf courses, airports and runways, railway yards, and water bodies using JOSM presets. I can even generate my own presets.

  4. Aligning and correcting any roads previously traced which were not correctly aligned. Tracing details like various suburbs and localities in and around the city using place tags and assigning landuse categories to these localities/ neighbourhoods using the landuse tags from the OpenStreetMap wiki. These helped me make the map more informative.

Outcomes of my mapping work

  1. The majority of the minor streets and roads were tagged and mapped.
  2. Most of the localities and neighborhoods were mapped along with intricate information.
  3. Airports, hospitals, shops, railway stations, schools and man-made structures were also mapped.

OpenStreetMap after my work: the most detailed map ever of Jorhat.

Up next

  • Map the suburbs, localities, and neighbourhoods in more detail. Though I have tried mapping the larger areas using the place tag, there is a need to subdivide those areas and make the map more detailed.
  • Map all the rural roads and minor streets in Jorhat, many of which are still missing.
  • Add names to most of the roads. One of the advantages of being a local.

Hometown mapping is great training

Map analysts at Mapbox begin their work by mapping their hometowns. This is a thorough introduction to the nuances of OpenStreetMap, the use of editing tools, and a fantastic way to get hooked mapping. The results are some of the most detailed maps of our hometowns ever created, and a strong enthusiasm among newcomers to share knowledge about their communities.

Read more examples of our hometown mapping work by Oindrila, Jothirnadh and hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions. Happy mapping!