Unmapped Places of OpenStreetMap – 2016

by Pascal Neis - Published: June 19th, 2016

Back in 2010 & 2011 I conducted several studies to detect underrepresented regions a.k.a. “unmapped” places in OpenStreetMap (OSM). More than five years later, some people asked if I could rerun the analysis. Based on the latest OSM planet dump file and Taginfo, almost 1 million places have been tagged as villages. Furthermore, around 59 million streets have a residential, unclassified or service highway value. My algorithm to find unmapped places, works as follows:

  1. Use every place node of the OSM dataset which has a village-tag (place=village).
  2. Search in a radius of ca. 700 m for a street with one of the following highway-values: residential, unclassified or service.
  3. If no street can be found, mark the place as “unmapped”!

My results for the entire OSM planet can be found under the following webpage.


Overall we have more than 440,000 unmapped places in OSM. As you can see in the picture above, most of the places are around Central Africa, Saudi Arabia or China. However, I hope that this analysis helps to complete some of the missing areas or to revise some incorrect map data. Some remarks about “false=positives” or why your village is marked as unmapped? Some possible reasons: Is the used tag for your place correct? Compare the wiki page for further information. Sometimes “hamlet” could be the correct tag value. Are the nearby highways tagged correctly? (OSM wiki)

Amount of unmapped places for each continent:

  • Africa 119,084
  • Asia 241,833
  • Australia 212
  • Europe 44,819
  • North America 16,464
  • Oceania 837
  • South America 15,576

Technical Stuff: The OSM data for the analysis is prepared by a custom OSM PBF reader. The webpage, which shows the results, is based on Leaflet 1.0.0-rc1 and the really fast PruneCluster plugin.

Thanks to maɪˈæmɪ Dennis.