The Calais “Jungle” and Dunkirk camps are evolving into semi-permanent yet continuously changing home for thousands of people, with a variable number of new arrivals and departures. The current infrastructure and facilities are a joint achievement of the camp community, volunteers and NGOs. Residents attend classes at school, do their shopping, get together in restaurants and listen to music in the camp theatre. They see their doctor, line up at the distribution points and pray in their places of worship. But there is no publicly accessible repository of this information. The existing maps from NGOs and public facilities are customized for specific purposes which don’t necessarily align with the perception and needs of the camp residents. These needs include street names, signposting and rapid updates of free wifi hotspots and mobile charging stations.


The camps are a clutter of streets and temporary cutoffs where as a result, not only NGOs and volunteers but also residents (especially those newly arrived) have difficulties finding their way. In addition, no information is available about the conditions of roads, shelters and safety risks. This needlessly complicates and delays the delivering of aid and services as well as the finding of proper locations for new facilities.

Project Objectives

Mapfugees will coordinate digitization of building/shelter footprints, roads, water points, toilets, showers and kitchens, as well as communal facilities, electricity points and public spaces in the refugee camps of Calais and Grande-Synthe/Dunkirk in Northern France. The project uses OpenStreetMap as a technology enabler to collect up-to-date geo-located data in a rapid, low-cost way. The resulting data set will be easily exported and used in Geographic Information Sytems (GIS) applications to create customized, ready to use paper maps. To ensure this data is collected, maintained and verified, training will be provided onsite for camp residents. It is designed to quickly develop field mapping skills, so the skills developed in the short-term can be used over the long-term to contribute to keeping the maps updated by the residents themselves. The training includes OpenStreetMap, field data collection, mobile mapping and an introduction to open source GIS software. Online/offline training material and tools will be provided. The training may also serve to enhance the professional/vocational skills of camp residents.


The Mapfugees Team will assist with hands-on exercises during the training workshop. Camp residents will put skills developed in the classroom into practice outdoors. Daily feedback and individual support will be provided to residents. The first phase consists of premapping, technology setup, socialisation/communication among team and camp residents and training “on the go” for camp residents. The camp map will be completed in the second phase, including data processing, validation and the production of printed maps.

The project deliverables are the geodata collection and digitization of the refugee camp resulting in printed maps at various sizes and quality. The resulting GIS data in several common formats for rapid online and offline use can be processed in GIS applications and used in handheld GPS devices. The mapping process will be documented and shared. Training and assistance with field mapping and field data editing for camp residents ensures map data will be updated, edited and processed over the long-term.