Iraq - Populated Places (Cities, Villages, Towns)

This dataset can be viewed in the  Iraq Data Grid 
Date of Dataset November 28, 2021-September 30, 2022
Updated 28 November 2021
Expected Update Frequency As needed

Contributors: In coordination with the Iraq Information Management Working Group and the GIS Taskforce, REACH Initiative and UNOCHA updated the existing Populated Places dataset in Iraq as part of the 2020-2021 initiative to review and update the Iraq Common Operational Datasets.

Source: The dataset was compiled from three sources:

  • DIVA: U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency's (NIMA) database of foreign geographic feature names as of in June 2012 - 12,215 locations.
  • DTM (Displacement Tracking Matrix) master lists of IDP and returnee locations as of April 2020 - 2,054 locations.
  • OSM (Open Street Maps) - 23,541 locations.

Method: 1) Datasets were merged and duplicate locations were identified and excluded based on spatial proximity and common name attributes. The final dataset consisted of 12,494 locations. 2) An ArcGIS spatial join routine was used to attribute locations with the administrative boundary names and place codes for governorates, districts, and sub-districts. Attributes were also applied for the administrative centers of governorates and districts. 3) The population density (people per hectare) at each location was extracted from the WorldPop 2020 estimate (grid format) using the Extract by Points routine in ArcGIS (point overlay).

Caveats / Comments
  • This dataset is to be used for humanitarian purposes only.
  • It is intended to be a gazetteer for geographical reference and should not be used as a cartographic source or as an authoritative reference list.
  • The dataset does NOT contain any designations of hierarchy (e.g. governorate or district capitals), and as such, the placenames may refer to a variety of place type, including city, town, village or neighbourhood.
  • The population density is a qualitative measure only, which is not to be used to quantify the population of size of a location.
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