Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How to make Maps of Nigeria - Country, States, LGA, and Towns

I often come across this question on how to make a customized Map of Nigeria that shows the Country boundary, the States boundaries, the Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries, and Towns or Cities around the country?

To demonstrate what am referring to, below is an example of a customized map of Nigeria, map of Nasarawa state, Nasarawa state LGAs and some towns within the state:-

You can download the above maps plus others in higher resolution quality from my github repository from this link.
There are about a thousand ways to make a unique maps of Nigeria as seen above. The problem is that a lot of solutions require expensive software or have a high learning curve. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Obviously to create such maps, is either you do it yourself or hire an expert to do it for you.

In this article, am going to guide you on how to do it by yourself.

How to make Maps of Nigeria - Country, State, LGA, and Towns/Cities by yourself

First of all to create a map by yourself from Scratch, you need to have basic understanding of Cartography and related disciplines such as Surveying/Geomatics, Geography, GIS, etc.

Since you don't have all the time in the world to learn basics of Cartography, then you have to build your maps from source data. That is by using existing maps or raw data sources. Whichever data you want to use, you should have strong understanding of the file type (Raster [.jpg, png, TIFF etc] and Vector [.shapefile, .kml, .GeoJSON, .dwg etc]) the data is produced in.

Some really nice places to find or source for mapping data are listed below;-

1) Local Data Sources: Start by visiting the local authorities within the area you want to map. Examples are Land/Urban/Planning Ministries, GIS Agencies, etc

2) Global Raster and Vector Datasets

Find more list of GIS/map data sources from this link.

Assuming you got your map data from any of the above sources, the next step is to use a suitable mapping software such ArcGIS, QGIS, Manifold GIS, Geomedia, Golden Surfer, GRASS, SAGA, etc. Just use any good GIS software out there, please don't use image processing software like PhotoShop, Corel Draw etc as they don't have spatial support.

Take close note of the file format you obtained and be sure that your software of choice supports the file format.

Thanks for reading.
Happy mapping

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