29 Configure the GIS app

29.1 Context

Setting up the GIS simply means storing coordinates for the organisation units you want to show on the map in the database. Coordinates are often distributed in proprietary formats and will need to be converted to a format which DHIS2 understands. ESRI shapefiles are the most common geospatial vector data format for desktop applications. You might find shapefiles for your country here or in many other geospatial data repositories on the web. Some amount of work needs to be done in order to use these coordinates in DHIS2 GIS, namely transforming the data into a suitable format and ensuring the name which are contained in the geospatial data match exactly with the names of the organization units which they should be matched to.

If you go to the organisation unit module and edit one of the units, you can see a text field called Coordinates. Here you may fill in its coordinates directly (geojson format) which is useful if you just want to update a couple of units.

An example point/facility coordinate:


An example polygon/area coordinates string:


However, if you are going to e.g. add coordinates for all units at a certain level you don’t want to do that manually. This is where the automatic GML import comes into play and the following section explains the preferred way of using it.


The only co-ordinate reference system supported by DHIS2 is EPSG:4326, also known as geographic longitude/latitude. Coordinates must be stored with the longitude (east/west position) proceeding the latitude (north/south position). If your vector data is in a different CRS than EPSG 4326, you will need to re-project the data first before importing into DHIS2.