For many users of the maps, the presence of human settlements is an important feature, especially in areas of low population density, which are very frequent in Namibia . Accordingly, this feature received a special attention on Namibian maps, and all settlements are individually mapped, except in urban area, where they are treated as a “build-up area”.
Dots representing settlements should not be confused with individual buildings or huts.
Traditional rural housing in Northern Namibia is characterised by multiple small huts forming a settlement occupied by a family. Most of the time, it corresponds to a “household”, as defined during census surveys. For instance, the situation found on this picture will be represented by one dot on the map. On the 1:50'000 map, distinction is made between traditional housing (mainly huts with “mud and sticks” walls and tatch roof), and the “informal” buildings mainly found sub-urban area.
In densely populated area, it becomes difficult to place all these dots, especially on the 1:250'000 maps): the distance between settlements is sometimes less than 100m, and a dot placed on a map occupies the equivalent of more than 200 m ! In such area, it is better to consider that the settlements dots give an indication of the density of settlements rather than really count or locate these precisely.
For the same reasons, the position of the dots on the map is sometimes adapted to improve the readability. For instance, on a 1:250'000 map, settlements located just along a road should be printed on top of the road. To avoid this, the position of such settlements was slightly moved from the road (but always on the proper side). Same can happen with settlements located close to a borehole, etc.