OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. Rather than the map itself, the data generated by the project is considered its primary output. The creation and growth of OSM has been motivated by restrictions on use or availability of map information across much of the world, and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices. OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information.
Created by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004, it was inspired by the success of Wikipedia and the predominance of proprietary map data in the UK and elsewhere. Since then, it has grown to over 2 million registered users, who can collect data using manual survey, GPS devices, aerial photography, and other free sources. This crowdsourced data is then made available under the Open Database License. The site is supported by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a non-profit organisation registered in England and Wales.
The data from OSM is available for use in both traditional applications, like its usage by Facebook, Craigslist, OsmAnd, Geocaching, MapQuest Open, JMP statistical software, and Foursquare to replace Google Maps, and more unusual roles like replacing the default data included with GPS receivers. OpenStreetMap data has been favourably compared with proprietary datasources, although in 2009 data quality varied across the world.
OpenStreetMap's logo featuring a magnifier focused on geographical information.
Type of site
|Available in||UI: 93 languages |
Map data: native language of respective settlement
|Owner||OpenStreetMap Community. Project support by OpenStreetMap Foundation|
|Created by||Steve Coast (User page in OSM)|
|Alexa rank||6,529 (As of October 2018)|
|Registration||Required for contributors, not required for viewing|
|Launched||9 August 2004|
|Current status||Active (click to see in detail)|
Steve Coast founded the project in 2004, initially focusing on mapping the United Kingdom. In the UK and elsewhere, government-run and tax-funded projects like the Ordnance Survey created massive datasets but failed to freely and widely distribute them. The first contribution, made in the British city of London in 2005, was thought to be a road by the Directions Mag.
In April 2006, the OpenStreetMap Foundation was established to encourage the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and provide geospatial data for anybody to use and share. In December 2006, Yahoo! confirmed that OpenStreetMap could use its aerial photography as a backdrop for map production.
In April 2007, Automotive Navigation Data (AND) donated a complete road data set for the Netherlands and trunk road data for India and China to the project and by July 2007, when the first OSM international The State of the Map conference was held, there were 9,000 registered users. Sponsors of the event included Google, Yahoo! and Multimap. In October 2007, OpenStreetMap completed the import of a US Census TIGER road dataset. In December 2007, Oxford University became the first major organisation to use OpenStreetMap data on their main website.
Ways to import and export data have continued to grow – by 2008, the project developed tools to export OpenStreetMap data to power portable GPS units, replacing their existing proprietary and out-of-date maps. In March, two founders announced that they have received venture capital funding of €2.4 million for CloudMade, a commercial company that uses OpenStreetMap data. In November 2010, Bing changed their licence to allow use of their satellite imagery for making maps.
In 2012, the launch of pricing for Google Maps led several prominent websites to switch from their service to OpenStreetMap and other competitors. Chief amongst these were Foursquare, Craigslist who adopted OpenStreetMap, and Apple, which ended a contract with Google and launched a self-built mapping platform which uses TomTom and OpenStreetMap data.
Map data is collected from scratch by volunteers performing systematic ground surveys using tools such as a handheld GPS unit, a notebook, digital camera, or a voice recorder. The data is then entered into the OpenStreetMap database. Mapathon competition events are also held by OpenStreetMap team and by non-profit organisations and local governments to map a particular area.
The availability of aerial photography and other data from commercial and government sources has added important sources of data for manual editing and automated imports. Special processes are in place to handle automated imports and avoid legal and technical problems.
Editing of maps can be done using the default web browser editor called iD, an HTML5 application using D3.js and written by Mapbox, which was originally financed by the Knight Foundation. The earlier Flash-based application Potlatch is retained for intermediate-level users. JOSM and Merkaartor are more powerful desktop editing applications that are better suited for advanced users.
Vespucci is the first full-featured editor for Android; it was released in 2009. StreetComplete is a new, easy Android app launched in 2016, which allows users without any OpenStreetMap knowledge to answer simple quests for existing data in OpenStreetMap, and thus contribute data. Maps.me is a mobile application (which runs on both Android and iOS) offering offline maps which also includes a limited OSM data editor. Go Map!! is an iOS app that lets you create and edit information in OpenStreetMap. Pushpin is another iOS app that lets you add POI on the go.
The project has a geographically diverse user-base, due to emphasis of local knowledge and ground truth in the process of data collection. Many early contributors were cyclists who survey with and for bicyclists, charting cycleroutes and navigable trails. Others are GIS professionals who contribute data with Esri tools. Contributors are predominately men, with only 3–5% being women.
By August 2008, shortly after the second The State of the Map conference was held, there were over 50,000 registered contributors; by March 2009, there were 100,000 and by the end of 2009 the figure was nearly 200,000. In April 2012, OpenStreetMap cleared 600,000 registered contributors. On 6 January 2013, OpenStreetMap reached 1 million registered users. Around 30% of users have contributed at least one point to the OpenStreetMap database.
Ground surveys are performed by a mapper, on foot, bicycle, or in a car, motorcycle or boat. Map data are usually collected using a GPS unit, although this is not strictly necessary if an area has already been traced from satellite imagery.
Once the data has been collected, it is entered into the database by uploading it onto the project's website together with appropriate attribute data. As collecting and uploading data may be separated from editing objects, contribution to the project is possible without using a GPS unit.
Some committed contributors adopt the task of mapping whole towns and cities, or organising mapping parties to gather the support of others to complete a map area. A large number of less active users contribute corrections and small additions to the map.
In addition to several different sets of satellite image backgrounds available to OSM editors, data from several street-level image platforms are available as map data photo overlays: Bing Streetside 360º image tracks, and the open and crowdsourced Mapillary and OpenStreetCam platforms, generally smartphone and other windshield-mounted camera images. Additionally, a Mapillary traffic sign data layer can be enabled; it is the product of user-submitted images.
In the United States, OSM uses Landsat 7 satellite imagery, Prototype Global Shorelines from NOAA, and TIGER from the Census. In the UK, some Ordnance Survey OpenData is imported, while Natural Resources Canada's CanVec vector data and GeoBase provide landcover and streets.
Out-of-copyright maps can be good sources of information about features that do not change frequently. Copyright periods vary, but in the UK Crown copyright expires after 50 years and hence Ordnance Survey maps until the 1960s can legally be used. A complete set of UK 1 inch/mile maps from the late 1940s and early 1950s has been collected, scanned, and is available online as a resource for contributors.
There are other routing providers and applications listed in the official Routing wiki.
OpenStreetMap maintains lists of online and offline routing engines available, such as the Open Source Routing Machine. OSM data is popular with routing researchers, and is also available to open-source projects and companies to build routing applications (or for any other purpose).
The 2010 Haiti earthquake has established a model for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to collaborate with international organisations. OpenStreetMap and Crisis Commons volunteers using available satellite imagery to map the roads, buildings and refugee camps of Port-au-Prince in just two days, building "the most complete digital map of Haiti's roads".
The resulting data and maps have been used by several organisations providing relief aid, such as the World Bank, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNOSAT and others.
NGOs, like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and others, have worked with donors like United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to map other parts of Haiti and parts of many other countries, both to create map data for places that were blank, and to engage and build capacity of local people.
After Haiti, the OpenStreetMap community continued mapping to support humanitarian organisations for various crises and disasters. After the Northern Mali conflict (January 2013), Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (November 2013), and the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (March 2014), the OpenStreetMap community has shown it can play a significant role in supporting humanitarian organisations.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team acts as an interface between the OpenStreetMap community and the humanitarian organisations.
Along with post-disaster work, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team has worked to build better risk models and grow the local OpenStreetMap communities in multiple countries including Uganda, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in partnership with the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, World Bank, and other humanitarian groups.
OpenStreetMap data was used in scientific studies. For example, road data was used for research of remaining roadless areas.
Since 2007, the OSM community has held an annual, international conference called State of the Map.
Venues have been:
There are also various national, regional and continental SotM conferences, such as State of the Map U.S., SotM Baltics and SotM Asia.
OpenStreetMap data was originally published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence (CC BY-SA) with the intention of promoting free use and redistribution of the data. In September 2012, the licence was changed to the Open Database Licence (ODbL) published by Open Data Commons (ODC) in order to more specifically define its bearing on data rather than representation.
As part of this relicensing process, some of the map data was removed from the public distribution. This included all data contributed by members that did not agree to the new licensing terms, as well as all subsequent edits to those affected objects. It also included any data contributed based on input data that was not compatible with the new terms. Estimates suggested that over 97% of data would be retained globally, however certain regions would be affected more than others, such as in Australia where 24 to 84% of objects would be retained, depending on the type of object. Ultimately, more than 99% of the data was retained, with Australia and Poland being the countries most severely affected by the change.
All data added to the project needs to have a licence compatible with the Open Database Licence. This can include out-of-copyright information, public domain or other licences. Contributors agree to a set of terms which require compatibility with the current licence. This may involve examining licences for government data to establish whether it is compatible.
Software used in the production and presentation of OpenStreetMap data is available from many different projects and each may have its own licensing. The application – what users access to edit maps and view changelogs, is powered by Ruby on Rails. The application also uses PostgreSQL for storage of user data and edit metadata. The default map is rendered by Mapnik, stored in PostGIS, and powered by an Apache module called mod_tile. Certain parts of the software, such as the map editor Potlatch2, have been made available as public domain.
Some OpenStreetMap data is supplied by companies that choose to freely license either actual street data or satellite imagery sources from which OSM contributors can trace roads and features.
Notably, Automotive Navigation Data provided a complete road data set for Netherlands and details of trunk roads in China and India. In December 2006, Yahoo! confirmed that OpenStreetMap was able to make use of their vertical aerial imagery and this photography was available within the editing software as an overlay. Contributors could create their vector based maps as a derived work, released with a free and open licence, until the shutdown of the Yahoo! Maps API on 13 September 2011. In November 2010, Microsoft announced that the OpenStreetMap community could use Bing vertical aerial imagery as a backdrop in its editors. For a period from 2009 to 2011, NearMap Pty Ltd made their high-resolution PhotoMaps (of major Australian cities, plus some rural Australian areas) available for deriving OpenStreetMap data under a CC BY-SA licence.
In June 2018, the Microsoft Bing team announced a major contribution of 125 million U.S. building footprints to the project - four times the number contributed by users and government data imports.
While OpenStreetMap aims to be a central data source, its map rendering and aesthetics are meant to be only one of many options, some which highlight different elements of the map or emphasise design and performance.
The OSM data primitives are stored and processed in different formats.
The main copy of the OSM data is stored in OSM's main database. The main database is a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS extension, which has one table for each data primitive, with individual objects stored as rows. All edits happen in this database, and all other formats are created from it.
For data transfer, several database dumps are created, which are available for download. The complete dump is called planet.osm. These dumps exist in two formats, one using XML and one using the Protocol Buffer Binary Format (PBF).
The LinkedGeoData data uses the GeoSPARQL and well-known text (WKT) RDF vocabularies to represent OpenStreetMap data. It is a work of the Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW) research group at the University of Leipzig, a group mostly known for DBpedia.
A variety of popular services incorporate some sort of geolocation or map-based component. Notable services using OSM for this include:
The import guidelines, along with the Automated Edits code of conduct, should be followed when importing data into the OpenStreetMap database as they embody many lessons learned throughout the history of OpenStreetMap. Imports should be planned and executed with more care and sensitive than other edits, because poor imports can have significant impacts on both existing data and local mapping community.
The SotM working group, with the support of the OSMF board, has therefore agreed that there will be no OSM Foundation organised conference this year.
Several contributors additionally make their code available under different licences
Bing Maps (previously Live Search Maps, Windows Live Maps, Windows Live Local, and MSN Virtual Earth) is a web mapping service provided as a part of Microsoft's Bing suite of search engines and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework.Collaborative mapping
Collaborative mapping is the aggregation of Web mapping and user-generated content, from a group of individuals or entities, and can take several distinct forms. With the growth of technology for storing and sharing maps, collaborative maps have become competitors to commercial services, in the case of OpenStreetMap, or components of them, as in Google Map Maker and Yandex.Map editor.Decimal degrees
Decimal degrees (DD) express latitude and longitude geographic coordinates as decimal fractions and are used in many geographic information systems (GIS), web mapping applications such as OpenStreetMap, and GPS devices. Decimal degrees are an alternative to using degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS). As with latitude and longitude, the values are bounded by ±90° and ±180° respectively.
Positive latitudes are north of the equator, negative latitudes are south of the equator. Positive longitudes are east of Prime meridian, negative longitudes are west of the Prime Meridian. Latitude and longitude are usually expressed in that sequence, latitude before longitude.Edit-a-thon
An edit-a-thon (sometimes written editathon) is an organized event where editors of online communities such as Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, and LocalWiki edit and improve a specific topic or type of content, typically including basic editing training for new editors. They often involve meetups, but can be distributed as well. The word is a portmanteau of "edit" and "marathon".
Wikipedia edit-a-thons have taken place at Wikimedia chapter headquarters, accredited educational institutions including Sonoma State University, Arizona State University, Middlebury College, The University of Victoria in Canada; as well as cultural institutions such as museums or archives. The events have included topics such as cultural heritage sites, museum collections, women's history, art, feminism, narrowing Wikipedia's gender gap, social justice issues, and other topics. Women and African Americans and the LGBT community are using edit-a-thons as a way of bridging the gap in Wikipedia's sexual and racial makeup, and to challenge the underrepresentation of Africa-related topics.Some have been organised by Wikipedians in residence. The longest editathon took place at the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City from June 9 to 12, 2016, where Wikimedia Mexico volunteers and museum's staff edited during 72 continuous hours. This editathon was also recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest. The OpenStreetMap community has also hosted a number of edit-a-thons.Art+Feminism has held world-wide edit-a-thons annually since 2014 expand the histories of women, feminism, and arts found on Wikipedia, and to dismantle the biases on how women are represented on-line. 2019 marks the expansion of the movement to include "gender non-binary activists and artists."Expressways in India
Expressways are the highest class of roads in the Indian road network. They are six or eight-lane controlled-access highways where entrance and exit is controlled by the use of slip roads. Currently, approximately 1,583.4 km of expressways are operational in India. The National Highways Development Project by Government of India aims to expand the highway network and plans to add an additional 18,637 km (11,580 mi) of expressways by 2022. National Expressways Authority of India operating under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will be in-charge of the construction and maintenance of expressways. India has one of the lowest densities of expressways in the world.
Bharatmala Pariyojana will have all the new expressways developed as greenfield eight-lane access-controlled expressways. Brownfield projects are costly and time consuming as land acquisition will drag on for years and market value to be paid would have been high because of real estate development.Flickr
Flickr (pronounced "flicker") is an image hosting service and video hosting service. It was created by Ludicorp in 2004. It has changed ownership several times and has been owned by SmugMug since April 2018.The Verge reported in March 2013 that Flickr had a total of 87 million registered members and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded daily. In August 2011, the site reported that it was hosting more than 6 billion images. Photos and videos can be accessed from Flickr without the need to register an account, but an account must be made to upload content to the site. Registering an account also allows users to create a profile page containing photos and videos that the user has uploaded and also grants the ability to add another Flickr user as a contact. For mobile users, Flickr has official mobile apps for iOS, Android, and an optimized mobile site.JOSM
JOSM (listen ) (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) is a free software desktop editing tool for OpenStreetMap geodata created in Java, originally developed by Immanuel Scholz and currently maintained by Dirk Stöcker. It has a lot of advanced features, but also more complicated user interface than default online editor iD.Javerne
Javerne is an alpine pasture located in the municipality of Bex, in Switzerland. The name of the locality might be used to describe the little valley itself: "vallon de Javerne".Mapnik
Mapnik is an open-source mapping toolkit for desktop and server based map rendering, written in C++. Artem Pavlenko, the original developer of Mapnik, set out with the explicit goal of creating beautiful maps by employing the sub-pixel anti-aliasing of the Anti-Grain Geometry (AGG) library. Mapnik now also has a Cairo rendering backend. For handling common software tasks such as memory management, file system access, regular expressions, and XML parsing, Mapnik utilizes the Boost C++ libraries. An XML file can be used to define a collection of mapping objects that determine the appearance of a map, or objects can be constructed programmatically in C++, Python, and Node.js.Marble (software)
Marble is a virtual globe application which allows the user to choose among the Earth, the Moon, Venus, Mars and other planets to display as a 3-D model. It is free software under the terms of the GNU LGPL, developed by KDE for use on personal computers and smart phones. It is written in C++ and uses Qt.
Marble is intended to be very flexible; beyond its cross-platform design, the core components can easily be integrated into other programs. It is designed to run without the need for hardware acceleration, but it can be extended to use OpenGL. An important user-experience objective being that the application start fairly quickly, it ships with a minimal but useful off-line dataset (5–10MB).Contributors have added support for on-line mapping sources such as OpenStreetMap and the ability to interpret KML files. Marble also provides route planning capabilities. A navigation mode called MarbleToGo was developed as part of Google Summer of Code 2010. It was later partially rewritten and renamed to Marble Touch.Geothek is a fork of Marble adding a statistics module, pixel maps, and a 3D view. It is developed and used by Austrian publisher Ed. Hölzel as atlas software for classrooms.Menthonnex-en-Bornes
Menthonnex-en-Bornes is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.National Highway 354B (India)
National Highway 354B, commonly referred to as NH 354B is a national highway in India. It is a spur road of National Highway 54 in the state of Punjab in India.National Highway 354 (India)
National Highway 354, commonly referred to as NH 354 is a national highway in India. It is a spur road of National Highway 54 under Bharatmala scheme in the state of Punjab in India.National Highway 45 (India)
National Highway 45 (NH 45) is a National Highway in India. This highway runs in the state of Madhya Pradesh, starting form Obaidullaganj and terminates at Jabalpur.
NH 45 on OpenStreetMapOpenStreetMap Foundation
The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales on 22 August 2006. It is a non-profit foundation whose aim is to support and enable the development of freely-reusable geospatial data. As its name suggests, it is closely connected with the OpenStreetMap project, although its constitution does not prevent it supporting other projects.OsmAnd
OsmAnd (OpenStreetMap Automated Navigation Directions) is a map and navigation app for Android and iOS. It uses the OpenStreetMap (OSM) map database for its primary displays, but is an independent app not endorsed by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. It is available in both free and paid versions; the latter unlocks the download limit for offline maps and provides access to Wikipedia points of interest (POIs) and their descriptions from within the app.Spotsetter
Spotsetter is a social search engine that was acquired by Apple Inc. in December 2014, which offers personalized recommendations, such as places to go to. It was designed to use reviews from user's friends and other data, which can help create more social maps. With Spotsetter users can search for any place, category or keyword and the app will give the result based on the user's personal information.The World (archipelago)
The World or The World Islands, (Arabic: جزر العالم; Juzur al-Ālam) is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located in the waters of the Persian Gulf, 4.0 kilometres (2.5 mi) off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai's shallow coastal waters, and are one of several artificial island developments in Dubai. The World's developer is Nakheel Properties, and the project was originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The actual construction was done by two Dutch (joint venture) specialist companies, Van Oord and Boskalis. The same companies also created the Palm Jumeirah.
Construction of the 300 islands began in 2003, only to halt due to the 2008 financial crisis. Though 60 percent of the islands had been sold off to private contractors back in 2008, development on most of these islands has failed to initiate. As of July 2012, the Lebanon Island was developed and was the only island that had so far been developed commercially, being used for private corporate events and public parties. As of late 2013, only two of the islands had been developed. In January 2014, Kleindienst Group announced the launch of "The Heart of Europe" project; by February 2014, one of Kleindienst Group's brands - JK Properties - announced in their monthly newsletter that the project was "well underway". The first of these series of islands will be Europe, Sweden and Germany with development led by Kleindienst Group.
organizations and events
|Service providers (commercial)|
|OSM map renders|
|Software using OSM database|
|Similar free projects|