OpenStreetMap, the user-created map used by many of the biggest sites on the web, has today unveiled an entirely new editor that makes it easier to contribute than ever before.
The new editor, codenamed ‘iD’, boasts an intuitive interface and clear walk-throughs that make editing much easier for new mappers. By lowering the barrier to contributions, we believe that more people can contribute their local knowledge to the map – the crucial factor that sets OSM apart from closed-source commercial maps.
To accompany the expected growth in OSM’s contributor base, the OpenStreetMap Foundation is launching an appeal to fund new hardware for the project. The appeal aims to make the editing experience more resilient, so that the OSM community can continue producing the most extensive and up-to-date map of the world.
You can donate online at donate.openstreetmap.org.
“OpenStreetMap’s growth in the past two years has been phenomenal,” explained Simon Poole, chairman of the OSM Foundation. “We’ve seen an explosion in the amount of local knowledge our mappers contribute to the map. This has encouraged more and more big-name websites and apps to switch to OpenStreetMap, while also enabling map hackers and geo enthusiasts the world over to build startling, imaginative visualisations from our open data.”
“Now, with the new editor and our plans for new hardware, we’re stepping up another level to make OpenStreetMap, not Google, the default choice for mapping and map data.”
The new editor
The new iD editor is a pure HTML5 experience, using the cutting-edge D3 visualisation library. Behind the clear design and intuitive interface is a sophisticated back-end that automatically recommends the most popular ‘tagging’ conventions used by the OSM community.
Development began as a community project in July 2012, and has since been taken forward thanks to a $575,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, with development being co-ordinated by MapBox - one of several companies which offer commercial services on OpenStreetMap’s open data.
From later today, new OpenStreetMap users with a modern browser will automatically use the new iD editor. Users can switch between this and the existing Flash-based Potlatch 2 editor (which is being refocused as a tool for intermediate users) using their settings page or the drop-down ‘Edit’ menu. Advanced desktop-based editors are also available.
The editor software is entirely open source, with code available on github under an ultra-permissive licence.
The funding drive
The funding appeal will pay for additional server infrastructure at the heart of OpenStreetMap – where the geographic data and edits are stored – and other key hardware upgrades to improve reliability and performance.
The new server will greatly increase the reliability and performance of OSM’s website and editing service, such that the editing database continues to be available even if one server fails, and providing a more responsive experience when users upload their changes to the map.
OpenStreetMap’s volunteer-led operations team has put a lot of work into designing the new server for maximum performance. Together, these investments will lay the foundation for the continuing growth of OpenStreetMap over the years to come.
You can contribute directly to the appeal at donate.openstreetmap.org, or contact the OpenStreetMap Foundation for more information about sponsoring. Technical details are available on the OpenStreetMap community wiki.
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