Monthly Archives: July 2012

Automated redactions complete

Over the past week the license change redaction bot has made automated redactions, sweeping across our entire worldwide dataset. The whole globe was covered yesterday. There has been substantial technical effort involved in developing and running the software to make those changes, and a fair degree of uncertainty about how long it would take, so this is a significant milestone. Congratulations and thanks are in order to all those who helped achieve it, and especially to Matt Amos, Andy Allan, Gnonthgol and MonkZ who carried out most of the coding work.

The data now in the live OpenStreetMap database is largely in a state where it can be declared ODbL licensed, however the license hasn’t changed yet. We will be posting a further update when this is imminent.

More than 99% of the data has been retained, and in most places, the difference is barely noticeable. There are, however, some areas of our map where the redaction was concentrated, in particular Poland and Australia. Though we would of course have preferred to retain this data, we do respect the original contributors’ decision, and we thank them for their past involvement in the project.

Fortunately the OSM community’s response in these areas has been magnificent and we believe we will be back to having a high-quality dataset in these areas in a short space of time. If, as an OSM mapper, you would like to help – by using aerial imagery and other sources, or ideally, from personal knowledge and survey – then please do get involved. Essentially we’re left with some new blank spots on the map, and can respond with the process we know and love. Use your favourite mapping techniques, go explore and fill in the blanks. (Note that you must not copy from CC-BY-SA datasets or map views based on the pre-redaction data; please treat this like you would any other incompatibly copyrighted map data.) We can begin this process in earnest now while final preparations for license changeover are made.

Weekly OSM Summary #47

July 2nd, 2012 – July 16th, 2012

A summary of all the things happening in the OpenStreetMap (OSM) world.

  • The ODbL redaction process has been running since Wednesday, July 11th. Past Sunday the bot started working on Western Europe. You can find a really nice webpage, created by Harry Wood, with more information on the current status here.
  • You can find a new OpenGoeData blog post about “Building a friendly editor for OpenStreetMap in JavaScript” by Richard Fairhurst here.
  • Martijn van Exel developed OSM “Staleness” Maps. More information can be found here.
  • The new RSS feed, created by Pascal, informs you about new Mappers in your area. You can check it out here.
  • The fastest OSM route planner supports alternative routes now too. Try it out here.
  • MapATag is a new OSM tagging game for smartphones: Read more about it here.
  • Jan March developed “OSM Buildings“, a JavaScript library that visualizes 3D OSM building data on interactive maps. You can find his source code on github.
  • The current weather as an overlay on an OSM map:
  • A new blog post by flickr: “Making a Better Map: four months of @OpenStreetMap with @MapBox & @foursquare“. Also a blog post about “Designing an OSM Map Style“.
  • GDAL has an OGR driver that can read OSM data from *.osm and *.pbf files. Read more about it here.

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

Authors: Pascal & Dennis – (thx @ “Wochennotiz”)

Redactions progressing well

In the past week the redaction bot has progressed well. After the intial Ireland test, it has proccessed the UK and is now finishing off the ‘Western Europe’ area. Spain, and Italy are fully proccessed, France is very nearly complete, and the bot is (at time of writing) getting to work on some densely mapped regions such Germany and the Netherlands. You can see its progress on the redaction bot progress map

As you’ll see, the internal checks of the bot and the API occasionally throw up errors which cause a region (1 degree square) not to be fully processed. The developers working on the bot managed to track some of these failures down to specific bugs, meanwhile others are caused by temporary glitches in the API. The bot has been re-run in several areas for this reason.

You’ll also notice many yellow “current” regions being processed. These are parallel instances of the bot processing code. Although we’re not really in a hurry, we have a big dataset to get through. Running in parallel like this is proving to be a little faster.

There is still time to perform remapping ahead of the bot reaching your part of the world, though you may wish to refrain from editing in a region where the bot is actually runnning, to avoid any unnecessary complications. If you’re in a green area there is now a new kind of remapping to do. This is easier and clearer in many ways. Head out and remap those patches where the bot has redacted data.

Remember the license has not changed yet. Even in areas where processing is complete and redactions have been made, the license remains the same until we declare otherwise.

Follow the rebuild mailing list for more details and discussion.

Building a friendly editor for OpenStreetMap in JavaScript

It’s been an amazing year for OpenStreetMap and it continues to get better. New users from Foursquare to Apple to Wikipedia to Esri, TV and press coverage around the world, innovative releases from MapBox, MySociety, Skobbler, Stamen, and a thousand others. More people are using OSM data than ever before.

More people are adding to it, too. Our data has grown by 43% in just one year. Most of this is added with two tools: JOSM, the offline editor (Java), and Potlatch, the online one (Flash). Launched in 2006 and 2007 respectively, they’re mature, stable, and enjoyed by thousands of users – the tools that have built the best map of the world.

But how do we harness the knowledge of millions of casual users who are now seeing a ‘Data by OpenStreetMap’ credit for the first time? How do we get people editing on the move, using phones and tablets that can’t run Flash or Java? Can we build something that doesn’t have the power of JOSM or Potlatch, yet is easier for the first-time user to grasp?

Hell yes!


iD is a new project to build a simple, friendly editor for OpenStreetMap – an editor designed entirely for the first-timer to quickly add their street or their local cafe. It’s not a new Potlatch or a new JOSM: it’s ‘an editor for the rest of us’, a stepping stone into OSM.

It’s written in JavaScript: things that required a plugin just a few years ago, modern browsers can do natively, and fast. And with powerful frameworks that even out the differences between browsers, JavaScript can be a joy to program in.

Development is at its really early stages. It doesn’t do much yet: no tagging, no save. It’s not very pretty. That’s where you come in. OSM needs the best, most intuitive map editor there is, and you can help. Coder? Designer? UX specialist? Get involved.

You can read the project introduction, fork the code on github, and read the live docs. Check out the code, play to your heart’s content – tear it up and make it drastically different if you want – and let’s build something to take the OSM editing experience up another notch.

New OpenStreetMap maps website with state-of-the art features by skobbler


OpenStreetMap is the best map when it comes to attention to detail. However, the experience of the map sometimes lags behind when compared to commercial implementation of the web-based maps. skobbler made an attempt at a new web-based map powered by OpenStreetMap:

There are some innovative features that were always missing with other solutions:

  • Auto-positioning via HTML5 browser positioning in Firefox and Chrome (if the user allows it)
  • Internationalised style in Germany and the US (coming to many more countries)
  • Drag & Drop Route calculation (just move the pins where routes should be calculated)
  • Multi-line address search
  • POI layers

Performance is very effective due to use of:

  • Modern and Fast map JavaScript Engine based on Leaflet
  • High-performance map tile loading due to worldwide big chunks of pre-rendered tiles (not only in the US)

Furthermore, there is a new map style with a good compromise of details and clarity. The address search for route calculations is temporarily based on a 3rd party geocoder (in default mode), but allows a single line address entry and very effective address coverage. 

Give it a try:

Licence redaction ready to begin

Hello all,

I’m pleased to announce that the licence change bot is ready to get underway.

Starting this week, we will be ‘redacting’ the contributions (less than 1%) from the live database that are not compatible with the new Contributor Terms and Open Database Licence (ODbL) – in other words, they will no longer be accessible. We are expecting to begin on Wednesday (11th July) assuming a couple of final setup details are completed by then.

The bot will run in the following order:

  1. Ireland
  2. UK
  3. Western Europe
  4. North America
  5. Australia
  6. rest of the world

Once it is complete, we will be ready to distribute data under the ODbL and we’ll advise of that with a separate announcement. The final pre-redaction dataset available under CC-BY-SA has now been generated at . Where data has been redacted, any attempt to access it from the API or the site’s ‘browse’ pages will return a response to that effect.

Test runs have shown that the bot is functioning as we want it to, but we will of course be monitoring its progress. We are currently expecting it to take in the order of one month to complete; given the many variables I’m afraid we can’t give a more precise steer yet, but we’ll aim to keep everyone updated as it runs (via the announce@ and talk@ lists).

There will be no API outage and no other interruption to editing. When the bot is running in your area, please do save your edits frequently to minimise the likelihood of conflict.

(Separate messages are going to talk-ie@ and talk-gb@ as the first two areas to be affected. Please do forward and translate this for your local mailing lists.)

As you know we were expecting this to start just after 1st April and the complexity of the task incurred the delay. Thank you all very much for your patience in waiting for it to get underway. Thank you especially to those who have contributed to the code, whether by patches, suggestions or just helping to firm up the workings.

Posted to the mailing list by Richard for the OSMF board

Weekly OSM Summary #46

June 18th, 2012 – July 2nd, 2012

A summary of all the things happening in the OpenStreetMap (OSM) world.

  • 165 terabyte of new aerial imagery has been released by Microsoft/Bing. You can read their announcement here. You can also find some more general information in our wiki.
  • Flickr increased their implementation of OSM map tiles for a few cites. Read the full blog post here. Their map styles are available at github.
  • The “Pirate Map” is a new special mapstyle provided by MapBox and created by AJ Ashton.
  • The “Swiss OSM Association” was founded during the GEOsummits 2012 in Bern.
  • The OSM Mapping project „Via Alpina 2012” has been traveling for 18 days now. They created a blog and a hiking map to keep everyone posted.
  • The Android App “KeypadMapper”, which can be used to recording addresses, has been updated. Check out the wiki page.
  • The new version 2.12 of Openlayers has been announced. Please be sure to check your current map-pages, since the new version might cause some problems.

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

Authors: Pascal & Dennis – (thx @ “Wochennotiz”)