OpenStreetMap launches all-new easy map editor and announces funding appeal

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

“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, or contact the OpenStreetMap Foundation for more information about sponsoring. Technical details are available on the OpenStreetMap community wiki.

Update 13 May 2013: Bitcoin Donation? Our Address is 1J3pt9koWJZTo2jarg98RL89iJqff9Kobp

This post is also available in: Russian

45 thoughts on “OpenStreetMap launches all-new easy map editor and announces funding appeal

  1. test

    I do not seem to be able to select the localised version of this news post. Is that function broken?

    1. Grant Slater

      This post hasn’t yet been translated. Yes, the language dropdown seems broken when there are no translations available… I’ll look into it.

  2. Karlos

    That will be a great editor, running on iOS and touch devises, when touch gestures will be included.

    1. HarryWood

      If you’re interested in OpenStreetMap editing on iPhone/iPad. I would personally recommend: Pushpin OSM and Go Mapp!!, both of which popped up relatively recently. Lots of options!

      But yeah some people don’t like installing apps, and anyway It’s definitely quite a neat that one of the main editors (perhaps *the* main editor) will work on directly in a browser on a smartphone.

    1. Jos

      Please let us give bitcoin !!!!
      It is simple, just download the wallet and give us the hash

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  6. Manu Schmidt

    This is so great! Thank you to everyone involved! I can’t wait using the new editor with my students 🙂

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  13. myneur

    The new editor is just great while next things are to done to make it usable:

    – display selected GPS track in map to derive data
    – editing relations

    I hope also for the option to collapse big OSM panel on the left. 185 px waisted with options non-related to mapping is unnecessary. Demo of iD had a search feature embedded. This is the only option needed from current huge left panel during mapping.

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  15. Alan

    Not working for me – editor loads ok and map background shows, but the OSM data isn’t visible. Wheel in top right of page never stops spinning. Demo walkthrough worked fine though. Anyone know what might be wrong?

    Google Chrome 26.0.1410.64 on Windows 7 Ultimate x64.


    1. Grant Slater

      Try again in a few minutes. We have very high load at the moment due to a big increase in mappers. Sysadmin team are firefighting.

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  19. Dan S

    Please could you give a link to some statistics on how it performs in Firefox, Chrome etc? It is running sluggishly on my Firefox 20, and I want to know if this is “normal” or not.

    I don’t know if Firefox 20 is one of the “modern” browsers you mention but clearly it’s only a couple of months old.

  20. Joe Lotz

    The editor is awesome, I’m addicted! How long until edits are integrated into the map?

    1. pnorman

      Edits are generally rendered within a few minutes on the main layer. You might need to hit reload twice for them to show up.

  21. David

    I tried today the iD editor and it works great. Just a few comments:
    – The localization from translatewiki only works partially (the tour is not localized, and many messages are displayed in English).
    – During the Walkthrough I couldn’t see the message “delete point”
    – I couldn’t find “square”, does it exist? Some hierarchy would help to find it (like in “Land use”)
    – History shows editions that are on bigger areas than my zoomed in view

    Great work!

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