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API Read – Write returns

The sysadmin team completed the data base migration to the new DB server on schedule during the the morning of 04 April 2012. The API is now back to normal, Read – Write operation. Now the final steps of the license upgrade will proceed as outlined in the March – April service schedule announcement

Other items of possible interest as the license upgrade process proceeds: map tile generation will recommence within the next few hours.

Replication diffs during the license upgrade period have started after community requests. These cc-by-sa data replication diffs are found in the redaction-period directory on planet. These diffs will only serve the period up until the switch to the new license. Mappers have requested these diffs for the redaction period. General consumers of OSM data may choose to consume these diffs or not at their discretion.

ODbL diffs will be located in another directory to be announced in future.

During the redaction period it is recommended that editors save their work early and often to reduce the chances of, and the complexity of conflicts with the back ground redaction process.

Database downtime – 20 March 2012

On Tuesday 20th of March 2012 between 13:45 and 16:15 (GMT / UTC) the
primary database server will unavailable due to emergency maintenance.

The following services will be affected:

  • web site will not allow user login or edits (Potlatch). [1]
  • API and map database editing (using JOSM, Merkaartor etc.) will be unavailable.
  • will be available but no new diffs will be generated during the outage.
  • Forum (no logins)
  • trac (bug-tracker, no logins)
  • (no logins)

Other services will not be affected – all of the following are
expected to function normally:

  • tile serving (“View The Map” & “Export”)
  • Wiki
  • Nominatim (search)
  • mailing lists
  • subversion and git (source code repositories)

Technical: Database Server Smaug: Replacing faulty motherboard.
Supplier Engineer Onsite. We have contingency hardware available.

1: Maps will still be viewable on the homepage and
on other people’s websites.

Grant Slater
On behalf of the OpenStreetMap sysadmin team

Top Ten Tasks

Contribute to the OpenStreetMap developer community by getting involved in the Top Ten Tasks!

OpenStreetMap is huge, with an extensive and varied community. Our data is used in applications for specialty and general audiences, for devices common and rare. The infrastructure that we rely upon, as members of the OpenStreetMap community is continually improved in ways more- or less-visible and with more or less celebration.
As an example, we’ve improved our friends recently. This is a small, visible improvement in the OSM web site. You might just think, “Wow, how did we go so long without this function?” If you are logged into the web site, now you can view the recent changesets by the contributors that you have added as your friends.

This new feature sprang from a discussion on the talk@ list two weeks ago. Toby Murray made the suggestion. Mikel Maron liked the idea so much that he wrote some code[1] and Tom Hughes refined Mikel’s patch then merged it into the rails port so that we can all use it.

There are many other ways, large and small, for developers to contribute to OpenStreetMap. The Engineering Working Group, has updated the Top Ten Tasks list with some eagerly anticipated projects. There are projects that involve Rails, javascript, flash, flex, python, django and others. If you have always wanted to dig into a substantial project, with other top-notch developers, these are the projects for you.

Photo ©R.Weait, used by permission.

What’s new on

Swan photo by Tony the Misfit is licensed CC-By

We spend a lot of time talking about the amazing map our users are producing, but perhaps not enough about the technology that enables it all. But it’s worth shouting about: from the reliable Ruby code that puts stuff into our super-efficient Postgres database setup, to the speedy hardcore cgimap code that sends it out to editors, to the wizardry of Mapnik that makes it all into beautiful maps… like the swan, there’s a lot of effort underneath the surface, but it all seems serene above water.

In fact, there’s a constant stream of changes aimed at making OpenStreetMap easier to use – big ones, yes, but also “little things that mean a lot”. So, for example, in the last month we’ve improved the “users near you” map (thanks to Martijn van Exel) and fixed potential security issues (thanks, as ever, to Tom Hughes). We’re also finishing up a move to Rails 3, which will help us make more user interface improvements, and keep the code clean. We’ll tell you more about these changes as they happen.

Have you noticed that adjusts to smaller screens with smaller tabs? It does now. Map CC-By-SA

Our Potlatch 2 editor has also had a whole bunch of improvements. It’s now much easier to draw shapes with holes (“multipolygons”), the GPS track handling is cleverer, and we have a clever feature where you can replace a node with a whole new one (select the old one and press O). We’ve incorporated a number of suggestions from usability research, and there’s still more to come.

If you’re a developer, we’d love to have your help with OpenStreetMap. There’s so much to do! You can find out about our codebase at, and join the rails-dev mailing list to bounce ideas off other developers. Or if you’d like to help with Potlatch 2, see and the potlatch-dev mailing list.

Downtime announcement: 23 June 2011

Thursday 23rd June 2011 7:30am (GMT/UTC+0) the API and map data editing on will be unavailable. The maintenance period is expected to last for 12 hours.

The following services will be unavailable during the maintenance period:
API, editing features of and including replication diffs.

The wiki, mailing lists and will be unaffected.

Technical: Some of the core servers are being re-located to another data-centre.

Additional information will be posted on the wiki as the maintenance window approaches:

Tile server upgrade

The OpenStreetMap server team has upgraded the tile server to render changes faster. Demand for OpenStreetMap tiles has increased steadily as the project grows. Recent increases in demand for tiles has lead to long waiting times for mappers who want to see the results of their improvements to the map.

Thanks go to Grant Slater, Jon Burgess, the team, and many others who keep improving OpenStreetMap every day in ways large and small.

Read the announcement and hardware details on talk@.

Speedometer photo by Nathan E Photography is licensed CC-By

New Changeset display

The OpenStreetMap web site was updated today. When you view the history tab, you’ll now see a map with bounding boxes shown for recent changesets in the area. Hovering over the changeset will highlight the bounding box, and vice-versa.

This improvement was coded by Mikel and refined by Mikel and TomH.

Read more about this from Mikel’s announcement on his blog.

Potlatch 2 is here

OpenStreetMap editing just got faster smarter and smoother! We’ve done the switch-over to Potlatch version 2 on the ‘edit’ tab of the OpenStreetMap homepage. If you haven’t tried it already, click that ‘edit’ tab and get mapping!

This represents a lot of development work by Richard Fairhurst, Andy Allan, randomjunk, and others. The work really picked up pace recently, with everyone pulling together, but Potlatch 2 has been in the pipeline for a couple of years now. It doesn’t stop there of course, but it’s ready for prime-time now, so we’ve made the switch. We hope you like it, but for now you can still get back to the old potlatch by hovering your mouse over the edit tab.

So what’s new in Potlatch 2?

  • User-friendly tagging with customisable presets
  • WYSIWYG rendering
  • Vector Background Layers
  • A more flexible undo/redo system
  • OAuth support so you can deploy it on other websites

Keyboard shortcuts and other aspects of general editing have largely stayed the same

We’ll be working to update documentation and hopefully create some nice new video tutorials etc (and anyone can help with these things) but for now you can find out more on the Potlatch 2 wiki page and the Potlatch 2/Primer