Category Archives: Uncategorized

1 million OpenStreetMappers

OpenStreetMap has just passed 1 million users! That’s a million people who have signed up on to join in with creating a free map of the world.

At first glance you may think that OpenStreetMap is a map. Those who know more will tell you that it’s actually a database; a flexible editable repository of free geospatial data. But above all OpenStreetMap is a community. A massive community in which people like you and me come together collaborate and help build this thing… and now there’s a million of us!

A massive community is what makes OpenStreetMap work. We need many people to sign up, and we need those people in every neighbourhood, in every corner of the globe, to chip in a little bit using our editing tools. In this way we have grown and progressed spectacularly throughout 2012. This wonderful video illustrates what a great year of map editing activity we had.

Who will join the OpenStreetMap community in 2013?

Songs about maps


What is the best song for your music player while you survey data for OpenStreetMap? Can you keep yourself entertained and inspired with a great playlist while you survey, or is the music too distracting? Are there songs that remind you of mapping? In past, some have suggested specific songs as anthems for mappers.

The following songs each have the words open, street, and map in them, though not in the string we prefer.

  • Map of Tasmania – Amanda Palmer
  • Soldier – Destiny’s Child
  • Movies – Lil’ Boosie
  • Home to Me – Jimmy Robbins
  • My Crew – Jean Grae

Are there more songs with the words Open, Street, and Map in them?  Which songs or music would you suggest as a mapping anthem, or to inspire and motivate your surveys? Use the comments below to discuss. I’ll add some CanCon suggestions tomorrow.

Weekly OSM Summary #59

December 16th, 2012 – December 30th, 2012

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

  • The call for venues for the next State of the Map (SotM) 2013 is open. You can submit your proposal here.
  • The OSM project has a new server in France for Tile Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Data imports to OSM have been discussed on the OSM US mailing list. A different thread involved a discussion about what the trademark policy should look like.
  • A first alpha version of the new OSM data editor iD is available online.
  • To all OSM developers: Is your OSM source code ready for 64bit Node-IDs?
  • Ronald Olbricht created a minutely up-to-date housenumber map based on his overpass API. You can use it to see where e.g. house numbers or other address related information is still missing.
  • Almost all street lights of trunk roads and motorways within London (UK) have finally been mapped in OSM. You can see the results at the ITO highway lighting map.
  • A nice example of OSM data utilization: The Hobbit Filming Locations Map.
  • Chris Herwig wrote a blog post about the troubles he had with geoportals during the creation of the Mapbox Satellite layer.
  • Jochen Topf wrote a final report about the Multilingual Maps Project.
  • The OSMFight game, which you can play between two OSM contributors, has two new rounds.
  • A new version of MapOSMatic is online. With MapOSMatic you can create maps of cities based on OSM data.
  • The BeWelcome project uses OSM maps for their website now. BeWelcome is a culture crossing network that lets you share a place to sleep, meet up and help others on their way. It is a non-profit organization run by volunteers.
  • Kort is a new open source mobile game app that helps improving OSM data. So far it is in a test phase, but you can read and see some more details in the OSM wiki.
  • Thomas Rupprecht created a new Firemap which shows all mapped OSM fire stations on an interactive online map. You can find the demo page here and source code on github.

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

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

Introducing OpenStreetMap’s JavaScript editor – alpha version


Back in July I wrote about building a new, friendly map editor for OpenStreetMap in JavaScript. Since then, and in particular in the last two months, the project has come on in leaps and bounds – and today marks the first alpha release.

Codenamed iD, it aims to provide an easy-to-use, comfortable editing environment for the OpenStreetMap newcomer that’s nonetheless fully featured – you’ll be able to edit any OSM data with it. Clear modes such as “Move map” and “Add point” make it easy to get started without having to read swathes of instructions.

So – try it out! You can play with a working instance at It’s connected to a test database, not the main OpenStreetMap database, so don’t worry – you won’t break anything.

If you find a bug, use github to check it’s not already been reported, and file one if not.

The fast progress over the past few months is entirely down to the work of Tom MacWright and Saman Bemel Benrud, John Firebaugh, and others. Some of them have been funded to work on this by a Knight Foundation grant from the Knight News Challenge programme.

As ever with OpenStreetMap, the code is fully open source, and we’re looking forward to the community getting involved with helping to build the project. For the first time since OSM was founded in 2004, this will give us a full suite of editing tools – iD and mobile tools for new users, Potlatch 2 and Merkaartor for intermediate editing, and JOSM for power users – so that anyone can bring their local knowledge to the map, whatever their expertise.

Read more about the alpha release in Tom’s blog post.

Weekly OSM Summary #58

December 2nd, 2012 – December 16th, 2012

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

  • Andy Allan re-implemented the standard OpenStreetMap mapnik style in CartoCSS.
  • A blog post about the first design phase of the new OSM editor ID and a demo version can be found here.
  • The Los Angeles Times contributes LAFD fire stations to OSM. Have a look at the OpenFireMap and read the article here.
  • All documents and slides of the “International Meeting of Crowdsource Mapping for Disaster Risk Management and Emergency Response” are online. You can read more about the event here.
  • Harry Wood wrote a blog post about the last London Hack-weekend. Great picture btw. Harry 😉 Harry’s XAPI URL Builder also supports the Overpass API now.
  • Mapbox launched a new satellite layer. You can find some additional information on how to use the new data for OSM tracing here.
  • The well-known OSM Importer for PostGIS: Imposm, now supports PostGIS 2.0.
  • A first version of “addressmerge” has been released. This tool allows to post-process address data by comparing it with existing OSM data.
  • A blog post by Frederik Ramm: Have you got your 1,000 house numbers already?
  • How to visualize London’s buildings with 3D mapping, a blog post by Tom Holderness.
  • OSM 3D buildings for your 3d glasses.
  • The Geofabrik added the timestamp to its well known OSM PBF extracts. Read more about the new information in the header of the files here.
  • Vizrt uses OSM to provide global street maps for broadcasters.

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

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

International Volunteer Day

Today is International Volunteer Day. OpenStreetMap is all about volunteers of course. It’s about people getting out there and mapping their neighbourhood. If we have enough people volunteering in this way (just a little of your time, and local knowledge) we’ll have a free map of the world in no time!

But did you know OpenStreetMap is made up entirely of volunteers? Sometimes people assume that OpenStreetMap is a commercial company alongside other map providers, but OpenStreetMap is something different. It’s an internet-based collaborative project. Not only the mappers, but the entire organisation is built and driven by volunteers in their spare time.

The people who develop the website and the map editing software
…all volunteers.

The people who maintain the servers and keep the database and map view operating smoothly
…all volunteers.

The people in the working groups of the OpenStreetMap Foundation
…all volunteers.

The people on the OpenStreetMap Foundation board
…all volunteers.

We do occasionally discuss the idea of paying people in various roles of the foundation, but as it stands at the moment OpenStreetMap is an entirely volunteer-driven organisation from top to bottom. We’ve got where we are through the hard work and dedication of people who give up their spare time to the project. Hats off to the volunteers of OpenStreetMap, and a very happy International Volunteer Day!

Learn how to get involved

Weekly OSM Summary #57

November 19th, 2012 – December 2nd, 2012

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

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

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

Weekly OSM Summary #56

November 5th, 2012 – November 19th, 2012

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

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

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

Operation Cowboy

A guest post from German OpenStreetMap contributor Matthias.

Mapping 24hrs in the US

You remember the Night of the living maps, right? NO?!? Well that was the first virtual global mapping party, where >200 mappers contributed from over 14 countries. As people asked again and again if we could do another 24h party, we do so at the end of November: Operation Cowboy

This time, we book a whole weekend (23.-25.11.) to let everybody decide, when you like to start their local 24hrs mapping sprints. Yes, you heared right, it’s not that virtual, as it consists of local parties, where teams of the community meet, to chat, to train newcomer and to work of course 🙂 Maybe you already know that this time we picked the **USA as working area**. Mainly, because it’s build up very similar (from an aerial point of view) and has still some problems with [unfixed imported data. Our US members work hard in bigger cities, but most of this nation lacks still in some details. But as we are a really great community, a lot can be fixed by everyone of us 🙂

Yes, only using armchair mapping isn’t what we all understand as ‘true’ mapping, as you can only map the reality, when you go out and see what is at a certain place. But currently we just haven’t enough people in America on the ground, so the best what we all can do is, to encourage this users by mapping obvious details (as buildings, landuse, …) and helping them fixing imported data. Maybe, this will attract new users, if they can contribute further more details, just by clicking an OpenStreetBug.

Sounds like an interesting event before the busy Christmas time starts? The first local parties in Germany are already announced, so how about your local chapter? Time to meet your OSM buddies again 🙂