Category Archives: Uncategorized

More cool tricks by the MapQuest Open team

The MapQuest Open team have done it again! Check out these cool tricks they’ve created for OSM fun:

API allows searching the OpenStreetMap (OSM) data by name=value pairs or bounding box! Very cool stuff if you’re trying to find all the golf courses in OSM data in the greater Denver area:|leisure=golf_course%5D%5Bbbox=-105.20983780356221,39.59556488319815,-104.66052139733415,39.83325197240866%5D  

Here’s the link to the actual tool: all GUI and pretty with an XML response. 

The Nominatim Pre-Indexed Data Service gives OSM developers another database location (hosted on the MapQuest servers) from which to download the large Planet OSM data file from – the beauty is that this data file is already indexed so you don’t have to waste any time indexing a 15GB+ file! Once a developer has Nominatim running on their local server, they can download, via the NPI Data Service, updates approximately every 5 minutes.

A recent quote from the Open team:“you can set Nominatim up on a fairly crappy machine as long as it has reasonable disks, because a single processor home computer can load it from NPI.” They’re all about keeping things easy for anyone wanting the latest and greatest geocode data from OSM! 

Lastly, they’ve created a Broken Polygon Report that anyone can use to help make OSM data better and more accurate via JOSM or Potlatch 2. Think of how you’ve been editing an area only to find a sizable chunk of map data that is just messed up and you have to correct that first, before finishing up your edit…arugh! Another example is when OSM had an issue last December where a broken polygon ended up having all of Virginia being shown in Maryland. A broken polygon can mean that any map area can get “flooded” by another, as one polygon’s fill bleeds into the other via that broken gap. This report allows folks to easily find these little (or big) errors and fix them!

You can read more about XAPI, NPI and the Broken Polygon tool on the DevBlog and click on the pretty hyperlinks here: 

Big, huge, massive thanks go out to Matt Amos, Brian Quinion, Kumiko Yamazaki and Cameron Thomas for making this happen! 

Project of the Week: Groceries

Food month continues. The Project of the Month is farmers’ markets
where you can buy fresh food ingredients directly from the farmer.
This week we look at grocery stores, where we can get fresh food
ingredients but they might be from further away and from many vendors.

This week we look at fresh fruit and vegetables from shops large and
small. For smaller shops we have greengrocers, for larger we have

For project of the Week add your local grocery stores to the map.

This is your Project of the Week. Make suggestions. Inspire other
mappers. What is it about contributing to OpenStreetMap that
interests you? Postboxes? Bowing alleys? Share your OpenStreetMap
interests by suggesting a Project of the Week or Project of the Month.

Greengrocer photo by artq55 is licensed CC-By-SA.

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

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

OpenStreetMap project sees serious decline, disbanding imminent


The OSM Foundation today announced the imminent disbandment of the project due to a heavy loss of users, little uptake and not enough map data and community to sustain the project. Flocks of users abandoning OpenStreetMap for Google Map Maker and most formaly-supportive commercial entities now using ClosedStreetMap mean there are not enough donations to run the servers or hand out GPS units to the needy.

Mikel Maron, board member of the OSMF said today “We had no idea the project was in such a bad shape until it was discovered that one of our keenest users, RichardF, had in fact been paying hundreds of people on Mechanical Turk to enter reasonable looking data. We thought he liked living on a boat but that was just to keep costs down, so he could keep paying those turkers to map.”

MapQuest announced the closure of their well publicized ‘open’ project and renamed it the ‘MapQuest Closed’ project in response. Ant Pegg in an email stated “It took CM over 2 years to realise the project was worthless, it took us 1 year, hopefully the next sucker will only take 6 months.” In addition, MQ is closing it’s variety of open sites including and instead replacing them under the new ‘Closed’ brand begining in the Cook Islands:

A jubilent ReallyOpenStreetMap team have taken the loss in their stride and accepted new users to their ranks. A defiant member of the now-dorment legal-talk list known as “13gal 3ag13” stated “HAHA WE WON!!!! NOW i CAN DeBATE TEH LICENSE OF FREEDZOMG” and asking all those leaving OSM to join ROSM, give up mapping and discuss the correct placement of commas in legal documents.

Steve Coast, founder of OSM, is to change roles at Microsoft and begin working on printer drivers for the upcoming Windows 8.


Weekly OSM Summary #14

March 20th, 2011 – March 31th, 2011
A summary of all the things happening in the OpenStreetMap world. We’re sorry that this issue is late and brief again, but we (especially Pascal) are caught up in organising the last bits for the upcoming FOSSGIS conference, the German OpenStreetMap conference.

  • “The city Saransk was mapped in only 50 hours. User osmisto has organized the first Russian online mapping party: it’s still cold outside, so almost everyone attended.” Here’s a video showing the progress – impressive!
  • China is imposing stricter roles against online map services (People’s Daily online). It’s unclear how OSM will be affected by this.
  • Recent improvements to the Mapnik style now make it render e.g. driveways and labels for florists.
  • Jochen Topf writes about new ways to make map renderers. He suggests to build smaller toolkits that can be combined; he already started a few experiments in code.
  • Martijn von Exel has made a tutorial for a self-updating local OSM extract.
  • Harry Wood created a bus map for London.
  • The future of areas?!
  • The OSM Inspector made by the Geofabrik has been moved to faster hardware. Also new is the multipolygon problem view.
  • Cyclestreets is celebrating their second birthday and take a look back at the last year in their blog.
  • OSM-3D made by the University of Heidelberg has been updated to include a virtual globe and is now covering most of Europe.
  • This wiki page is great resource to learn more about mapping buildings with aerial imagery.
  • ITO Map (mentioned before) is now available globally.
  • A new, second beta of Maps4Macs has been released. Improvements include a better search syntax, support for PBF files and live track display when recording a GPS track.
  • Show Your Journey (syj) is a website to share routes. The new version now supports the upload of complete routes (as GPX or KML).
  • Safety Maps – Make and share maps of safe places to meet in the event of an emergency.
  • Version 0.2 of the Open Source Routing Machine (OSRM) has been released with lots of improvements.
  • A small python script to generate posters of Cloudmade map tiles.
  • Mapjumper is a Chrome extension to easily jump from one online map provider to another.”
  • Imposm is an importer for OpenStreetMap data. It reads XML and PBF files and can import the data into PostgreSQL/PostGIS databases.

Authors: Jonas, Pascal & Dennis
Did we miss something? Do you want to help us collecting the news for next week’s issue?
You can contact us via mail or Twitter.

Project of the Month: Marketplace – Food Month

Where do you go for a really delicious tomato? To your garden, of
course, but between seasons you might be limited to tomatoes shipped
well before they are ripe, from another country, or another
hemisphere. Unless you know about a farmers’ market or a roadside
stand where you can get a local hot house tomato.

Local food and food supply have been in the press recently. This
month, we look at various aspects of the food supply chain.

We map marketplaces and farmers’ markets for the Project of the Month of April 2011

This is your Project of the Month. Make suggestions. Inspire other
mappers. What is it about contributing to OpenStreetMap that
interests you? Postboxes? Bowing alleys? Share your OpenStreetMap
interests by suggesting a Project of the Week or Project of the Month.

The current Project of the Month: Bridge and Tunnel continues until the end of March.

Marketplace photo by Chas Redmond is
licensed CC-By

Project of the Week: Department Store

A department store sells a wide variety of durable goods for the home.
Large and small appliances, furniture and kitchenware may each have
large sections or departments of the store. Clothing
departments may be further divided by customer and use, such as Infant
and Toddler or Outdoor clothing. The departments will continue,
perhaps with jewelry and cosmetics or sporting goods.

The Project of the Week is to add local Department Stores to the map.

This is your Project of the Week. Make suggestions. Inspire other
mappers. What is it about contributing to OpenStreetMap that
interests you? Postboxes? Bowing alleys? Share your OpenStreetMap interests by contributing a Project of the Week.

Department store exterior photo by Aaron is
licensed CC-By.

Image of the Week: Tube Time Travel


Tom Carden’s Travel Time Tube Map creates isochronic maps of the London Underground.

This is a Featured image, which means that it has been identified as
one of the best examples of OpenStreetMap mapping, or that it provides
a useful illustration related to the OpenStreetMap project.

If you know another image of similar quality, you can nominate it at