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Donate today to support OpenStreetMap!

At State of the Map, which is about to kick off in Brussels, Belgium, we will be officially launching this year’s OpenStreetMap donation drive! This time around, we are raising money with a most important goal: our continued independence as a project.

OpenStreetMap is the largest open geographic database in the world, the data infrastructure for multitudes of mapping projects around the globe. OpenStreetMap data is, and will always be, free to use. Your donation to the OpenStreetMap Foundation will cover our core operational expenses in supporting the OpenStreetMap project: hardware costs, legal fees, administrative assistant and other expenses of our working groups and administration.

We currently run extremely lean for an operation for a project the size and importance of OpenStreetMap. The OpenStreetMap Foundation relies on revenue from individual and corporate membership dues, profits generated by the annual State of the Map conferences, and past donation drives (thank you so much for the support last year — GBP 60,000 for updating our server infrastructure). We must keep our income sources diversified, as these vary from year to year, but our modest needs stay the same. For this, we need your support.

Thank you for considering donating to OpenStreetMap! We are truly grateful for donations of any amount. Whether you can give €100 or €5, please know that your donation will go directly towards keeping OpenStreetMap strong, stable and independent. Thank you!

State of the Map Workshops and Lightning Talks

A Fork in the Road

A Fork in the Road

A successful conference is the perpetual fork in the road. Which path (otherwise known as “track”) will you walk down? Because honestly — the entire program of State of the Map is amazing (otherwise known as “mouth-watering”).

In parallel to our regularly scheduled programming of such amazing talks (including yours truly!) on Friday we have the excitement of five minute lightning talks AND on Sunday we invite you to get your hands dirty in our workshop sessions.

Now most seriously, it is important to wash your hands before attending any State of the Map event so we don’t advise attending workshops unkempt. But if you are interested in trying on some of the newest development and contribution to OpenStreetMap we very much encourage you to come.

Come find the Lightning Talks on Friday 4-5pm in Auditorium A

And get your silverware ready for a Workshops 15 course meal (that means there are 15 workshops!) starting at 10am and going until 5pm on Sunday. There will be Workshops in rooms QA and QC as well as Room 1 and Room 2, in Building D. 

And if we don’t see you at those we will see you at the talks, otherwise know as the spoons and knives of the conference. Because the entire State of the Map program is designed to satisfy your your OpenStreetMap appetite. Come hungry!

Gather your Birds of a Feather at State of the Map

When we get together for State of the Map, there is so much to do… in-person.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday of State of the Map, we will have several spaces for Birds of a Feather (BoFs). BOFs are informal meetings, planned ahead or thought up spontaneously. These can be gathering points for discussions, mapping, code and documentation sprints, and hacking sessions. They can even be organized rest and napping sessions! These meeting are whatever you want and whatever you need to make a successful State of the Map.

The Birds of Feather sessions will take place in the Foyer and “Building D” classrooms, adjacent to the main conference hall. We will have a sign up board prominently in the main area to schedule sessions and add ideas.

And all day Sunday, we have Free and Open Space in Nelson Mandela Hall! Collaborate together on coding, mapping, or documentation sprints. Plan the next big thing. Unlike a Birds of a Feather session this is a non-bookable room; let’s make it a hive of activity open to all.

Start sharing your informal session ideas for State of the Map. And keep up with the latest State of the Map on the @sotm twitter account. See you there!

Launching OpenStreetMap driverless cars

As an organisation we’ve always prided ourselves in keeping up with commercial mapping companies’ innovations. That’s why OpenStreetMap is today announcing the launch of Coaster – the first product from Phaethon, the OpenStreetMap driverless car project.

OSMF Coaster

OSMF Coaster (Image cc-by-sa OSVehicle on flickr)

Following in the footsteps of other map-providers-cum-car-manufacturers we recognise that cars without drivers are now within the realms of possibility, and we can develop them as a technology project, iteratively, starting from prototypes. Making use of our accurate road maps, this is a natural area for OpenStreetMap to move into. We expect to see the coaster driverless cars on real roads within the next two years.

The OSMF Coaster

We’re doing this the open source way, and the OpenStreetMap Foundation are working with the folks at OSVehicle who have developed the engine and chassis as an open licensed design while a team in Italy designed the stylish “NIKA” outer shell of this vehicle.

You’ll notice these prototypes feature a steering wheel. This will remain as a safety feature during a testing and data-correction phase, but naturally we’ll be removing the steering wheel when the coaster goes into mass production, as these cars will connect to OpenStreetMap’s data and will no longer need a driver!

How it works

OpenStreetMap is truly a collaborative endeavour, and we intend to build on that tradition by making driving with the OSM car a collaborative experience.

We have always believed that “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. We recognise that there are occasional errors in any map dataset, as Google has repeatedly demonstrated.

Our self-driving car breaks new ground by automatically correcting OpenStreetMap data based on your driving behaviour. Such “passive contributions” have the potential to greatly expand OSM’s contributor base, given that 97% of existing contributors are cyclists.

For example:


The car’s navigation unit will consume OSM “minutely diffs”. Not only does this ensure that drivers can enjoy up-to-the-minute map data, being able to navigate along new roads instantly without waiting for a monthly update cycle, it provides a virtuous feedback loop for OSM routing. For example, if an OSM contributor inadvertently deletes all the exit routes from a roundabout, such an error will be instantly noticed by any passengers in self-driving cars currently transiting that roundabout.

Ready to go driverless?

You’re probably keen to hop inside an OSMF Coaster. If so, leave a comment below saying “I want one!” and we’ll get in touch about prices and delivery of an early prototype. We will be running off a limited edition batch towards the end of 2016.

In the meantime there are a couple of ways you can help:

Firstly, our tests so far have revealed a few problems related to road lanes. Please review the lanes tagging information and ensure that lanes data is present and correct at the larger roads/junctions in your city. We’ll be refining this kind of data automatically following the process described above, but for safety reasons we recommend you add as much lanes data as you can to OpenStreetMap at this stage.

We expect our cars to be road-certified in various jurisdictions without too much trouble, but if we encounter any obstacles we will be calling upon local OpenStreetMap communities to lobby their governments to speed this process. Keep a look out for campaigns in your area.

Finally please note that the estimated timeframes may slip beyond 2016 for the delivery of prototypes. Also note that the photo at the top is for illustration only, and those ordering an early prototype will be receiving a coaster made with prototyping materials. Thank you for your understanding. We hope the wait will not be too long.

…and happy driving (or not driving we should say!)

Participating in GSoC 2016

Following the successful participation in last year’s event, OpenStreetMap has again been selected as a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization. We invite students to looking through our project ideas or discuss their own OSM-related ideas with our community. Applications can be submitted starting March 14.

More information for students are available from our wiki page on GSoC as well as Google’s official GSoC site.

A look back at Google Summer Of Code 2015

Google Summer of Code is a program that matches student developers with open source projects. Students are paired with experienced mentors and spend a few months full time on improving open source software. Ideally, students get a decent stipend (paid for by Google) and good experience, while the projects get significant code contributions and exposure.

OpenStreetMap first took part in 2008, and has become a regular participant in Google Summer of Code since. We offer a big playground for students: Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteer developers, there have always been a lot of active open source projects in our software ecosystem, and OSM would not be possible without them. With so many interesting tasks to choose from, we decided to once again participate in last year’s Google Summer of Code.

When we announced our participation in the program for 2015, we received a large number of very good applications from students around the world. Eventually, we were able to accept 8 of them, filling the number of slots allotted to us by Google. Seven students made it to the end, which is a good success rate after all. Five of these projects have already been merged upstream and are in use as of writing this. This article offers a more detailed look at all seven successful GSoC 2015 projects.


First of all, probably the most prominent project has been the redesigning and reimplementation of road presentation in our default OSM map style (openstreetmap-carto) which appears on Besides the analysis, designing a road style from scratch and doing many experiments with the new style, the student also needed to communicate his ideas with the wider community – after all, this project would mean a major change of the main style, which usually progressed in much smaller increments. As OSM started in Great Britain, the style has been inspired by common British map styles in the past. Some call it the “rainbow color style” as every road type gets its own color, using as many colors as possible. This lead to problems such as green streets in the woods or blue streets besides rivers. The new style tries to be much cleaner in that sense. The different opinions on the style meant that it took some more weeks after the end of Google Summer of Code until the code got merged. But finally, the new style was activated (announced here in October) and the work has been widely regarded as a success. Here’s how the road colours changed on a map of New York, but have a look for yourself at your town on

before-after road styles


Overall, we had three projects to work on JOSM this year. JOSM is one of the applications to edit OpenStreetMap data and it’s been one of the first editors out there – in fact, most of the data in the OSM database was contributed using JOSM! It has matured into an expert editor, with a huge set of features and an additional large set of plugins to customize it. But it not only allows you to edit the data, it has a bunch of options to aid the editor in working with the data. Ranging from simple presets to make editing easier, displaying images made while recording an area to selecting background imagery to enhance the position accuracy. There’s much more and it’s a really great tool to use. You should have a look and try it for yourself.

OpenGL Plugin

The first new plugin for JOSM was a quite interesting and unusual project. It’s been the only project that has not been suggested by the mentors but by the student himself. One has to know that JOSM is written in Java and therefore utilizes the Java2D API for its main drawing pane. In advance, the student did some preliminary performance tests to show his idea is worthwhile: His plan was to replace the main canvas with a new implementation based on modern OpenGL, using vertex buffer objects for high drawing speed and at the same time supporting all features of the current implementation. Besides his groundwork, he had to do several extensions to the JOSM core and extend the plugin API to make his idea work at all. Additionally he encountered other problems, e.g. how to make the code self contained in one jar file, even though the OpenGL libraries he was going to use had some native libs included. Anyway, he did a great job and besides the problems noted, he produced a really nice plugin which does all of the drawings in OpenGL. This pays out especially for large scenes or densely mapped cities, but it may noticeably boost performance even for smaller data sets. But in the end, it also depends on your graphics card in use. Once the plugin is installed, there’s a switch in the main menu bar to activate and deactivate the new drawing pane, so you can have a look yourself.

Mapillary Plugin

The second JOSM related project was a plugin to make use of Mapillary. Mapillary is a site for sharing geotagged photos that aims to represent the whole world with photos. As many of you might know, all photographs are released under the CC-BY-SA license and it is explicitly allowed to make use of them to enhance OpenStreetMap. Furthermore, Mapillary provides an API to query for images, load and store images and associated meta data. As a useful mapping data source, we naturally would like to see support for it in JOSM. Once activated, the map edit view of JOSM gets enhanced with a visual feedback of photos taken nearby. That means you’re now easily able to verify what you enter in the map. For example, you may edit a highway and have a look at photos taken along the way to see when and where speed limits change. You can have a look to remind yourself if there’s a zebra crossing, or verify if a bus stop has a waste basket or not. There are tons of use-cases, you just need to activate the plugin and hope that someone took a photo for the case you need.


Image Filters Plugin

The third plugin is intended to filter images in a variety of ways. As noted above, JOSM features the facility to add background images to the map. For example you’re allowed to put Bing imagery as a background layer and trace buildings for OSM. However, there are sets of images or regions with poor quality. They may be too dark, too light, or distorted in other ways. The plugin that was written in this project provides an infrastructure to manipulate images in a variety of ways. With only two clicks you can now do a gamma correction of the current imagery.

OSM2World Shader

This project was aimed at improving the rendering capabilities of OSM2World. OSM2World is a tool to convert OSM data to 3D models of different formats and therefore also features a viewer application for directly displaying the 3D models, and walk around in the scene. While the code already used vertex buffer objects, it was still using the fixed function pipeline of OpenGL. So the project’s goal was to move to a modern version of OpenGL, using vertex and pixel shaders. Besides that, the goal was to add support for some fancy features, time permitting. The student, new to OpenGL, did some research in advance to Google Summer of Code, so that he was able to start refactoring the code very quickly. Finally there is now a shiny new and modern OpenGL backend based on shaders only. Besides implementing lighting with a phong shader and basic texturing, there have been additional noteworthy extensions: For the first time, there’s support for bumpmaps, there are shadow maps as well as shadow volumes, there’s now ambient occlusion for even more realism of the scene and finally MSAA to remove jagged edges. The student even continued to work at his code and it was finally merged upstream. Besides the screenshots presented here, there’s also a web map for parts of Europe at

OSM2World Shader KIT

Moderation Queue

OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project with a fair amount of friendly cooperation between different users, but there are also times when problems arise, be it vandalism, spam or interpersonal conflicts. The project has some means to deal with these problems, but it’s not always good enough. The website itself features a full message system, allowing users to write other users private messages. If a message is related to a change rather than a person, we also have a feature called changeset discussions (the result of a former Google Summer of Code project, by the way). But we don’t have a proper way to signal the need for either moderators or administrators to take action on problems. This project offers a solution by introducing two main features to our website: First of, there’s a “moderation queue” that collects the different issues. Moderators or administrators can pick an issue, work on it, comment on it and set the issue to solved once it’s finished – similar to a ticket system, but specialized to OpenStreetMap’s needs. Second, the moderation queue has to be filled. So the project implemented the possibility to report problematic notes, changesets or users, allowing users to help fight spam, offensive messages and other issues. Unfortunately, this work has not been merged into mainline yet, so it’s not publicly available at the moment.


The primary goal of the Learning platform for Overpass API is to make it easier for newcomers to learn and use the Overpass API. For those not familiar with Overpass API, it is a great service that allows you to query OSM data in a very flexible and fast way without writing code. It is a dedicated query language that can be used to not only ask for nodes, ways or relations with special tags but also allows you to query for metadata such as usernames or last edit dates. You can also restrict results with further constraints. Martin Raifer, the mentor for this project is well known for his work on Overpass-Turbo, a site that offers a rich query editor, together with wizards and other useful tools, and visualizes the results of Overpass API queries, making it an invaluable tool for both developers and mappers. One hurdle for beginners, though, can be learning the query language, and not everyone is able to make sense of its documentation.

That’s why this project produced a site, a learning platform, that teaches the use of the Overpass API. Similar to Overpass-Turbo, the learning platform helps you with direct visual feedback, but combines it with very easy examples and good explanations to help you getting started. While the student did a good job, there’s still a bit of work to be done. It’s still planned to publish the work prominently on and on the OSM-Wiki, but that needs a bit of spare time to do the extra work to finish it off. In the meantime you can see the work in progress at,


This has been a great Summer of Code for OpenStreetMap, as we had interesting projects, and we had great students who worked hard and it helped to bring many projects forward. It remains to be see if these students will become a part of our developer community in the long term and continue to contribute code or help to map new data, but we’re confident that at least some of them will stick with OpenStreetMap. In that sense we’d also like to thank the Google open source team for this great initiative.

By the way: We’re currently in the process of applying for 2016’s event. If you are a student who would like to participate, stay tuned for updates and have a regular look at our wiki page on GSoC 2006 and the Google GSoC homepage.

Blog post by Peter Barth and Tobias Knerr

OpenStreetMappy Christmas

OpenStreetMappy Christmas to all the map contributors and users!

Russian user te_mark recently noticed that the OpenStreetMap node with id number 1, was quite nearby, so he went to go take a look at it, and posted a photo of what he found:

It’s a christmas tree! (or at least a fairly christmassy-looking tree. A tree with needles, as the leaf_type=needleleaved tag accurately records!)

Take a look at node number 1 for yourself.  Now we have to point out that, although it has id number 1, this is not the first ever node in the OpenStreetMap database. It just ended up with this id number after some database re-arrangements of these low-numbered ids. OpenStreetMap has 3.1 billion nodes in the database, and of course this number is rising all the time as more and more data is contributed. Nodes can represent all kinds of things. Often they’re just mid-points along a way, but yes… nodes can represent trees. We have nearly 6 million of those on OpenStreetMap.

So whichever leaf_type you get in your part of the world, we hope you have an OpenStreetMappy Christmas!


Today is MapMyDay, a campaign raising awareness of barriers encountered. These include people with wheelchairs, walking aids and pushchairs. 
The campaign uses app and website to add accessibility information into OpenStreetMap.


Barriers affect many people: Elderly, children, families as well as those with disabilities. Stopping them from being able to access places taken for granted by most people.  By mapping these barriers, the ‘MapMyDay’ campaign is starting a worldwide movement to call attention to these, with the intention of removing them.
Download the app from  As you go about your day make a  difference by recording if the places you visit are ‘fully’, ‘partially’  or ‘not wheelchair accessible’.


This week (starting tomorrow) is Geography Awareness Week. This year we’re joining in this celebration of all things geography, by holding mapathons all around the world. We’re calling it “OSMGeoWeek.”


OSMGeoWeek globe by Dan Joseph. Print your own with this PDF

Check out, to see the line-up of events. OSMGeoWeek is a collaborative effort of many partners including MapGive (U.S. Department of State), the Peace Corps, USAID, the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, Missing Maps, and of course the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team aiming to get up to 100 mapathons organised worldwide. Why not organise an event in your town? Use the contact links on the site if you have an event you’d like to see added to the list. We already have events confirmed in more than 20 countries.

mapmydayAnother event coming up next month is Map My Day ( This is a wheelchair accessibility mapping event organised by the awesome people behind Get ready to join in with that one on December 3rd.