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Upgrading from Google v2 API? Free yourself and upgrade to OpenStreetMap

google-v2-javascript-no-longerHave you received an e-mail like this?

“We cannot guarantee that your maps will continue to function. We highly recommend that you migrate to Google Maps v3 before November 19.”

Yes, Google Maps are shutting down their old JavaScript Map API (v2). They recommend that you spend a lot of time rewriting your code to switch to the newer v3 API.

But why not spend that time switching to something better?

OpenStreetMap is the map made by experts – the locals who know their area intimately. It has footpaths and bike paths, alleyways and waterways, green spaces and public places, along with the roads and railways you expect. It’s updated every minute of every day, not just next time Google sends out a StreetView car. No wonder big names like Foursquare, Github and Mapquest have already made the switch to OSM.

Switching from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap is easier than you think. If you’ve struggled with the old Google Maps APIs, you’ll find our equivalent, Leaflet, a breath of fresh air. Its smooth presentation will give a real lift to your site’s appearance, and on mobile it’s as fluid as a native app.

And if you want to go further, OpenStreetMap lets you build your own, beautiful custom maps from our data. You’re not limited to the same Google styling that everyone else uses. Because it’s all open source, you don’t even have to pay us anything for ‘premium’ services.

So how do you do it? The OpenStreetMap community runs the website which offers several recommendations for switching to using OpenStreetMap. Check out the ‘Basics’ and ‘Using Tiles’ sections to find how to switch your JavaScript to OSM. If you want to build your own custom maps, you’ll find full details there too.

Because ultimately, OpenStreetMap is much more than a Google Maps API replacement. We offer something rather different: free and open access to raw map data. This empowers developers to unleash a wave of innovation and creativity which goes beyond embedding maps on a website. Best of all, when people use OpenStreetMap on their websites, more people see the map; more people join in with mapping efforts; and the community-created map gets even more detailed. By using OpenStreetMap you are supporting it, and helping us with our not-for-profit mission to create the best free and open map of the world.

New Humanitarian Style

We’ve added a new map style option to the OpenStreetMap front page. Feast your eyes on the new “Humanitarian” style:

This style has been developed by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to support their work, highlighting features they are most interested in, as well as just providing a contrasting stylisation of the map. The developer Yohan Boniface explains:

“OpenStreetMap data is as rich and varied as the real world. And, just as when you look through a window you can’t take in the whole world, so it is with a map based on OSM data: you can’t show it all. This is why we decided to provide the view from another window, through our own map and cartography, focusing on the world as seen through HOT’s community.”

“You may have noted that the colour scheme is light and pastel. This is certainly an aesthetic choice offering a nice contrast with the “standard” OpenStreetMap style. Consistency in the colour is also key to the readability of a map. But there was another goal for this. Now maps are everywhere, whether it is online or printed. But a generic map like the one we are building is generally only part of the message: whether it is online or printed, maps are often used with some custom data on top of them. For example, markers can be added to an online map to show specific points of interest. But also, more simply, they can be printed in order to draw on top of them. This could be details of a trip, a vaccination campaign, or additional map data when mappers are surveying. In all those situations, the map should do its job, providing geo information, but also leaving visual space for the main message.”

Read more about the new style on the HOT blog.

You can access this new style along with our other featured tiles any time you’re browsing the front page map, by clicking the layer icon on the right hand side.

2013 Articles of Association Update

At the upcoming Foundation annual general meeting we will be voting on a new set of articles. The articles are essentially the constitution of the organisation and should lay down the law for how we operate.

Why are we revising the articles this year?

It is not uncommon that over time rules imposed by an organisation’s articles start to be at odds with reality, in the case of the OSMF there have even been issues from the beginning. Given that OSM and with it the foundation have become far more visible and important, we can no longer afford to simply ignore the differences that exist between what is prescribed and what is our day to day practice.

The process that has lead to these new proposed articles has been 2-3 years in the making, and not all of the change requests that accumulated over this period have found their way in to this new text. For this reason we expect more changes at the 2014 general meeting. Further, some of the goals we had for the current changes have not been 100% met due to legal restraints. None the less I would strongly recommend that the general meeting accept the new articles, they are far better than what we currently have.

While I cannot relieve you from the task of actually reading the new legal language, I do want to point out the major changes to the current set of documents.

The new text makes a structural change in that it merges our previous two constitutional documents, the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association. We have not made any substantial changes to the objects of the foundation even though in discussion it has been suggested that we make them more specific to the OpenStreetMap project. On top of the merger the whole document has been reformatted and numbered to be in line with the requirements of the new 2006 companies act.

The main issue with the current articles is that they assume that all our members are members according to the UK companies act, this requires us to collect full names and postal addresses from all members and make them available to third parties on request. While there are ways to get around publishing the address, we still consider it problematic from a data privacy point of view that we cannot offer an alternative. The new proposal adds a “associate member” class that sidesteps the above issue.

Our original goal was to afford “associate members” exactly the same rights as normal members. This turned out to not be possible with respect to resolutions and special resolutions at the general meetings which remain reserved for the companies act members. In practical terms this means that the “associate members” will not be able to vote on changes of the articles and dissolution of the organisation, and a handful of other topics. The “associate members” will however be able to elect the board and vote on motions at the AGM. You remain free to choose between regular and associate membership. After adoption of the new articles we will be contacting all existing members for instructions with respect to their membership class.

The proposed text allows us to use electronic means for our correspondence with the members and does away with the need to be physically present at the general meeting location. It still assumes that we are using a conventional proxy assignment for our e-mail voting, we are exploring alternatives to this for the next revision.

During the public discussion early this year I touched on the issue of including an asset lock in the articles, there wasn’t very much feedback on the topic and for that reason we are postponing adding such text to the next revision.

The board was evenly split on the matter of voting corporate membership. As this tends to be a hotly debated topic in our membership too, we have decided that we split the vote on the articles in to a vote on the new text and a vote on a set of amendments that add voting rights for corporate “associate members”.

As the last important point, the current articles did not detail how a member could lose membership either by not paying the membership fees or by being expelled by the board. The new articles try to lay down a reasonable set of rules for this,  in line with our current practice.

Again, while not perfect and with some remaining warts, the new articles are a big step forward. The board and myself strongly recommend accepting them at our upcoming meeting in Birmingham.

Simon Poole

New map controls on

new front page controlsWe’ve just gone live with some changes to the map controls on the front page.

“Re-organise the map tools. Take them from all four corners and just put them together in a more organised way”, explained Designer Saman Bemel-Benrud in his SOTM U.S. presentation as he put forward this and many other ideas for front page design improvements.

As well as re-arranging things, you can now use browser geo-location to locate the map where you are (geolocate-icon), and the map layers picker (layers-icon) now gives a preview of the different map styles on offer (Those which we feature on the front page. There are many others of course)

We’re excited to unveil these changes which we think will improve the experience, particularly for new site visitors, and we will continue to make improvements in the coming months. Obviously if you’ve been using the OpenStreetMap website for some time, the re-arrangement may take some getting used to, but we hope you like it too!

Big thanks to John Firebaugh, Saman Bemel-Benrud, Tom MacWright who did the javascript development and design work for this with a healthy dose of feedback and collaboration from others. Many issues have already been discussed and weighed up, but if you have further feedback, the dev talk mailing list could be the best place for it. (Updated: discussion seems to be happening on the ‘talk’ mailing list)

Fund-raising drive. Thank you Lokku

We kicked off a new donation drive a couple of weeks ago (at the same time as bringing you the new iD editor). We have a £40,000 target for some specific hardware upgrades, and since then we’ve seen tremendous support and good will directed at OpenStreetMap from people all over the world as the donations come in, bringing us up to 23% of the target at time of writing.

We’ve just received our first large donation from Lokku, pushing us forwards to the tune of £2500 . Thank you Lokku!

lokku ltd

Perhaps this will be the first of many larger donations from supporting companies. We’re very grateful to Lokku for kicking things off, and for all their support over the years. Lokku are the people behind Nestoria, #geomob london, and also (coming soon) OpenCage Data. You can catch up with them at the U.S. conference SOTM US, and OSMPlus.

If you would like to make a donation head over to…

>>> <<<

There is additional information on the wiki about our plans for these funds, but essentially with the money raised, we’ll be making some new hardware purchases which are important and necessary to keep things running smoothly as we continue to see astounding growth of our community. More mappers contributing, and more end users seeing our maps.

OSM Foundation Awarded the “Geospatial Content Organisation of the year 2012”

OSMF Geospatial Content Organisation of the Year 2012

OSMF: Geospatial Content Organisation of the Year 2012

The Geospatial World Leadership Awards Jury has conferred the OSM Foundation with the “Geospatial Content Organisation of the Year 2012” award. This award on earlier occasions has been presented to both Google Earth and Bing Maps and is given out by Geospatial Media based on nominations by the Geospatial World Magazine.

According to their statement, the jury “was convinced and felt overwhelmed with vision and capabilities of the Foundation in developing, maintaining and making available, the voluminous, exhaustive and constantly updated geospatial data.”

The award was received by Henk Hoff, board member, on behalf of the OSMF, during the Award Night of the Geospatial World Forum. Henk thanked the organisation for the award and with that recognizing the project as a reliable source for global open geo-data. He continued with: “The real success behind OpenStreetMap is it’s community. A community of more than a million volunteer contributors around the world. I would like to dedicate this award to them.”

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

OpenStreetMap opens up to more contributors with easy ‘add a note’ feature

OpenStreetMap, the collaborative map of the world often called “the Wikipedia of mapping”, has unveiled a new feature designed to make it even easier to contribute.

For the first time, anyone viewing the map can suggest a correction – such as a renamed business, a missing footpath, or a changed road layout – without learning to use map editor software.

notes screenshot

The corrections will be picked up by OpenStreetMap’s million-strong army of volunteer mappers. A local mapper can visit the location to check the suggested information, and then update the map.

OpenStreetMap’s data is used by some of the biggest mapping names on the web, including Foursquare, Craigslist, Wikipedia, Mapquest, and Apple’s iOS Maps app. It is also extensively used in humanitarian operations, most famously after the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

The new feature is part of a drive to open up OpenStreetMap contributions to more people – so that everyone can add their local knowledge to the map. Later this spring, an all-new HTML5 map editor will be coming to; its intuitive controls and clear walk-throughs will encourage more map users to take the plunge and become map editors.

“It’s the detailed local knowledge of our contributors that makes OpenStreetMap so much in demand from web and app developers,” explained Simon Poole, Chairman of the non-profit OpenStreetMap Foundation and a Switzerland-based mapper himself.

“By making it even easier to add to the map, we’re increasing the amount of on-the-ground knowledge we can capture – further distancing OSM from the traditional map data companies and their lack of local expertise.”

To add a note or correction to OpenStreetMap, find your area on and click ‘Add a note’ in the bottom right corner.

Background information

Notes are freeform natural text, read by other people, making this is a very simple way to communicate any problems we notice about the map without needing to get to grips with OpenStreetMap and its tagging system. Although this functionality has been available for a while on the third party site OpenStreetBugs, adding it to the main OpenStreetMap site brings it to a much greater audience.

Although it is not necessary to have an OSM account to create a note or comment on it, registered users can see all the notes they have created or commented on, and will receive automatic email notifications if the status of a note changes. OpenStreetMap’s enthusiastic community is its greatest strength, and these notifications facilitate an exchange between the original reporter and experienced mappers.

A full API is available for the notes so that third party sites or apps can query existing notes, create and comment on them – opening up possibilities for mobile bug reporting and fixing. The system is expressly designed for high-quality reports from individual users, not automated error checks or ‘bots’.

OpenStreetMap takes copyright very seriously. Registered users agree not to copy from other maps when signing up, and are requested to verify each suggested correction from non-registered users using ‘on the ground’ information. OpenStreetMap is a map for the people, by the people, and made with personal local knowledge.

Further details are available on the OpenStreetMap community wiki.

Weekly OSM Summary #66

March 25th, 2013 – April 8th, 2013

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

  • The new OSM iD editor reached version Beta 1. You can also find some slides by John Firebaugh that include some background information of iD here.
  • Is someone interested in taking over the OSM editor Merkaartor? Read more here.
  • A first initial dump of all OSM GPX tracks is downloadable now. You can find additional information in the following thread.
  • Frederik Ramm wrote an article about his work at the OSM Foundation Data Working Group.
  • The OSM Inspector Routing View is now available for the whole world as a single layer.
  • A Youtube video about the “ViaAlpin” mapping party.
  • A new mailing list has been created for discussions and questions about tile-serving.
  • The rendering of the OSM France tile server has a neat visualization for soccer and golf fields.
  • Simon Poole’s QA Map service has a new layer. It can highlight way objects with and without name or address-tags.
  • Matthias created a video about the integration of OSM data into SuperTuxKart game.
  • Some notes from the latest HOT meetings and an update on Kunduz mapping.
  • The website formally known as , is now available at: . You can find some additional information here.
  • Several US users had some issues using the Overpass-API. This has been fixed now.
  • How to use OSM map tiles from Stamen or MapBox as basemaps in

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

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