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The OpenStreetMap project started with the goal of creating a street map that anyone could edit. It has grown to include many tools for geospatial data entry, refinement, and classification. The OSM community have extended the project scope to include many types of map featur including:

An extensive list of map features can be found on the OSM Wiki.

Including detailed data about our communities can lead to innovative solutions that help users find the locations of services and objects nearby.

Collecting Data

In order to contribute to the OSM project, you may want to collect some data. It is advisable to browse the OSM map in an area of interest, to see if there are any features that are lacking. Then, hit the streets and collect some information. Several tools may prove helpful in your data collection activities:

Optional items include:

  • Porrtable GPS unit
  • GPS smartphone (e.g. Android)
  • Camera - to visually record features and details
  • Voice recorder - to make notes

Adding data to OSM

The process of editing content on the OSM project starts with creating a new OSM account.

Once you have created an account and logged in, you will be able to use the Edit tab at the top of the map.

There are several tools for editing OSM data, some work in a web browser while others run off-line.

  • iD - browser based editor
  • Potlatch 2 - browser based editor
  • JOSM
  • Merkaator

In addition, you can upload files from your GPS device in the GPX format. These 'traces' help you, and other users, to determine the accuracy of the map, trace new areas, and

Cleaning up and verifying data

There are also tools for cleaning up and verifying OSM data accuracy:

Share your field notes with the OSM commnity

Each user account can create a personal OSM Diary. Diaries help other OSM community members learn about your work, and make connections. This is a great way to find collaborators and inspiration for your OSM projects!

Export OSM data

Data from the OSM project is licensed in a way that encourages distribution and modification. You can download OSM data in small areas, or download the entire Planet data set.

Further reading

Task Discussion