Openstreetmap logo.svg
OpenStreetMap of Cambridge, England
Slogan The Free Wiki World Map
Commercial? No
Type of site Collaborative mapping
Registration required for contributors
Owner OpenStreetMap Community. Project support by OpenStreetMap Foundation.[1]
Created by Steve Coast
Launched 1 July 2004; 7 years ago (2004-07-01)
Alexa rank increase 8,623 (November 2011)[2]

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.

The maps are created using data from portable GPS devices, aerial photography, other free sources or simply from local knowledge. Both rendered images and the vector dataset are available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence.[3]

OpenStreetMap was inspired by sites such as Wikipedia;[citation needed] the map display features a prominent 'Edit' tab and a full revision history is maintained. Registered users can upload GPS track logs and edit the vector data using free GIS editing tools like JOSM.[4] Various mobile applications also allow contribution of GPX tracks to the OSM project.



Steve Coast (2009)
OpenStreetMap usage stats. Dark is better and popular.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) was founded in July 2004 by Steve Coast. In April 2006, the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) was established to encourage the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and provide geospatial data for anybody to use and share. In December 2006, Yahoo confirmed that OpenStreetMap could use its aerial photography as a backdrop for map production.[5]

In April 2007, Automotive Navigation Data (AND) donated a complete road data set for the Netherlands and trunk road data for India and China to the project[6] and by July 2007, when the first OSM international The State of the Map conference was held there were 9,000 registered users. Sponsors of the event included Google, Yahoo and Multimap. In August 2007 an independent project, OpenAerialMap, was launched, to hold a database of aerial photography available on open licensing[7] and in October 2007 OpenStreetMap completed the import of a US Census TIGER road dataset.[8] In December 2007 Oxford University became the first major organisation to use OpenStreetMap data on their main website.[9]

In January 2008, functionality was made available to download map data into a GPS unit for use by cyclists.[10] In February 2008 a series of workshops were held in India.[11] In March two founders announced that they have received venture capital funding of 2.4m euros for CloudMade, a commercial company that will use OpenStreetMap data.[12]


By August 2008, shortly after the second The State of the Map conference was held, there were over 50,000 registered contributors; by March 2009 there were 100,000 and by the end of 2009 the figure was nearly 200,000. As of May 2011, OpenStreetMap over 400,000 registered users.[13]

Not all registered contributors actually contribute to the map; a minority of individuals contribute the majority of the content: in March 2008 approximately 10% of the registered user base were contributing map data each month.[14]

Map production

Recording a GPS trace.


The initial map data were collected from scratch by volunteers performing systematic ground surveys using a handheld GPS unit and a notebook, digital camera, or a voice recorder. These data were then entered into the OpenStreetMap database.

More recently, the availability of aerial photography and other data sources from commercial and government sources has greatly increased the speed of this work and has allowed land-use data to be collected more accurately.

When large datasets are available, a technical team manages the conversion and import of the data.

Structured ground surveys

Raw GPS data (tracklogs) for Hedge End.

Ground surveys are performed by a mapper, on foot, bicycle or in a car or boat. Map data are usually collected using a GPS unit, although this isn't strictly necessary if an area has already been traced from satellite imagery.

Once the data has been collected, they are entered into the database by uploading it on the project's website. At that point in time, no information about the kind of uploaded track is available - it could be e.g. a motorway, a footpath or a river. Thus, in a second step, editing takes place using one of several purpose-built map editors. This is usually done by the same mapper, sometimes by other users registered at OpenStreetMap.

As collecting and uploading data is separated from editing objects, contribution to the project is possible also without using a GPS unit. In particular, placing and editing objects such as schools, hospitals, taxi ranks, bus stops, pubs etc. is done based on editors' local knowledge.

Some committed contributors are systematically mapping whole towns and cities over a period of time, or organising mapping parties to intensively map a particular area over an evening or a weekend.

In addition to structured surveys, a large number of smaller edits are made by contributors to correct errors or add features.

Government data sources

Some government agencies have released official data on appropriate licenses. Much of these data have come from the United States, where the federal government does not copyright such data. See Copyright status of work by the U.S. government for more details.

Various authorities have also made more local detailed aerial photography available on suitable licenses through OpenAerialMap.

Out-of-copyright maps can be good source of information about features that don't change frequently. Copyright periods vary, but in the UK Crown copyright expires after 50 years and hence Ordnance Survey maps until the 1960s can legally be used. A complete set of UK 1 inch/mile maps from the late 1940s and early 1950s has been collected, scanned, and is available online as a resource for contributors.

Commercial data sources

Some commercial companies have donated data to the project on suitable licenses. Notably, Automotive Navigation Data (AND) provided a complete road data set for Netherlands and details of trunk roads in China and India.

In December 2006, Yahoo! confirmed that OpenStreetMap was able to make use of their vertical aerial imagery and this photography was available within the editing software as an overlay. Contributors could create their vector based maps as a derived work, released with a free and open license,[5] until the shutdown of the Yahoo! Maps API on September 13, 2011.[15]

In November 2010, Microsoft announced that the OpenStreetMap community could use Bing vertical aerial imagery as a backdrop in its editors.[16]

NearMap Pty Ltd have, since launch in November 2009, made their high-resolution PhotoMaps (currently of major Australian cities, plus some rural Australian areas) available for deriving OpenStreetMap data under a CC-BY-SA licence.[17]


Homepage of

The OpenStreetMap database

OpenStreetMap data is published under an open content license, with the intention of promoting free use and re-distribution of the data (both commercial and non-commercial). The license currently used is the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 licence; however, legal investigation work and community consultation is underway to relicense the project under the Open Database License (ODbL) from Open Data Commons (ODC), claimed to be more suitable for a map data set.[3]

As part of this relicensing process, some of the map data will have to be deleted. This includes all data contributed by members who have not agreed to the new licensing terms, as well as all subsequent edits to those affected objects. It also includes any data contributed based on input data that are not compatible with the new terms. It is not currently known how much data will be removed, but it is thought that the effect will be much greater in some countries than in others.[18]

Input data

All data added to the project need to have a license compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. This can include out of copyright information, public domain or other licenses. All contributors must register with the project and agree to provide data on a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 licence, or determine that the licensing of the source data is suitable; this may involve examining licences for government data to establish whether they are compatible.


Software used in the production and presentation of OpenStreetMap data is available from many different projects and each may have their own licencing. The core Ruby on Rails code to manage the databases, much user interaction and the API are available under a GNU General Public License.[19]

Certain parts of the software, such as the flash-based map editor Potlatch2, have been made available as public domain.[20]


OpenStreetMap data is available through an increasing number of sites and in different formats:

Online raster maps

Mapping is available online at general mapping sites:

Map Theme Area
OpenStreetMap general, cyclists, debugging Worldwide
OpenStreetBrowser overlays, search, navigation, wikipedia, public transport Worldwide
Information Freeway general, almost realtime Worldwide
OSM WMS Servers general, Web Map Services Worldwide
OpenSeaMap nautical chart Worldwide, multilingual:
seas, oceans, waterways, weather charts, harbours, Wikipedia
FreeMap walkers parts of the UK
Reit- und Wanderkarte walkers and riders Austria, Germany, Switzerland
TopOSM walkers and riders United States
OpenCycleMap cyclists Worldwide
OpenMTBMap cyclists (esp. mountainbikes) Worldwide
YourNavigation routing Worldwide
OpenRouteService routing Europe
OpenOrienteeringMap orienteering style Worldwide
OpenPisteMap skiing some European and USA resorts[21]
Bing OSM "Map App" general Worldwide
CloudMade general, mobile and various other custom styles Worldwide
OpenAviationMap Airspace indexing and classification Braunschweig Germany
MapQuest Open (beta) general, routing Worldwide
NearMap up-to-date photomaps populated areas of Australia
OSMTransport public transport Worldwide
ÖPNV-Karte, or OpenBusMap public transport Europe
OSM Mapper Debugging maps by Ito World Ltd
OpenLinkMap Map showing additional information, e.g. websites, wikipedia, contact, ... public transport bus routes India (Chennai) [Bangalore and Delhi under development stage]

Off-line raster maps

  • Marble viewer by KDE for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows
  • Kosmos Renderer for Windows
  • OpenSeaMap downloadable charts for PC (all operating systems), Garmin, Lowrance, PDA, PNA
  • eBookMaps downloadable street maps for ebook readers (Kindle, Nook etc.)

Handheld GPS receivers

  • Garmin: There are several programs available that can convert OpenStreetMap data into Garmin compatible maps[22]
  • Bryton Ryder 50 is the first cycling computer and SatNav device to come with OpenStreetMap data factory-loaded[23]

Mobile phones

A wide variety of programs exist by now that use OpenStreetMap data to display maps on mobile phones,[24] supporting a large number of different devices. Amongst supported devices are nearly all phones that can run Java ME, making OpenStreetMap available to the majority of current phones, as well as platforms like Maemo, Android,[25] the iPhone,[26] Windows Mobile[27] or Openmoko.[28] The various programs distinguish themselves according to key features like if they use raster maps or vector maps, need an Internet connection or can be used offline, support alternate render layers such as cycle paths,[29] support address search or advanced features like routing, thus catering for a large number of different needs for viewing maps. With the inclusion of OpenStreetMap support in several programming libraries for mobile phones[30][31] it is also possible to include OSM maps in other location-based service.


Yahoo has started using OpenStreetMap data within its Flickr service for various cities around the world, including Baghdad, Beijing, Kabul, Santiago, Sydney and Tokyo.[32][33][34]

Blog/CMS Integration

The WordPress OpenStreetMap plug-in[35] inserts maps and adds geo meta tags to posts / pages of WordPress blogs.

Drupal has multiple OpenStreetMap plug-in modules[36] to integrate database content with OpenStreetMaps.

Joomla also has a variety of OpenStreetMap related modules[37] and plug-ins.[38]

Map data

Map data is available for download in a variety of formats and for different geographical areas:

  • OpenStreetMap osm[39]
  • CloudMade osm, garmin[40]
  • Geofabrik osm, esri[41]

OSM provides information that other map sites don't provide:

Monopoly City Streets

In 2009, Hasbro, the games company behind the property trading board game Monopoly, launched Monopoly City Streets, a massively multiplayer online game which allowed players to buy streets all over the world. Although the game used map tiles from Google Maps and the Google Maps API to display the game board, the underlying vector street data was obtained from OpenStreetMap.[42]

Streets Clock - OpenStreetMap vectors in physical product design

In 2009, Austrian mass customization company Fluid Forms introduced the vectors of OpenStreetMaps into the proprietary product "Streets Clock". It is an online design interface with which people design customized wall clocks from a city's street-map. Fluid Forms uses the vectors to enable visitors of the website to get previews of how the clock will look in real-time.[43]

Haiti earthquake

During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, OpenStreetMap and Crisis Commons volunteers used available satellite imagery[44] to map the roads, buildings and refugee camps of Port-au-Prince in just two days, building "the most complete digital map of Haiti's roads".[45]

The resulting data and maps have been used by several organisations providing relief aid, such as the World Bank,[46] the European Commission Joint Research Centre,[47] the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,[48] UNOSAT[48] and others.[49]


Map rendering and presentation

OpenStreetMap of Soho, central London (Mapnik layer)
  • Online Ajax-style OpenLayers based slippy map interface. Displaying map tiles rendered by:
    • Mapnik — C++ open source map rendering software used on the main OSM site
    • Osmarender — XSLT style sheets for generating SVG images from OSM data. Used as part of the Tiles@home distributed map-rendering system for the main OSM site.
    • MapOSMatic — generates city maps of using OSM data with the map split in squares allowing to easily look for streets, and an index of the streets with references to the squares on the map.
    • Cartagen - javascript/HTML5 "canvas" element based renderer (client-side rendering).
  • Desktop
    • CartoType - Map rendering and routing library for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (commercial).
    • osm-gps-map - Open source Gtk+ widget for displaying map and track data.
    • GMap.NET — Offers a Free .NET control for displaying OSM and other maps on desktop and windows mobile.
    • Maperitive — Windows and Linux application for rendering maps, it is a successor to Kosmos.
    • OSMMap — Windows tool for browsing the OSM Maps (using Mapnik and Osmarender)
    • tangoGPS — Open source, Linux-based mapping application for use with or without GPS. Suitable for use on many Linux platforms including desktops, the eeePC and phones such as the Openmoko Neo.
    • Prune - Open source Java application for viewing and editing data recorded by GPS. Uses OSM for the map layers.
    • GPSDrive - Open source car navigation application running on Linux/BSD/OS X
    • Marble - Free and open source desktop-globe, which supports OpenStreetMap data.
    • Navit Free, modular, touch screen friendly, navigation system with GPS tracking, which can use and render OpenStreetMap data.
    • OSM2Go for Maemo
    • Nokia's Ovi Maps for Maemo
    • Quantum GIS — Open source desktop GIS which includes OSM plugin
    • luckyGPS - Open source mapping,tracking and offline routing/navigation software
  • Tablets
    • World Maps Offline online/offline map viewer for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) (paid, closed source)

Map data collection

  • GPSBabel — converts tracklogs from one format to another.
  • AFTrack — Symbian 60v3 for Nokia mobile phones, live tracking and routing software, from version 1.03 onwards
  • WhereAmI - Symbian S60, S80, and UIQ live tracking and OSM data download and rendering (GPL'ed)
  • MyMotion — Windows CE tracking software
  • TrackMyJourney (TMJ) - Java ME tracking software, which show OSM data, and uses OSM data for routing over the air.
  • OSM2Go — Mobile/Desktop Hildon/Gtk editor includes tracking functionality
  • OSM Live - displays who is editing the Open Street Map in realtime
  • iLOE - (iPhone Little OpenStreetMap Editor) Editor for the iPhone (Upload and edit nodes, collecting and editing)
  • MapZen POI Collector — iPhone Points of Interest editor by CloudMade
  • OSMTracker — track logging with quick tagging ability. It's available for Android and Windows Mobile.

Map data editing

JOSM - Java-based map editor
Merkaartor - Multi-platform Qt-based map editor

Routing (directions, navigation)

There are lists of online and offline routers available on the OSM wiki. Following routing software supports OpenStreetMaps:

Mobile routing

GPS tracking

Data format

OpenStreetMap uses a topological data structure.

  • Nodes are points with a geographic position. Positions are stored as coordinates (pairs of a latitude and a longitude) according to WGS 84.[51]
  • Ways are ordered lists of nodes, representing a polyline or polygon.
  • Relations are groups of nodes, ways and other relations which can be assigned certain properties.
  • Tags can be applied to nodes, ways or relations and consist of name=value pairs. They are used to store metadata about the map objects (such as their type, their name and their physical properties).

Up to version 0.4 of the protocol, an intermediate element between nodes and ways (segments, line segments which two node produced) was also used.

A recommended ontology of map features (the meaning of tags) is maintained on a wiki.

See also


  1. ^ "FAQ". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Fairhurst, Richard (7 January 2008). "The licence: where we are, where we’re going". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ja, ich würde OpenStreetMap mit Wikipedia vergleichen" (in German). Der Standard. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Coast, Steve (4 December 2006). "Yahoo! aerial imagery in OSM". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Coast, Steve (4 July 2007). "AND donate entire Netherlands to OpenStreetMap". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Black, Nick (7 August 2007). "OpenAerialMap – Community contributed aerial imagery". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Willis, Nathan (11 October 2007). "OpenStreetMap project imports US government maps". Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Batty, Peter (3 December 2007). "Oxford University using OpenStreetMap data". Geothought. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Fairhurst, Richard (13 January 2008). "Cycle map on your GPS". Système D. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "WikiProject India". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "We’re funded!". CloudMade. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Stats". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "We’re on a road to everywhere". OpenGeoData. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Coast, Steve (30 November 2010). "Microsoft Imagery details". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Community licence". NearMap. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  18. ^ OpenStreetMap Foundation. "We Are Changing The License". 
  19. ^ "OpenStreetMap License". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. "OpenStreetMap software is licensed under the GNU GPL" 
  20. ^ "Legal FAQ". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. "Several contributors additionally make their code available under different licences" 
  21. ^ "WikiProject Piste Maps". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  22. ^ "OSM Map On Garmin". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  23. ^ Jones, Jeff (4 November 2010). "Bryton Rider 50 and Rider 30 GPS units – First look". BikeRadar. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  24. ^ "Software/Mobile". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  25. ^ "Android". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  26. ^ "Apple iOS". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  27. ^ "Windows Mobile". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  28. ^ "Openmoko". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "Feature-Comparison". AndNavWiki. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "Mobile Map API SDK download". Nutiteq. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  31. ^ "iPhone & iPad SDK". CloudMade. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  32. ^ "Around the world and back again". Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  33. ^ "More cities". Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  34. ^ "Japanese progress in osm. Amazing stuff!". 
  35. ^ "WordPress OpenStreetMap plug-in". Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  36. ^ "Drupal OpenStreetMap plug-in modules". Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  37. ^ "Joomla OpenStreetMap osmMap Module". Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  38. ^ "Joomla OpenStreetMap WISroGIS plug-in". Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  39. ^ "". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  40. ^ "CloudMade Downloads". CloudMade. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  41. ^ "Download-Bereich". Geofabrik. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  42. ^ Raphael, JR (8 September 2009). "'Monopoly City Streets' Online Game: Will Buying Park Place Be Any Easier?". PC World. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  43. ^ Williams, Stephen:The OpenStreetMap Streets Clock
  44. ^ Forrest, Brady (1 February 2010). "Technology Saves Lives In Haiti". Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  45. ^ "Digital Help for Haiti". The New York Times. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  46. ^ Turner, Andrew (3 February 2010). "World Bank Haiti Situation Room - featuring OSM". 
  47. ^ "Haiti Earthquakes: Infrastructure Port-au-Prince 15/01/2010" (PDF). 15 January 2010. 
  48. ^ a b Batty, Peter (14 February 2010). "OpenStreetMap in Haiti - video". 
  49. ^ "WikiProject Haiti". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  50. ^ "GSP-Trace Orange". Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  51. ^ WGS 84 OpenStreetMap Wiki

Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • OpenStreetMap — Motto The Free Wiki World Map …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • OpenStreetMap — OpenStreetMap …   Википедия

  • Openstreetmap — URL Slogan …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • OpenStreetMap — Información general URL …   Wikipedia Español

  • OpenStreetMap — Logo officiel URL Description Service collaboratif de cartographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • OpenstreetMap — est un projet pour créer des cartes libres du monde sous licence CC BY SA, en utilisant le système GPS ou d autres données libres. OpenStreetMap a été fondé en juillet 2004 par Steve Coast au University College de Londres[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • OpenStreetMap Foundation — Formation 22 August 2006 (2006 08 22) Type company limited by guarantee Location England Website …   Wikipedia

  • Java OpenStreetMap Editor — JOSM JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) Java OpenStreetMap Editor …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Open Street Map — OpenStreetMap URL Slogan …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • OpenStreet Map — OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap est un projet pour créer des cartes libres du monde sous licence CC BY SA, en utilisant le système GPS ou d autres données libres. OpenStreetMap a été fondé en juillet 2004 par Steve Coast au University College de… …   Wikipédia en Français

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