There's no routing using public transport. Half the buildings I've tried looking up either don't exist on OSM / Gnome maps, or result in an address half-way across the globe.
That said, I prefer using HERE maps as it works very well in offline mode, including voice navigation, compared to anything else I've tried.
The fact is that getting a global mapping and navigation solution right takes tremendous effort and money (Apple can tell you a lot about how their attempts worked out for them), and I want an application that I can trust and that just works when I'm behind the wheel or at an unfamiliar location.
I'm sure OSM and alternatives will continue to improve over the years, and I'll play with them occasionally, but I will still go back to HERE, waze or google maps for the important stuff.
Building these things is hard
The hard part is learning how to map well. The documentation is fragmented: There's a multi-language wiki with a lot of inconsistencies in the translations. There are dozens of mailing lists for various regions and sub-topics. There are IRC channels. There's a web forum. There's a subreddit. There's a Stack-Overflow-style Q&A help site. There are Youtube videos. And you can often find a different answer to a simple question in each of these resources! A little chaotic. But I wouldn't quite call it painful.
Creating an account is a pain point for some people. I notify companies and individuals all the time about typos, dead links, bugs, etc. In any instance where I am not an established user, the process halts when I have to create an account. I’m giving freely of my time and knowledge; the process for me to do so should be as close to effortless as possible.
Fair enough. And even fairer, if you're not an experienced mapper you may easily be able to spot a problem but not be sure how exactly to fix it. OSM has you covered -- right-click the map and select "Add a note here". Add a quick note with all relevant info. It won't appear on the map, but mappers who are working in the area will (hopefully) see it and fix it.
Not sure if Gnome Maps implements this functionality, but most phone-based OSM clients do.
At the same time, I found OSM much more reliable when it comes to finding public transport stops in small cities. True, it's not great when it comes to "how do I get to X", but it's great for "what's the closest public transport stop near X" in cities that Google Maps doesn't/won't support.
No need to muck directly with APIs and so on to make a quick contribution.
Gnome Maps is a layer of abstraction on top of that. Not only is there no "Fix an Error" link, there's no clear path for an end user reach the Beginner's page in the OSM Wiki explaining how to edit data.
If you right click on the map, or click the "add a note" button on the right hand side, you can add a note to the map describing a mistake. You don't need to be logged in
On osm.org on my Firefox on Android I can long press and get the same popup which allows me to "Add a note". There is also the button on the right hand side for adding a note.
> a Hacker News comment hours later
My apologies, I'm in Europe and timezones, eh?
> Nobody outside the OSM community looking at "add a note" would know that it is a good way to record an error.
Can you suggest a better wording? or icon? Or system?
FTR, when you click on "add a note to the map" you get text saying:
> Spotted a mistake or something missing? Let other mappers know so we can fix it. Move the marker to the correct position and type a note to explain the problem.
"Commercial Road" - no relevant results in two pages.
"Commercial Road malvern" - no results at all. It turns out in Malvern, Commercial Rd is called Malvern Rd. It seems cruel that OSM requires me to tell it exactly what I'm searching for and to get it right. Giving related information to help the search doesn't help it find the location.
"Sydney Road" - no relevant results.
"Sydney Road brunswick" - finally, the first result is listed as "Sydney Road, Brunswick, City of Moreland, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, 3052, Australia", but it's death by too much information. (a) It's buried in a list of very similar results and I can't quite be sure the one I got is the one I want - this becomes a bigger problem with a minor street. (b) who cares that it's in the city of Moreland? If you're going to list the local administrative district name, why not also the state electoral division? Address are place names, and "City of Moreland" simply isn't a place name. It's the name of the territory controlled by the Moreland City Council, but it's not a placename. Combining (a) and (b), take a look at "Sydney Road, Sparta Place, Brunswick, City of Moreland, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, 3039, Australia". What's that even supposed to mean? I cry.
Google suffers the problem in the opposite way, normalising addresses to the most obscure and ambiguous form they could find, preferring road numbers to names, and using "Melbourne" instead of the suburb name. But at least it finds the place I'm after. OSM is barely useable. Not for want of data, but because it just doesn't care to tell me how to find what I'm looking for. It's exhausting. OSM is useless for practical purposes. I want to use it for a variety of reasons, but I can't.
It's a daunting problem, parsing a free text query that may be in any language and trying to best match it with addresses that are standardized a hundred different ways all over the globe. In its current state it isn't good enough for everyday use. It's annoying how often a Google Maps search sends me to the wrong state or even the wrong country. But with Nominatim it's almost a given.
This underscores one of the fundamental features/bugs of the OSM project: It's pretty good at attracting mappers, developers, and 3rd-party projects that use its data and APIs, but it's never really been designed to meet the needs of end users. UX, according to the classic OSM schema, is to be implemented by the various 3rd parties in whatever way suits them best. If someone wants to develop and host a Google Maps replacement using OSM data they're welcome to do it (and they can provide their own reverse geocoding solution if necessary) but that's not an immediate goal of OSM itself, according to the current leadership.
Apparently there's an issue where you think the beginner walk through should be better advertised outside of the sign up process?
I was explicitly pushing back against your depiction of contributing: Learning the complexities of the OSM API's and toolings is even lower. The process is complicated with many moving parts and tailored toward commercial level development not end map users. OSM, like any sophisticated database is complex and requires a substantial degree of technical commitment.
20 minutes for a moderately motivated person is worlds away from what you said.
Of course OSM would benefit greatly from further lowering the bar, but like you say, that's a lot of work.
Maps.Me and OSMAnd will both edit POIs (for adding a shop or whatever).
(Edit: in fact there is work in progress about this in Gnome Maps https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-maps/issues/25)
Could you link the changeset perhaps? I'm curious now.
It's quite easy to use and if you don't plan to draw new roads this is the fastest way to fill gaps wherever you are.
The more advanced app would be this: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Vespucci
Though I don't have experience with it.
OSM is not a place to explore the grey areas of international copyright law.
Google says it is. It might be true because when you get street address from Google, you are also getting the mark on the map for the location. Whether it's true legally or not, it's better to stay away from their data. That is, if you use Google maps, you agree their terms and thus you are not allowed to copy the data.
And btw, I have seen (possibly deliberate) mistakes in street address markers in Bing maps (which is the recommended map to follow for Open street map editors). So don't think that they won't find you if you copy their data).
 https://developers.google.com/maps/terms#6-googles-proprieta... (The definition of Content is explained in the following section, which says "... and places data (including business listings). ")
Microsoft has generously provided permission and server resources for use of Bing Aerial Imagery since 2010, but that's different than their map product.
Lately there's a bunch more imagery providers that give permission for use in OSM. Mapbox, Digital Globe and ESRI all provide imagery layers with global coverage. There's also quite some government imagery available, OSM editors will show them as an option in the areas they cover, so be sure to check when editing.
I don't know whether Bing Maps uses trap streets  or not.
As an OSM contributor in the UK myself and my peers only use clean-room data ( firsthand visit ) or data from public sources ( planning applications etc )
Edit: for all people blindly ramming that downvote button, see my explanation below.
OpenStreetMap isn't an experiment in the legalities of copyrights, database rights and terms of service. Only use sources with clear provenance and clear permission.
Note that this is a FAQ:
Obviously that only covers one specific angle though.
You can't assume that everything on Google Maps is from scanning public web sites. Sometimes, apparently, they do some actual investigation.
Plus, Google's not always right anyway! Nothing's more embarrassing than being caught copying incorrect information. So do your own research. Obviously copying info from a public website is fine, but info on the ground is going to be more complete and reliable. (Plenty of businesses are sloppy about updating their websites.)
So what prevents someone from extracting all of Google Maps' data to OSM?
The OSM community will delete your contributions if you do this. And you risk being banned. Please don't bring copyright infringment into OSM
Open Street Map specifically bans doing so, and if you’ve done any edits based on this, they should be reversed, as they threaten the legality of the entire project.
Apple Maps has improved so much. but it's only as good as the data it's fed.
Worked out pretty fine in the end if you ask me. I'm using apple maps all the time and it works just fine.
I find talking to other people and asking for directions is better because you (sometimes get shortcuts and) meet new people, find out interesting facts, get updates like, "Yeah it's over there but it's closed due to flooding" or, "over there mate but if you go around the back you'll skip the queue." Aint no online system telling you those gems.
I've also found reading a static map and or remembering the directions given to me, or discovering them through exploration, solidifies the knowledge and I remember them long term.
We rely too much on GPS.
> We rely too much on GPS.
A slightly more extreme variant of this argument would be "Have you ever set out a rain-catcher and drunk your own water? It has more bacteria so your guts are more hardy, and not having enough water builds character. We rely on the water system too much".
There are various other arguments along that line that could be made, but they're all basically "Why not ignore technical advances and do things in a more time consuming and error prone way to build character (or have a more genuine experience or something)"
There is nothing wrong if a person wishes to do this. I know map enthusiasts who like to learn roads and maps and cities' grid systems because it's a hobby.
However, encouraging people to ignore technological advancements is silly; for someone who wants directions from A to B, digital maps are obviously superior, and it's time-saving measures like these that add up to advance society and improve our lives.
> Aint no online system telling you those gems.
Google maps and reviews do tell you if a place is closed, if you should go in a different way, or if there are secret menus often as not, but this tiny factual bit isn't my actual gripe, but rather the tone of the comment as I responded to above.
I'm saying don't rely on it too much. Don't expect it to always be there. Have fun with other options. Learn to read a map because it's a fun and useful tool, and so on.
> This anti-technological-advancement stance
Please don't put words into my mouth or tell me what I am or am not. I'm literally a programmer working in tech who uses Google Maps at least once per week.
I know not everyone can ask for directions. Not everyone can even use a mobile phone but that doesn't mean I can't offer it as a solution to a problem.
You'll have a local build, with all the dependencies met, in an IDE to contribute to the project.
It's also a searchable registry of all kinds of businesses, a review and qa aggregator for everything from mountain peaks to restaurants; a price comparison tool for hotels; an organized photo database where for many restaurants you could, if you wanted to, see a satellite view of a restaurant, aerial footage, then street view imagery and finally photos of individual dishes. The list goes on, I'm sure there are features I've never seen because they are not available where I live. It's probably the most impressive customer facing Google product, and maybe the hardest to replace.
That said, I still have both Google Maps and Osmand on my Android device. While it doesn't have the breadth of functionality that Google Maps does, and Osmand's interface takes some getting used to, more often than not OpenStreetMap exceeds Google Maps in terms of accuracy and detail of the pure map data. Which is incredible! So when I'm planning a hike, I use OSM. But during the hike, when I'm searching for a place to have a bite, I use Google.
I hope, when you're on your hike, you add the restaurant to OSM! :) Along with all the other info (wheelchair accessibility, wifi, opening hours etc etc)
Which makes it's a shitty pure map. Every time one of those "features" gets in the way of typing in an address and navigating, I want to throw my phone out the window. That stuff should be plug-ins for people that think they need it.
Huh, out of curiosity, I just checked Google Maps, and it suggests that walking from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok would take 1,883 hours. That's quite a discrepancy. I suspect that Google is probably more accurate in this instance.
It's fine for individuals to use it for whatever though.
(I've added "for individuals" to my first comment)
This post lost me here. I couldn’t cross Maryland in 60 hours on foot. Much less Russia. Missing some zeros?
Russia has a maximum east-west extent of some 5,600 miles (9,000 km) and a north-south width of 1,500 to 2,500 miles (2,500 to 4,000 km). (According to Encyclopedia Britannica)
How long would that take to walk? Let's look at another continent for data..
According to the Pacific Crest Trail Association the Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) and the elite athletes can do two months, generally it takes five months.
So: 60 days to cross Russia North-to-South is not entirely out of question.
And then, who knows what the author meant. If you were to walk from Pattina, Estonia to Rasony, Belarus, that's about 60 hours and almost all of it is in Russia and in a sense it crosses Russia.
Without having ever used Gnome Maps or looked at the code, it seems to me that adding this could be a reasonably straight-forward pull request. I'm not necessarily suggesting you yourself should do it, but a quick bug report to this effect would get picked up quickly, I'd hope.
In Australia, addresses are in the form [Street Number and Name], [Locality (i.e. suburb, town, rural district), Postcode State]. Localities are therefore very important. They need to be in any mapping database of Australia, because people will enter addresses in that form because it's what the post office uses and the local councils define.
But it looks like someone went to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and downloaded the "State Suburb" boundaries and uploaded them into Open Street Map. "State Suburbs" are not places and not used in addresses. They're statistical regions used for reporting statistics. "State suburbs" are built up of other statistical regions to approximate towns, suburbs and rural districts. They sometimes correspond well enough at a broad level to suburbs in metropolitan areas, but even in densely populated urban areas they can be wrong because what makes statistical sense isn't always the administrative border. In country areas, they take scant regard for locality boundaries. "State Suburbs" should never have been uploaded to the database.
(There's an analagous problem with Local Government Areas, which are statistical regions, and municipal districts, which are the territory of a local council. But here the distinction is going to be rarely significant because LGA boundaries are deliberately aligned to municipal district boundaries. Consequently it's more a matter of the source of the authority than the content of the data.)
You can go to data.gov.au and download locality boundaries for each state. These are what is wanted.
But I have no idea how to do this. I don't really know where to begin. I once asked someone for help about trying to find the right forum to ask for help. But it's daunting. When these online databases contain work that is wrong, it's so hard to fix them. People will be possessive of the work they've done. It's possible some of them have been corrected. Others might have been partially corrected. I just don't see how I can go through and fix them without upsetting anyone.
The alternative seems to be to just accept that there's wrong data in there because there's way too many to fix manually, even if I start now and keep going in all my spare time for the rest of my life.
If you want to upload a dataset to OSM, be careful! that's called an import, and can be tricky to do. As you've noticed, it's easy to add the wrong data the wrong way. Imports are advanced topics https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import
OSM can store all sorts of data, so there might be a need for the "State Suburbs", esp if you want to do statistical work. But you point out that they shouldn't be used for geocoding (address lookups), so maybe those state suburbs are tagged wrong.
What areas are you looking at.
One place to look at is Mirboo. I've just picked it to avoid yielding too much PII, but it barely respects the existence of surrounding rural districts. (It might even swamp them like others I know - I'm afraid I don't have my full system here.) I know of other examples (locations to which I have an attachment), but you'll forgive me if I avoid giving too much PII on a public forum.
I'm afraid I can't give an exhaustive list because I haven't produced one. Also because I anticipate that if I produce a report it will come to nothing - I usually find that public databases are curated by people who will refuse to accept that any major corrections are necessary because they've already worked on the problem for years and therefore a major correction is taken to be an insult.
As an example, if I can only produce examples in rural areas, I fear that someone will say "we have thousands of correct addresses, but there's only twenty addresses affected by this example, and thirty by that example - it's not important enough". At that point it seems there's no point even producing a report. OSM will just fall into the category of useless databases, where, like Wikipedia, accuracy and convenience are not valued.
The OSM Wiki contains a Data Catalogue for Australia.
The issue right now is that both the PSMA data (that you want OSM to use) and the ASGS data (that you infer it is using - and in some cases that might be the source of the boundaries that were entered, but it is not officially in use by OSM) are licensed under CC-BY, which is not 100% compatible with the ODbL that OSM uses.
The necessary solution is to request an explicit waiver from the data provider, which has been requested for PSMA, but (as far as I know) never received a response.
I wish they would add a local tile cache, like Marble. Not everyone are online all the time.
I think it's still hidden behind an environment variable though due to some uncertainty behind who the long term tile provider would be.
Gnome calls this behavior the "CSD Initiative":
that sounds so strange to me.
Why target the desktop instead of web/Android/iOS ?
GNOME has been working on improving touch interface support with an eye towards mobile devices for years now.
Personally I tend to look up where I'm going prior to leaving rather than relying on turn-by-turn navigation systems. I load up a map, and use navigation features to route my trip, and I personally consider this navigation - just not realtime. Usually I write down the directions on a scrap of paper. Not everyone willfully carries around a surveillance device, and options like GNOME maps makes it possible to still have modern technology at your disposal without participating in these highly invasive ad-funded surveillance systems.