- French GR-20 routes. Google maps are laughably empty, while OSM has you covered with almost the same information as the hiking maps you can buy on the trail.
- Anapurna - similar to GR-20 situation. This route gets changed often due to landslides, but there is always some person doing a great job updating information not too late after.
- Volcanoes - OSM maps often contain camping grounds, water sources, etc. This is something I actively contribute too. The level of detail is amazing. Some guides in fact lose potential clients because of this.
OSM is a wonderful feat by all its contributors, and isn't appreciated as much as it deserves.
- detailed maps from 1:10,000 to 1:1,000,000
- hiking routes which are actively maintained. You can create your own hiking routes, and it will estimate the time that it will take to complete them.
- historical data, like historical maps since 1864 and aerial photos
- aeronautical maps, naval charts, geological maps, ...
- basically any kind of data that you can find on maps, such as land registery, water planning, spatial planning, etc.
I am not sure if other countries provide this level of service free of charge. I would be curious to see what other countries offer on this topic.
That's the easy-to-use-maps.
There's also the aus-wide https://nationalmap.gov.au where you get basic satellite maps with the option to add various datasets and even daily maps from Landsat 2A
There's also ELVIS foundation spatial data https://elevation.fsdf.org.au
There's don't really cover hiking trails that much, etc. There's more general purpose mapping applications.
It's also possible to find various topographic maps in static form somewhere on the government sites.
Councils are the ones that provide the hiking trails, etc. so it depends on the locality. The Northern Beaches council for example provides an interactive trails map, but most have static maps.
Btw: the URL for Six maps is: https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/
Not sure if it was changed but it took me a few tries to find the right permutation
How do you view daily maps from Landsat 2A? I couldn't find it in the options on nationalmap.gov.au
Planning maps are usually unfortunately only held by the responsible subjects (towns and larger administrative blocks), so there's no one map or one format. Most of these maps are at least published in some viewable capacity, though, from what I can tell.
The debate is what 'free' means :)
I think some of the questions about what 'free' of charge mean are answered below in the frequently asked questions section.
I also use Gaia GPS as a planning tool. Fiddle with routes on the laptop, then load the relevant map squares on the phone for offline use. It has the NatGeo maps, plus several other sources, available for overlay. With this, my NatGeo paper maps largely become backups.
I guess the paper will be out of date, I'm not sure what the new electronic ones do for local and regional trails (I think they would print okay, they just aren't distributed directly on paper).
I remember a hike we did on holiday in the Drôme department of France when I was a little kid, long before OSM or Google Maps or even Microsoft's Terraserver. Must have been somewhere in the mid to late 80's, I think. We did have a paper map though, and I think it was an official topographic map. We started in one valley and the plan was to hike up the ridge and then down to the neighboring valley, where we knew the Tour De France was going to pass that day. Watching the Tour was not really the main objective, otherwise we would have driven to a more suitable spot by car, but it was an incentive to keep us kids going. In hindsight we could never have made it on time.
The map clearly showed paths on both sides of the ridge, and sure enough, walking up the ridge went smoothly (if tiring) along that path. But when we arrived at the top, there was no path down the other side to be seen. There simply wasn't one, and the terrain was not exactly suitable for walking down without a path. The world simply didn't conform to the map. So we stayed there for a while and saw the Tour pass far below us, much too far to recognize anything except the helicopters but even those looked more like flies than helicopters from our high point of view.
That wasn't the only time we saw significant differences between French maps and France itself, but it was by far the most memorable one.
OpenStreetMap with the traditional topographic view. But I was not able to find where you wanted to hike to see the Tour de France.
Sure enough, that passes through the Drôme departement where we were on holiday. I don't have the exact route for that stage, but it's described as a hilly stage so I assume it passed through the Vercors Massif on its way to Grenoble. That's most likely where we were that day, but where exactly I can't tell. I could ask my father but I don't think he'll remember either. It's quite a long time ago, after all.
Then you cant close it or obstruct it even if you are the land owner
For those in a similar situation, I use this
Personally I follow
- global Discord channel (and local one) https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Discord
- global and local Telegram - https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/List_of_OSM_centric_Tele...
- forum of a local community
- https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tagging_mailing_list (if you enjoy participating in design of tagging schemes)
Like, if there is a small open spot or some minor structure in the middle of the woods, I will add it. If someone is walking and not sure if they are still on the right track, they can look around, see the open spot, see the open spot on OSM, and know that they are indeed at that place.
That won't get them into the OpenStreetMap database, but it makes them available (if you set them to public) for anyone looking to add the trails.
There's also apps like StreetComplete. It has 'challenges', where it prompts you for answers to questions and updates OpenStreetMap accordingly (so what is the surface type of a road, things like that).
Vespucci is a full featured editor for Android.
On the left side you have a list of apps/devices with guides and summaries
It asks the difficulty level, time you'd like to spend, and whether you want to map at home or on the terrain.
Do you have a list of such tools? Do you have a source for attributing this to malice rather than ignorance?
Now, my personal opinion on mobile editing: Vespucci is a bit complex, but basically allows you to do anything on the go. I ususally save GPX tracks using OSMAnd, but it can be heavy on the battery.
I have GPS traces for a number of Amtrak routes across America. I wonder if those would be useful.
The heat map was changed to hide military bases, etc, but it broke slide and no one cared enough to fix it.
This. 'death by GPS' is a thing unfortunately, and those are usually maps you actually pay for which makes it worse, in some way.
It's a good way to tell if a mapping service is using their own data or just ripping off OSM though.
Also, until quite recently (and maybe even still today) Google Map was terrible at bike routes in and around Amsterdam, whereas OSM was excellent at it. I remember how Google ignored major bike routes and tried to send you over highways or footpaths instead. Nowadays they just send you along bike paths next to major car thoroughfares, instead of sending you along the major bike thoroughfare that's discouraged for cars, running parallel to it.
Somewhat similar to the situation with IT, where sufficiently documented software or hardware cuts into consultancy fees.
It is cool that OSM has the data, but I hope anyone attempting the summit is getting information more directly from other climbers.
I've been using OsmAnd and it's okay. The interface is pretty good. It supports offline maps, but not location sharing. Map tiles are kind of slow to load compared to Google Maps, which is odd since the tiles have to be downloaded to local storage. The location search often includes redundant results and whatever database they use to store place data is sparse on details like pictures, hours, or reviews. I'll keep using it to stay de-platformed from Google as much as possible, but I'd be willing to pay a bit for something more responsive and polished.
EDIT: performance issues seem to not be due to rendering the vector data.
Are you on iOS or Android?
On Android there is the OsmAnd Online GPS Tracker .
I can't speak as much to the location searching capability.
I'd be interested in something more FOSSy, myself.
MAPS.ME is gone. We must bring it back: https://telegra.ph/What-happened-to-the-old-MAPSME-12-20
Is OMaps available for phones yet? All I can see is source code.
Very nicely designed. It seems to be gone now however, maybe someone else knows why.
That said I had to piece this together from some commit messages by the F-droid maintainers so I'd prefer a better source myself.
With their map styles  OpenAndroMaps are IMO the best hiking maps you can get. They even added very precise elevation data from LIDAR scans recently.
I like its ability to show the different map layers, and it has great information screens that show things like GPS coordinates and such, great for geohashing or geocaching. Also has a cool display of how many satellites are visible and whether they're GPS or GLONASS or whatever.
The track recording feature is also nice, saving as a gpx file that can be easily uploaded to the openstreetmap online iD editor with drag-and-drop.
Payment might include leasing out your infrastructure to the project until cryptos become viable for something other than ponzi schemes.
When you pay, you may still be a product. There is no (economic) law that dictates that when you pay, your data may not be sold.
Paying customers might dissapear if they find out you make additional profit through datamining or -sales. So there is more incentive not to sell or mine data, but it is no guarantee.
The only guarantee is when technology ensures the service provider does not have the data at all. E.g. through e2e encryption.
The data in OSM is pretty good but there are no apps for it that are actually good other than leaflet JS for embedding on sites.
Have to remember that a maps app is way more than just data. Its efficient routing, its good text to speach, its pulling in data from multiple sources like the gps location of the bus I'm waiting for or the roads closed for construction currently.
You would also need a whole bunch of heuristics for the OSM dataset that the current apps don't have. OsmAnd would not be able to tell the difference between the turning lane on an intersection and an entire road that just has no name because the way the data is entered is there is just an unamed path joining the roads so the text to speach would say "bear slightly left" instead of "turn right on to foo street".
I'm not sure if you are really saying that Open Source is unfit for GIS. Because there is a lot of proof it is a perfectly suited model for GIS.
But I completely agree with the point of the original comment.
Open Source software often comes with questionable usability and is often not well fitted to be used by the average consumer. While lots of open source applications offer the same, if not more, features than their commercial counterparts, it often feels like you need a special degree to use a simple android application or desktop app.
Without a good and usable, cross platform application to use with OSM, OSM will never be something used by the average consumer.
Which I still disagree with, but that is a different discussion. It has nothing to do with Open Source being unfit as model for sofware around OSM or GIS.
Edit: to be clear: Bing Maps, Apple Maps, Facebook, WhatsApp are just some of the (average) consumer facing products that use OSM for their data. Some solely use OSM as data, others enrich and/or use it to mix with other sources.
This to show examples of how OSM data is used in and by apps that you probably use. But where the data is Open Source, the app using it, is not.
> Its efficient routing,
This is a hard one especially for long routes when calculated on a phone rather than on a server.
> its good text to speach,
Ummmm. Text-to-speech is almost always provided by the OS rather than the app.
> its pulling in data from multiple sources like the gps location of the bus I'm waiting for
There are surprisingly good apps for bus navigation using OSM in some parts of the world. Unfortunately, where I live, bus companies seem to "license" that data only to Google.
> or the roads closed for construction currently.
This is literally part of the OSM dataset.
> You would also need a whole bunch of heuristics for the OSM dataset that the current apps don't have. OsmAnd would not be able to tell the difference between the turning lane on an intersection and an entire road that just has no name because the way the data is entered is there is just an unamed path joining the roads so the text to speach would say "bear slightly left" instead of "turn right on to foo street".
Rather than "heuristics for the OSM dataset", we generally need a more complete dataset. A "turning lane on an intersection" and an "entire road that just has no name" should be mapped differently. The turning lane will probably be mapped as a "link" type road with a "destination:street" of the road that it is going to (if it is mapped as a separate road at all). The generic no-name street will be mapped as a road with "noname" (yes, there is a special tag for this). Further, in many cases, a "turning lane" will be mapped with the "turn:lanes" tag on a road leaving no room for confusion with generic unnamed roads.
I will admit that in current mapping in many places you will often get "bear slightly left" rather than "turn right on to foo street". However, this is almost always caused by a (current) lack of completeness in the data rather than a need to create some sort of set of heuristics to figure out what is "actually" going on.
I think the hardest part for a good maps app that you did not mention is search. Searching in OsmAnd (offline) is abysmal. In fact it is worse than that. It is so bad that I will switch to a web browser, search on DDG, open a link in GMaps, find the coordinates and copy them to OsmAnd for routing because I know Osmand search does not have a snowball's chance in h** of remotely finding what I want in any sane manner.
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:noname (used for example by StreetComplete that I really recommend if someone has Android, wants to contribute and is not interesting in learning to use a complicated editor).
The basic idea of the app is that cyclist record their bike rides through the city and accelerometer data is used to report dangerous situations (e.g. a car crossing a cycle lane without regards for the cyclists). It turns out that this accelerometer data can also be used to check the cycle path quality. Some cities respond well to the idea while others just ignore the problem
Is there something like an Open Routing project where this dynamic data would make more sense than in OSM?
There were two issues:
1) It was way too early for this idea as the devices that had the HW for it were rather rare
2) I had no killer app that would entice people to install and run the app. There were no app-taxi companies at the time and just telling people that "please download and open that app when you are driving to help the local municipality fix the roads" wasn't really going to fly
I'd still love to work on that idea though.. one day :)
The problem is that potholes do not exists because cities do not know where they are.
They exist because of lack of resources or priorities.
Thats one of the big issues with OSM though, they have an attitude of "Thats not my problem, it should go in another dataset" but then no one actually has an alternative place to put it so users just miss out.
The idea, in my words, is to have a standard on how to link between layers: how to merge them, so to say.
That way, a routing app for a car would only need the roads and their features layers. But the search engine for tourists needs the poi layer and not all the road details.
A 'live' layer for e.g. traffic density could then be a neat commercial product for OSM consumers. But without standards to link your layer to, say, the OSM streets, it is almost impossible to offer and process such a layer.
I have been utterly staggered how accurate and complete it is in every conceivable scenario - dirt street villages in Sudan and Mali, capital cities in same, capital cities in South Africa and all over the US and Canada.
I also used it to drive down through Southern Europe, to cross parts of the Sahara and Namib deserts and even in the mighty Congo it had more detail and info than any other mapping source I've ever seen.
My hat is off to the OSM team.
 loading OSM into a Garmin is a nice easy way to get free routable maps on your dashboard for the entire world - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZRQrG6bC3k
Not sure how much of the mapping was done from aerial imagery and how much was actual GPS tracking, but it was better than I expected. And this was about 5 years ago.
Here is the base repository of their contributions on GitHub: https://github.com/osmlab/appledata
And if I see this correctly, the #adt hashtag (for Apple Data Team) contains already +100000 changesets for this year alone: https://osmcha.org/?filters=%7B%22comment%22%3A%5B%7B%22labe...
Vespucci app can be used to do it directly on phone.
Vespucci vs StreetComplete are quite interesting, in many aspects they are complete opposites.
 Available as PWA and Android app: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Osm_Go!
I try to maintain all restaurants etc in Denmark by comparing OSM POIs to public health inspection reports.
So today there are 243 restaurants, cafes and fast food places in OSM that do not have a valid inspection report (the pink ones on my map). I think that many are just closed temporarily because of Covid and therefore have not been inspected and the inspection report just timed out. Probably some that have an inspection report will never open again, but I will soon find out.
Many of them are cafeterias for employees in larger companies and will likely open again.
Many restaurants are open for takeaway, also many that did not do takeaway before the lockdown.
I have lately been doing speedlimits, mostly from Mapillary. But I have also done some surveying on bicycle.
OpenStreetMaps is funded by... well, actually, it's complicated. There are lots of individual donations, but there is also money by Amazon, Facebook and Apple. And some other corporations.
Regardless - consider making a donation:
I would also entreat you to ask OSM to get off corporate funding. And of course, if you can, contribute map data about where you live.
Same devs as the stunning https://www.windy.com/ weather site which also has an app:
If you're more about hiking, maybe “Gaia GPS Hiking, Offroad Maps”:
Functioning offline without sharing your location (or data derived from it) with some big-tech company selling it for $.
Their iOS offering has gotten fairly good recently. It does cost a small amount of money to get the full version. The free version is complete (it is only limited in how many regions you can download) and more than useful for trying it out.
This might have been reverted later but it was big on HN a few weeks ago.
that 54TB figure is only if you pre-render into raster every zoom level of every tile for the whole world. a more typical self hosted openstreetmap renders the tiles on demand as you scroll or move the map.
Disk space usage is MUCH less, such that my test/development setup fits well on a virtual machine with 300GB of disk space on a 12TB hard drive that cost $145. By this measurement I believe it's using just under 4 dollars of disk space, 8 dollars if you count its duplicate where it gets backed up to.
Running your own tile server isn't too bad. The tiles are cached so that not much processing power is needed after a while of usage. Yes it requires storage but so would any self-hosting solution.
The site linked already provides docker images, I'm tempted to build a pi one.
hosing the entire planet is not sensible, but you can safely host a region/city/small country.
that said im not in love with maptiler and trying out a bunch of other tile servers with limited sucess.
The features that are there are included from a particular zolm level. If you want to make a global railway map - so you will show major railways at zoom 2, say - you would need to hack around, since the first zoom the railways appear on is 4 (or whatever).
What you can easily customise is showing those railways at zoom 4+ (or not) and the style of the lines.
If you want some of the features you mention rendered in your application you probably have to "Generate your own vector tiles from selected OpenStreetMap tags" as they also mention on their website.
 I'm not even a customer of them, just browsing their website.
Even the slightest nudge of a single coordinate point on the line would mean that they were not geometrically identical, so I would not know to compare their attributes. Names are almost laughably bad for this purpose, for having multiple forms ("N SECOND ST" vs "NORTH 2ND STREET") and for being terrifying vague (so many, many Main Streets). Worse yet, a given segment might be split at a point not an intersection (speed change occurs here, municipality change, directionality change, road type change, etc) so I cannot even rely on those. And it is entirely possible for different maps to include a driveway, splitting a street at that point, while another does not, leaving it continuous.
Large-scale automated comparison of this kind of thing is challenging.
It's _much_ easier for automated comparison to replace `street` with `st` than it is to guess which one of many possible expansions to replace `st` with (is it saint? street? sankt? strasse?).
This isn't foolproof but much of the "authoritative" data out there has no such convention, making analysis much more dangerous.
> SharedStreets Referencing System is a global, non-proprietary system for describing streets. The Referencing System is the foundation of the SharedStreets toolkit and it is used to connect a wide range of street-linked data. The Referencing System connects street data from private companies and cities. Referenced data can then be transferred between different maps seamlessly.
I think it can align maps that have similar streets that may not align perfectly coordinate wise.
libpostal (open source, open data location parser) might help with this. Between using it to parse the name, and supplementing this with the city name (using reverse geocode with imprecise coordinates), you might be able to get something useful.
People got used to it very quickly, to the extent that they would not remember the change ever happened.
If you have a broad enough roads to have two-way streets everywhere, there's little motivation for it to change. [Edited to note: at the level of individual cities, OSM's directionality was often estimated to be 100% correct]
But, with some narrower one-way streets, there becomes a clear motivation to tweak things to improve traffic flows (and also tweak the surrounding two-way streets).
Indianapolis has been moving that direction, at least, but I don’t know how widespread it is.
Back then, it unfortunately wasn't usable for us, but I kept the research bits aside just in case when I left the job in 2013.
When I spoke with someone still at that company a few months ago, I learned that over the years OSM had evolved/matured enough that they were using it far more than google earth.
I miss GIS/Mapping. It's great to see it is still a collaborative community. :)
Only ones accurate enough are Google (won't use) and Mapbox.
Mapbox purchases data from, I believe, TomTom, and other proprietary sources. That's why they have cheap(er) pricing if you want to get results without the legal ability to store them, and much more expensive pricing if you do want to store it. I'm sure negotiating that arrangement with the proprietary address data vendors was...fun.
Nominatim is the defactor open streetmaps geocoder but its weakness is that it relies on only that; so it is only as good as OSM is.
Geocoding is a surprisingly hard problem to solve with and without open data. Picking apart text strings into unambiguous addresses is just super hard with all the conventions for this around the world. One area open streetmaps is still inconsistent is house numbers and postal codes. Getting solid open data for that is just hard in some places.
(or a discount for the ephemeral results if you want to look at it that way)
I'd like to add my Google Maps contributions to OSM
I'm a Level 7 local guide there and was an active user of MapMaker back in the day..
If you personally surveyed these places you can go to OpenStreetMap.org, sign in and then you can add your changes - OSM may already have the info so a straight import wouldn't be possible.
Make sure not to copy any of Google's details to OSM that you didn't personally survey as that would violate copyright.
Please reach out to me if you'd like a hand with getting started mapping on OSM :)
GDPR data portability could be expanded to include defined formats for export so that import can be done in an automated fashion.
That comment doesn't provide any value.
> You want to make it such that facts added by anyone can be easily imported with a simple opt-in.
OpenStreetMap is much larger than just me or one company.
> GDPR data portability could be expanded to include defined formats for export so that import can be done in an automated fashion.
Imports are not an easy problem - how do you deal with conflicts? How to verify which data is more accurate?
Imports are supported, and there is a detailed process for them to make sure OpenStreetMap stays well maintained: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import/Guidelines
So you see a lot of use of OSM as a base map, but very little use as a mapping database for commercial applications. I see why they did this, to prevent companies taking their data to bootstrap a closed competitor, but the consequence is that the data is locked in and is getting much less use than you’d hope as a database.
Keep in mind this:
Which eases the issue a little bit. For instance, MS uses OSM buildings for Bing Maps. Or Apple uses OSM for road data in selected countries (Ukraine?)
My understanding is if you did this with OSM data you’d either have to make the algorithm that did the calculation public, or the output dataset (locations as keys and the final ratings for each as values).
OSM has exceptions for horizontal slicing (layer separate data on top of an OSM basemap), for vertical slicing (union OSM data with separate data) and for trivial manipulations, but it seems it doesn’t if you do this kind of non-trivial processing of OSM data.
So that means that it’s almost impossible for a company to find an interesting way of processing the data which can give them an advantage over a direct competitor, and there’s no real incentive to do so.
This is my reading of the terms from a few months back, hopefully I’m wrong about it. But I suspect this is why it’s rare to see the data being used like this.
It says clearly there that the underlying database for a produced work has to be published. So can a competitor not just request the derived database directly from a company selling the API?
Also, “ If the published result of your project is intended for the extraction of the original data, then it is a database and not a Produced Work” - does that not exactly describe an API? It talks about mugs, data visualisations, map images, physical maps and so on as produced works. I thought this meant you could protect (i.e. not release) essentially a styling of map data, but not the map data itself, which must be released.
But I wonder if there is any propagation delay from OSM to Lyft. When I made some changes to OSM data, I expected the Strava app to pick up the changes for route creation, but they don't receive updates constantly. Instead, it took several months until the changes took effect on Strava.
Or me directly - though either would likely require revealing your address and location to diagnose what is going wrong.
I personally am not really interested in geospatial precision, I mostly use public transport so I need all the bus/tram/etc stops placed and named accurately.
OSM worldwide is a mix of open datasets and original data. We'd not be as complete if one of those two were missing.
But a lot of building numbers were missed.
So I had to use Google Maps when I had Internet connection.
use the wizard.
Are there companies that fund employees to work on Open Street Maps?
You can also contribute directly - there is edit button on https://openstreetmap.org
StreetComplete may be useful if you have and Android phone and you are not interested in learning how to contribute (registering for OSM account is the worst step).
Vespucci (for Android), Go Map!! (for Apple devices), JOSM (Java standalone program) are full-scale editors that I also recommend.
As for street-level imagery there's Mapillary and KartaView, both relying on volunteers with smartphones.
The most important stuff, and the real asset of OSM, is what can't be added with aerial imagery: POIs aong with their attributes, road surface, speed limits, turn restrictions, paths in forests covered by trees and so on.
* If many people enjoying or live somewhere they will update it very fast and accurate. Way beyond google and apple will ever have. (If a bench is placed somewhere else on a school campus then it will most likely be update within a few days, from my experience at least)
* Small structures are detectable on air and satellite images but it is really hard to know what kind of structure it is.
* Data from the dutch local governments do, from what I see on OSM, often contain good updates on new buildings. But if something old is changed. (Like a temporary school building is removed then that change is not reflected by a data update from the goverment, and it is often removed by a user after a while) So getting better data from the governments is probably a thing.
* A lot of layers are build on top of OSM. For example if a building is easy to use as a person who uses a wheelchair and if there toilet is wheelchair friendly. My ex-girlfriend was in a wheelchair so I used a app for that a lot. But she never used It. They app was very slow and had a strange UI. So changing the data of custom layer on top of OSM with better tools is hopefully going to be a thing.
* Users use it mostly because they like to contribute. Google has the power to send many people notification questions about places where they have been. OSM does not have this power.
* I would dare to say that OSM is already way more precise then google or apple maps. But users do not always care about that. The big driver for me to keep using google maps is that I often just want to go somewhere, and to go somewhere means that I want to travel by using the train or bus (after covid). In the case i'm in the city I want to know how long it takes to go somewhere by bike or by foot. In the case i'm going to a new city I often want to see how something looks and Google streetview or general images are better then a map. Google prioritizes all that information above having a more accurate map.
So no I do not think it's about getting more people involved. I think it's more about what kind of user does the platform want to have.
² It's fine to use OSM for commercial purposes, but hosting the tiles costs bandwidth and computational power. Embedding the community servers in your taxi tracking product and refreshing the page and map background every second is just a dick move.
The interfaces that you see—even on the OSM website—are a myriad of separate projects.
Used Magic Earth on my phone which is based on OSM. The very first address I input was off by about a mile. Didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence.