Intuitively I would have assumed that this would be really difficult to do, but the tools OSM provides for editing are actually quite easy to use even for people with no clue like myself.
You don't even require accurate GPS hardware or anything. Knowledge of your surroundings combined with the (blurry, but available none the less) satellite imagery might already be enough for you to really do good.
In my case, I've added building numbers of my neighborhood, marked one-way roads, added a few gravel foot paths where they were missing and I knew where there because I walk on them on my commute and so on. All this required zero hardware nor actual knowledge in map making (also: The changes are still in unaltered, so I assume they weren't all bad).
Using a cheap GPS tracker and a bike I furthermore added a few small lakes and a small creek close to where I live. The GPS tracker was very helpful as the satellite imagery was (understandably) just showing forest, but biking around the lake a few times was really helpful in giving me the correct measurements.
All this was both a lot of fun and absolutely trivial to do. I highly recommend that you give this a shot on your end. I'm a person with zero experience in map making and yet I could easily contribute my part and I had an absolute blast doing it.
Also, if you are good with directions, this isn't limited to the places you live now - I've also added a lot of detail to the map around the place where I went to elementary school (yes. The environment has changed a bit, but that was a great opportunity to visit the place again).
Contributing to OSM is a very pleasant and fun experience.
It took literally just ten minutes to map the whole block - building outlines, numbers and addresses, car parks, POI for the pub on the corner. The iD editor is ridiculously good, and mapping really is quite fun!
To contribute to OpenStreetMap, you only have to know somewhere. It's quite likely that almost everyone knows something that isn't in OSM.
Even 2 people from the same town, but live 1km apart could probably contribute different things to OSM.
Combine that with everyone wanting to see their own town/city/house/area on a map, and it's a recipe for explosive growth.
Most of my point still stands w.r.t. Firefox. QA, graphic design, education, translation and documentation are still skills that lots of people don't have.
As for knowing how to tag things, most of the time it is self-explanatory, and then you pick things up over time by looking at the wiki. I wouldn't worry about getting everything perfect from the start, for instance, you can add building outlines, and then in the future go back and add addresses if you choose.
So, depending on where you live, you may find local trails are on there (although you've still got to go in person to confirm they do actually exist, and to know exactly what they are - mountain bike trails, or narrow footpaths, or wide tracks for horses and 4x4s). In theory, it means you can shift effort away from sorting out gpx tracks, and more into getting the contextual information correct.
(As for me, I prefer jOSM - more complex, Java-based, not in-browser; more powerful in various ways: https://josm.openstreetmap.de/wiki/Download )
Pushpin is my favorite for iOS right now, because you can just mark the location and while moving on you can select what type of POI it is. It's also all in your edit history so at home you can for example then look up the restaurant and add more information in the browser. http://pushpinosm.org/
It was giddying to discover that Bermuda had great satellite images, but zero mapping and then a few hours later you'd literally put a well-known place like Bermuda "on the map" by drawing in most of the main roads, airport and so on. Great to see that others have built on this with detailed information.
Very fond memories.
OSM even includes horse trails and bicycling routes that I can't find in any other map available online. Not even local, official maps.
The weakness in OSM still is that it's difficult to tell whether or not the maps are of good quality and up to date for a particular region.
There should be some sort of heuristic based on the number of edits which could guess at Goodness.
a 2nd peeve is how it chooses what cities you view on a map when zoomed out. Go look how far down you have to zoom before you see Philadelphia on the map. New York city? 'nope, but we'll show you elizabeth and paterson instead'.
lastly, oh you want to look at other countries? how about we use their language instead. ugg
> lastly, oh you want to look at other countries? how about we use their language instead. ugg
Well, that's what everybody outside the US or non English speaker has to deal with all the time. OpenStreetMap simply is a global project, while google still is very US centric.
and for the record, yes, google maps is way better. Not only is the data more accurate, it uses consistent and easy to differentiate symbology.
While this demonstrates the huge progress of OSM, it is important to keep in mind that the hardest (and not so rewarding) part of the work is not to create the maps, but to keep them up to date!
That's why it is important to keep supporting OSM.
In Romania, Transylvania using instead of a map it was very good. Even the little dirt roads were there. I had three problems with the app. The navigation did not wanted to respect my setting for "prefer highways", we always tried to regenerate the route, "we are near, maybe now it will know". Seemed like it hated highways. The app felt very buggy, I know it is free, but froze a lot of times and has un-intuitive controls. For example if I wanted to add navigation to a target it sometimes used a location from yesterday or something totally unrelated. Asking a question "Do you want to keep the current route?" it sometimes keeps the current route, sometimes reverts back to a route before, sometimes even just shows where I was yesterday. Third is, searching is a PITA. Because a lot of house numbers are missing you can only input intersections, sometimes it works, sometimes not. Searching for POI-s is good (remember, it is offline), but a lot of things are missing. I found if I add favorites and want a route between them then that usually works. (I don't know how the app creators are related to OSM.)
Anyway, I recommend the app because it is valuable and usable if you don't have connection (and free if you use only 10 maps).
Recently I wanted to use a web based map in one of my project and I found it is very easy to use OSM with http://leafletjs.com/. It has some bugs (I couldn't get a "map loaded" event out of it, maybe it is just me) but overall I think it was easier to set up than a google map. The one thing I missed is the geocoding of addresses, it is not really reliable because of the missing house numbers, instead of OSM I used the google solution and they can work together flawlessly.
I am glad to see a free map solution gaining popularity. Where I live there are events for mapping. I think on Saturday there was an event for mapping accessible roads/buildings for disabled people and someone even added all the fire hydrants downtown.
If there is some OSM solution for Android that offers simple text search and offline maps, I would like to know about it.
On the recent version I have installed, when you bring up search there are icons at the top that switch between different types of search. The stylized "i" has the POI and text search.
On the general UI, so and so. Searching for a place can be confusing as the results are often verbose and redundant. Overpass is great for the advanced user (and i really hope it sticks around), but unusable for the average user, where google is miles a head (search for pubs in $city for example).
On the navigation and mobile site I'm not convinced.
Aesthetics is a huge selling point, especially when used for business, and I can't help but think that its the factor that is holding OSM back from prime time.
I would like the default style on OSM.org to be a bit nicer, but the problem is that that site is designed more for editors than users - the point of that map is to try and show as much info as possible - half the battle to get a really good looking map is getting rid of information you don't need to show.
If you want to "consume" OSM data, you better find an app or site using the best rendering for your use case. (cycling, trekking, accessibility, etc). OSM is 'just' a database.
I am not saying your wrong, but it is a common misunderstanding that OSM is an open equivalent to Google Maps. It is more a common data source for Google Maps competitor. Where you're right in your assessment is that there might be currently no prominent apps using OSM as its source.
See the following list if you find something nicer :
For a long time, North Korea was shown as a featureless area in google maps.
I wonder if some of this data - both on OSM and Google Maps - was from defectors and military sources.
I don't really know much about NK, but I can't help thinking their regime wouldn't be too happy if their citizens gallivanted around with GPS devices and uploaded POIs to western internet services.
What is the best way to use OSM on mobile, specifically iPhone? I remember trying some apps before but I didn't like them. Is there anything as polished as the Apple/Google apps?
But I'd say OSM mobile apps tend to be a bit more focused (or bitty) than Google Maps. So, for instance:
Maps.me - concentrates on offline viewing, target market seems to be tourists, but probably useful in general.
Komoot - concentrates on hiking/biking, planning routes, giving back surfaces of trails, elevation pathways, etc.
...though they still don't have the street I live on. Looks like I have something to do the next time I need a weekend project!
The entirety of New York is missing in 2007, doesn't even have a correct coastline :) Completely populated now with some pretty darned good data.
It's more expensive and slower than on mainland France, but it's still reasonable for a rather isolated island (I have used ADSL Internet over there myself, but I didn't have to take care of the administrative details, so there might be some variation in the actual prices).
Personally like his other tool, the OSM vs. US Census Tiger 'battlegrid' : http://188.8.131.52/battlegrid/#10/41.8941/-87.7753
Nominatim prefers to associate streets with administrative boundaries that they are inside of. The data for counties is pretty solid, and in the U.S., pretty much every street is properly inside a county (or equivalent). The data for other administrative units is less solid (and often times less clear in the real world). If a street is not found inside of a city or town or the like, it is assigned to the nearest "place" node (I think with some accommodation for significance of the place). So, for instance, that's how Blackgum Drive ends up assigned to Marblehill.
I'm not sure how other people are thinking about it, but I think the long term solution to what you are seeing is to build up exact address information and then also index that data for street-city (or place) relationships in search results. Given the way zip codes work and the hand waviness of postal addressing (the post office does a good job correctly routing miserably addresses mail), this is probably more sensible that trying to create boundaries.
It would also be possible to index streets to several nearby places (but of course that's more work up front and more data to sift through on each search).
And it is not located in Jasper:
So is this the right street? Or should the street be where you linked the map? Because I can't find a street named Disharoon Dr. there.
"That bit doesn't connect up - Ah ha!"
What this shows is how much it's grown, and how much better it's gotten.
For mobile, try the Scout app (Android / iOS). Disclaimer: I am on the Scout team. (I also made this 2007-now comparison site.)
If you want revolutionary progress, someone needs to "fund a team".
But evolutionary progress has a much smaller price tag: For example contribute to the routing mailing list and fund some hardware.
Anyway, checking out the actual source would probably clear things up. I might do that when I get home from the office.
Instead I have to type in the full city, state, region, etc. It doesn't know "St Paul" so I have to search for "Saint Paul." It gives me three different results for "Raymond Ave". Two are in the same city, except "Ave" vs "Avenue". None of the three are in St Paul, but my office very much is in St Paul. Which one do I pick? I picked one and it doesn't contain my street address, so I can't pick anything. Now what? I press Back to select another of the three identical street names, but it doesn't remember what I typed so I have to type R-a-y-m all over again.
And that's just trying to find an address. I haven't even gotten to the directions functionality. It's a usability nightmare.
As an example, I used YourNavigation.org. I zoomed in on my rough location, containing St Paul and Minneapolis. I typed my office's street address into the side bar thingy, hit enter, and... ended up in California. Whoops.
Okay, type in the city name too, and it found the right place. Great! Now as my destination, I typed in my home address, including the city name. Not found. Dammit, I'm going back to Google Maps. (Actually, I tried 4 or 5 variations. Turned out it wanted "W Streetname Ave", not "Streetname Ave W", even though that's what it says on our street signs.)
I haven't used it.