Last updated

Openstreetmap logo.svg
OpenStreetMap's logo featuring a magnifier focused on geographical information.
OpenStreetMap homepage 2018 en.png
OSM homepage
Type of site
Collaborative mapping
Available in
  • UI: 96 languages and variants [1]
  • Map data: native language of respective settlement
OwnerOpenStreetMap Community. Project support by OpenStreetMap Foundation [2]
Created by Steve Coast (User page in OSM)
Alexa rank6,634 (As of October 2019) [3]
RegistrationRequired for contributors, not required for viewing
Users 5,707,115 [4]
Launched9 August 2004;15 years ago (2004-08-09) [5]
Current status Active (click to see in detail)
Content license

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. The geodata underlying the map is considered the primary output of the project. The creation and growth of OSM has been motivated by restrictions on use or availability of map data across much of the world, and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices. [6] OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information.

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

Free content Work or artwork with few or no restrictions on how it may be used

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

Map A symbolic depiction of relationships between elements of some space

A map is a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes.


Created by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004, it was inspired by the success of Wikipedia and the predominance of proprietary map data in the UK and elsewhere. [7] [8] Since then, it has grown to over two million registered users, [9] who can collect data using manual survey, GPS devices, aerial photography, and other free sources. This crowdsourced data is then made available under the Open Database License. The site is supported by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a non-profit organisation registered in England and Wales.

Steve Coast British computer programmer

Steve Coast is a British entrepreneur and the founder of the OpenStreetMap community-based world mapping project and CloudMade, a geography-related company.

In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs. Lock-in costs that create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.

Aerial photography Taking images of the ground from the air

Aerial photography is the taking of photographs from an aircraft or other flying object. Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, balloons, blimps and dirigibles, rockets, pigeons, kites, parachutes, stand-alone telescoping and vehicle-mounted poles. Mounted cameras may be triggered remotely or automatically; hand-held photographs may be taken by a photographer.

The data from OSM can be used in various ways including production of paper maps and electronic maps (similar to Google Maps, for example), geocoding of address and place names, and route planning. Prominent users include Facebook, Craigslist, Seznam, OsmAnd, Geocaching, MapQuest Open, JMP statistical software, and Foursquare. Many users of GPS devices use OSM data to replace the built-in map data on their devices. [10] OpenStreetMap data has been favourably compared with proprietary datasources, [11] although in 2009 data quality varied across the world. [12] [13]

Google Maps Web mapping service by Google

Google Maps is a web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle and air, or public transportation.

Geocoding is the computational process of transforming a physical address description to a location on the Earth's surface. Reverse geocoding, on the other hand, converts geographic coordinates to a description of a location, usually the name of a place or an addressable location. Geocoding relies on a computer representation of address points, the street / road network, together with postal and administrative boundaries.

Facebook Global online social networking service

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.


The founder of OSM, Steve Coast, in 2009 Steve Coast - OSM im Rheinland (0604).jpg
The founder of OSM, Steve Coast, in 2009

Steve Coast founded the project in 2004, initially focusing on mapping the United Kingdom. In the UK and elsewhere, government-run and tax-funded projects like the Ordnance Survey created massive datasets but failed to freely and widely distribute them. The first contribution, made in the British city of London in 2005, [14] was thought to be a road by the Directions Mag. [15]

Ordnance Survey National mapping agency of the UK for Great Britain

Ordnance Survey (OS) is the national mapping agency for Great Britain. The agency's name indicates its original military purpose, which was to map Scotland in the wake of the Jacobite rising of 1745. There was also a more general and nationwide need in light of the potential threat of invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. Since 1 April 2015 Ordnance Survey has operated as Ordnance Survey Ltd, a government-owned company, 100% in public ownership. The Ordnance Survey Board remains accountable to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is also a member of the Public Data Group.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

In April 2006, the OpenStreetMap Foundation 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. [16]

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales on 22 August 2006. It is a non-profit foundation whose aim is to support and enable the development of freely-reusable geospatial data. As its name suggests, it is closely connected with the OpenStreetMap project, although its constitution does not prevent it supporting other projects.

Yahoo! Internet services provider

Yahoo! is an American web services provider headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and owned by Verizon Media. The original Yahoo! company was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994 and was incorporated on March 2, 1995. Yahoo was one of the pioneers of the early Internet era in the 1990s.

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 [17] 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 October 2007, OpenStreetMap completed the import of a US Census TIGER road dataset. [18] [19] In December 2007, Oxford University became the first major organisation to use OpenStreetMap data on their main website. [20]

AND Automotive Navigation Data (AND) is one of the few companies in the world supplying digital map data for GPS-based applications. After the take over of Navteq by Nokia and Tele Atlas by TomTom, AND is the last independent supplier of digital maps. The company originally focused on regions that Navteq and Tele Atlas did not cover, however it now covers Western European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. Next to street level maps of Western Europe AND also offers a routable world base map and a geocoder map for the USA. Besides maps for GPS-based applications the company offers maps for Geographic information system, Internet mapping, route planning, time-distance calculations and optimization studies.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, sometimes informally called Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low German is also spoken.

Trunk road type of major road, usually connecting major settlements

A trunk road, trunk highway, or strategic road is a major road, usually connecting two or more cities, ports, airports and other places, which is the recommended route for long-distance and freight traffic. Many trunk roads have segregated lanes in a dual carriageway, or are of motorway standard.

Ways to import and export data have continued to grow – by 2008, the project developed tools to export OpenStreetMap data to power portable GPS units, replacing their existing proprietary and out-of-date maps. [21] In March, two founders[ clarification needed ] announced that they have received venture capital funding of €2.4 million for CloudMade, a commercial company that uses OpenStreetMap data. [22] In November 2010, Bing changed their licence to allow use of their satellite imagery for making maps. [23]

In 2012, the launch of pricing for Google Maps led several prominent websites to switch from their service to OpenStreetMap and other competitors. [24] Chief among these were Foursquare and Craigslist, which adopted OpenStreetMap, and Apple, which ended a contract with Google and launched a self-built mapping platform using TomTom and OpenStreetMap data. [25]

Map production

Editing with JOSM after a ground survey Adding data to OSM after mapping Brighton Pier.jpg
Editing with JOSM after a ground survey

Map data is collected from scratch by volunteers performing systematic ground surveys using tools such as a handheld GPS unit, a notebook, digital camera, or a voice recorder. The data is then entered into the OpenStreetMap database. Mapathon competition events are also held by OpenStreetMap team and by non-profit organisations and local governments to map a particular area.

The availability of aerial photography and other data from commercial and government sources has added important sources of data for manual editing and automated imports. Special processes are in place to handle automated imports and avoid legal and technical problems. [26]

Software for editing maps

StreetComplete asking user a question, with answer filled in. After tapping "OK" this answer will be added to an OpenStreetMap database. StreetComplete - House number quest.png
StreetComplete asking user a question, with answer filled in. After tapping "OK" this answer will be added to an OpenStreetMap database.

Editing of maps can be done using the default web browser editor called iD, an HTML5 application using D3.js and written by Mapbox, [27] which was originally financed by the Knight Foundation. [28] The earlier Flash-based application Potlatch is retained for intermediate-level users. JOSM and Merkaartor are more powerful desktop editing applications that are better suited for advanced users.

Vespucci is the first full-featured editor for Android; it was released in 2009. [29] StreetComplete is a new, easy Android app launched in 2016, [30] which allows users without any OpenStreetMap knowledge to answer simple quests for existing data in OpenStreetMap, and thus contribute data. [31] is a mobile application (which runs on both Android and iOS) offering offline maps which also includes a limited OSM data editor. [32] Go Map!! is an iOS app that lets users create and edit information in OpenStreetMap. Pushpin is another iOS app that lets you add POI on the go.


The project has a geographically diverse user-base, due to emphasis of local knowledge and ground truth in the process of data collection. Many early contributors were cyclists who survey with and for bicyclists, charting cycleroutes and navigable trails. [33] Others are GIS professionals who contribute data with Esri tools. [34] Contributors are predominately men, with only 3–5% being women. [35]

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. In April 2012, OpenStreetMap cleared 600,000 registered contributors. [36] On 6 January 2013, OpenStreetMap reached one million registered users. [37] Around 30% of users have contributed at least one point to the OpenStreetMap database. [38]

Surveys and personal knowledge

Surveying routes with a GPS receiver Motion X GPS and OSM.jpg
Surveying routes with a GPS receiver

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

Once the data has been collected, it is entered into the database by uploading it onto the project's website together with appropriate attribute data. As collecting and uploading data may be separated from editing objects, contribution to the project is possible without using a GPS unit.

Some committed contributors adopt the task of mapping whole towns and cities, or organising mapping parties to gather the support of others to complete a map area. A large number of less active users contribute corrections and small additions to the map.

Street-level image data

In addition to several different sets of satellite image backgrounds available to OSM editors, data from several street-level image platforms are available as map data photo overlays: Bing Streetside 360º image tracks, and the open and crowdsourced Mapillary and OpenStreetCam platforms, generally smartphone and other windshield-mounted camera images. Additionally, a Mapillary traffic sign data layer can be enabled; it is the product of user-submitted images. [39]

Government data

Some government agencies have released official data on appropriate licences. This includes the United States, where works of the federal government are placed under public domain. [40]

In the United States, OSM uses Landsat 7 satellite imagery, Prototype Global Shorelines from NOAA, and TIGER from the Census. In the UK, some Ordnance Survey OpenData is imported, while Natural Resources Canada's CanVec vector data and GeoBase provide landcover and streets.

Out-of-copyright maps can be good sources of information about features that do not 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.

Route planning

In February 2015, OpenStreetMap added route planning functionality to the map on its official website. The routing uses external services, namely OSRM, GraphHopper and MapQuest. [41]

There are other routing providers and applications listed in the official Routing wiki.

Map usage

Software for viewing maps

OpenStreetMap of Soho, central London, shown in "standard" OpenStreetMap layer Soho - map 1.png
OpenStreetMap of Soho, central London, shown in "standard" OpenStreetMap layer
Same as above, shown in Mapbox Streets layer MapBox Streets example of a map of Soho, London.png
Same as above, shown in Mapbox Streets layer
Raw OpenStreetMap data of India loading in QGIS for analysis and mapmaking India OpenStreetMap data loading in QGIS.gif
Raw OpenStreetMap data of India loading in QGIS for analysis and mapmaking
Web browser
Data provided by the OpenStreetMap project can be viewed in a web browser with JavaScript support via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) on its official website. The basic map views offered are: Standard, Cycle map, Transport map and Humanitarian. Finer map display and category options are available using OpenStreetBrowser
OsmAnd is free software for Android and iOS mobile devices that can use offline vector data from OSM. It also supports layering OSM vector data with prerendered raster map tiles from OpenStreetMap and other sources. is free software for Android and iOS mobile devices that provides offline maps based on OSM data.
GNOME Maps is a graphical front-end written in JavaScript and introduced in GNOME 3.10. It provides a mechanism to find the user's location with the help of GeoClue, finds directions via GraphHopper and it can deliver a list as answer to queries.
Marble is a KDE virtual globe application which received support for OpenStreetMap.
FoxtrotGPS is a GTK+-based map viewer, that is especially suited to touch input. [42] It is available in the SHR or Debian repositories. [43]

The web site provides a slippy map interface based on the Leaflet JavaScript library (and formerly built on OpenLayers), displaying map tiles rendered by the Mapnik rendering engine, and tiles from other sources including [44]

Custom maps can also be generated from OSM data through various software including Jawg Maps, Mapnik, Mapbox Studio, Mapzen's Tangrams.

OpenStreetMap maintains lists of online and offline routing engines available, such as the Open Source Routing Machine. [45] OSM data is popular with routing researchers, and is also available to open-source projects and companies to build routing applications (or for any other purpose).

Humanitarian aid

OpenStreetMap Philippines GPS map, an end-product of over a thousand crisis mappers that contributed almost 5 million map updates during the 2013 Haiyan humanitarian activation. Openstreetmap Philippines GPS Map by Schadow1 Expeditions.jpg
OpenStreetMap Philippines GPS map, an end-product of over a thousand crisis mappers that contributed almost 5 million map updates during the 2013 Haiyan humanitarian activation.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake has established a model for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to collaborate with international organisations. OpenStreetMap and Crisis Commons volunteers [47] using available satellite imagery [48] 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". [49]

The resulting data and maps have been used by several organisations providing relief aid, such as the World Bank, [50] the European Commission Joint Research Centre, [51] the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, [52] UNOSAT [52] and others. [53]

NGOs, like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and others, have worked with donors like United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to map other parts of Haiti and parts of many other countries, both to create map data for places that were blank, and to engage and build capacity of local people. [54]

After Haiti, the OpenStreetMap community continued mapping to support humanitarian organisations for various crises and disasters. After the Northern Mali conflict (January 2013), [55] Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (November 2013), [56] [57] and the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (March 2014), [58] the OpenStreetMap community has shown it can play a significant role in supporting humanitarian organisations.

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team acts as an interface between the OpenStreetMap community and the humanitarian organisations.

Along with post-disaster work, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team has worked to build better risk models and grow the local OpenStreetMap communities in multiple countries including Uganda, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in partnership with the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, [59] World Bank, [60] and other humanitarian groups. [61]

Scientific research

OpenStreetMap data was used in scientific studies. For example, road data was used for research of remaining roadless areas. [62]

"State of the Map" annual conference

State of the Map Asia 2017 Conference Poster State of the Map Asia 2017 Conference Poster.jpg
State of the Map Asia 2017 Conference Poster

Since 2007, the OSM community has held an annual, international conference called State of the Map.

Venues have been:

There are also various national, regional and continental SotM conferences, such as State of the Map U.S., SotM Baltics and SotM Asia. [75]

Licensing terms

OpenStreetMap data was originally published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence (CC BY-SA) with the intention of promoting free use and redistribution of the data. In September 2012, the licence was changed to the Open Database Licence (ODbL) published by Open Data Commons (ODC) in order to more specifically define its bearing on data rather than representation. [76] [77]

As part of this relicensing process, some of the map data was removed from the public distribution. This included all data contributed by members that did not agree to the new licensing terms, as well as all subsequent edits to those affected objects. It also included any data contributed based on input data that was not compatible with the new terms. Estimates suggested that over 97% of data would be retained globally, however certain regions would be affected more than others, such as in Australia where 24 to 84% of objects would be retained, depending on the type of object. [78] Ultimately, more than 99% of the data was retained, with Australia and Poland being the countries most severely affected by the change. [79]

All data added to the project needs to have a licence compatible with the Open Database Licence. This can include out-of-copyright information, public domain or other licences. Contributors agree to a set of terms which require compatibility with the current licence. This may involve examining licences for government data to establish whether it is compatible.

Software used in the production and presentation of OpenStreetMap data is available from many different projects and each may have its own licensing. The application – what users access to edit maps and view changelogs, is powered by Ruby on Rails. The application also uses PostgreSQL for storage of user data and edit metadata. The default map is rendered by Mapnik, stored in PostGIS, and powered by an Apache module called mod_tile. Certain parts of the software, such as the map editor Potlatch2, have been made available as public domain. [80]

Commercial data contributions

Some OpenStreetMap data is supplied by companies that choose to freely license either actual street data or satellite imagery sources from which OSM contributors can trace roads and features.

Notably, Automotive Navigation Data 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 licence, [16] until the shutdown of the Yahoo! Maps API on 13 September 2011. [81] In November 2010, Microsoft announced that the OpenStreetMap community could use Bing vertical aerial imagery as a backdrop in its editors. [82] For a period from 2009 to 2011, NearMap Pty Ltd made their high-resolution PhotoMaps (of major Australian cities, plus some rural Australian areas) available for deriving OpenStreetMap data under a CC BY-SA licence. [83]

In June 2018, the Microsoft Bing team announced a major contribution of 125 million U.S. building footprints to the project – four times the number contributed by users and government data imports. [84] [85]


While OpenStreetMap aims to be a central data source, its map rendering and aesthetics are meant to be only one of many options, some which highlight different elements of the map or emphasise design and performance.

Data format

OpenStreetMap uses a topological data structure, with four core elements (also known as data primitives):

Data storage

The OSM data primitives are stored and processed in different formats.

The main copy of the OSM data is stored in OSM's main database. The main database is a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS extension, which has one table for each data primitive, with individual objects stored as rows. [88] [89] All edits happen in this database, and all other formats are created from it.

For data transfer, several database dumps are created, which are available for download. The complete dump is called planet.osm. These dumps exist in two formats, one using XML and one using the Protocol Buffer Binary Format (PBF).

The LinkedGeoData [90] data uses the GeoSPARQL and well-known text (WKT) RDF vocabularies to represent OpenStreetMap data. It is a work of the Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW) research group at the University of Leipzig, a group mostly known for DBpedia.

Moovit Navigate Moovit Navigate 3.0.png
Moovit Navigate

A variety of popular services incorporate some sort of geolocation or map-based component. Notable services using OSM for this include:

See also

Related Research Articles

MapQuest American free online web mapping service owned by Verizon

MapQuest is an American free online web mapping service owned by Verizon Media. It was launched in 1996 as the first commercial web mapping service. MapQuest vies for market share with competitors such as Google Maps and Here.

Wikimapia is a privately owned internet company that provides an open-content collaborative mapping project. The project implements an interactive "clickable" web map with a geographically-referenced wiki system, with the aim to mark and describe all geographical objects in the world.

Web mapping

Web mapping is the process of using the maps delivered by geographic information systems (GIS) in World Wide Web. A web map on the World Wide Web is both served and consumed, thus web mapping is more than just web cartography, it is a service by which consumers may choose what the map will show. Web GIS emphasizes geodata processing aspects more involved with design aspects such as data acquisition and server software architecture such as data storage and algorithms, than it does the end-user reports themselves.

Collaborative mapping aggregation of web maps and user-generated content, from a group of individuals or entities, and can take several distinct forms

Collaborative mapping is the aggregation of Web mapping and user-generated content, from a group of individuals or entities, and can take several distinct forms. With the growth of technology for storing and sharing maps, collaborative maps have become competitors to commercial services, in the case of OpenStreetMap, or components of them, as in Google Map Maker and Yandex.Map editor.

Mapnik is an open-source mapping toolkit for desktop and server based map rendering, written in C++. Artem Pavlenko, the original developer of Mapnik, set out with the explicit goal of creating beautiful maps by employing the sub-pixel anti-aliasing of the Anti-Grain Geometry (AGG) library. Mapnik now also has a Cairo rendering backend. For handling common software tasks such as memory management, file system access, regular expressions, and XML parsing, Mapnik utilizes the Boost C++ libraries. An XML file can be used to define a collection of mapping objects that determine the appearance of a map, or objects can be constructed programmatically in C++, Python, and Node.js.

Waze is a GPS navigation software app owned by Google. It works on smartphones and tablet computers that have GPS support. It provides turn-by-turn navigation information and user-submitted travel times and route details, while downloading location-dependent information over a mobile telephone network. Waze describes its app as a community-driven GPS navigation app, which is free to download and use.

OsmAnd offline maps & navigation app

OsmAnd is a map and navigation app for Android and iOS. It uses the OpenStreetMap (OSM) map database for its primary displays, but is an independent app not endorsed by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. It is available in both free and paid versions; the latter unlocks the download limit for offline maps and provides access to Wikipedia points of interest (POIs) and their descriptions from within the app.


WorldMap is a web platform for creating, displaying, analyzing, and searching spatial data and other data forms across multiple disciplines.

Crisis mapping is the real-time gathering, display and analysis of data during a crisis, usually a natural disaster or social/political conflict. Crisis mapping projects usually allows large numbers of people, including the public and crisis responders, to contribute information either remotely or from the site of the crisis. One benefit of the crisis mapping method over others is that it can increase situational awareness, since the public can report information and improve data management.

Leaflet is a widely used open source JavaScript library used to build web mapping applications. First released in 2011, it supports most mobile and desktop platforms, supporting HTML5 and CSS3. Along with OpenLayers, and the Google Maps API, it is one of the most popular JavaScript mapping libraries and is used by major web sites such as FourSquare, Pinterest and Flickr.

Mapbox is an American provider of custom online maps for websites and applications such as Foursquare, Lonely Planet, Facebook, the Financial Times, The Weather Channel and Snapchat. Since 2010, it has rapidly expanded the niche of custom maps, as a response to the limited choice offered by map providers such as Google Maps. Mapbox is the creator of, or a significant contributor to, some open source mapping libraries and applications, including the Mapbox GL-JS JavaScript library, the MBTiles specification, the TileMill cartography IDE, the Leaflet JavaScript library, and the CartoCSS map styling language and parser.

This article contains a list with gratis satellite navigation software for a range of devices. Some of the free software mentioned here does not have detailed maps or the ability to follow streets or type in street names. However, in many cases, it is also that which makes the program free, avoid the need of an Internet connection, and make it very lightweight. Very basic programs like this may not be suitable for road navigation in cars, but serve their purpose for navigation while walking or trekking, and for use at sea. To determine the GPS coordinates of a destination, one can use sites such as and GPS visualizer.

Tiled web map

A tiled web map,slippy map or tile map is a map displayed in a browser by seamlessly joining dozens of individually requested image or vector data files over the internet. It is the most popular way to display and navigate maps, replacing other methods such as WMS which typically display a single large image, with arrow buttons to navigate to nearby areas. Google Maps was one of the first major mapping sites to use this technique. The first tiled web maps used raster (image) tiles, before the emergence of vector tiles.

Vector tiles, tiled vectors or vectiles are packets of geographic data, packaged into pre-defined roughly-square shaped "tiles" for transfer over the web. This is an emerging method for delivering styled web maps, combining certain benefits of pre-rendered raster map tiles with vector map data. As with the widely used raster tiled web maps, map data is requested by a client as a set of "tiles" corresponding to square areas of land of a pre-defined size and location. Unlike raster tiled web maps, however, the server returns vector map data, which has been clipped to the boundaries of each tile, instead of a pre-rendered map image.

Stamen is an internationally recognized data visualization design studio based in San Francisco, California. The studio develops projects for a broad range of clients, including National Geographic, Facebook and The Dalai Lama.

Locus Map

Locus Map is a multi-functional Android navigation app adding advanced online and offline GPS capabilities to Android devices. Primarily it is designed and used for leisure time outdoor activities like hiking, biking, geocaching. Besides its leisure time utilization the app is also used by professionals e.g. for collecting geospatial data, by rescue squad teams, aerial reconnaissance teams etc.

JOSM editor for OpenStreetMap data

JOSM(Java OpenStreetMap Editor) is a free software desktop editing tool for OpenStreetMap geodata created in Java, originally developed by Immanuel Scholz and currently maintained by Dirk Stöcker. It has a lot of advanced features, but also more complicated user interface than default online editor iD.

iD (software) user-friendly OpenStreetMap editor

iD is a free software online editor for OpenStreetMap (OSM) geodata created in JavaScript and released in 2013. It is designed to be simple and user friendly and is used as a default editor on main OSM page.


  1. "openstreetmap-website/config/locales at master" . Retrieved 30 September 2019 via GitHub.
  2. "FAQ". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  3. " Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic". Alexa. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  4. "OpenStreetMap Statistics". OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap Foundation. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  5. "History of OpenStreetMap". OpenStreetMap wiki. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  6. Anderson, Mark (18 October 2006). "Global Positioning Tech Inspires Do-It-Yourself Mapping Project". National Geographic News . Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  7. Lardinois, Frederic (9 August 2014). "For the Love of Mapping Data" (Interview). TechCrunch . Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  8. Frederick Ramm; Jochen Topf; Steve Chilton (2011). OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World. UIT Cambridge.[ ISBN missing ]
  9. Neis, Pascal; Zipf, Alexander (2012), "Analyzing the Contributor Activity of a Volunteered Geographic Information Project — The Case of OpenStreetMap", ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf., 1 (2): 146–165, Bibcode:2012IJGI....1..146N, doi:10.3390/ijgi1020146
  10. "OSM Maps on Garmin". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  11. Zielstra, Dennis. "Comparing Shortest Paths Lengths of Free and Proprietary Data for Effective Pedestrian Routing in Street Networks" (PDF). University of Florida, Geomatics Program. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  12. Haklay, M. (2010). "How good is volunteered geographical information? A comparative study of OpenStreetMap and Ordnance Survey datasets" (PDF). Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 37 (4): 682–703. doi:10.1068/b35097.
  13. Coleman, D. (2013). "Potential Contributions and Challenges of VGI for Conventional Topographic Base-Mapping Programs". In Sui, D.; Elwood, S; Goodchild, M. (eds.). Crowdsourcing Geographic Knowledge: Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in Theory and Practice. New York, London: Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. pp. 245–264. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-4587-2. ISBN   978-94-007-4586-5.
  14. Coast, Steve. "Changest #1 on OpenStreetMap". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  15. Sinton, Diana (6 April 2016). "OSM: The simple map that became a global movement". The Directions Mag. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  16. 1 2 Coast, Steve (4 December 2006). "Yahoo! aerial imagery in OSM". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  17. Coast, Steve (4 July 2007). "AND donate entire Netherlands to OpenStreetMap". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  18. Boeing, G. (2017). "OSMnx: New Methods for Acquiring, Constructing, Analyzing, and Visualizing Complex Street Networks". Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 65: 126–139. arXiv: 1611.01890 . doi:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2017.05.004 . Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  19. Willis, Nathan (11 October 2007). "OpenStreetMap project imports US government maps". Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  20. Batty, Peter (3 December 2007). "Oxford University using OpenStreetMap data". Geothought. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  21. Fairhurst, Richard (13 January 2008). "Cycle map on your GPS". Système D. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  22. "We're funded!". CloudMade. 17 March 2008. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  23. "Bing engages open maps community". 23 November 2010.
  24. Fossum, Mike (20 March 2012). "Websites Bypassing Google Maps Due to Fees" . Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  25. Ingraham, Nathan (11 June 2012). "Apple using TomTom and OpenStreetMap data in iOS 6 Maps app" . Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  26. "Import/Guidelines". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 23 March 2015. The import guidelines, along with the Automated Edits code of conduct, should be followed when importing data into the OpenStreetMap database as they embody many lessons learned throughout the history of OpenStreetMap. Imports should be planned and executed with more care and sensitive than other edits, because poor imports can have significant impacts on both existing data and local mapping community.
  27. Saman Bemel Benrud (31 January 2013). "A New Editor for OpenStreetMap: iD". Mapbox.
  28. Alex Barth (20 May 2013). "Collaborating to improve OpenStreetMap infrastructure".
  29. "Welcome to Vespucci" . Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  30. Zwick, Tobias (21 February 2018), StreetComplete: Surveyor app for Android , retrieved 21 February 2018
  31. "StreetComplete – OpenStreetMap Wiki". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  32. "Map editor". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  33. "Key and More Info". OpenCycleMap. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  34. Vines, Emily. "Esri Releases ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap". Esri. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  35. "Gender and Experience-Related Motivators for Contributing to OpenStreetMap".
  36. "Stats". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  37. Wood, Harry. "1 million OpenStreetMappers". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  38. Neis, Pascal. "The OpenStreetMap Contributors Map aka Who's around me?" . Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  39. "Fast Traffic Sign Mapping with OpenStreetMap and Mapillary". The Mapillary Blog. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  40. See Copyright status of work by the U.S. government for more details.
  41. "Routing on | OpenStreetMap Blog" . Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  42. "FoxtrotGPS homepage".
  43. "FoxtrotGPS in Debian".
  44. " – the OpenStreetMap Cycle Map".
  45. Filney, Klint (11 November 2013). "Out in the Open: How to Get Google Maps Directions Without Google". Wired. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  46. "OpenStreetMap Activities for Typhoon Haiyan (2013)". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  47. "CrisisCommons". CrisisCommons.
  48. Forrest, Brady (1 February 2010). "Technology Saves Lives In Haiti". Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  49. "Digital Help for Haiti". The New York Times . 27 January 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  50. Turner, Andrew (3 February 2010). "World Bank Haiti Situation Room – featuring OSM".
  51. European Commission Joint Research Centre (15 January 2010). "Haiti Earthquakes: Infrastructure Port-au-Prince 15/01/2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2012.
  52. 1 2 Batty, Peter (14 February 2010). "OpenStreetMap in Haiti – video".
  53. "WikiProject Haiti". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  54. "OSM Marks the SpotHaitians use a crowdsourced map to chart their own country, and its development".
  55. "OSM 2012 Mali Crisis wiki page" . Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  56. MacKenzie, Debora (12 November 2013). "Social media helps aid efforts after typhoon Haiyan" . Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  57. Meyer, Robinson (12 November 2013). "How Online Mapmakers Are Helping the Red Cross Save Lives in the Philippines" . Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  58. Nuviun. "How the Internet is Stopping the Ebola Outbreak, One Street Map at a Time" . Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  59. Vyncke, Jorieke. "A week in Lubumbashi (DRC)" . Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  60. "Out and about in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: An OSM workshop sponsored by the World Bank" . Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  61. "Preventative Mapping in Uganda with the Red Cross". Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  62. Ibisch, Pierre & Hoffmann, Monika & Kreft, Stefan & Pe'er, Guy & Kati, Vassiliki & Biber-Freudenberger, Lisa & Dellasala, Dominick & Vale, Mariana & Hobson, Peter & Selva, Nuria. (2016). A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status. Science. 354. 1423–1427. 10.1126/science.aaf7166. Open access at
  63. "State Of The Map 2007". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  64. "State Of The Map 2008". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  65. "State Of The Map 2009". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  66. "State Of The Map 2010". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  67. "State Of The Map 2011". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  68. "State Of The Map 2012". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  69. "State Of The Map 2013". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  70. "State Of The Map 2014". OpenStreetMap. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  71. "OpenStreetMap events in 2015". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 22 September 2016. The SotM working group, with the support of the OSMF board, has therefore agreed that there will be no OSM Foundation organised conference this year.
  72. "State Of The Map 2016". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  73. "State Of The Map 2017". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  74. "State Of The Map 2018". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  75. "State Of The Map – OpenStreetMap Wiki". Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  76. Fairhurst, Richard (7 January 2008). "The licence: where we are, where we're going". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  77. "Licence – OpenStreetMap Foundation". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  78. Simon Poole. "OSM V1 Objects ODbL acceptance statistics" . Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  79. Harry Wood. "Automated redactions complete" . Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  80. "Legal FAQ". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 15 April 2011. Several contributors additionally make their code available under different licences
  81. Mata, Raj (13 June 2011). "Yahoo! Maps APIs Service Closure Announcement – New Maps Offerings Coming Soon!". Yahoo! Developer Network. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  82. Coast, Steve (30 November 2010). "Microsoft Imagery details". OpenGeoData. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  83. "Community licence". NearMap . Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  84. "Microsoft releases more than 100 million Building Footprints in the US as open data". Geospatial World. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  85. "Microsoft Releases 125 million Building Footprints in the US as Open Data". Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  86. WGS 84 OpenStreetMap Wiki
  87. Mocnik, Franz-Benjamin; Zipf, Alexander; Raifer, Martin (18 September 2017). "The OpenStreetMap folksonomy and its evolution". Geo-spatial Information Science. 20 (3): 219–230. doi:10.1080/10095020.2017.1368193.
  88. "OpenStreetMap Wiki: Database". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  89. "Databases and data access APIs" . Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  90. " : About".
  91. "Around the world and back again". Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  92. "More cities". Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  93. Waters, Tim (16 September 2008). "Japanese progress in osm. Amazing stuff!". thinkwhere. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  94. Ingraham, Nathan. "Flickr is Now Using Nokia Maps". The Verge. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  95. "MapQuest".
  96. "OpenStreetMap Nominatim: Search". Nominatim. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  97. "Nominatim". OpenStreetMap Wiki. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  98. "Foursquare Blog". Archived from the original on 12 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  99. Cooper, Daniel (28 August 2012). "Craigslist quietly switching to OpenStreetMap data". Engadget. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  100. Raphael, JR (8 September 2009). "'Monopoly City Streets' Online Game: Will Buying Park Place Be Any Easier?". PC World . Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  101. "Monopoly game launches on Google". BBC Online . 9 September 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  102. "Moovit online trip planner". Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  103. "WIWOSM" . Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  104. "World of the Living Dead Resurrection Expands Closed Beta". Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  105. "Sometimes you have to kill something to bring it back to life". World of the Living Dead Developer Blog. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  106. "Mapping the zombocalypse: from Google to Open Street Maps". World of the Living Dead Developer Blog. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  107. Maria S (8 October 2013). "Smarter Fleet Management with Geotab's Posted Road Speed Information". Geotab. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  108. Elle Anderson (28 July 2015). "Feedback for Strava's new maps (OpenStreetMap)". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  109. "Pokemon Go now uses OSM".
  110. Groux, Christopher (1 December 2017). "'Pokémon Go' Map Updated To OSM From Google Maps: What Is OpenStreetMap?". International Business Times. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  111. Editor, Geo (22 June 2017). "Snapchat's new Snap Map shows users their friends' locations" . Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  112. "Webots OpenStreetMap Importer".

Further reading