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Badges are tokens of recognition that you get for certain achievements / accomplishments. Although these are fairly widespread in social knowledge communities and social networks, OSM does not have a way for a user to show off the extent of your contributions, nor for the community to award users for them (apart from #Existing Efforts described below) - but the idea is to have an automated system, badges are awarded when the user hits a threshold.

It would be nice to have a system of badges / recognition for OSM. This page is intended to:

  • collect existing efforts in that general direction
  • generate ideas for creating such a system, building on these ideas.


Badges and incentives in other communities

For inspiration, look at the badge systems on other web sites:

On Incentives and Motivation in communities

There's a number of podcasts that deal in part or in whole with badges, rewards, incentive and competition in communities:

  • HanselMinutes #152 with Jeff Atwood on StackOverflow
  • HanselMinutes #211 with Jeff Atwood on StackExchange
  • Herding Code #87 with Jeff Atwood on StackOverflow and StackExchange
  • Herding Code #14 with Jeff Atwood on StackOverflow
  • StackOverflow Podcast #87 with community manager Robert Cartaino
  • This Developer’s Life 1.1.3 on Competition, with John Skeet

This question on Quora provides some good insights: What if you earned badges at work instead of job titles?

Scientific articles

  • "OpenStreetMap–Overview and Motivational Factors" Nama Budhathoki, Dr. Muki Haklay - 2010 - [1]
  • "Participant's motivations to contribute geographic information in an online community" - Budhathoki, Nama R. - 2010, [2]
    Tutor: Bruce, Bertram C.; Hopkins, Lewis D.; Haythornthwaite, Caroline A.; Haklay, Mordechai
  • "Motivating contributors in social media networks" - Vivek K. Singh,Ramesh Jain,Mohan S. Kankanhalli - 2009, [3]
  • "Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities" - Kimberly Ling, Gerard Beenen, Pamela Ludford, Xiaoqing Wang, Klarissa Chang, Xin Li, Dan Cosley, Dan Frankowski, Loren Terveen, Al Mamunur Rashid, Paul Resnick, Robert Kraut - 2006, [4]
  • "Feed me: motivating newcomer contribution in social network sites" - Burke, Moira and Marlow, Cameron and Lento, Thomas - 2009, [5]

Badges for OSM

Existing Efforts

Very badgey:

Somewhat badgey:

  • How Did You Contribute - general per-user stats. Also 'category' of contribution level
  • OpenStreetMap Help site uses StackOverflow style badges to encourage question & answer contributions
  • Wiki Userboxes - can be a kind of badge award, but also indicate all sorts of things about a user.
  • The Star Awards - An award for big achievements, placed on your OSM wiki user page.
  • Lolcat of awesomeness - phased out, but used to be awarded on the wiki Main Page to key contributors

Badge Ideas

Time Spent Mapping

  • Account older than a day, week, month, year, years
  • Active mapping period of day, month, week, year, years
  • 30 consecutive days of mapping
  • Logged in since N days


  • Mapped a Road, Path, Footway, Cycleway, Mapped N Roads, Paths, Footways, Cycleways
  • Modified N imported features
  • Buildings
  • POIs (restaurants, etc.)
  • Mapped whatever is the feature of the week/month during week/month
  • Removed TIGER tags


  • First use of a tag that has been used at least 100/1.000/10.000/100.000 times
  • Proposed a tag that has been accepted (and used at least 100/1.000/10.000/100.000 times)

Low Level Operations

  • Created N nodes, ways, relations
  • Modified N nodes, ways, relations
  • Deleted N nodes, ways, relations
    • Deleted dup objects


  • Created a road
  • Fixed a road
  • Added turn restrictions/speed limits
  • Created new cycle route / bus route relation
  • Created N bus stops / train stations


  • Edited a humanitarian area during crisis
  • Used humanitarian presets
  • N edits during crisis


  • Used Potlatch 1
  • Used Potlatch 2
  • Used JOSM
  • Used Merkaartor


  • Mapped in your town
  • Mapped in other town in your state/province/country (not always a good idea)
  • Mapped in other continent (again, not always a good thing)

Bug fixes

  • Edited an object hilighted by Keepright/OSB/OSMI/Mapdust
  • Created a bug
  • Closed a bug
  • Deleted N dupe nodes


  • Created an address
  • Fixed an address
  • Created an address interpolation
  • Created an associatedStreet relation


  • Uploaded N GPX tracks
  • Wiki editing
  • help.osm submissions
  • Ran 1/5/10/50/100 mapping parties with a minimum of N participants (how to measure?)

Badges Of Shame

  • N duplicate nodes created
  • N stray nodes created
  • N crossing ways created
  • N relations broken
  • Your Badge Idea Could Be Here


  • Badges should reward quality mapping, not sheer quantity. We don't want bogus nodes in the database because people are merely badge-hunting.
  • Considering contributions in several OSM domains: Wiki,, mailing lists, real life, IRC, ...

See Also