Comparison of editors

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Simple online editor in browser


iD screenshot
Online editor.
  • It is currently the pre-set editor for's 'Edit' tab, and runs in your web browser.
  • It has a 'walkthrough' feature and has been designed to be an easy introduction for brand new OSM contributors
  • Development is active and ongoing, with a lot of attention paid to user experience.
  • Unlike Potlatch, this doesn't require a flash plugin. It's all JavaScript and should work in most modern web browsers.
  • Most of the tags and relations are hidden behind localized labels.
  • Wiki help can be displayed directly in editor when editing tags
  • You can use custom aerial imagery.
  • Very active development
  • mapillary photos directly available in editor
  • Strava Slide iD fork gives OSM editors access to billions of GPS tracks recorded by Strava users and allows for very precise mapping of twisted roads and trails.
  • It's not intended for power users (who are already excellently served by JOSM) or those who want the speed of a desktop client.
  • Consumes most processing power (compared with Potlatch 2 and JOSM), so if the CPU/browser is slow, lags may occur
  • Zooming and panning prompts a map fetch (not as fluid)
  • The interface departs from normal OpenStreetMap terminology ("point", "line" and "area" instead of "node", "way" and "relation"), which can cause confusion, and editing accidents.
  • It is not possible to work offline

Potlatch 2

Potlatch 2 screenshot. Showing OSM data and background imagery
Flash online editor.
  • Available via the 'Edit' tab's drop-down arrow.
  • As the precursor to iD (above) Potlatch was also designed for beginners and is great for quick easy immediate editing.
  • Displaying of GPS traces in a separate layer.
  • Some advanced features including vector backgrounds and a merging/conflation functionality for specialists
  • Several aerial imagery backgrounds preconfigured and option for custom TMS imagery (please check the permissions)
  • Requires a flash plugin in the browser (in Microsoft's Edge browser enable Flash in settings)
  • As with iD, it's not intended for power users
  • not as fast and fluid as a desktop client
  • does not work offline

Desktop and offline


JOSM screenshot, showing photomapping features.
JOSM offers a large set of features and useful tools for a wide range of editing styles: It will either read in GPX tracks from your hard disk, or download them from OSM. Aerial imagery can easily be downloaded as a background for tracing. JOSM also supports photo mapping and audio mapping. Once you have completed your edits, you can upload them to OSM.
  • Fast fluid panning and zooming. Near-infinite zooming for super-precise mapping.
  • Highly configurable and extendible via plugins, Map Styles, Presets or Validator Rules .
  • Advanced editing functionality e.g. changeset reverting.
  • A big selection of aerial imagery and third-party GPS traces immediately available as backgrounds for tracing. Custom TMS, WMS and WMTS aerial imagery can be added too (please check the permissions).
  • Built in validator, which checks for common mapping errors before data upload
  • Can work offline using downloaded data files, and can work with local photo and GPX files
  • Tags are shown to user directly. Many tags are recognized by the "presets" which then show description, a translated/localized form and links to the OSM wiki page about a tag for more info.
  • Very active development. Bugs are usually fixed fast and new features appear every month.
  • The finer points of the interface take a while to learn.
  • You have to download the software to run it, unlike the following online options (although there is a "Java Web Start" option)
  • It requires Java 8 to work (not a big problem for most people).
  • No help text when editing tags


Merkaator screenshot
Merkaartor is a fully featured editor for OpenStreetMap available under the GNU General Public License and developed using the Qt toolkit.
  • Has some unique features like transparent display of map features like roads and true curved roads.
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Binaries for Windows, Mac OS X and some Linux platforms are available. Source for the rest.
  • Easy to set up satellite imagery from Bing or any other WMS/TMS source.
  • Tag styles can be customized
  • Save rendered maps as SVG or bitmap graphic
  • Merkaartor development is a bit slow, which makes bugfixes and new features available only by grabbing the source.
  • Small userbase. Developer community is tiny.
  • Slow on large number of loaded gps points.


Quantum GIS

  • Very comprehensive GIS program
  • Open source, free
  • Not focused on OpenStreetMap editing


ESRI has released a plugin for editing OSM data.
  • Industry standard GIS Program
  • Very comprehensive GIS capabilities
  • Proprietary
  • "ArcGIS for Home Use" will cost you 100$/year
  • Works only with ArcGIS 10
  • Editing relations are not supported



Vespucci is the first OpenStreetMap editor for Android and has been available and developed since 2009.
  • Mobility.
  • A full editor for OpenStreetMap that works both on small (phones) and large (tablet) screen android devices.
  • Supports editing with keyboard and mouse if available.
  • Create/edit Nodes, Ways, Tags, and Relations, with all the usual geometry related operations.
  • built-in support for Imagery Offset Database


Navigation app that allows you to add, delete or change POIs.
  • Fully offline
  • Relatively simple user interface
  • Also supports Notes
  • Node edits only
  • Offline means time lag: downloaded map might be old, might take some time for user to upload changes
  • Editing on a mapview, not a dataview. So you might add things that are there but not rendered.
  • Usually no sat pic background, so POIs might be some distance from real location.

See also

  • Editors — list of different editors (many others not described here)
  • Software — list of other software categories including mobile apps (some of which have editing functionality)
  • Comparison of discontinued editors — old sections moved off this page
  • Change rollback — lists some special editors/methods for reverting / undeletion
  • Component overview — Technical overview of OpenStreetMap showing how editors fit in