Comparison of editors

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Desktop

JOSM

JOSM screenshot, showing photomapping features.
Summary
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.
Pros
  • Fast fluid panning and zooming. Near-infinite zooming for super-precise mapping.
  • Can work offline using downloaded data files, and can work with local photo and GPX files
  • Advanced editing functionality e.g. make nodes of a roundabout into a circle.
  • A big selection of aerial imagery and third-party gps traces immediately available as backgrounds for tracing. Custom TMS and WMS aerial imagery can be added too (please check the permissions).
  • Highly configurable and extendible via plugins, Map Styles and Presets.
  • built in validator, which checks for common mapping errors before data upload
  • Very active development
  • Offline editing is possible
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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 7+ to work (not a big problem for most people).
  • No help text when editing tags

iD

iD screenshot
Summary
Online editor.
Pros
  • It is currently the pre-set editor for www.openstreetmap.org'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
Cons
  • 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
  • Does not support all browsers (I.E. in particular is not supported)

Potlatch 2

Potlatch 2 screenshot. Showing OSM data and background imagery
Summary
Flash online editor.
Pros
  • 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)
Cons
  • It is not actively developed, since iD was created as a replacement.
  • Requires a flash plugin in the browser (not a big problem for most people)
  • As with iD, it's not intended for power users
  • not as fast and fluid as a desktop client
  • does not work offline

Merkaartor

Merkaator screenshot
Summary
Merkaartor is a small editor for OpenStreetMap available under the GNU General Public License and developed using the Qt toolkit.
Pros
  • 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 source.
  • Tag styles can be customized
  • Save rendered maps as SVG or bitmap graphic
Cons
  • Merkaartor is under early development, which makes new and exciting features available only by grabbing the source.
  • Albeit under development (and it is not bad at all) it is very memory hungry and can freeze the machine while page-swapping (lots of disk activity)
  • Crashes on large data sets. Developer community is moribund.

Quantum GIS

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

ArcGIS

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

Mobile

Vespucci

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

OsmAnd


See also

  • Editing — 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