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About how to use OpenStreetMap within an educational context
For information about academic research related to OpenStreetMap, see Research.
For a general article about how to map educational facilities in OpenStreetMap, see Education features.
Students learning about OpenStreetMap at a workshop at FEATI University in the Philippines

OpenStreetMap is being used within education, in schools, universities and colleges in a wide range of disciplines. Some projects involve only the use of existing OpenStreetMap data and others result in additional data within the OpenStreetMap dataset. The OpenStreetMap project has relevance to geography, mathematics, ecology, community planning and technology.

As well as using OpenStreetMap, students can also contribute data to the project which can help develop IT sills and gain valuable knowledge in the fields of GIS, planning and community development.

Recent Education Projects

  • Karacabey İMKB Technical and Vocational High School takes part in Comenius Project and our students learn how to map and tracking. Moreover we were selected as an image of the week on the main page of wiki OSM. Comenius - Karacabey,Turkey
  • Randal Hale and Leah Keith presented their experiences of "OpenStreetMap used in a High School Environment" (slides) at State Of The Map U.S. 2010. Chattanooga, U.S.
  • Ruth James (Sustrans Bike-It officer) and Anna Fairhurst (primary ICT advisor for Swindon Borough Council) in Swindon, UK, have been working with an OSM project for primary schoolchildren. The kids have surveyed their local area in order to create a cycle map of safe routes to school, which is then used to promote cycling to school.
  • In April 2009, students at UC Merced enrolled in History 109: Topics in the History of Science and Technology- Spatial Representation and The History of Cartography with Professor Ruth Mostern will participate in an OSM education project. See Education Merced to learn more about what Merced students are contributing.


OpenStreetMap is being used in many academic research projects around the world.

The OpenStreetMap Curriculum

The idea of this section would be to create a unique curriculum that is focused on introducing the topics that OpenStreetMap addresses: mapping, open source technologies, crowd sourcing and community efforts.


The curriculum is currently geared towards university level students, but is available for download and improvement by anyone and everyone.

Benefits to students

Notizen machen.jpg

By participating in OpenStreetMap, students will be introduced to basic concepts of mapping and geography. The curriculum's lessons focus on teaching students how to collect, edit and contribute map data to OpenStreetMap. This allows them to observe the correlations between physical geography of the world and the lines on the map. Students will gain a greater appreciation for maps because they will have the ability to contribute, change and use OSM in their own way. The chance to find errors and fix them on the spot creates a sense of contribution and ownership in the OSM map project and community.

Benefits for educators

OpenStreetMap is a real world project that your students participation can make a lasting impact on. Students become a part of a multi-cultural, global community that they can both learn from, as well as contribute to. Since OSM is open, not only the map and all its data, but curriculum linked here is available for you to use, change and re-distribute for free.


The curriculum is broken into 4 major units:

State of Mapping: This unit looks at why maps are important, investigating historical and present uses. It addresses mapping on the web, looking at how the internet has changed the way we view, use and interact with maps. It looks at how accessible map data is and how people are collecting, using and sharing map data. Students are introduced to GPS, what it is, how it works, and where they can find and use it.

Crowd Sourcing: In the Crowd Sourcing unit, students will investigate what crowd sourcing is, looking at how these communities develop, interact and evolve. Students will be introduced to open source technologies and philosophies. OpenStreetMap will act as the primary case study for investigation into the crowd sourcing movement.

Introduction to OpenStreetMap: This unit is an introduction to OpenStreetMap. It focuses on how to contribute and edit in OSM. The activities teach students how to head out in their local neighborhoods and map using paper maps as well as GPS units. This unit describes how to edit in OSM's online editor Potlatch, as well as its desktop editor JOSM.

Integrating OpenStreetMap: In this unit students take OSM a step further and learn methods for using OSM data for their own personal projects. Students will look at how to filter OSM data for specific use cases, as well as how to overlay other data. This unit was created with the help of Alex Mandel of OSGeo


All curriculum documents are licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-alike 2.0 license

How do I get Involved?

  • Review the Hackpad notes from the TeachOSM birds-of-a-feather session from the State of the Map US conference in April 2014.
  • To contribute to TeachOSM, follow Robert Soden's instructions on the GitHub repository.
  • Join the TeachOSM mailing list...
  • ...and add your name to the list below if you'd like to work on issues related to OpenStreetMap in education:

Steven Johnson

See also

External links