Find the id of a deleted node

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There are several ways to find the id of a deleted node. This may be needed for some approaches to undoing deletions.

Deleted nodes remain in the database forever with unchanged id, but with visible=false instead of visible=true. There are several ways to find the id of a deleted node – based on an explanation by Frederik Ramm on the talk-de mailinglist:

Find the changeset method

If you can find the changeset which deleted the node, then browsing within the changeset can reveal the node id. There are several ways of finding the changeset

  • Use WhoDidIt (OpenStreetMap Changeset Analyzer) and browse to the location to get a list of changesets with local changes. Each changeset is summarized with the number of added (green), modified (yellow) and deleted (red) nodes, ways and relations. If there are not too many changesets, it might be possible to find it.
  • If you know the user who deleted the node, go to their user profile on the website and browse their edits to find the changeset. It may help if you know when they did it.

Potlatch 1 method

If your node is part of a deleted way, then you can use the old editor Potlatch 1 to find the deleted way (see Change rollback#Potlatch 1).

Old planet file method

If the node was deleted less than 6 months ago, an old GeoFabrik OSM Data Extract is probably available to download, and this will contain the deleted data. Download the right .osm.bz2 file. Alternatively OSM developers may have an older planet file if you ask around.

Even an extract is probably huge. In that case, consider using osmosis to cut out a smaller area around the node. Once you have a small uncompressed .osm file you can open this in a text editor and search for the node, or open the small area in JOSM.

Full history file method

If none of the above works, try to find a full history dump (see Planet.osm/full) including the area of interest. Unlike the GeoFabrik extracts, a full history dump also contains deleted/invisible nodes. Use the osm-history-splitter to cut out the smallest possible area.