For indicating the source of information of anything added to the OSM database.
Use the source=* tag to indicate the the source of some information which as been added to the database. Variants include source:name=*, source:ref=*, source:maxspeed=* etc. Since the introduction of changesets it has become more common to specify the source for a group of edits by including the source tag in the changeset description rather than on the objects themselves.
The tag is used to assist with verification of data and assist future editors who may which to understand the origins of the data they are modifying.The source tag is also useful a way to demonstrate that the information did not come from a copyright source. If a particular source is later found to infringe copyright (e.g., some source that was believed to be OK is later discovered or ruled to be copyrighted) then it would be possible to easily remove all OSM data originating from that source. Bulk imports typically have their own unique source tag.
How to use
Provide information in the source tag to indicate how and even when the details for the feature were captured. This might be to indicate that it was captured during physical Survey using 'survey' or possibly 'Survey 10 Nov 2012'. Another common value is to use the name of the data-source, for example 'massgis' (but do take care not to use a source that does not allow data to be copied from it). Use source=image where the details were derived from a photograph taken during a survey (see Geotagging Source Photos).
The usefulness of this tag is reduced if data from many sources has been added or where mappers have not added more source tagging information as they edit objects, leaving the source tag reflecting only the original source of the object. For that reason it can be helpful to povide separate source information for significant tags. For example using source:name=* for information about where a road name was derived. In cases where the tag already has a prefix (for example 'mf:name=Broadway') use the format 'mf.source:name=photograph'.
If you check a feature and confirm that the data is correct then do update the tag value. For example a feature may have originally been captured from out-of-copyright imagery and then later has been corrected to align with Bing Imagery. In this case the original value might have been 'source=NPE' (NPE is a code for old 1940s mapping of the UK) and the new value will be 'source=Bing'
Note that source:maxspeed=* is sometimes used as outlined on this page, but is also commonly used to hold information about the legal type of speed limit. See Speed limits for more details and talk:Speed limits for the discussion.
In the Potlatch editor a source tag can be added to a feature by pressing 'b'.
For large edits the source tag can instead be added to the changeset summary.
Most common sources and their meaning
Commonly used values, some of which also include a version (by year, capitalization etc).
|3dShapes||NL||3dShapes landuse and building shapes in The Netherlands and a bit across the border|
|AND||NL||Data donated in 2007 by AND Automotive Navigation Data, see the AND Data wiki page.|
|bing||worldwide||Tracing of Microsoft's map service Bing aerial imagery|
|cadastre-dgi-fr||FR||WikiProject France/Cadastre French catastre maps. Mostly landuse|
|cuzk:km||CZ||Manual or semi-automatic tracing of Czech catastral map||http://www.cuzk.cz|
|dibavod||CZ||Import source of water bodies in the Czech Republic|
|DOP_LVA||DE||source=DOP_LVA_BY_01 - (pilot scheme from 2008-12-12 to 2009-03-31) extending OSM by digital orthophotos provided by the land surveying office of Bavaria, Germany|
|Geobase_Import||worldwide||Geobase data. Mostly place names|
|HELP␣SERVICE␣-␣REMOTE␣SENSING...||CZ||Import source of some parts of road network in the Czech Republic||http://www.bnhelp.cz|
|IBGE||BR||IBGE Import. Brazilian federal data|
|kapor2||SK||Import of ways and buildings from cadastre data in Slovakia|||
|LSIB3||worldwide||international boundary from the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues (INR/GGI)|||
|NHD||US||National Hydrography Dataset. Imported rivers/lakes|
|NPS||US||US National Park Service Data.|
|OSAK||DK||Imported address data from official Danish source|
|PGS||wordwide||Prototype Global Shoreline. Low detail coastline generated from landsat imagery.|
|SanGIS␣Addresses␣Public␣Domain||San Diego U.S.||SanGIS government data|
|uhul:ortofoto||CZ||Usually manual tracing of grey-scale aerial imagery by Czech office for economic use of forests|
|YahooJapan/ALPSMAP||JP||Information donated by Yahoo in Japan|
|source value||instances (change direction MM-YYYY of count)||meaning||short source||meaning contributor|
|cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadastre. Mise à jour : 2010||>13.6 million ( Jan 2013)||see Cadastre||Government (France)||Ceyockey|
|cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadastre. Mise à jour : 2011||>9.6 million ( Jan 2013)||see Cadastre||Government (France)||Ceyockey|
|cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadastre ; mise à jour : 2012||>8.1 million (Jan 2013)||see Cadastre||Government (France)||Ceyockey|
|Bing (and "bing")||>7.9 million (Jan 2013)||Bing||Corporate (Microsoft)||Ceyockey|
|YahooJapan/ALPSMAP||>5.2 million ( Jan 2013)||see YahooJapanALPS Data||Corporate (Yahoo Japan)||value assigned at YahooJapanALPS Data/Highway|
|3dShapes||>4.6 million (unchanged Jan 2013)||3dShapes||Corporate (Object Vision)||value assigned at Import/Catalogue#Ongoing_Imports|
|PGS & PGS(could be inacurately)||~4.5 million (Jan 2013)||Prototype Global Shoreline||Government (United States)||Ceyockey|
|cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadastre ; (M_or_m)ise à jour : 2009||>3.8 million (Jan 2013)||see Cadastre||Government (France)||Ceyockey|
|KSJ2||>2.8 million ( Jan 2013)||see Import/Catalogue/Japan KSJ2 Import||Government (Japan)||value assigned at Import/Catalogue#One-Time Imports|
|NRCan-CanVec-7.0||>2.8 million ( Jan 2013)||CanVec#CanVec 7||Government (Canada)||Ceyockey|
|cuzk:km||~2.5 million (Jan 2013)||Manual or semi-automatic tracing of Czech catastral map||Government (Czechoslovakia)||Ceyockey (consult to Tag:source=cuzk:km#Most common sources and their meaning|
|NRCan-CanVec-10.0||>2.4 million (Jan 2013)||Canvec#CanVec 10||Government (Canada)||Ceyockey|
|NHD||>2.2 million ( Jan 2013)||National Hydrography Dataset||Government (United States)||value assigned at Import/Catalogue#One-Time Imports|
|NRCan-CanVec-8.0||>2.1 million (Jan 2013)||CanVec#CanVec_8||Government (Canada)||Ceyockey|
|extraction vectorielle v1 cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadas. Mise à jour : 2010||>2 million (Jan 2013)||see Cadastre||Government (France)||Ceyockey|
|OSAK (2010)||>1.9 million ( Jan 2013)||Address data released by Danish government.||Government (Denmark)||rasher (personal knowledge)|
|CanVec 6.0 - NRCan||>1.9 million (Jan 2013)||CanVec#CanVec 6||Government (Canada)||Ceyockey|
|kapor2||>1.7 million (Jan 2013)||WikiProject Slovakia/Sources#Cadastral map||Government (Slovakia)||Ceyockey|
|Regione Emillia Romagna||>1.1 million (Jan 2013)||IT:Emilia Romagna edificato||Government (Italy)||Ceyockey|
|survey||>0.8 million (Jan 2013)||Key:source||OSM editor||Ceyockey|
|cadastre-dgi-fr source : Direction Générale des Impôts - Cadastre ; mise à jour : 2008||>0.7 million (Jan 2013)||WikiProject France/Cadastre||Government (France)||ceyockey|
JOSM annotation presets
<item name="Data Source"> <label text="Way/Segment/Node Data Source"/> <combo key="source" text="Source" values="landsat,photograph,local knowledge,common knowledge,dictaphone,extrapolation,<other - please specify>"/> </item> <item name="Street Name Source"> <label text="Street Name Source"/> <combo key="source:name" text="Source" values="photograph,local knowledge,common knowledge,dictaphone,<other - please specify>"/> </item> <item name="Road Number Source"> <label text="Road Number Source"/> <combo key="source:ref" text="Source" values="photograph,local knowledge,common knowledge,dictaphone,<other - please specify>"/> </item>