Notes

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A note added by an anonymous visitor, with details which allow a more experienced OSMer to make map improvements

Notes is a core feature of the OpenStreetMap.org website for adding publicly visible notes to the map. This feature is intended only for discussions about mapping, and not for general purpose notes like "I was here on Saturday" or "There was a crime at this location".

Notes allows for two way communication, with the ability for a mapper to ask for more details if necessary. Although it is not necessary to be logged in to submit (or comment on) a note, it is beneficial to do so. Logged-in users will receive an email if comments are added to a note or the issue is resolved.

Using notes

Do s
Yes check.svg Use this feature to report an error in the data or to give some additional information, for instance the name of a street or an address etc.
Don't s
No-Symbol.svg Don't argue. If you have something to discuss, please use some other contact channel (a personal message, a mailing list, the forum, or a face-to-face meet-up).
No-Symbol.svg Don't post general comments. A note should relate to the map data at a specific location. If you want to contact the community about something more general, please use a more appropriate contact channel.
No-Symbol.svg Don't use it to put your personal notes. Although you can use notes as a reminder to yourself, you are also inviting others to look at it. Descriptions must make sense to other people, and you shouldn't be placing many notes as part of your personal mapping workflow.
No-Symbol.svg Don't create automated notes. Notes should be a human-to-human communication. Also avoid noting lots of data bugs which are already reported by automated Quality Assurance tools.

Adding a note

To add a note, click the bottom tool bar button on the right side of the main OSM map.

Add a note screenshot.png

Leave a short message on the map if something is missing or obviously wrong, like "oneway goes northbound" or "bridge or level_crossing?". These reports can be processed by map editors. Add the message understandably and thoughtfully, e.g. not "oneway in wrong direction" because someone could have flipped the direction before the note is read.

If you have an OpenStreetMap Account, you should login first to have your note associated with your username. But one nice thing about notes, is that you don't need an account. Casual visitors can easily add a note. If you want to be more than a casual visitor, create an account or login

Symbols used when creating or displaying notes:
Icon Description
New note marker.png
location of a new note
Open note marker.png
marked error location
Closed note marker.png
solved error

Browsing the notes

On the http://openstreetmap.org main map display, a new tickbox in the layer picker in the top right, allows you to browse notes added by other people. Use this to solve all the problems in your area!

To create a (perma)link which displays the map with notes already turned on (while not changing other layer selections) use the URL parameter notes=yes (for example http://openstreetmap.org?notes=yes).

Removing a note

You cannot "remove" a note. You can close / "resolve" a node. After some days it will disappear from the standard notes view.

The DWG can "hide" notes so they won't appear at all, but this is usually only applied to notes that are insulting to people, damaging to the project, or that (have accidentally been made to) contain sensitive information.

RSS feed

You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all the note activity in your area. This allows you to keep an overview of the things reported in your area you map in. The URL for the RSS feed is
http://www.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/notes/feed?bbox=smaller_longitude,smaller_latitude,larger_longitude,larger_latitude

If you do not want to generate the bounding box manually you can use this OSM Quality Assurance Tool: http://tyrasd.github.io/osm-qa-feeds/

Seeing your own / a users notes

If a user was logged in while creating or commenting on a note, the note or comment is marked as being posted by that user. You can see all of the notes and comments written by a user on the page www.openstreetmap.org/user/xyz/notes (where xyz is their user name).

Notes API

The Notes API is described on the main API page API v0.6#Map Notes API

It is OK for third party sites or apps that use OpenStreetMap data to include notes functionality through the API. This feature will however, only be useful if the quality of reports are high. Therefore it is important that the issue reports include sufficient information and detail for an experienced mapper to be able to fix the issue. Also, it is important that you make your users aware that this is to be used only for commenting on map data issues and not general aspects of your site or app.

Furthermore, it is important to remember, that this functionality is intended for humans to communicate with other humans (mappers). It is not a place to dump automated error checking.

Notes dump

(new) As of August 2014 you can download ALL of the notes (the entire database) as a bulk download:

http://planet.openstreetmap.org/notes/

The dump file contains notes text, and status fields, and all of the comments. In august we had over 200,000 notes and over 400,000 comments (but now this will have increased) Files are compressed using bzip2. In August it was 13Mb

The notes dumps are produced using the code here: https://github.com/iandees/planet-notes-dump

Stats

http://resultmaps.neis-one.org/osm-notes

Development

You may recognise "notes" as a similar concept to OpenStreetBugs, which ran as a separate website and database. Integration of OpenStreetBugs into the main website had been discussed ever since OpenStreetBugs first appeared. The launch of "notes" brings this integration along with enhanced email contact features. OpenStreetBugs has now been phased out - congratulations to all involved in the transition!

Being part of the website, the code and issues list can be found under OpenStreetMap website on github.

Applications using notes

  • Notes support has been to JOSM since v.5070 through a plugin
  • OsmAnd's latest versions support opening, commenting on, and closing Map Notes (also through a plugin that you need to activate through the app settings).
  • OSM Note (live): a mobile web interface for dropping notes
  • HSL Navigator prototype (live): a mobile web app using OSM data and OpenTripPlanner
  • onosm.org ([1]) - A site encouraging users to add business listings, with the fields placed within a note.
  • Locus can show and create notes and you can comment on them.

Common errors

Many notes in the USA are from craiglist.org which uses OSM data in their maps. Unfortunately, many of these notes are not applicable to OpenStreetMap because the error described in the note is a result of craigslist's separate geocoder and/or rendered tileset. Feel free to close the note if you're confident that the note only applies to craigslist.

A craigslist note is always anonymous and the description is as follows:

bounds: (xmin,ymin,xmax,ymax) http://www.openstreetmap.org/?box=yes&notes=yes&bbox=xmin%2ymin%2xmax%2ymax brief sentence from the user stating: for example: "the map is wrong," "the address does not appear on my map", "address is in wrong location", "the map placed me in the incorrect city;"

An example note:

bounds: (26.2924,-98.2023 - 26.2881,-98.1919) http://www.openstreetmap.org/?box=yes&notes=yes&bbox=-98.2023%2C26.2881%2C-98.1919%2C26.2924 Map is showing wrong data here. no aparese en el mapa

The URL's box=yes parameter is not used.