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Why you should upload GPS traces?

One good way to Contribute map data project is to upload GPS traces. Recorded by your GPS device, the typical trace is a record of your location every second, or every meter. The resulting file will be a series of dots that show the path of where you have been.

They can be added to the background of the editing map as thin lines or little dots. These lines and dots can then be used to help you add map features, similar to using aerial imagery.

For more information on using GPS devices and converting the trace to a GPX file see Recording GPS tracks and Upload GPS tracks. .

How to upload a GPS trace

The GPS traces link, highlighted. It may be hidden behind a "More ▼" or a "☰" drop-down menu button if you use a small window width.
  • (optional) Convert your GPS trace to the GPX file format if your GPS device does not supply this format natively.
    • Only GPS traces in the GPX file format can be uploaded to OpenStreetMap.
    • Files can easily be converted to this format using tools – see the convert GPS tracks.
  • Select the "GPS traces" from the top main menu.
  • Select "See your traces", or "upload a trace" directly
    • If you are not already logged-in to the main OSM website, you will be asked to log in. If you don't have an account for the site, create an account first.
  • (optional) Use the "Browse" button to select the GPX file on your local computer.
  • (optional) Enter a Description and Tags of GPS trace. Help others understand how trace was recorded, there significant difference between car/hiking and bicycle traces.
  • (optional) Select the Visibility of GPS traces.
    • If you do not want your GPS trace to be seen by anybody else, stop here and do not upload.
  • Click Upload. The file will be uploaded to the OSM server, where it will join the queue of files ("PENDING" next to it) to be inserted into the database.

What happens to my file after it has been uploaded?

Your GPX file is parsed by the OSM server and points are extracted and inserted into the database. Note that this operation can be delayed. Requests go into a queue on the server, and occasionally there is a backlog. Once completed however, you should be able to...

  • See your trace among others, while editing, (and use it to draw map features over the top)
    • In iD open editor drag map and press B (or select icon "Background settings") then check "OpenStreetMap GPS traces"
    • In Potlatch toggle 'Show GPS tracks' (use the icon, or press 'G')
    • In JOSM on the download dialogue window, tick to fetch 'Raw GPS data'.

You will not see any streets drawn in over your tracks, until you (or somebody else) uses an editor to draw the streets as nodes and ways with tags, for more see Contribute map data.

You can help OpenStreetMap by uploading traces and photos with Mapillary

Main article: Mapillary/Data collection with Mapillary

You will need Android phone with GPS or iPhone. See also Mapillary.