User:Minh Nguyen

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OSM Logo This user submits data to OpenStreetMap under the name Minh Nguyen.
en This user is a native speaker of English.
es-2 Este usuario puede contribuir con un nivel intermedio de español.
vi-2 Thành viên này sử dụng tiếng Việt với trình độ trung bình.

Hi, I’m Minh Nguyễn, a software developer with Mapbox in the San Francisco Bay Area, previously from Loveland, Ohio. I’m a prolific armchair mapper and translator here, but a volunteer basis – I don’t get paid to contribute. I’m also an administrator at the Vietnamese Wikipedia and some of its sister projects. You can find out more about me at my blog.


I contribute primarily in and around my hometown of Loveland, Ohio. Years ago, my hobby was making maps of cities, both real and imagined. I became frustrated by the numerous embarrassing errors in print and online maps of Loveland and made it my goal to eventually produce an error-free, comprehensive, and up-to-date map of the city. OpenStreetMap was no better than anyone else regarding Loveland, due to its use of the USGS's TIGER data. Today, however, OpenStreetMap's coverage of Loveland is unparalleled, including stoplights, walkways, subdivision boundaries, and even the smallest of buildings. If you set up a free ITO OSM Mapper account, you can see just how carried away I got, all done with the online Potlatch and iD editors and boatloads of local knowledge from the bus ride home each day.

After a good deal of work on Loveland, I began improving the map around Greater Cincinnati, Southwest Ohio, and Northern Kentucky. TIGER’s interstate highway data was a mess, and so was its coverage of Butler County. The elephant in the room was the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which was still a railroad on Google Maps until late 2009. In contrast, OpenStreetMap features extensive and growing coverage of the Ohio State Bike Route system. OpenStreetMap is still the only mapping service that even attempts to label the multitude of subdivisions in the suburban sprawl north of Cincinnati. In parts of the Tri-State, OpenStreetMap is second only to the county GIS system in building coverage.

From time to time, I venture into other parts of the country, such as my birthplace in New Orleans, my alma mater Stanford University, and a few other places I’ve visited. I’ve also translated the OpenStreetMap website and Potlatch into Vietnamese. But Cincinnati is my focus here, and I hope Cincinnatians will eventually find my contributions here helpful.

Potlatch Minh Nguyen submits data to OpenStreetMap using Potlatch.
iD Minh Nguyen submits data to OpenStreetMap using iD.
Train This user maps along railway lines and while travelling by train. For more information see OpenRailwayMap.

Current tasks

These are tasks I typically perform all over the place, not just in Loveland:

  • Realign particularly poorly aligned roads imported from TIGER 2005.
  • Draw and name streets constructed since TIGER 2005.
  • Tag bridges and cul-de-sacs.
  • Draw shared driveways and alleyways.
  • Expand abbreviations in TIGER street names.
  • Draw large buildings, typically prioritized in order of: factories and malls; schools and strip malls; apartments and retail buildings; and houses, garages, and doghouses.
  • Map major power lines, placing a point at each pylon.
  • Convert GNIS points of interest (cemeteries, churches, parks, golf courses, schools, reservoirs) to polygons.
  • Draw athletic fields.
  • Draw ponds and other small bodies of water that the NHD dataset is likely to omit.
  • Compile route relations for major bike trails.

Additionally, I’m trying to garden this wiki a bit, particularly software pages and anything related to Ohio.

To do

  • Transliterate every last Chinese place name into Sino-Vietnamese for this map.
  • Remove boundary=administrative from CDPs in Warren County and Northern Kentucky.
  • Map townships in Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, and Butler Counties.
  • Finish mapping the Ohio-to-Erie trail and Ohio portions of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.
  • Map buildings in Covington and Clifton.
  • Finish mapping the boundaries of Cuyahoga Falls National Park.


For the most part, I contribute in areas where I have personal experience, so no copyright issues are concerned. Also, I've relied on the Yahoo!, Bing aerial imagery, and Mapbox Satellite layers in Potlatch and iD for the vast majority of the features that I've tagged. Beyond these obvious sources, I've used some sources with acceptable copyright statuses:

  • The public-domain USGS Topographic Maps layer. Many of these maps are woefully out of date, particularly with regard to street configurations. However, I mainly use these maps to provide names for features that I know exist (either from personal experience or other sources).
  • USGS aerial DOQ imagery and USDA NAIP imagery.

See also