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An OpenStreetMap Account allows you to begin edit the map data to make contributions to the map. It also allows you to upload new GPS data. It is a separate system from the wiki editing accounts (unfortunately). See Accounts for an overview of all account types in the OSM ecosystem.
Creating an Account
Choose a "Display Name". This gets displayed to other users, so think about how you would like to be addressed. Many decide to use real names, but this is not required (Space character is allowed).
Choose a password. As usual... avoid using dictionary words, don't use the same password as your bank account, and enter it twice to ensure no problems with typos.
Click 'Sign up'
On the next page you are presented with the "Contributor Terms". This contributor agreement is made between you and The OpenStreetMap Foundation. It clarifies the intellectual property rights in any map data you contribute. If you live in France or Italy, select these options in the top picker. For legal reasons we present translated and slightly modified legal text to French and Italian residents. For everyone else, leave it on "Rest of the world". Unofficial translations are available in various languages at Open Database License/Contributor Terms.
Choose whether you agree to release your contributions to the public domain (tick) or not (untick) Declaring your contributions to be public domain is up to your free choice. Not selecting this option will not prevent your account creation or effect your contributions to OSM negatively in any other way. See Pros and cons of contributing data public domain for some explanation of this choice.
Click the "Accept" button when you're to proceed.
You should now receive a confirmation email asking you to click a link to make sure the email address is really yours.
If the confirmation email doesn't arrive, you should check your 'spam' folder, and perhaps refresh your inbox after a few minutes. If you still don't find the email or if you've forgotten the password for your OSM account, you can reset the password at https://www.openstreetmap.org/forgot-password.html
We also have different accounts for some other systems related to OpenStreetMap: See Accounts for details.
Account Names and Multi Account Policies
OpenStreetMap neither requires you to use your real name, nor to stick to one account. You are free to use your real name as your account name, and many mappers do, but you can also choose any pseudonym you like. Also, you may create multiple accounts if you want - for example if you are so privacy-conscious that you do not want anyone to make a connection between the edits you made when you were on vacation and those you made at home. (There are even situations where we specifically ask you to use a separate account, namely when participating in data imports.)
Please do not abuse these freedoms. In particular, please:
Recovering a Lost Password
If you forgot your password we'll email you a new one. Just go to the Forgotten Password form. You will need your email address.
Forgotten which email address you registered with? Well now that's a problem, but all is not lost. See Question:How to recover OSM password without knowing email?
Changing Your Password
To change your password, Go to your profile's settings (found by going to:
Send an email to the support address and an administrator will disable your account and remove your details from the OpenStreetMap database. Your email address will usually be retained in the event that an OpenStreetMap administrator needs to contact you in the future.