Automated edits

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Automated edits and semi-automated edits (sometimes called mechanical edits) are changes made to OpenStreetMap content with no or very limited human oversight, including those made by bots, algorithmic processes, imports and also major changes made using general-purpose map editing tools such as JOSM. The creation and usage of such tools should conform to the Automated Edits code of conduct and details of edits should be documented on a wiki page in Category:Automated edits log. Undiscussed mechanical edits may be reverted without any discussion, though it may be nice to ask user who made edit before doing that.

Change rollback of inappropriate edits to OpenStreetMap is difficult, particularly where further edits have been made to any of the features touched by the changes. Inappropriate editing of this type is against the community guidelines and may be treated as vandalism should it persist. There's also the danger that useful "normal" edits are rolled back together with the inappropriate edits if they are closely mixed or too difficult to tell apart.

A talk about mechanical edits was given at State Of The Map 2016, giving a useful overview.


Main article: Bot

A bot (derived from the word "robot") is an automated or semi-automated tool that carries out repetitive and mundane tasks to help maintain OpenStreetMap. Bots are able to make edits very rapidly and can disrupt OpenStreetMap if they are incorrectly designed or operated. For these reasons, an Automated Edits code of conduct has been developed which should be followed when creating or operating a bot.

Other script-based changes

Script based changes may used a wide variety of software tools to identify content for adjustment before making changes and share many similarities to bots, with the exception that they do not run automatically on a regular basis. Xapi, Overpass API and other services may be used.

Name Author Description
Osmsync brycenesbitt Merge-sort software that can be used to sync external data and OSM. Created to update car sharing locations


All imports must conform to the Import guidelines.

Bot Description Last used Account Owner Language
TMCImporter Used to import administrative area data in Germany? Dec 2009 TMCImporter MarcusWolschon English

Standard editors

Search and replace function in JOSM can be used to select and change tags that meet certain characteristics on large areas. These are considered to be automated edits where individual changes are not reviewed on an individual basis.

Wish list

Please talk about automated edits you would like to see done on Talk:Automated edits.

See also