Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston, Massachusetts

latitude: 42.3736, longitude: -71.0861
Browse map of Boston 42°22′24.96″ N, 71°05′09.96″ W
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Boston is a city in Massachusetts at latitude 42°22′24.96″ North, longitude 71°05′09.96″ West.

Note: This article is about the capital city of Massachusetts. For other places named Boston, see Boston (disambiguation)

Boston is relatively well mapped, based on a collection of data uploaded thanks to the openness of MassGIS, our state GIS agency. However, there is more to map; especially as it pertains to small features not capturable via aerial imagery.


These are mostly technical tasks which can be undertaken to help humans help improve OSM more easily.

  • Make an easy to use list of unfixed oneways in an HTML page that makes them easy to edit for human beings.
  • Create geometries for cemeteries, and change roads inside of them to be highway=service instead of highway=residential
  • Create a tool that looks for duplicate way uploads
  • Upload two missing towns from initial massgis upload
  • Merge nodes that share the same lat/lon, common at town boundaries.


  • Upload bus stops and routes
  • Upload town boundaries
  • Upload NHD dataset (merge with existing water)

Hacking Party

A number of technical people in the Boston area are interested in getting together to do work on creating better tools for working with OSM data in the Boston area and beyond. This 'hacking party' would be a group of people getting together with the intention of writing code or doing uploads, rather than going out and gathering data. For people interested in working with the OSM API and tools around it, this might be a good thing to attend to get a better idea of how to work with the OSM data and tools.

Tenative plan is to have something like this the first weekend in March (7th-8th)

Events and Mapping Parties

Local user group
OSM-Boston Meetup Group 
When: ~Monthly
Where: Varies. (map)
Mailing list
no mailing list

We run mapping parties which are events where anyone can come along, we lend a GPS and show you how to go out and do some mapping and get the data entered into openstreetmap.

#GeoBeers Mapping

TBD, 2015, Location TBD
OSM Boston and AvidGeo will Co-Host an OSM mapping event related to bars and beers. Not sure what the exact focus will be, but will share current ideas:

proposed ideas

  • happy hour time/deal syntax
    • Using opening hours as a template:
   happy_hours=Mo-Fr 17:00-19:00
   happy_hours_deal=Mo Burger; Tu pitcher,pizza
  • Local beers available (local = NE/NY)
    • using brewery tag
   brewery:local=Pretty Things, Slumbrew
  • teach how to query this kind of data for use of general public
  • mobile editing (smartphone/tablet)

Cadre - Willing to help with local events in the future

Please add yourself to this list if you would can help promote or organize events, or can loan a spare GPS to a novice mapper at a mapping party. This is not an exclusive cabal, this is strictly self-organizing ...

Future Venues

Searching for a venue:

Based on the last party, here are the ideal characteristics of a venue for a Mapping Party:

  • Area for about 10-15 people to gather and chat over some flat surface (table, etc.) in a relatively non-noisy area. (At Bloc 11, we had a corner with an unused coffee bar that worked well.)
  • Free Wifi
  • Power outlets available
  • Decent food/drink options -- either at the venue, or nearby. Since mapping parties are usually 11-4ish, being able to grab food before you go out is nice.
  • Space to set up a couple laptops to do editing after the data comes back.

One other nice thing that worked out last time was that in a cafe, you can have people come up and get involved in the project even if they didn't show up for the mapping party; this argues for a public venue rather than for a more corporate space, but isn't an absolute.

Since the last mapping party was in Somerville, it probably makes sense to do one a fair distance from that. I'm thinking that doing one near Downtown Boston probably makes sense; Boston has a lot of historical things and so on that should be interesting to map, and if we're near the common, we can do some mapping there. Another opportunity would be to map out the Freedom Trail.

Beanstock seems like a possible venue which might make sense...

Past events

June 18th 2011, 12pm at the Bocoup Loft (T Stop South Station)

Cambridge/MIT: November 7th 2010 12-5pm at MIT Building 14: November Mapping Party

Cambridge: June 7, 2009, Andala Coffee House

Boston: Tech Superpowers, Saturday-Sunday, March 28-29, 2009 at 11:00 AM, 252 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02116, (former address) blog (via Internet Archive) photo n1vux+timbl

Somerville: Party 14-15 Feb 2009 - blog, partyrender videos local news

Panera Bread: Party 27 Sep 2008

Todo Items for Party

Although much of Boston is relatively well mapped, thanks to the imports of data from MassGIS, there are still many types of data that can still be collected. Some potential mapping party targets:

  • Cycle lanes along roads (cycleway=lane)
  • Correcting incorrect one way directions
  • Addresses and address ranges
  • New streets and new construction, or changed street paths
  • Handicapped parking spaces, other similar accessibility concerns