Bus Mapathon/guide

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Getting Started

  1. Charge all your batteries the night before! Maybe even bring an extra battery pack!
  2. Pick a bus route that hasn’t been mapped yet. http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=5/40.647/-95.581&layers=T
  3. Double check and record your intention here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Mapathon/US_Summer_Mapathon_2017
  4. Get on the bus! (and try to sit in the front right seat so your location is nearest to the platform post)
  5. Take a selfie on the bus and tweet #mapathon. You can also Instagram. If you cc @OpenStreetMapUS we may even retweet. ;)
  6. Got on the wrong bus? Need help? Contact Mapathon HQ at [LINK HERE]

Capture Data

There are multiple parts to capturing data. Here is an overview. Feel free to reach out to your local organizer for details about your location.

  1. As you ride the bus, record your location via GPS (e.g., OSMTracker, Maps.me, or OSMAnd)
  2. Take notes of bus stop (e.g., pen and paper) or map them directly with the Jungle Bus mobile app
  3. Record a street image photo (e.g., Mapillary, OpenStreetCam)

On paper capture details like –

  • Was there is a bench?
  • Is there shelter from the rain/sun?
  • What other bus stops are here?

We have a sheet to help you capture this: https://osmlab.github.io/bus-route-mapathon/bus-stops.html

Smart Phone Tools For Smart Data

Android: OSMTrackerMaps.meOSMAndMapillary, Jungle Bus, OwnTracks

iOS: Maps.me, OSMAnd, GoMap!, Mapillary, OwnTracks


In OSMTracker, start a new GPS trace when you get onto the bus. Take note of the bus stop where you started. OSMTracker has a nice feature that it will upload the GPS trace directly to your OSM account. It will appear like these: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/OpenBrian/traces Then they can be imported into mapping tools such as Id and JOSM.

Jungle Bus

Jungle Bus mobile app is a dedicated Android app for on-site bus stops collecting. It's very simple to use. It's a tool focused on mapping so it doesn't record GPS tracks.


OwnTracks, for Android and iOS, will show you the live position of your fellow mappers. It will also record a GPS trace to database which can be use later for editing routes in OSM. Though MappingDC is hosting this service, it's available for all OSM US mappers to use. Contact Brian DeRocher for more information. To see the location of folks see this map http://mappingdc.org:8083/last/index.html.

Set up

Set your connect to private MQTT, host: mappingdc.org, port 8883. In the Identification area, set Username: osm, Password: bus, and DeviceId to your OSM user name. For security, enable TLS. For Reporting, enable Automatic location reporting. In Advanced, set Locator background displacement to 5 and Locator background interval to 5. When you want to start or stop sharing your location toggle Reporting on the main navigation menu.

Street View Tools

The future of maps includes imagery and there are a number of street view tools that make OpenStreetMap editing better! If you have enough hands consider including collecting street imagery. It can make your OpenStreetMap editing more accurate and more fun.


Mapillary is a service for capturing and sharing street-level photos that can be used to edit OpenStreetMap. Why would you need it? The future of maps include the real life experience of images. Your images can be crowdsourced alongside so many others to create a true picture of your bus stop map. Take a look at this blog post outlining the use of street-level images in bus stop mapping. Qualified Mapillary users (with at least 50 uploaded images) can order a free windshield or bike mount.

Below are instructions on how to get started with Mapillary GPS capture and editing.

  • Download the app from Apple AppStore or Google Play store
  • Sign up for a Mapillary account. It’s easy to link your OSM account.
  • Start capture bus stop imagery.
    • On your mobile apps enter, tap CAPTURE and start collecting imagery.
    • We recommend a sequence (aka a series of photos) a little before and a little after the actual bus stop.
    • Get to the front of the bus for the best imagery and the best GPS! You could ask the bus driver nicely if you can mount the phone to the windshield. It helps if you explain that you are collecting information on the bus route.
  • The main point when capturing is to keep on moving and to try and hold the camera itself still. Point the camera in the direction of bus travel and take many images in one sequence.
  • After you’ve captured your images (or once you are back in a battery and internet friendly environment) tap UPLOAD on the phone.
  • You’ll get a message for a successful upload aptly reading "Upload Complete."
  • When back at home base, open your favorite browser and start editing on OpenStreetMap.org with the iD editor. Click on MAP DATA and tick the PHOTO OVERLAY (Mapillary) box. All images captured on Mapillary will be visible for you to do your edits.
  • When exploring your Mapillary photos click on the THREE DOTS (…) on the right and select Edit via iD. This will take you right to OpenStreetMap and you can start editing.
  • Tutorial video: OSM iD editor with Mapillary images.

Some more Mapillary and OSM resources:

Mapillary tips and tricks:

Want to get super fancy? Want to map the entire bus route? Capture imagery along the entire way (bring an extra battery for the long ones!) and then use the Mapillary API to get your sequences as a GeoJSON.