Beginners Guide 1.6

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Additional help

  • Use the search box on top right to search the wiki for the right page to answer your question.
  • Map Features — is useful for finding out how to tag a wide range of features, see also Category:Features for more content.
  • Mapping projects — page has information about many projects within OpenStreetMap on particular subjects or for particular countries/territories.
  • Help and support — provides forum-style questions and answers for common issues.
  • switch2osm — explains how to use OpenStreetMap instead of other services.
  • Contact channels — contact real users at forums, mailing list, IRC or real life meetings.
  • Category:Portals — act as "front pages" to wiki, you may also want to explore top level category Category:Categories.
  • Disputes.
  • Finally, the FAQ will cover some questions.


Help from other OSM members can be found in a range on places.

It can be a good idea to take advantage of OpenStreetMap's community to help you take your first steps and learn about mapping. You can communicate with OpenStreetMappers anywhere in the world through various Contact channels. For example if you like email, the mailing lists are a very popular communication channel. There's a very active one called "talk" for general discussion. There's also a special mailing list for new users asking questions called "newbies". If you want to fire a very quick question it's well worth hopping onto IRC. Don't be put off by the techy acronym. It's just a chatroom, for instant text-based chit-chat.

But OpenStreetMap also has a very local aspect. You can find out about mapping in your country, and maybe even in your region or city/town, by navigating the pages of the wiki starting from "Mapping Projects". You may find some specific information about people involved, contact channels used locally, and maybe even local events.

You can have a lot of fun introducing yourself and making friends with other OpenStreetMap enthusiasts in the community, and this can be a great way to learn, but don't forget... you don't have to ask permission before editing the map.

Monitoring tools

See Monitoring tools for a full list. You'll usually want to start with these:

  • Achavi allows you to select box and a time range, and shows everything that changed in that box during that time. It also allows displaying a single changeset.
  • OSMCha allows you to inspect individual changesets. You'll usually want to select a specific area to monitor by clicking "filters". It also allows filtering changesets by many other criteria. If you create a browser bookmark, the bookmark will remember your filtering setup. It also allows opening the changeset in many different monitoring tools and editors.
  • WhoDidIt to inspect areas and see which users contributed which changesets.

Error detection tools

See Error detection tools for a full list. You'll usually want to start with these:

Monitoring the local community

How to avoid conflicts

This is tricky question since if you are the only person who edits some area you may never see one. But in dense cities conflicts may occur more often due to many users editing same data at once.

  • Use a real or imagery Cake diagram to avoid conflicts with other mappers
  • Reduce time download-upload window
    • By using smaller changesets.
    • By submitting them more often than usual
    • Consider submitting regular change-sets if conflicts no longer an issue

See also

Other tutorials

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