Comparison of editors

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Comparison table

Comparison of OSM Editors
Name For novice users Platform Is programmed in a language Editor type Development is active Windows Linux Mac OS X Android iOS Free Advantages Disadvantages
iD yes web based JavaScript fully featured yes yes yes yes yes yes yes Works almost everywhere
Potlatch 2 yes web based Adobe Flex fully featured Superseded yes yes yes no no yes Requires browser Flash plugin. Flash support is discontinued
Potlatch 3 yes desktop Adobe Flex fully featured yes yes only with WINE yes no no yes Requires Adobe AIR runtime
JOSM no desktop Java fully featured yes yes yes yes no no yes Highly configurable and extendable via plugins. Changeset reverting support requires JRE installation, difficult to study
Merkaator no desktop C++ QT fully featured yes yes yes yes no no yes Sometimes can damage relations
Vespucci no mobile Java fully featured yes no no no yes no yes
Go Map! no mobile Objective-C, Cocoa, and Swift fully featured yes no no no no yes yes
StreetComplete yes mobile Kotlin and Java quests solution only yes no no no yes no yes
OsmAnd no mobile Java and C++ map viewer with POI editing yes no no no yes yes limited Integrates with JOSM
MapsMe yes mobile C++ map viewer with POI editing yes no no no yes yes yes
Locus no mobile unknown map viewer with POI editing yes no no no yes no no
ArcGIS no GIS plugin unknown fully featured yes yes yes yes no no no Very expensive
Level0 no web based PHP low level text-based object editing stable yes yes yes yes yes yes

Simple online editor in browser

iD

iD screenshot
Summary
Online editor.
Pros
  • It is currently the pre-set editor for www.openstreetmap.org's 'Edit' tab, and runs in your web browser
  • It has a 'walkthrough' feature and has been designed to be an easy introduction for brand new OSM contributors
  • Development is active and ongoing, with a lot of attention paid to user experience
  • Unlike Potlatch, this doesn't require a flash plugin. It's all JavaScript and should work in most modern web browsers
  • Wiki help can be displayed directly in editor when editing tags
  • You can use custom aerial imagery
  • Very active development
  • mapillary photos directly available in editor
  • Strava Slide iD fork gives OSM editors access to billions of GPS tracks recorded by Strava users and allows for very precise mapping of twisted roads and trails
Cons
  • It's not intended for power users (who are already excellently served by JOSM) or those who want the speed of a desktop client
  • Consumes most processing power (compared with Potlatch 2 and JOSM), so if the CPU/browser is slow, lags may occur
  • Zooming and panning prompts a map fetch (not as fluid)
  • The interface departs from normal OpenStreetMap terminology ("point", "line" and "area" instead of "node", "way" and "relation"), which can cause confusion, and editing accidents
  • It is not possible to work offline

Potlatch 2

Potlatch 2 screenshot. Showing OSM data and background imagery
Summary
Flash online editor.
Pros
  • Available via the 'Edit' tab's drop-down arrow
  • As the precursor to iD (above) Potlatch was also designed for beginners and is great for quick easy immediate editing
  • Displaying of GPS traces in a separate layer
  • Some advanced features including vector backgrounds and a merging/conflation functionality for specialists
  • Several aerial imagery backgrounds preconfigured and option for custom TMS imagery (please check the permissions)
Cons
  • Requires a flash plugin in the browser (in Microsoft's Edge browser enable Flash in settings)
  • not as fast and fluid as a desktop client
  • does not work offline

Desktop and offline

JOSM

JOSM screenshot, showing photomapping features.
Summary
JOSM offers a large set of features and useful tools for a wide range of editing styles: It will either read in GPX tracks from your hard disk, or download them from OSM. Aerial imagery can easily be downloaded as a background for tracing. JOSM also supports photo mapping and audio mapping. Once you have completed your edits, you can upload them to OSM.
Pros
  • Fast fluid panning and zooming. Near-infinite zooming for super-precise mapping.
  • Highly configurable and extendible via plugins, Map Styles, Presets or Validator Rules .
  • Advanced editing functionality e.g. changeset reverting.
  • A big selection of aerial imagery and third-party GPS traces immediately available as backgrounds for tracing. Custom TMS, WMS and WMTS aerial imagery can be added too (please check the permissions).
  • Built in validator, which checks for common mapping errors before data upload
  • Can work offline using downloaded data files, and can work with local photo and GPX files
  • Tags are shown to user directly. Many tags are recognized by the "presets" which then show description, a translated/localized form and links to the OSM wiki page about a tag for more info.
  • Very active development. Bugs are often fixed fast and a new stable version with new features appears usually every month.
Cons
  • The finer points of the interface take a while to learn.
  • You have to download the software to run it, unlike the following online options (although there is a "Java Web Start" option)
  • It requires Java 8 to work (not a big problem for most people).
  • No help text when editing tags

Merkaartor

Merkaator screenshot
Summary
Merkaartor is a fully featured editor for OpenStreetMap available under the GNU General Public License and developed using the Qt toolkit.
Pros
  • Has some unique features like transparent display of map features like roads and true curved roads.
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Binaries for Windows, Mac OS X and some Linux platforms are available. Source for the rest.
  • Easy to set up satellite imagery from Bing or any other WMS/TMS source.
  • Tag styles can be customized
  • Save rendered maps as SVG or bitmap graphic
Cons
  • Merkaartor development is a bit slow, which makes bugfixes and new features available only by grabbing the source.
  • Small userbase. Developer community is tiny.
  • Slow on large number of loaded gps points.

Potlatch 3

Potlatch 2 screenshot. Showing OSM data and background imagery
Summary
Adobe AIR desktop editor (replacement of Potlatch2).
Pros
  • Not (currently available via the 'Edit' tab's drop-down arrow
  • Familiar interface inherited from Potlatch2 suitable for both beginners & advanced users
  • Modeless user interace
  • Displaying of GPS traces in a separate layer
  • Some advanced features including vector backgrounds, tasks, and merging/conflation functionality for specialists
  • Several aerial imagery backgrounds preconfigured and option for custom TMS imagery (please check the permissions)
Cons
  • Requires a flash runtime
  • does not work online
  • Beta development stage

Mobile

Vespucci

Summary
Vespucci is the only full OpenStreetMap editor for Android. It is also the first one, having been available and developed since 2009.
Pros
  1. mobility
  2. a full editor for OpenStreetMap that works both on small (phones) and large (tablet) screen Android devices
  3. supports editing with keyboard and mouse if available
  4. create/edit nodes, ways, tags, and relations, with all the usual geometry related operations
  5. built-in support for Imagery Offset Database
  6. all editing can be done on the ground - no need to rely on memory
  7. helpful lead developer who is considerate of users' input
  8. useful display of all the changes you have made, down to a tag- and relation-level diff
  9. support for offline editing with pre-downloaded dataset in progress
Cons
  1. UI can sometimes be a little dated-looking, and clumsy/cryptic to use
  2. Not currently ideal for editing of large relations (e.g. routes)
  3. No built-in object history at the moment (opens osm.org history in browser)
  4. Bad mobile data coverage will bring your mobile survey-edit session to a halt (unless you downloaded the area in advance; see also Pro #9)

Go Map!!

Go Map!! - way object selected
Summary
Go Map!! is an iOS app that lets you create and edit information in OpenStreetMap. Go Map!! supports editing nodes and ways and arbitrary tagging.
Pros
  • Mobile
  • Clean but powerful UI
  • Filterable objects to improve load speeds
  • Utilizes the preset library from iD
  • User friendly Turn Restriction editing GUI
  • Ability to clear caches for imagery, OSM data, GPX Traces and more
  • Continuous OSM data download
Cons
  • Can be resource intensive when cache gets large
  • Clunky workflow to edit most relation types


StreetComplete

StreetComplete - question about a missing street name
Summary
StreetComplete is a specialized editor of OpenStreetMap data. It allows to easily add some specific information.
Pros
  • Mobility.
  • Very easy to add predefined data - user is asked simple questions, easy to verify for somebody near object, app handles entirety of tagging and making edit
  • allows to create notes
  • Ability to edit without Internet connection - quests and map may be cached
Cons
  • Is not intended as a general purpose editor, only adding of predefined data and answering notes is available

OsmAnd

Summary
Navigation app that allows you to add, delete or change POIs.
Pros
  • Fully offline
  • Relatively simple user interface
  • Also supports Notes
Cons
  • Node and closed way edits only (and only for common tag combinations)
  • Offline means time lag: downloaded map might be old, might take some time for user to upload changes
  • Editing on a mapview, not a dataview. So you might add things that are there but not rendered.
  • Usually no sat pic background, so POIs might be some distance from real location.

GIS

ArcGIS Editor for OSM

Summary
ESRI has released a plugin for editing OSM data.
Pros
  • Industry standard GIS Program
  • Very comprehensive GIS capabilities
Cons
  • Proprietary
  • "ArcGIS for Home Use" will cost you 100$/year
  • Works only with ArcGIS 10
  • Editing relations are not supported

See also