Cycling Scotland-Tutorial and Lesson Plan 2012

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This page is under construction. This Tutorial and Lesson Plan used for an introduction to Openstreetmap(OSM) and editing it's data. The main reason for this page is to enhance the tutorial with further Web links and to present a lesson plan for newer tutors. To experience the wider world of Openstreetmap the examples of what Openstreetmap can do are highlighted in the lesson plan. This is to allow the instructor to give the story behind the examples. Further background information can be had by walking through the talk on Humanitarian mapping here

Lesson Plan

The lesson Plan is available here


For best results keep this page open and then open a new tab to explore the links that we set out or to edit Openstreetmap. For the tutorial on editing JOSM you will need to have Java installed on your computer. If there is a link on this page you can open it by right clicking on the link, and choose open in new tab. In the printed edition of this tutorial you will see that it is split into smaller parts separated by hyphens. This is to give a pause for students to explore and find out if there are any technical difficulties. There are also area's that are highlighted in grey on this page and yellow in the printout which are to enable the tutor to comment on a particular area or to go through an area that is a little bit trickier. On the Wiki Version of this tutorial where possible, links have been added to other websites and video tutorials. Openstreetmap, its editors and pages update frequently. If some of the information here is incorrect it will mean that there are better ways of doing this.

Tutorial 1- Introduction to the Web site

The Object of this tutorial is to find and click trough the different parts of Please find then and explore them. The skill that we are teaching here is not to just follow links but to use Google or the search feature on the openstreetmap Wiki to find information


Zoom to your home town or place that you know. Use the slider bar or wheel on your mouse if you have one.

Click on the "+" sign on the upper right hand side

Choose Standard, Cycle map, Transport map then Mapquest Open. Compare these maps

Demo on Data

Zoom to an area which has only a few ites on the map. Make sure the "+" is open and choose Data
Click on "manually select a different area" then click and move over and area that you would like to choose. This should only contain a small number of items. 
Click on one of the items in the object list. This will give you the list of the tags associated with the item. Click Close.
Click View to bring you back to the main page.

GPS Traces

When you click on this link on the Openstreetmap page it will show you a list of GPS tracks that have been uploaded by users so that others can use them. Once you have an account with openstreetmap you will be given the ability to do this.

History Tab

This shows a rough guide to the people and places that have been editing in the area that you are looking at.

Exporting a map

There are often times when you want to get a map to use on a flyer or magazine. You could use a screen capture program or you can

Click on the Export tab Select "map image" Choose PNG or Jpg Click Export - This will save the image as "map.png" or "map.jpg" in your downloads folder Close the Export Window

Note: The map you see on is made up of 17 layers. Layer number 1 is when you can see the whole world. Layer 17 is when it is at it's most detailed. Each layer is made up of tiles. Tiles are square portions of the map. When the map is redrawn then we only need to redraw a small bit of it. The tiles at layer 17 are usually updated quicker.


On the bottom right hand side of the page is Permalink.

Click it once.

The URL in the address bar will have change. Copy this URL. Open a new Tab on your browser Paste the URL into the address bar, press return and the area that you were looking at will appear

This URL can be pasted into e-mails to show others what you have been doing.

Shortlink is the same as Permalink but shorter.

Click Permalin then right click on Shorlink and choose copy

Paste the shorlink into your address bar.

Map Key

With the openstreetmap map set as standard. On the left hand side click on "map key" This gives a rough idea what the different colours mean. Click Close With the openstreetmap map set as Cycle map Click on the bottom middle of the page which says "Andy Allen" On the bottom right hand side of this new map there is a link which says "Key and more info" Click this to see the map Key note: Andy Allen is the person responsible for the Cycle map. This map has won a number of awards.

Openstreetmap Wiki

On the left hand side Click "Documentation" This takes you to the Main page of the OSM Wiki

Notice that OSM is available in Multiple languages. Notice the event Calendar on the Bottom right hand Corner. OSM has two parts. The map and the Wiki. These require separate logins to use.

Click on "Platform Status" on the right hand side Occasionally OSM goes down for maintenance or is slow, you can find out why here.

Go back to the Main Wiki page

Click on "Stats" Go back then click on "Daily Stats" Note: there is a second more detailed statistics at here

On the left hand side Click on "map Features" Use the down arrow or wheel to scroll through this very large list of tags OR on your web browser click on the menu "Edit" then "Find" type in "cycle' at the bottom of the page to find Cycling tags.

Go back to the Main Wiki page. On the right hand side click "Blog" There are two blogs that might interest you. The OpenGeoData blog is a summary of things that are happening with OSM- this is updated every two weeks or so. The second is the OSM User diaries. When you have an account you can make a diary entry and your diary entry will appear here.

Editing the Wiki

Learning how to edit the wiki is a very useful tool. It also complements OSM because of the value it brings to Wikipedia. A short online course that takes about 20mins to complete is available here or you can type "wikipedia:tutorial" into google, the first link will bring you to the course. There is a sandbox to practice editing for peace of mind.

Go back to the Main Wiki page

Type "Edinburgh" into the search bar on the rop right hand corner. This will take you to the Edinburgh page

Choose "Social Events" this shows where we meet every three months

Go Back

On the top right in the Green Dialogue box click on "Geohack for OSM" Go down to Wikipedia Choose English: This map shows some of the wikipedia entries linked to OSM Go Back Go back again

Go back to the main wiki page: go to the bottom of the page where it says "Portal" To the left it says Community to the right of this there is a link to "e-mail lists" You can join an e-mail list later but you can look at their archives. The lists that you may like to scan are "Talk-GB" {very high traffic} , "Newbies" and maybe "HOT" {Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team". Click on the one you would like and choose Archives


Go back to the main page. The one with the map on it On the top right hand corner there is a link to "sign up"

Note: To sign up all you need is an E-mail address, a password, and a made up name. You will be asked a few other questions that you don't need to answer and you will be able to change these later in your profile.

Once you have registered you will be sent and e-mail

Read the e-mail and click on the link to prove you are human.

You will then be signed up