Isle of Man Mapping Party/Handout

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Draft of a Leaflet to be given to interested members of the public

(based on Isle of Wight handout)

What is OSM?

OpenStreetMap is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation that anyone, anywhere can join. The goal of OSM is to provide free maps and map data that can be used by anyone. All of our maps are freely available on the internet at

Why would anyone want to do that? Aren't there are lots of free maps out there?

Most of the maps that you come across on the internet or in your home are protected by very stringent copyright laws. These rules hinder the maps from being used in unique and unexpected ways, stifling people's creativity and imagination.

So how does it work?

Anyone with a handheld Global Positioning System can start mapping straight away. You need to set your GPS to record tracks and then go for a walk or for a bike ride or a drive. Walk around some streets in your neighbourhood, making some notes about the street names and any one way streets or round-a-bouts that you find. When you get home, plug your GPS into your computer and upload the tracks that you recorded onto the OSM website. Within an hour or so, your tracks will appear on the website. You can then use the online tools to map roads and street names that anyone in the world will be able to see.

Why did you come to the Isle of Man?

The Isle of Man already has relatively good coverage in OpenStreetMap but lacks detail around the towns and villages. The aim of the weekend is to map as much of these remaining areas as possible. Being an island, the fixed boundary provides an excellent opportunity to become one of the first fully, freely, mapped places in the world.

Who can be involved?

Anyone with access to a GPS unit and a computer with an internet connection can join in. Even if you don't have a GPS, you can see what maps have been made of your area and improve them. Add street names and points of interests and make the maps even more useful.

If anyone in the world can see the maps, will people be able to see where I live and where I work?

When you upload a track onto the OSM website you can choose to do publicly or privately. If you choose to upload private tracks, then only the site administrator will know they came from you. Because of the strict copyright laws it is important that the site administrator knows who contributed what.

What is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The system is made up of around 24 satellites that are constantly orbiting the earth, transmitting information about their position and time. The information they transmit is a type of radio wave, and can be picked up and understood by handheld GPS units or Satellite Navigation systems in cars. By comparing the signals from at least four satellites it is possible for a GPS unit to work out its position anywhere on the earth to within 5 to 10m.

GPS units are not tracking devices. They only have receivers not transmitters. It is not possible for someone to track you if you are using a GPS receiver.