Map Making Overview

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There's plenty of mapping to be done!

Mapping makes up the bulk of the workload of OpenStreetMap, and falls into two stages. First, and most fun, is getting out and about collecting geographic data. There are many ways to do so, for walkers, cyclists and drivers. When you've got some results, you need to add your results to the central OSM database using one of the editors. This is when you get to add paths, roadnames, postboxes – and pretty much anything else you like!

When that's done, you can sit back, relax, and view the results of your work. Or else head back outside, and go map some more!


There's a few things you need to do before starting mapping. For more details on signing up for accounts, joining up to the mailing lists, and some background on the project, see the Beginners' Guide page.


  • The main map – see what's already done around your area.
  • Mapping techniques – a comprehensive guide to different ways of collecting data.
  • Map Features – The most common tags are found on this page. Reading this before you go out gives you an idea of what things we currently map, but it's not compulsory to map everything on the list! Please also see the Feature Index!
  • Upload – Uploading your GPS tracklogs to the server.

Getting together to map


  • Beginners' Guide – a comprehensive guide to editing.
  • Tagging – how to tag map data, for example specify a road name, road type or public right of way.
  • Map Features – Again! Your reference to all the different tagging available.
  • Change monitoring – Stay informed what other mappers do in your area of interest.
  • Found a bug on some software tool? Add a ticket to the TRAC so developers get the word.

Uploading data from other sources

If you have public domain data from other sources (not a GPS device), you can use API v0.6 to upload data directly. Using curl to upload data (outdated) provides one such example.

Quality Assurance and map errors

There are various Quality Assurance tools, many of which will show map errors in your town. Some of them, such as Notes and MapDust will let you report an error (type a description which may allow somebody else to fix the map later)


I'm done now – I want to see my map!

Then go to the Using OpenStreetMap page to see all the fun things you can do with the OSM map!!

Fun stuff