Navads Imports

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Navads is an Amsterdam-based company that helps businesses getting into popular maps. That includes Google Maps, Here, Yandex Maps and others. Now, in partnership with MAPS.ME, they are importing their vast database of business locations with OpenStreetMap. They have all the rights to distribute the data, including publishing it in open databases.

Importing is done with OSM Conflator that preserves already mapped points of interest. A special identification key will help update the data later.

List of imports

What is imported Region Link to example Identifying key Discussion
Shell Fuel Stations Great Britain Project ref:navads_shell=* imports@, talk-gb@
All Fuel Stations 40 countries on all continents Project ref:navads=* imports@


The data — nearly 300 thousand POIs — is delivered to MAPS.ME by NavAds. We have the full permission to add all of these to OpenStreetMap: that's the very reason we were contacted. NavAds is paid to put businesses on maps, and while proprietary maps have established workflows for batch imports, adding data to OSM is harder. User:Zverik of MAPS.ME is doing that for them. No money changed hands, this is a platonic, mutually-beneficial relationship. NavAds helps their clients with visibility, MAPS.ME helps their users with a better map.

Quality of the data is good: all points are moved manually after geocoding, using several imagery layers.

Updates are regular, once a month. The goal is to adjust conflation settings for the first import, and then use them for subsequent updates.

The dataset has has businesses not only of major brands (Shell, BP, Total), but also of smaller, non-chain owners (ProxiFuel, Lotherol, Edeka).


The import uses the standard and tested OSM Conflator workflow. We have a profile, which converts the source jsonl file to a list of [id, coordinates, tags] tuples. Then the conflator downloads all relevant POIs from OpenStreetMap, and for each dataset point finds the best matching POI from OSM.

When a match is found, we update tags of the OSM object, leaving it in place. When there is no match, a new node is added.

A result is a GeoJSON file, which you can browse on the validation website (see the table above). Validation itself is disabled for this series of imports, because it is impossible to check each of tens of thousands points.

When the discussion is over and we have the final version of the profile, OSM Conflator would download the recent data from OSM, perform the conflation and produce an .osm file. It will be uploaded to OpenStreetMap with JOSM. The uploading account is Zverik_imports.

Removing imported POI

When the data is updated, it may still contain POI that is closed or demolished. That is normal, given the amount of points. Errors happen. What's worse, if a corresponding POI is deleted from OpenStreetMap, it will be re-created on import.

To prevent that, do not delete imported objects (with ref:navads tag on these). Instead, use a Lifecycle prefix on the point: change amenity to disused:amenity, for example.