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A note added by an anonymous visitor, with details which allow a more experienced OSMer to make map improvements

Notes is a core feature of the website for placing shared notes on the map to assist in mapping/editing OpenStreetMap. It is not intended for general discussion or storing information not otherwise used in OpenStreetMap; for example, "I was here on Saturday" or "There was a crime at this location".

Notes allow for two way communication, with the ability for a mapper to ask for more details if necessary. Although it is not necessary to be logged in to submit (or comment on) a note, it is beneficial to do so. Logged-in users will receive an email if comments are added to a note or the issue is resolved.

Using notes

Yes check.svg Do s
  • Use this feature to report an error in the data or to give some additional information, for instance the name of a street or an address etc.
No-Symbol.svg Don't s
  • Don't copy from other sources such as other maps, even if they do not cost money or are from the government (there are only a few exceptions).
  • Don't argue. If you have something to discuss, please use some other contact channel (a personal message, a mailing list, the forum, or a face-to-face meet-up).
  • Don't post general comments. A note should relate to the map data at a specific location. If you want to contact the community about something more general, please use a more appropriate contact channel.
  • Don't use notes for yourself in a way which is useless to others. Although you can use notes as a reminder to yourself, you are also inviting others to look at it. Descriptions must make sense to other people.
  • Don't create automated notes. Notes should be a human-to-human communication. Also avoid noting lots of data bugs which are already reported by automated Quality Assurance tools.

The notes feature of OpenStreetMap allows both registered users and the wider public to quickly indicate where there are errors or omissions in the OpenStreetMap data, and for contributors to OpenStreetMap to know where their support is needed.

Adding notes

To add a note, click the bottom tool bar button on the right side of the main OSM map.

Add a note screenshot.png

Move the marker to the correct position (as accurately as you can). Leave a short message for contributors to Openstreetmap to tell them what's wrong or missing.

Be clear in your message, for example consider that "path wrong" says very little of use, but "The east-west path on map does not exist on the ground" is very clear.


If you have an OpenStreetMap account, you should login first to have your note associated with your username, but casual visitors can easily add a note too. If you want to be more than a casual visitor, create an account.

Viewing notes

To view all the current notes for an area go to the main map display, click the 'layer picker' control on the top right of the map, and select the 'Notes' checkbox (see image).


The note markers have the varying styles shown in the image below:

Notes map symbols
Icon Description
New note marker.png
New note location (while being added)
Open note marker.png
Unresolved note location
Closed note marker.png
Resolved note location (older such notes will not be shown)

If you are logged in you can comment on existing notes, ask the contributor questions (if they were logged in when adding the note), and also mark a note as 'resolved' (by which you are indicating that the error/omission has been corrected, or that the note isn't useful).

More advanced use of notes

To create a (perma)link which displays the map with notes already turned on (while not changing other layer selections) use the URL parameter notes=yes (for example

Viewing notes by user

If a user was logged in while creating or commenting on a note, the note or comment is marked as being posted by that user. You can see all of the notes and comments written by a user on the page (where xyz is their user name).

If you want to see only unresolved notes for one (or more) users, you use 3rd party service at (GitHub source)

Viewing notes by area (via RSS feed)

You can view and subscribe to an RSS feed of all the note activity in your area. This allows you to keep an overview of the things reported in your area you map in. The URL for the RSS feed is,smaller_latitude,larger_longitude,larger_latitude

You can easily find the longitude and latitude values by clicking on 'Export' on OSM and then click on the link "Manually select a different area". Then you can drag the corners of the area you want covered in your RSS feed. The values in the left and right boxes (in the 'Export' area on the left) represent the longitude values, the values in the top and bottom boxes represent the latitude values.

If you do not want to generate the bounding box manually you can use this OSM Quality Assurance Tool:

GPX export of notes

You can export a file (in GPX format) of notes within a bounding box using a link like this:,56.911,24.3476,56.9665

(where the bounding box for the export is as so: bbox=[smaller_longitude],[smaller_latitude],[larger_longitude],[larger_latitude] )

Technically - this provides gpx waypoints where the note number is the name of the waypoint, and the comments are the waypoint description.

Resolving notes

Notes are marked as resolved, not removed or deleted, with the data being retained for future reference. However, once resolved notes have aged for a small while, they no longer appear on the map view. The data working group can hide notes so they won't appear at all, but this will be done for reasons outside normal editing and mapping; e.g., notes that are insulting to people, or that contain sensitive/confidential information.

Notes API

The Notes API is described on the main API page API v0.6#Map Notes API

It is OK for third party sites or apps that use OpenStreetMap data to include notes functionality through the API. This feature will however, only be useful if the quality of reports are high. Therefore it is important that the issue reports include sufficient information and detail for an experienced mapper to be able to fix the issue. Also, it is important that you make your users aware that this is to be used only for commenting on map data issues and not general aspects of your site or app.

Furthermore, it is important to remember, that this functionality is intended for humans to communicate with other humans (mappers). It is not a place to dump automated error checking.

Notes dump

As of August 2014, the entire notes database is downloadable from The dump file contains notes text, status fields, and all comments. As of August 2014, there were over 200,000 notes and over 400,000 comments, giving a compressed file size (using bxip2) of 13 MB. The notes dumps are produced using

An archive of this dump file is also available on the Internet Archive on a daily basis. This is particularly useful if you are researching for notes made for a certain date. Archives are available since December 17, 2014.



You may recognise "notes" as a similar concept to OpenStreetBugs, which ran as a separate website and database. Integration of OpenStreetBugs into the main website had been discussed ever since OpenStreetBugs first appeared. The launch of "notes" brings this integration along with enhanced email contact features. OpenStreetBugs has now been phased out - congratulations to all involved in the transition!

Being part of the website, the code and issues list can be found under OpenStreetMap website on GitHub.

Applications using notes

  • JOSM supports these actions for notes: Download in area, search, create new, comment, close or reopen. See the notes dialog help.
  • OsmAnd's latest versions support opening, commenting on, and closing Map Notes (also through a plugin that you need to activate through the app settings). See: OsmAnd > Features > OSM Editing plugin
  • OSM Note (live): a mobile web interface for dropping notes
  • HSL Navigator prototype (live): a mobile web app using OSM data and OpenTripPlanner
  • encourages its users to add business listings, with the fields placed within a note.
  • Locus, a mobile app, can show and create notes and you can comment on them.
  • Mapbox OSM comments system created by Mapbox (and used by their data team) can track and filter notes as well as changeset discussions. Read more on the blog
  • Vespucci, a mobile app, has supported Notes creation, viewing and creation since version 0.9.0 released in August 2013, replacing the previous OSM Bugs support.
  • StreetComplete, a mobile app allowing you to create notes and reply to notes formed as questions as one type of "quest" you can solve
  • Download OSM Notes as GPX file from a boundingbox using a tool by richlv in perl, or a tool by SomeoneElse in java (which can also get "fixmes"). The website tool on seems to no longer exist. The Notes #Notes API also supports GPX format directly.
  • Download OSM Notes as KML file via (e.g. for MAPS.ME bookmarks)
  • NotesReview: a web interface for searching notes by a keyword

Common errors

Craigslist notes

Many notes in the USA are from which uses OSM data in their maps. Unfortunately, many of these notes are not applicable to OpenStreetMap because the error described in the note is a result of craigslist's separate geocoder and/or rendered tileset. Feel free to close the note if you're confident that the note only applies to craigslist.

A craigslist note is always anonymous and the description is as follows:

bounds: (xmin,ymin,xmax,ymax) brief sentence from the user stating: for example: "the map is wrong," "the address does not appear on my map", "address is in wrong location", "the map placed me in the incorrect city;"

An example note:

bounds: (26.2924, -98.2023, -26.2881, -98.1919) Map is showing wrong data here. no aparese en el mapa

The URL's box=yes parameter is not used.

Maps.Me notes

Maps.Me, a mobile app, uses OSM data and allows users to report problems as OSM notes. These notes will contain the phrases "This is an auto-generated note from MAPS.ME application" and "#mapsme".

While these notes are often valuable, they are sometimes based on misunderstandings or old data, so should be treated with caution. See Maps.Me/Questionable OSM Edits for details.

Use of notes for adding a marker for personal use

OpenStreetMap notes are sometimes used by people familiar with other mapping services, mistakenly believing that they are designed for personal or publicity purposes. The following simple explanation of the notes functionality is directed specifically at those people (who might be referred here):

Thanks for adding a note to the OpenStreetMap data. It's quite common that people treat notes in the same way that they are used on other mapping services. This page has lots of detail, but essentially what you need to know is that in this particular case the notes functionality is intended as a way to communicate mapping errors and omissions only. Sometimes the difference between a personal note and one indicating a mapping omission is subtle, but if your note looks like it may have been added as a way to create a marker for private or publicity purposes you may find that another OpenStreetMap contributor 'resolves' the note (which means it's been marked as dealt with). Please refer to this help question for thoughts on what are appropriate methods of displaying personal markers.

See also

  • those two tag keys:
    • key:note – only a similar name, quite different function (used to inform other mappers about non-obvious information about an element)
    • key:fixme – partly a similar function (allows contributors to mark objects and places that need further attention)