Operation Cowboy/join

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Ready for some action?

Find an Operation Cowboy meet-up

The meet-up locations are presented on the...

Operation Cowboy event map

Look for the Cowboy boots and click on them for more Information.

You can also see a list at Category:Operation Cowboy

Nothing in your area? Start your own party and invite your local community!


Do's and Dont's
Yes check.svg Do assume by default that existing data is correct and verified on the ground. Keep local details, the local community is always right!
Yes check.svg Do follow any local tagging guidelines and conventions
Yes check.svg Do focus efforts on rural/remote areas where existing data is more sparse
Yes check.svg Do investigate existing data to see who contributed using what sources
No-Symbol.svg Don't assume that aerial imagery represents reality perfectly
No-Symbol.svg Don't move all data to line up with aerial imagery. Adjust the alignment of aerial imagery before starting
Yes check.svg Do use OpenStreetBugs and other sources in addition to aerial imagery, and create new bugs to label areas which may need to be checked on the ground
Please read the Armchair Mapping Guidelines for more details

Tracing aerial imagery is a very easy way to contribute data to OSM, but there are disadvantages and problems with this style of mapping. Organizers should familiarise themselves with the armchair mapping page and particularly the Guidelines for event organisers


New to OSM? The guys at the party will help you get in touch with mapping. What you need to take to the party is:

  • a Laptop
  • a mouse (drawing OSM with touchpads sucks)

When you get there you can start contributing as follows:

  1. Sign up on OpenStreetMap.org if you didn't already do so
  2. Get set up with one of our editors e.g. the JOSM Editor[1]
  3. Start it from the menu or doubleclick the .jar file
  4. Activate this plugins (F12 -> Plugins): building tools, openstreetbugs
  5. Download a certain area from the OSM DB, check the 'download gps tracks' feature
  6. Activate MS Bing layer: Backround -> Bing
  7. See if the imagery is well aligned to the existing data, otherwise add a displacement and ask for assistance
  8. Add nodes and ways as described in Video tutorials or Beginners' guide
  9. Upload your changes with comment starting with "#opc2012 ..."
  10. You are now a novice Mapper, see above what you can do in your area :)

Confused by all the new stuff?
If you'd like to learn some more tricks and tips, just ask around at the party or have a look at


Ok, so we are bascialiy talking about tracing Bing (or other Aerial imagery) in the US, where currently most areas are filled with TIGER import data only. Things to do:

  1. Improve the geometry of existing TIGER data from Bing. The usual "check for offsets" warning applies although on average, Bing tends to be fairly good.
  2. Add new roads. You can trace the shape from Bing and then use the TIGER 2012 tiles to copy the name.
  3. More common TIGER problems that need fixing are listed on the TIGER fixup page

If you are not that sure if you have drawn something right, or you know Bing is outdated, add some OpenStreetBugs