Organised Editing/Activities/Meta/Pedestrian Mapping

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The walkabout - Pedestrian mapping initiative

Meta is coordinating street-level imagery collection and OpenStreetMap editing in select cities around the world to improve pedestrian navigation. This wiki outlines the purpose of the initiative and the participants involved.


Meta uses maps and map data in our family of apps and as a foundational technology for AR and VR products we are developing. Our map building strategy is anchored around the principles of open data and collaboration, with OpenStreetMap and Overture two projects that embody these principles. You can learn more about how we use maps on our Maps at Meta page.

In recent decades, the focus of map makers has largely been on car-centric navigation. As we envision the future of our products, we believe the experience of pedestrians will be critical. Imagine discovering a new place for brunch on Instagram or messaging a hairdresser on WhatsApp to confirm an appointment and wearing a pair of AR glasses to help navigate you there.

Pedestrian navigation experiences will only be as good as the data that powers the routing engines, and there is a lot that can be done to improve the underlying data. This initiative focuses on the underlying data which can enable the following opportunities.

  1. Improved pedestrian routing experiences:
    1. Safer
    2. More efficient
    3. More pleasant
  2. Accessibility: Curb cuts, gradient, tactile paving, and traffic signals are some of the data types that can be used to assess accessibility.
  3. Walkability investments: Advocacy groups benefit when there are detailed maps showing the state of current infrastructure. This can draw attention to where future investments should be made.


We’re bringing together organizations and individuals with goals that align with our own. Together we can improve the quality of pedestrian data in OSM.

Footways (Mapping linestrings of footways).

Crossings (All types of crossing where footways intersect with a road way).

Stairs (linestrings tagged with stair attributes).

Pedestrian areas (Ensuring polygons are marked with pedestrian access information).


Focus cities
City Mapathon date Start date End date Task(s) Point of contact
New York City, USA September 14th, 2023 September 14th, 2023 December 31st, 2023 Edoardo Neerhut
Washington D.C., USA September 15th, 2023 September 15th, 2023 December 31st, 2023 Chad Blevins
Rome, Italy October 17th, 2023 October 17th, 2023 TBD Said Turksever
Milan, Italy October 13th, 2023 October 13th, 2023 TBD Speed Limit 30

⚙️ Missing Crossing Way

⚙️ Untagged Crossing Ways

Conflicting Crossing Tags

Said Turksever
Phoenix, AZ, USA October 20th, 2023 October 20th, 2023 TBD Christopher Beddow
Tempe, AZ, USA October 20th, 2023 October 20th, 2023 TBD Chad Blevins
San Francisco, USA December 7th, 2023 October 27th, 2023 December 31st, 2023 ⚙️ Untagged Crossing Ways

⚙️ Missing Crossing Way

⚙️ Long Crossing Ways

Edoardo Neerhut
Said Turksever
Boston, USA October 27th, 2023 December 31st, 2023 ⚙️ Untagged Crossing Ways

⚙️ Conflicting Crossing Tags

⚙️ Missing Crossing Way

Long Crossing Ways

Said Turksever
Norfolk, VA, USA TBD October 20th, 2023 TBD

Meta is collaborating with community groups in these cities, but we'd love to work with other cities too.


If the why resonates with you, we’d love to work with you to improve pedestrian data in OSM. Some groups we’d love to work with include, but are not limited to:

  • Local governments
  • Transportation agencies
  • Geography, GIS, and Urban Planning students
  • Open data enthusiasts
  • OSM enthusiasts
  • Mobility companies
  • Walkability advocacy groups
  • Accessibility advocacy groups



Instructions for MapRoulette challenges vary by challenge. Take a look at the challenges listed above for each city and let us know if you have any feedback.

MapWithAI Tasking Manager

Below is an example of the instructions we are using in our New York City project to map sidewalks and crosswalks.


This tasks aims to improve the ability of pedestrians to navigate on OSM data. We are going to do this by mapping parts of NYC that are missing sidewalks, paths, and the crossings.

Project selection

Switching to “Tasks” tab, you will find the task list. In the task list, find the +/zoom symbol to zoom in to the task. Then click “Map a task”, it will redirect you to Rapid 2.0 with a cyan colored bbox indicating the task boundary. Only map inside this box. Please read the instructions before starting to map.

Here is a short video describing the process for selecting a project and task.


Getting started

Bing is a good aerial imagery source in New York City. It is higher resolution than the other layers which will make it easier to identify sidewalk information. Some cities may have higher resolution or more recent imagery available that is independent from standard imagery layers and may be used provided the data license is compatible with OSM.

You can also toggle street-level imagery by going to 'Map Data' -> 'Photo Overlays' and selecting the Mapillary or Bing Streetside layers.

Using this imagery layer you will be able to trace the location of footways.

Here is a short video describing the process for viewing street-level imagery in the Rapid editor.


  1. We're mapping sidewalks as separate from the road. You can do this in Rapid by selecting 'Line' or pressing '2' on your keyboard. Follow the shape of the sidewalk and click to add nodes to make sure the line follows the sidewalks footways geometry. Press 'Enter' when you are done.
  2. Select the appropriate tag to indicate in OSM that this line is a footway. When the footway is next to a road, you can map it as highway=footway + footway=sidewalk. Just type 'Sidewalk' in Rapid and it will apply the right tags for you. If the footway is not next to a road, e.g. (a path in a park), you can tag as highway=footway for now.

Sometimes you will want to apply a tag to specific segments of the sidewalk (e.g. to indicate the location of a crosswalk or stairs). You can do this by selecting a node and pressing 'X' or right clicking and selecting 'Split'. Do that for the start and the end of the segment.

Once you have mapped a section of sidewalk, you should add a the tag to the adjacent road to inform OpenStreetMap whether a sidewalk exists next to that road and which sides it is on. You can do that by applying one of the following sidewalk:both=separate, sidewalk:left=separate, sidewalk:right=separate to the adjacent road. If no sidewalk exists, you can use sidewalk=no.


In addition to the instructions below, this short video describes the process for mapping and tagging pedestrian features.

  1. Crosswalks start from one sidewalk and end at the sidewalks on the other side of the street.
  2. Tag to use: highway=footway + footway=crossing + crossing=marked/unmarked/traffic_signals + crossing:markings=*. Again, Rapid is your friend here and you can just search for terms such as marked crossing, unmarked crossing, zebra crossing etc. to find the right crossing type. About crossing types
    • crossing=marked OR crossing=uncontrolled (For any marked crossing which has no pedestrian traffic lights or can’t be confirmed whether there is pedestrian traffic lights) then -> (crossing:markings=zebra/lines/surface/dashes/dots/ladder/pictograms/rainbow)
    • crossing=unmarked (A crossing without road markings or traffic signals.) then -> (crossing:markings=no)
    • crossing=traffic_signals (A crossing with traffic signals, regardless there is road markings or not) then -> (crossing:markings=no/zebra/lines/surface/dashes/dots/ladder/pictograms/rainbow)
  • For those details values, such as “lines:rainbow”, “zebra:double”, etc. were not listed here. But if it’s clear which one should be used, please feel free to use the detail values. If not certain, use the general value such as “lines”, “zebra”,etc
  • You should check the surrounding data in the city to decide how these crossing and crossing:markings tags are used within the city. Additionally, if they are used, please ensure the “crossing” tag is consistent with what’s used on the crosswalk intersection node.

Other features

Additional detail such as curb cuts, width, surface type, and gradient, are out of scope for this project, but you are welcome to add this detail if you have notice them and feel comfortable mapping them.

Useful resources

Finishing up

Make sure to save in Rapid Editor and provide details in the changeset comments that indicate what changes you made to OpenStreetMap. Once you finish mapping and submit to OSM using Rapid, come back to Tasking Manager.

If you complete all editing in the task bbox, then you select “yes”, click the submit task button, then your task will automatically get into the validation stage and available for others to review. If you haven’t completed edits in the task bbox, then you select “no” and submit, then the task will stay in the mapping stage and open to others to continue mapping.

If you'd like to continue mapping, just select another task.

Thanks for helping to map pedestrian infrastructure in NYC.

Changeset comment:mapwithai-tm4-149 #nycwalkabout