Sandbox for editing
Experiment with editing this wiki
To play around with wiki syntax and make your first wiki edits, go to Sandbox.
Experiment with editing the map
By default, an OpenStreetMap editor such as iD or JOSM immediately saves changes to the main map for all to see. You can make test edits, but avoid clicking Save or Upload, and remember to discard your changes afterwards. You can also configure the editor to use the development server to be extra sure your test edits aren't affecting the main map.
Experiment with the API (advanced)
You can use the development server for testing OSM editing. Here, you can try out complex things before doing them on the OSM database. If you are developing editing clients and automated edit scripts, this is very useful (and, in fact, required, or at least strongly recommended. See Automated Edits code of conduct).
The dev.openstreetmap.org server hosts several versions of the OSM APIs for use by anyone for testing clients against, or as a data sandbox.
Most of the time, for testing clients or as a sandbox, https://master.apis.dev.openstreetmap.org/ (commonly known by its alias, https://api06.dev.openstreetmap.org/) is the one you want, as that is (usually) the same code as the live site. The others are various development branches where new code is being tested.
You need to 'sign up' to these sites as if you were a fresh new OpenStreetMap user. If you're using an in-browser editor you can just use the "Edit" button on that site. If you're not (for example, if you're using JOSM or a mobile editor) you will need configure your client with the correct URL address. Here's how to do that in some of the editors:
- Open the latest in-development version of iD.
- Click the red "LIVE" button in the status bar at the bottom.
- Go to the Edit menu and select Preferences > OSM server.
- Uncheck "Use the default OSM server".
- Change OSM Server URL to
https://api06.dev.openstreetmap.org/api(for example) and add your authentication details.
- Go Map!!:
- Tap the Settings button in the bottom bar, then tap OSM Server.
- Change Hostname to
- Tap the Layer button (top right corner), touch the overflow menu for the OpenStreetMap data layer, and select "Configure...".
- Select the "OpenStreetMap sandbox" entry, or add your own API configuration.
Make sure that you check that your edits really are going to the sandbox before e.g. testing a large import!
These sandboxes are installed as instances of The Rails Port OpenStreetMap rails app which also includes a copy of the openstreetmap.org website and things like user profiles and diary entries, but the database is mostly empty (just populated with some test data). There's no default renderer for them, so in order to see the results on a map you'll need to extract the data and render it yourself (using whatever map style you like) - see Rendering.
Other instances can be found running elsewhere, sometimes as a sandbox for playing around, sometimes as mapping database with a particular purpose separate from OSM. You can set this up on your own server too. Developers can also get account on the OSM development server for this kind of experiment.
Populate the Sandbox
When you need some data for testing your software, you can either map it yourself as outlined above, or copy an area from the main OSM server. To do that, use the OSM to Sandbox script.