Santa Clara County, California
Santa Clara County, California
|latitude: 37.33, longitude: -121.94|
|Browse map of Santa Clara County 37°19′48.00″ N, 121°56′24.00″ W|
|Use this template for your locality|
Santa Clara County is a county in California at latitude 37°19′48.00″ North, longitude 121°56′24.00″ West.
Santa Clara County is located at the southern end of California's San Francisco Bay Area. The county's urbanized area is known locally as the South Bay or Santa Clara Valley. The South Bay is known around the world as "Silicon Valley" due to its high concentration of silicon chip-making, software and high-technology companies headquartered in the area.
Santa Clara County includes the cities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. As of 2019, Santa Clara County is the 18th most populous county in the U.S., and San José is the country's tenth most populous city.
State of the Map
OpenStreetMap's coverage of Santa Clara County has been improving for nearly two decades, yet remains a work in progress. The North County cities are exceptionally well-mapped in terms of infrastructure, addresses, and businesses. San Jose and West Valley have only minimal coverage of buildings and businesses and very few addresses. Cycling infrastructure is well-mapped, but many local and regional route=bicycle relations need completion with this infrastructure as member elements. The public bus transportation network (especially bus stops) is not especially well-mapped though rail infrastructure and passenger rail transportation might be called a rough-and-ready version 1.
San Jose ranks among the ten largest cities in the United States by population, yet San Jose's mapper community is smaller than those of other large cities, and its OSM coverage has a lot of room to grow. We need your help! Whether you prefer field surveying, armchair mapping, or finding freely-licensed data to import, you can help us build the best map of San Jose.
The default aerial imagery layers in iD and Potlatch are of high resolution but date back several years, so check the vintage of an OSM feature before remapping it based on aerial imagery.
As of July 2017, the "DigitalGlobe Premium Imagery" layer is the freshest; however, it is quite severely offset. The "Mapbox Satellite" layer is slightly older but is better aligned. The "Bing aerial imagery" layer is several years outdated but very clear and well aligned. In general, you should trace over Bing or Mapbox imagery as a first pass, then double-check with DigitalGlobe to spot anything that needs to be updated.
Mapillary has thorough coverage of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and North and West San Jose. Elsewhere, it is largely limited to freeways, expressways, and some major arterial streets. OpenStreetCam has good coverage of Mountain View and better coverage than Mapillary of major arterial streets in other parts of the county.
The South Bay has several ethnic enclaves in which business names are posted exclusively in a language other than English. If you have difficulty reading the sign, upload a photo of it to Mapillary or OpenStreetCam for another mapper to enter into OSM. Alternatively, you can try to do it yourself by running the photo through optical character recognition, such as the OCR function built into the Google Translate application on Android and iOS. (Use only the OCR text, not the translation or transliteration.)
Works by county government agencies are in the public domain, per County of Santa Clara v. California First Amendment Coalition. County agencies such as VTA may have useful resources to aid in mapping. However, please observe the import guidelines before systematically entering external data.
Some useful Santa Clara County GIS layers to use as custom backgrounds in iD:
|GIS layer||Custom background URL template (iD)||WMTS capabilities URL (JOSM)|
|Address points and parcels|||||
|Points of interest|||
|Local user group|
|OSM South Bay|
|When:||biweekly on Tuesday nights|
|Where:||San José (map)|
|mailing list – archive|
|Open Source San José|
We held our first mapping party in Mountain View in Feburary 2009. Other mapping parties took place in 2009, 2010 and 2012 in San Jose. In 2015 and 2016, Maptime Silicon Valley organized annual map-related meetups at Stanford University. Since 2017, mappers have met biweekly to plan mapping projects together with the support of Open Source San José (formerly Code for San José). 
Find non-wiki-using mappers using Who's around me? Be sure to subscribe to the talk-us mailing list, where the broader U.S. mapping community discusses tagging, imports, policy, evangelization, and more. There's also a lower-volume talk-us-sfbay mailing list for more local discussion. If you have any questions, you can also ask on the
#local-california channel of the OSMUS Slack workspace, the
#proj-osm channel of the Open Source San José Slack workspace, or the
#🗺openstreetmap channel of the Open Source San José Discord server. South Bay mappers are ready to help in any of these places.
Please introduce your friends to OpenStreetMap! Reach out to enthusiast communities in orienteering, urban planning, and open source. Show a local trivia buff the old_name=* tag; show a cycling enthusiast the cycling routes page.
Here are some articles community members have written about their experiences mapping in the South Bay:
- OpenStreetMap knows the way to San Jose (June 5, 2006)
- A complete map (August 24, 2015)
- Civic Tech Volunteerism & OpenStreetMap: Reflections on Code for San Jose’s National Day of Civic Hacking 2017 (October 10, 2017)
Monthly OSM meetup minutes:
Santa Clara County has roadways rather unique in California known as "Expressways." Their history is curious: local citizens chartered them during the middle-20th century to be a three-phase tax approach to build freeways (highway=motorway). However, voters approved taxes for only the first two phases, leaving incomplete the final upgrade phase to freeway scheduled for the late-20th century. Expressways are usually dual-carriageway, moderate-to-higher speed roads (40-50 MPH or 65-80 km/hr) with traffic signals separated by relatively long distances. They are designed to minimize cross-traffic (few side-streets and driveways), have on-ramps, off-ramps, grade separated overpasses and underpasses in places, though mostly use highway=traffic_signals to regulate/route traffic, and so are denoted in OSM with highway=trunk. Only one has become a true freeway in California's legal sense (Guadalupe Parkway was upgraded to State Route 87, now highway=motorway). Different from freeways (which get a simple State Route number in their ref=* tag), these expressways are part of California's County Route system and get a ref=* tag beginning with one of nine region-based capital letters followed by a one- or two-digit number, e.g. "G6" or "G21." Whether by bicycle or automobile, expressways are aptly named, as they are often the fastest way to travel the traffic-congested roadways of Silicon Valley: many contain dedicated cycleway=lanes and "dynamic diamond lanes" with special overhead signals for high-occupancy vehicles (2 or more passengers) that change with daily commute patterns to keep traffic flowing.
- Main article: /Cycling routes
The county's public transportation networks vary in OSM coverage. National, regional, commuter, subway and light rail have good coverage, though most route=trains need upgrades to public transport version 2 to ensure software compatibility. Coverage of VTA's route=buses is poor and highway=bus_stops even poorer, though there have been efforts to import some VTA data. Each of the following pages catalogs either public transportation routes in OSM or an effort to improve or import into OSM public transportation data which serve Santa Clara County:
- Altamont Corridor Express (commuter rail)
- Amtrak (international and national rail)
- Amtrak California (regional rail)
- Bay Area Rapid Transit / BART (commuter rail / subway / "metro")
- Caltrain (commuter rail)
- Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority / VTA (local, regional, rapid bus service)
- VTA Light Rail (light rail)
- Waterways from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (complete)
- Parks and preserves from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (complete)
- Bike lanes and bike routes from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (complete)
- Buildings and addresses in Cupertino (complete)
- Buildings and addresses in Palo Alto (complete)
- Sidewalks and crosswalks in San José (mostly complete)
- Buildings and addresses in San José (ongoing)
- Businesses based on social distancing protocols from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (ongoing)
OSM in the wild
Some of our neighbors in Santa Clara County have recognized the care we've put into local coverage and have switched to OSM to take advantage of it:
- TV stations KDTV, KNTV, KPIX, KRON, KSTS, and KTVU all display their online Doppler radar maps against a Mapbox OSM-derived basemap.
- Caltrain uses an OSM-based Mapbox map for its online route map.
- The VTA Trip Planner was powered by OpenStreetMap cycling infrastructure data until 2019. 
- The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society embeds the Standard tile layer in field reports and encourages birders to fix any errors or omissions they come across.
- Open Source San José's Heart of the Valley plots public artwork against a Mapbox basemap.
- San José Spotlight plots local news on an OSM-based Mapbox basemap and embeds a thumbnail map below most stories.
- The Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department's Active Transportation Plan website lets residents submit suggested routes and corridors using a Mapbox basemap.
- Refine the San José city limits based on county planning department data. . Using these data, this way and this way were improved along the San José / Santa Clara City Limit boundaries in late January 2019. If available, it may be instructive to use ArcGIS with the OSM Basemap layer for comparison.
- Add remaining sidewalks and crosswalks following the San José sidewalk import.
- Complete Santa Clara Valley coverage assessment.
- Break up landuse=* areas into smaller, logical, named areas. For example, use landuse=residential for individual residential subdivisions, landuse=retail for retail complexes like strip malls, and landuse=commercial for office parks.
- Add maxspeed=* , maxspeed:advisory=*, maxheight=*, and maxweight=*.
- Add lanes=* tags to major thoroughfares. 
- Replace note:lanes=left lane is hov  and note:lanes=right lane is hov  with the appropriate hov:lanes=* tag.
- Add destination=* and destination:ref=* to link ways (freeway on-ramps and off-ramps alike) (see Exit Info).
- Add more San Jose neighborhoods as place=suburb or place=neighbourhood POIs.
- Micromap school grounds.
- Add crosswalks, especially at signalized intersections, which may require moving highway=traffic_signals points from the stop line to the middle of the intersection.
- Replace disconnected highway=stopline ways added by pflier with road_marking=solid_stop_line nodes on the associated ways.
- Add ramp meters as highway=traffic_signals traffic_signals=ramp_meter.
- Tag name:pronunciation=* for difficult names like "Almaden", "Los Gatos", and "Milpitas".
- Open Source San José wishlist