User:Minh Nguyen

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Babel user information
en-N This user has a native understanding of English.
vi-2 Người dùng này biết tiếng Việt với trình độ khá.
es-419-2 This user has intermediate knowledge of español de América Latina.
es-2 Este usuario tiene un conocimiento intermedio del español.
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I’m Minh Nguyễn (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Xuân Minh), a software developer, administrator and data administrator of this wiki, former member of the OpenStreetMap U.S. board of directors, and resident of San José, California. I’m a prolific armchair mapper with a particular interest in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I grew up. I map and translate on a volunteer basis – I don’t get paid to contribute. I’m also an administrator at the Vietnamese Wikipedia and some of its sister projects.


Map data is a public resource that all people should be able to depend on. I contribute to OpenStreetMap to help narrow the digital divide:

  • Accurate, usable coverage should extend beyond the major metropolitan areas, to regions underserved by the technology industry. I map extensively in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeastern Indiana, and to a lesser extent in rural Ohio, Appalachia, and the Ozarks.
  • Minority communities deserve fair representation on the map. I survey and map businesses in ethnic enclaves that are ignored by proprietary maps, particularly in otherwise well served metropolitan areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Speakers of non-Western languages deserve to access, use, and contribute to the map without language barriers. I translate place names and OSM-powered software to Vietnamese.
  • Recognizing that each of these groups is more likely to access the map on mobile devices than on the Web, I have worked on OSM-based developer tools that power practical mobile applications.


OSM Logo This user submits data to OpenStreetMap under the name
Minh Nguyen.

Years ago, my hobby was making maps of cities, both real and imagined. I became frustrated by the numerous embarrassing errors in print and online maps of my hometown, Loveland (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio), and made it my goal to eventually produce an error-free, comprehensive, and up-to-date map of the city. OpenStreetMap gave me the opportunity to do that, using both aerial imagery and boatloads of local knowledge from the bus ride home each day to correct the messy TIGER data that forms the basis of every U.S. map.

The project’s freedom was intoxicating: because I never had to ask for permission to help shape the map, I ended up mapping Loveland down to the most minute detail, then moving on to all of metropolitan Cincinnati, then much of Ohio. In some cases, as with the Little Miami Scenic Trail, I helped OpenStreetMap scoop Google Maps by years. All the while, I stuck to the same tools the beginners use: the online iD and Potlatch editors.

I have participated in large-scale imports of buildings and addresses in New Orleans, sidewalks in San José, buildings and addresses in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, buildings and addresses in San José, and other piecemeal imports that have not required separate user accounts.

iD Minh Nguyen submits data to OpenStreetMap using iD.
Potlatch Minh Nguyen submits data to OpenStreetMap using Potlatch.
Train This user maps along railway lines and while travelling by train. For more information see OpenRailwayMap.
Spanish Translator Minh Nguyen is a member of WikiProject Spanish translation.
Public domain
All my contributions to OpenStreetMap are released into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
In case this is not legally possible, I grant anyone the right to use my contributions for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Current tasks

These are tasks I typically perform all over the place, not just in Loveland:

  • Realign particularly poorly aligned roads imported from TIGER 2005.
  • Draw and name streets constructed since TIGER 2005.
  • Tag bridges and cul-de-sacs.
  • Draw shared driveways and alleyways.
  • Expand abbreviations in TIGER street names.
  • Draw large buildings, typically prioritized in order of: factories and malls; schools and strip malls; apartments and retail buildings; and houses, garages, and doghouses.
  • Map major power lines, placing a point at each pylon.
  • Convert GNIS points of interest (cemeteries, churches, parks, golf courses, schools, reservoirs) to polygons.
  • Draw athletic fields.
  • Draw ponds, backyard swimming pools, and other small bodies of water that the NHD dataset is likely to omit.
  • Compile route relations for major bike trails.
  • Add highway entrance and exit destinations.
  • Add lane counts, turn lanes, and lane change restrictions.
  • Add sidewalks and crosswalks as ways.

Additionally, I’m trying to garden this wiki a bit, particularly software pages and anything related to Ohio and California. That often means globalizing the wiki’s tagging guidance beyond Europe.

Beyond a street map

OSM can be so much more than a competitor to proprietary road, building, and POI datasets. I can't resist mapping the following features whenever I come across them, if for no other reason than to get people thinking creatively beyond what people sitting in a conference room decades ago thought needed mapping. OSM can easily become the foremost authority on each of these types of features:

  • Barn advertisements
  • Big Boy statues
  • Crosswalks
  • Cul-de-sacs
  • Diacritical marks in names
  • Dumpsters
  • Fountains
  • Flagpoles and flags
  • Loading docks
  • Name pronunciations
  • Playground maps
  • Power lines and towers
  • Rooftop solar panels
  • Speed bumps
  • Tornado sirens
  • Typographically correct punctuation in names

To do

  • Complete Santa Clara Valley coverage assessment.
  • Transliterate every last Chinese place name into Sino-Vietnamese for this map.
  • Remove boundary=administrative from CDPs in Warren County and Northern Kentucky.
  • Map townships in Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, and Butler Counties.
  • Finish mapping the Ohio-to-Erie trail and Ohio portions of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.
  • Finish mapping the boundaries of Cuyahoga Falls National Park.
  • Revert ways promoted from ref=SR * (secondary route) to ref=TN/VA * (primary route) by MapRoulette editors who ignored state-specific distinctions between secondary and primary routes. [1]


For the most part, I contribute in areas where I have personal experience, so no copyright issues are concerned. Also, I've relied on the Yahoo!, Bing aerial imagery, and Mapbox Satellite layers in Potlatch and iD for the vast majority of the features that I've tagged. Beyond these obvious sources, I've used some sources with acceptable copyright statuses:

  • The public-domain USGS Topographic Maps layer. Many of these maps are woefully out of date, particularly with regard to street configurations. However, I mainly use these maps to provide names for features that I know exist (either from personal experience or other sources).
  • USGS aerial DOQ imagery and USDA NAIP imagery.
  • Ohio Statewide Imagery Program.


See also