Here we present you some instructions on how you can use OpenStreetMap. It's an open project, so feel free to discover new ways which are not yet documented here!
If you search for a specific ready-to-use service based on OpenStreetMap, or you want to see an overview of what people already did with OpenStreetMap, please visit Applications of OpenStreetMap.
There is a special page on how to use OpenStreetMap without internet connection.
You can use OpenStreetMap mapping and data without charge subject to two conditions; firstly that you attribute your use of OpenStreetMap appropriately and secondly that you share any corrections or improvements back with the project as appropriate.
OpenStreetMap is not a complete or accurate map of the world and should not be used in such a manner that deficiencies, omissions, inaccuracies or errors could result in death, loss or injury.
It is particularly important to realize that the maps might not be reliable. The maps are an iterative ongoing work-in-progress. We are aiming to produce maps which can be relied upon, equally well, or better than other maps. The openly-editable wiki nature of this mapping system may help us towards this goal, however it may also mean that there will always be some inaccuracies. You should make your own judgement about the accuracy of our maps. Always use our maps in conjunction with your senses, official sources and your common sense.
Maps on your website
Maps on your GPS device
Create your own map
To create your own map, you need to get much more technical. The Software development section below gives you more details.
You can get three dimensional city models from OpenStreetMap.
See subpage map examples.
We try to document any special interoperability with OpenStreetMap for each GIS software. Try a search with the form on the top right of this page for your particular GIS software, or browse our Category:GIS software. There is also open source GIS software working together with OpenStreetMap.
There is also a whole bunch of tools converting map data from/ to OpenStreetMap data, including support for the popular ESRI Shapefiles and PostGIS format.
It is possible to download portions of OpenStreetMap's raw data (in .osm) that be can exported to a wide variety of formats (including SHP, POSTGIS, geojson) for many purposes, including use in professional GIS software.
There are general help pages for software developers using OpenStreetMap:
- switch2osm.org explains how to make the switch from other data services than OpenStreetMap.
- It may be helpful to learn how the OpenStreetMap software works.
- Also, OpenStreetMap runs on a relatively small server deployment for its size - see our notes on server hardware for details. There are also API v0.6 mirrors and Dev and Test APIs which help with testing code that interacts with the OSM API.
- list of research about software.
You may also wish to see the list of other projects collecting free geodata.
OpenStreetMap has created a unique curriculum that is focused on introducing the topics that OSM addresses: mapping, open source technologies, crowd sourcing and community efforts. It is geared towards university level students. Further, OpenStreetMap has several open problems which would make good student projects. These are items that need researching and "longer-term" issues which could be worked on by students as a project separate from the core open source development progress happening within the community.