Wikimedia Commons

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example of an image considered to be within scope of Wikimedia Commons
"Reasonable quality photographs of identified places are very unlikely to be considered not in scope"
"scope is very broadly defined. Reasonable quality photos of public places are generally considered to be in scope. So, please go ahead and upload those photos"[1]
One of photos taken and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as illustration for OSM Wiki. Used on Key:turn:bus:lanes. It was taken solely for purposes of improving OSM Wiki, but is one of types of images welcome at Wikimedia Commons, and anyone else also may use it.

Wikimedia Commons ( is one of the platforms within the Wikimedia family of projects, which includes Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikivoyage, MediaWiki (the software on which all these projects run, as does the OpenStreetMap wiki) and other projects. It hosts most of the images, videos, audio and other media files used across Wikimedia projects, and these files can be directly used also for example on this wiki. Note that Commons content furthermore may be used by anyone, anywhere and for any purpose [2].

Project scope

Wikimedia Commons hosts a lot of photos of more or less noteworthy physical objects everywhere (buildings and all kinds of structures, shops, trees, artwork, memorials, signs, parks etc), which may never actually be used in Wikipedias etc, but can hold information valuable to OpenStreetMap mappers (in the image itself or in its metainfo). As such contributing photos to it can also be worthwhile for OSM contributors as well as linking to those photos from OSM objects. For being eligible for hosting on Commons, photos just need to be "realistically useful for an educational purpose", which will hold true for many photos of interest to OSM, and be freely licensed or public domain.

Commons' project scope is very wide, and it is interpreted to include images of bicycle parking that are not noteworthy in any way.


If you take an individual photograph during field surveying that has anything distinguishing about it, even just a clear shot of some street furniture, consider uploading it to Wikimedia Commons, then make it discoverable by data consumers and other mappers:

  1. Add appropriate categories
  2. Under the file description page's "Structured data" tab, state what the image depicts.
  3. If the subject of the photo is notable enough for its own Wikidata item, tag the Wikidata item with the photo using image (P18) or a more specific property like image of interior (P5775) or image of place name sign (P1766). Then make sure the corresponding OpenStreetMap feature has a wikidata=* tag linking to the Wikidata item.
  4. If the subject of the photo is too mundane for its own Wikidata item, tag the depicted OpenStreetMap feature with wikimedia_commons=File:*.

Mapillary and OpenStreetCam photos are available under a license compatible with Wikimedia Commons. If you notice a photo in either site that does a good job of illustrating some place or structure, you can manually export that photo and upload it to Commons to make it accessible to a wider range of use cases. The Mapillary 2 Commons tool can be helpful to import Mapillary images to Commons.

Wikimedia Commons photos can be useful for map mashups. For example, Sophox displays an image gallery or an interactive map featuring images in popups whenever one of the output columns contains Commons files. A user can click on an OpenStreetMap feature to see more detail about the feature, including a photo of it.


Commons has freely licensed SVG logos of many of the brands in the Name Suggestion Index. Data consumers and editors can use these logos as a more reliable alternative to social media profile pictures. This guide explains how to make vector logos accessible to the Name Suggestion Index via Wikidata.

3D models

Commons hosts freely licensed, patent-unencumbered 3D models. A data consumer can discover these models through either wikimedia_commons=* or wikidata=* in conjunction with the 3D model (P4896) property at Wikidata. For example, this Sophox query shows Creative Commons–licensed 3D models corresponding to OSM features (some public domain models are also available).

Most of the 3D models at Commons are intended for 3D printing, so they may be suitable for 3D printing OSM data. However, each model requires some individual attention to scale, orientation, and textures to ensure consistency with a broader map, whether 3D-printed or displayed on screen. By contrast, the 3D Model Repository (3dmr=*) has fewer models overall, but all the models are intended for 3D map rendering.

Screenshots and maps

You can upload screenshots of the OpenStreetMap website (GPL) or this wiki (CC BY-SA) to illustrate how to use these websites. You can also upload screenshots of OSM-based software, as long as the software is freely licensed. Screenshots of freely licensed editors are acceptable as long as any copyrighted background imagery is not too prominent. (Just in case, consider switching to an unencumbered background.)

The Standard tile layer is suitably licensed for inclusion in Wikimedia Commons. If you want to illustrate a Wikipedia or Wikivoyage article using a static map (as opposed to an interactive map), use the Export panel at to export an image in SVG or PNG format, then upload it to Commons. Tag the image with the {{OpenStreetMap}} template to indicate its source and license status.


Commons mobile app
Commons app upload process 1.jpg
Author: Josephine Lim and Wikimedia community in general
License: Apache 2.0
Platform: Android
Version: 10.11.11 (2020-05-13)
Language: multi
Source code:
Programming languages: Java and Kotlin

Images can also be uploaded from Android devices, using the Commons mobile app.

Commons as a source for mapping

Main article: Creative Commons#Importing creative commons licenced data into OpenStreetMap

Most licenses used by Commons images do not allow them to be used for mapping.

How to find images for a place

Embedding media on this wiki

Pages on this wiki can automatically obtain images from Wikimedia Commons as if they were uploaded here. As long as a media file is available under a license compatible with Commons, you should upload it to Commons instead of using the Special:Upload tool here. There is no need to reupload a Commons image here.

Consult the MediaWiki images documentation for the syntax for inserting an image or gallery of images on a page at this wiki.

Superiority of Wikimedia Commons for storing images

While it is possible to upload files to OSM Wiki, Wikimedia Commons should be preferred if possible

See also

  • wikimedia_commons=* - To link OSM features to a Commons media or category
  • Category:Feature pages with missing images - pages on OSM Wiki that would benefit from adding an image. Add one if you find something fitting on Wikimedia Commons. And of nothing is fitting you may upload one, as long as you can publish it on open license (for example, because you created it).

External link