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OpenStreetMap of Cambridge

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.



OpenStreetMap creates and provides free geographic data (e.g. street maps) to anyone who wants them, available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence.[1]

Maps are created by users adding to the data set: Nodes - points with a geographic position; Ways - lists of nodes, representing a polyline or polygon; Relations - groups of nodes, ways and other relations which can be assigned certain properties and Tags which can be applied to nodes, ways or relations and consist of name=value pairs.

This map data can be sourced from portable GPS devices, aerial photography and other free sources. These include but are not limited to: GPS tracklogs recorded by people out walking, cycling, and driving, combined with their notes and photos from the journey; local knowledge; public domain sources such as Landsat satellite imagery and out of copyright Ordinance Survey maps; satellite and aerial images provided by Yahoo maps and data sets contributed by others (e.g. AND Automotive Navigation Data has donated the entire streetmap for the Netherlands[2]) and the US census for the USA road data.

OpenStreetMap relies on a number of other supporting open source projects including Open Layers and Mapnik and the editing software includes Potlatch and JOSM.

OpenStreetMap data is used in many other applications for mapping and routing purposes including OpenCycleMap (mapping), YourNavigation (routing), EWorld (network simulation).


OSM user stats. Sourced here.

OpenStreetMap was started in 2004 by Stephen Coast.[3] In April 2006 The OpenStreetMap Foundation of formed, described as "An international non-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anybody to use and share" [3].

The first 'The State of the Map' was held in July 2007 at Manchester University's School of Environment and Development.[4] The following year is was held in Limerick again in July[5] and the 2009 conference is scheduled for the 10th-12th July 2009 in Amsterdam.

By April 2008 OSM had around 30,000 registered users and this passed 100,000 registered users in March 2009.[6]

The image below was created by OSM Mapper and shows edits made to OpenStreetMap in 2008. Lighter areas are more recent. Blue areas were edited prior to 1st Jan 2008 and black areas had no data at that date. The images shows considerable activity in Europe, activity in many other places and growing activity in the United states.

OpenStreetMap - A year of edits to 31Dec 2008

Future development

The long term aim of the project is to achieve global coverage. The focus to date has centered on the UK, Germany and other areas of Europe but world wide coverage is continually growing.

External Links

Further Reading


  1. OpenStreetMap - Home
  2. AND Data
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wikipedia
  4. State of the Map 2007
  5. State of the Map 2008
  6. OSM Stats This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at OpenStreetMap. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with IdeasInTransit, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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