Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

HOT mapping with iD made a little bit smoother - pre-fill changeset comments

Posted by mcld on 25 October 2014 in English (English)

When we run mapping parties as part of the HOT work, we see lots and lots of newcomers mapping for the first time. Increasingly we're getting them using iD which is very easy for them to get started with.

One little issue I noticed in sessions is that for HOT we ask people to use very specific changeset comments - essentially to "tag" the changesets as belonging to a particular labelled task. It was very easy for people to spend half an hour mapping and after half an hour have no memory of what we said about copying-and-pasting a specific comment. Workflow problem!

Now, the team who create the iD editor kindly added my feature request which means that the HOT Tasking Manager can now "pre-fill" the changeset comment in the iD editor. So no need to copy and paste, it should be there when you click through from the Tasking Manager.

What does this mean? It means that in future, HOT mappers using iD will not need any reminding about what to put in the comment box! Easier mapping, easier training, more consistent changeset comments.

Thanks everyone who helped put this through.

(P.S. There is one little technical niggle to resolve - if the comment contains an equals sign then the pre-fill doesn't work on firefox. Hopefully sorted soon.)

Personal benefits of contributing to OSM

Posted by bdhurkett on 25 October 2014 in English (English)

The big goal of OpenStreetMap and the various themed projects is to provide a free & editable map of the world, or something like that, which is great (and so is the progress). But altruism isn't the only reason I've found myself continuing to edit and contribute for the last 18 months or so.


I suppose this is dependent on how and where you're mapping. WIth the streets and major items filled out in my local area, I've moved on to the smaller things like addresses and sidewalks and even benches and picnic tables. That sort of stuff can't really be done at typical driving speed, and it's a lot more relaxing to just go for a stroll with a camera or notepad. I don't know if it's made a huge difference in terms of activity, but it sure beats watching TV on the couch. And it makes for good motivation - sometimes I can't be bothered walking around the block a few times, but who knows what might be on an unseen street! Which brings me to another benefit...

Exploration & Awareness

Generally if I went somewhere in the past I wouldn't dawdle - the journey was just time to kill until I got to the destination. Now though, even when I'm not directly mapping I'm more likely to take a different route, or see what's down that side-street I've driven past hundreds of times but never actually needed to traverse, or pull over and take a look at the view instead of glancing out the car window. And though I'm still happy to let my mind wander on a good relaxing walk, I generally pay more attention to my surroundings, whether it's an unsigned shortcut to the next street, or smaller stuff like "that's a lovely garden" or "this would make a great photo". Even on a larger scale, it's a good excuse to go for a trip to a neighbouring town or park - not something particularly unusual, perhaps, but at least something I find myself doing more. And even if I get a little carried away or too far off the beaten track, it's less of a problem, thanks to...


All that time looking at street signs and shop fronts in the real world, and digital maps on the computer later, has led to the expected result - I know my area a lot better than I did before. It's just like most other skills, where if you just keep practising and spending time on it you improve, but I doubt I'd have spent nearly as much time "memorising" voluntarily otherwise. My mind's-eye-copy is hardly perfect - I'm still terrible at most of the street names around here - but it's handy to be able to have a pretty good idea of what I can buy where in town, or how to get from here to there in five different ways, or even just what's over the next hill.

Oh, and knowing something I drew is on maps and websites all over the place is pretty nice too.

Who uses OpenStreetMap?

Posted by dalek2point3 on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

I have recently been interested in measuring how openstreetmap is being used in different services around the world. Now obviously, this is a very hard question to answer, because, being an open project, OSM data can be downloaded at any point in time, and you can start playing around with it. We dont require any permission for this action, and while the Odbl license does require attribution if you use the data in production, such attribution is hard to track. Openstreetmap data can be found on planes, in disaster relief -- not to mention the thousands of web and mobile applications that use it for different intents and purposes.

Alright, having convinced you that its quite hard to track all possible uses of openstreetmap, perhaps it is possible to track usage of OSM tiles in web applications online? Now, while still difficult, this is easier to accomplish, because at the very least the question is well defined, and in theory, answerable. If we could survey each and every website out there, see if they use tiles from an OpenStreetMap server (or Mapbox server) we might be able to say something about OSM usage. Now, this still would not cover cases where folks have set up their own tileserver with OSM data -- which one might argue is a quite common way to use OSM data.

Either way, I recently discovered HTTPArchive and thought it would be a cool project to track the usage of different mapping APIs online, including Mapbox and folks using OpenStreetMap tiles (which you're not supposed to do for heavy usage!). What HTTPArchive does it crawl about the top million websites, and for each website it records the HTTP requests that the site is making. Now, this it turns out, is a great way to measure the usage of javascript frameworks, Google Analytics etc -- except, no one so far has used it to look at mapping APIs and OpenStreetMap in particular!-

So, I thought I would do that! Now, the HTTPArchive data is quite large -- (petabytes I hear) -- but fortunately it's all available on Google Big Query which makes it a cinch to query. Results from now of my explorations are below.

HTTPArchive data is stored in two important tables (two for each "run") -- pages and requests, and the latest versions can be always found at latest_pages and latest_requests. The `pages' tables contains information like the url scraped, number of bytes etc. Lets see if the main openstreetmap website is in the data. The following query does the job:

select pageid, url,urlShort from httparchive:runs.latest_pages
where  REGEXP_MATCH(urlShort, r'');

Yes it is! This query returns:

Row pageid url urlShort
1 17330926

Seems like the pageid is 17330926. Now, the `requests' table is where all the juicy information is contained. Lets see what requests, the OSM website makes:

select * from httparchive:runs.latest_requests
where pageid == 17330926;

And this is the response that you get -- about 35 requests. That data is here. As you can see, this includes a number of requests for *, OSM's public tileserver.

Which other websites make similar requests? This is where the HTTPArchive really shines. After some experimentation, the following SQL query does the trick:

  SELECT urlShort FROM [httparchive:runs.latest_pages] as pages JOIN (
    SELECT pageid, REGEXP_EXTRACT(url, r'(') AS link2
    FROM [httparchive:runs.latest_requests] as requests
  ) AS lib ON pages.pageid = lib.pageid
  GROUP BY urlShort;

Not many websites seem to be hitting the tileserver directly -- which is reassuring. That data is here.

A final interesting thing to run would be a similar analysis for Google Maps and Mapbox. Queries for Mapbox and Google Maps are available on Github. And the data from there queries are here -- Mapbox and I'm still working on getting the data from Google Maps API usage. That is for another post!

Hope you will find HTTPArchive a useful tool to analyze data from the web. It certainly seems easy to use and with lots of interesting data for analysis! Happy exploring!

Location: East Cambridge, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 02142, United States of America

From the "steps to happiness series": thanking

Posted by naoliv on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

Thank you dear [editor] for so many changesets with only a single object. It's so nice to see users with less than 1 year having almost 21000 (yes, 21 thousand) changesets. It's even better to try to find something that they changed.

Thank you dear [editor] for allowing users to create objects only with name (and nothing else).
A sub-thank you for more "complex" objects, having only area=yes + name.

Thank you dear [editor] for so many changesets without comments.

Thank you dear [editor] for allowing users to delete and modify relations without any kind of warning.

Just for fun but a waste of time

Posted by Little Brother on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

For fun I mapped a desert hamlet in Pakistan that nobody will probably ever see or need to use. Surely that is a waste of time!


I know the object attributes are just assumptions.

Please feel free to correct if you can do it better.

PS: Check the BING satellite picture.

Full geometry ahead!

Posted by tyr_asd on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

This summer brought us some nice new features to the Overpass API universe, that are now finally available in overpass-turbo (and osmtogeojson). Here are some of the highlights:

geometry options

The Overpass API now has three new geometry types, which give you even more flexibility in your queries:

  • out center; – this additionally prints the center coordinate for every OSM object
  • out bb; – this additionally prints the bounding box coordinates for every OSM object
  • out geom; – this additionally prints the full coordinates of every OSM object

The first two options are particularly usefull if one is only interested in the approximate location of some features, rather than their exact outline. For example, one finds that POIs are often mapped on building outlines. By requesting only the center coordinates (out center;), one saves transfer bandwidth and gets an overall quicker query.

Here is an example how this looks like (note that out of the 7 displayed POIs, 6 are mapped on ways in OSM): (try it on overpass turbo)

The full geometry (out geom;) option replaces the need to use object recursions to get the geometry for a certain OSM way or relation. This also saves bandwith and generally comes with faster query execution times. (In this example it saves almost 50% of the data.)

With osmtogeojson version 2.2.0, all this is also available on your command line or to be used as a javascript-library in your projects!

regular expressions for keys

I know that lots of people requested this feature, and now you can finally use regular expression on keys, for example to get all nodes with some kind of name-tag:

node[~"(^|_)name($|_|:)"~".*"]({{bbox}}); out;

Here, the additional tilde in front of the key indicates that the regex-search should be extended to the key as well.

This is also accessible via overpass turbo's query wizard. Try this for example: building=* and ~"addr:.*"~".*"

Overpass QL is now the default

Queries generated by the wizard, a template and the query examples are now printed in Overpass QL. Overpass QL has a more concise syntax, is faster to write and more and more documentation and help is available for it. (Of course anyone can still continue to write, use and execute queries in the older XML syntax.)

Creating/improving MTB paths at Medvednica mountain

Posted by dankot on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

I am trying to improve markings for MTB paths and routes at Medvednica mountain ih the area where I ride a lot and know paths well.

I use tags recomanded for MTB as described here: currently only partially renders these tags, but you can download maps rendered according to MTB tags here: (there is no online MTB map). Currently i'm in process of creating "MTB route 2" which will be added as a "relation" to existing paths.

Also, I will add "MTB related" tags directly to existing paths as these will not interfere with other tags, specially those intended for hikers. My "MTB route 2" is slight variation of "official" MTB route No 2. of Nature Park Medvednica with my corrections to the route so that it less interferes with hiking routes.

Any suggestion is welcomed!

Regards, Danko

CheckAutopista Update

Posted by k1wi on 24 October 2014 in English (English)

Hi there everyone!

There is some great updates for CheckAutopista that I would like to share with you.


I've updated the freeway checking tool to support any motorway or trunk in the world. The only requirement is that the freeway is marked with route=road on a relation. The way it works currently is that you zoom in to your desired area where your freeway is and you click See freeways. Then you choose from the list the freeway you want and you click Load and you are ready to check your freeway.

This has been available for some time now but not much people know this: You can activate or deactivate elements on the legend by clicking on the circles next to the name.

You can deactivate categories clicking on the circles

Also CheckAutopista is now available in English, Portuguese, Catalan and the original Spanish. It automatically detects the language of the user but if it doesn't detect your language you can use the above links or access like this: .

A little survey story

Posted by escada on 23 October 2014 in English (English)

The Belgian community is currently looking at some tools to import house numbers from the AGIV CRAB database. We are in an experimental phase, there is no formal go for the import yet.

Using the tool I saw a street in which I didn't collect house numbers so far. It was tempting to just copy the numbers. But since I needed to walk the dogs, I decided to pass through that street. So what did I discover during this short survey ? A zone 30, a memorial for Frans Abels (a composer 1899-1962), a missing path and a waste bin. It was just 10 minutes extra compared to our normal walk.

Conclusion ? For me it is not sufficient to just copy numbers from a database. It's better to go out for a walk with the dogs. Using this method I collect more diverse data en I learn something along the way.

how to add a POI?

Posted by rafael_porto on 23 October 2014 in English (English)

I recenttly added a museum to OpenStreetMap but I can't see it when I am not legged in. I would want to add a museum to OSM database so programmers could use that information for mapping but it is not easy. Could someone help me?

Thank you

Is it possible to view GPS traces on the map?

Posted by michael_kirk on 22 October 2014 in English (English)

I just succesfully uploaded by first GPS trace. I can view the starting location of this trace on an OSM, but not the entire route.

Is this possible?

If not, what do people use the "GPS Traces" feature for?

Just getting started mapping my places

Posted by michael_kirk on 22 October 2014 in English (English)

I'm a developer interested in open and accessible data. Mapping data in particular offers an opportunity to affect the communities around us.

I'm just getting started with Open Street Maps, and so far am very happy with the iD editor. I wonder if I could contribute somehow.

Location: Ķīpsala, Riga, Rīga, Vidzeme, Latvia

Changes on the end of October

Posted by Lukasz Hryniuk on 21 October 2014 in English (English)

I've finished adding building to Winnica. I've also created residential area to ease distinction betweet the village and surroundings forests. So far I've completed three villages:

  • Sichówek
  • Krajów
  • Winnica

There is a need of placing hydrants on map arround - I'm reading that Polish firefighters use OpenStreetMap :-).

I plan to add rest of buildings in:

  • Słup
  • Sichów
  • Łaźniki
  • Stanisławów
  • Piotrowice
  • Męcinka
  • Muchów
  • Wilków
  • Pomocne
  • Bielowice
  • Jawor
  • Złotoryja
  • Bogaczów

I think it's possible to do it by the end of this year.

Łukasz (lukequaint)

Work done so far... (part 3)

Posted by CroKimba on 21 October 2014 in English (English)

As I was busy with work in my office, as well as with the work on my websites 60 Years of and Booking, I didn't contribute much since my last summary:

  • I continued working on Sierra Leone, I've added a few roads in the Western Area Rural Area and in the Tonkolili District
  • after hearing on the news about Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, I took part in several HOT tasks: 343, 344, 348 and 364, and in 30 changesets I've added/changed around 12510 nodes; please visit my HOT Tasking Manager profile and use the "overpass-turbo" feature to see what exact nodes and areas I added
  • because it is well covered by Bing, I started mapping Gornja Kovačica, the place where my love spent her childhood; I must continue work there
  • 9 months ago I started experimenting with the 3D rendering and 3D-micromapping of my city district by adding building levels, roof shapes and roof colors, and I'm pretty satisfied with the results; I did lot of work, but there is also still lot of work to be done; I've used several online websites to view it: OpenScienceMap, OSM Buildings and F4 Map
  • after I've heard that Bing has finally covered Lijevo Sredičko the place where my love's parents have a house, I've started mapping there, surprised by the fact that somebody else has already mapped there by adding the landuse areas

In the past 4 years in total I've added around 292000 nodes, around 29500 ways and 177 relations.

Location: Poljud, Spinut, Split, Split-Dalmatia, 21000, Croatia

Potlatch 2: see two sets of imagery at once

Posted by Richard on 20 October 2014 in English (English)

I know. Two new features in the space of a week. Don't get too used to it.

P2 now has a 'Show floating window' checkbox in the Background menu. Select this, and you'll get a second set of imagery in a floating window:

dual imagery

The window follows your main cursor location. So you can have Bing in the main window and Ordnance Survey StreetView in the floating window, or a blank background in the main window and Bing in the floating window, or whatever you like.

There's a "lock zoom" checkbox to stop the floating window zooming in or out - for example, edit at z18 with Bing but see OSSV at z16; or edit at z14 with Bing but have the floating window at z19 for a close-up view. It also respects the "max_zoom" parameter of the editor imagery index.

I coded most of this at a hack weekend a year ago but had never got round to finishing it off. Hope it's useful.

At the same time, P2 now makes a passable fist of rendering multipolygons where the tags are on the relation rather than the outer way (yeuch). It's not perfect and it won't do any of that crazy "advanced multipolygon" stuff. But it'll do until we finally get an area datatype.

Kiln not seen(rendered) in OpenStreetMap

Posted by MeghaShrestha on 19 October 2014 in English (English)

We represent the OSM community in Nepal and we are working on a project which include mapping kiln that produce bricks in our capital city. Pollution especially air pollution has been a main issue for quite some time in Kathmandu, capital in Nepal. According to Environmental Pollution Index 2014 published by Yale University, Nepal ranked second last after Bangladesh in terms of air quality and its effect to human health and toxic chemicals such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from combustion in brick kilns and diesel vehicles (MOEST, 2005) adds to it. We need to map the data related to brick kilns and keep it open (upload to osm) for analysis of the data for possible actions. There is an existing tag man_made = kiln and product = bricks but it is not rendered in openstreetmap site. There are 98 users of the tag man_made = kiln according

We want these to be visible in the openstreetmap so how can this feature can be rendered in the map?

Working on railroad edits and other things

Posted by Natfoot on 19 October 2014 in English (English)

Always making edits surrounding edits of railroads with gps traces and Tiger Road data on. I often find data that has not been entered this way.

How can I get accurate locations in a forest ?

Posted by adaviel on 18 October 2014 in English (English)

I'm trying to improve the accuracy of the mapped features in Smoke Bluffs Park in Squamish. This is a very popular rock-climbing area with many documented and bolted routes, so I'd like to be able to use a GPS to find a particular climb. Although the bluffs themselves are mostly exposed, most of the approach trails to top and bottom are in forest, and don't show up on the common satellite photo sites. I was using 3 different GPS sets here - a Garmin GLO bluetooth unit talking to a Nokia N810 tablet, an Asus ME173X tablet with builtin GPS, and a Nokia E71 phone with builtin GPS. I had assumed the GLO (GPS+GLONASS) would be most accurate - it is sold as a GPS, tracks more satellites and has a faster update rate. But when I checked the tracks recorded on October 11th, there are places where "going" and "returning" traces diverge, walking the same trail. I returned on October 13th to check some features, with 3 GPS sets running, and got 3 different traces. In some cases these are far enough apart that I'm no longer sure which trail I was on at the time - the trails are in some cases quite close together. At one point I tried leaving the GLO at a fixed location, and walking twice around a loop with the Asus in order to later subtract the traces and get DGPS accuracy, but this was not very successful - the corrected trace was little better than the original. I'm not sure if I would get better results from two identical units, e.g. two GLOs.

Has anyone any suggestions ? Would a second GLO used for DGPS post-process be better ? screenshot

Location: Northridge, Squamish, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, British Columbia, Canada


Posted by Patrick Etomet on 18 October 2014 in English (English)

Edit places in Koreng while making some corrections


Posted by bmaschino on 17 October 2014 in English (English)

First edits of the Mills/Virginia area. Updated the construction area to include. I plan on doing field papers and updating a large stretch of Mills and Princeton in the area since the weather is a lot nicer now.

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