Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Event Notes - Mini Mapping party at Kanchipuram

Posted by Shrini on 26 December 2017 in English (English)

I went to my home town Kanchipuram, India for Christmas holidays. We had a good active Linux Users Group called KanchiLUG there few years ago. We still have few members there doing nice works there.

Decided to have a mini mapping party at kanchipuram on Dec 25, 2017. sent a mail to our mailing list and asked people to join the party.

We had one volunteer replied. T. Dhanasekar. We met on dec 25 10 am. Created an account for him in openstreetmaps.

We both dont use smartphone. I borrowed my wife Nithya's phone. He did not get any. I dont have a motor bike there. I already took his bike. Hence, we decided to roam around the city together and add interesting places to OSM.

I explained app and how to add POI. We found many schools, temples, shops, clinics etc and added them. For few POI's, we did not find suitable types in

Will ask the team to add more types.

In 2 hours, we added 75 places. There are still tons of places to add at Kanchipuram. We will add them in upcoming days.

Location: Thirumetrali Street, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, 631501, India

Subway Routing in Maps.Me

Posted by Zverik on 25 December 2017 in English (English)

Last week we published the latest version of Maps.Me. It's got the major version number increase — 8.0. And not for nothing: there is a brand new "Discovery" button, which shows interesting places around you. There are christmas markets on the map — not from OSM though. You can register as a "local guide", meet new people and show them around your city. Hotels from can be filtered by price, rating and availability.

But that is not why the release is worth celebrating. The main thing is, we've made a metro routing!

Screenshot of an Underground route in London

It won't be an exaggeration to say that this is the first even public transport routing application that uses solely OpenStreetMap data. Anybody can employ GTFS data, but using OSM is not that easy. All these relations — "route", "route_master", "stop_area", with enourmous tables in the wiki detailing their usage. Utter mess in the data, a result of mapping for a renderer. Very few people understand public transport mapping, so how did we even use it?

We started with a simple task: visualization and route planning for every subway and light rail network in the world. There are only 180 of these: 700 lines (which require at least 2100 relations, as you might know), 11700 stations. To map all of these, you have to get your tagging straight. And that's how the "Metro Mapping" proposal was made. Then I wrote the subway preprocessor, which takes a filtered planet file and produces an easy to use structure for every network, and a validation page, so you know what to fix.

And then me and a few other mappers started improving public transport relations in many cities, mainly in Europe. When we started, there were, like, three good metro networks. Just before the MAPS.ME release, there were 78 in 74 cities. I'd like to thank Claudius Henrichs for improving many routes in Asia: he's the first person outside our company that used the subway validator to improve public transport mapping.

Help us!

What's for the future? The second proposal about rapid transit mapping is being discussed right now, and in mid-January the voting will start. Please read the proposal and if in doubt about anything, write your questions on the discussion page.

180 networks is not too much, but we need your help. Not a city in the United States has subway routing in MAPS.ME. Zero cities in China. If you live in Asia or any of the Americas and want to have subway routing on your next trip, please read the Metro Mapping tutorial, consult the validation page for your country and fix the tagging in OpenStreetMap.

We'd like to see public transport from OSM being used properly, not only in rendering of lines. If you work on an application, please consider using Subway Preprocessor to provide rapid transit navigation for your users. We in MAPS.ME strive for OSM to be used in as many ways as possible, and we continue to work on making public transport from OSM available to everyone.

Lima Metro update

Posted by Diego Sanguinetti on 24 December 2017 in English (English)

Greetings to all. I wish you a Merry Christmas and New Year for those who are participating in Openstreetmap.

This week I had to correct some points in the Metro de Lima (Linea 1), after what I found from These improvements are related to the station, the stops and the sections of the Metro.

The details you can find in the history of:

Location: San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, LIMA 36, Peru


Posted by DkrotHome44 on 24 December 2017 in English (English)


Ground Zero of ARPANet, Grandfather of the Internet (OSM's Platform)

Posted by apm-wa on 23 December 2017 in English (English)

I spent a couple of weeks in Rosslyn, Virginia, on vacation, and stumbled across a sign identifying the site of the building where the U.S. Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) invented the network and first attendant protocols, ARPANet, that are today known as the Internet. I photographed the sign and uploaded it to Mapillary, which for some reason has placed it incorrectly (I'm trying to move it to the correct location but Mapillary advises it "may take some time.")

ARPANet sign on SE corner of North Oak Street and Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia

Can anybody tell me what the binary code on the back of the sign means?

Binary code on back of ARPANet sign

Location: Rosslyn, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, 22209, United States of America

GraphHopper supports routing over fords

Posted by IknowJoseph on 23 December 2017 in English (English)

GraphHopper will now route cars over fords recorded in OSM, as confirmed here.

I was aware of this when the change was made because I've been keeping track of the GraphHopper driving distance from N’Djamena to Mongo, a route that is something like this:

GraphHopper graph

The sudden rise in distance was caused by a mapper adding a ford between the two places; the drop is when GraphHopper started to route across it.

More details on the recording of routes to follow; for now I just wanted to show this practical usage example.

Location: Abingdon on Thames, Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom


Posted by Meg_W on 22 December 2017 in English (English)

After showing Missing Maps Mapathon pages and volunteer videos to a 13 years old boy at his home, who was interested in these matters, I forgot to logout from this website then left the place.

I thinks the youngster was impressed and inspired by the website and activities.:o)

If there have been some good works from this Tuesday to Friday, it’s not me (I have just changed my password)…

Location: Bermondsey, London Borough of Southwark, London, Greater London, England, SE16 4DB, United Kingdom

Viewing OpenStreetMap tiles in GL

Posted by PlaneMad on 22 December 2017 in English (English)

Was fiddling through the Mapbox GL JS API today, and thought i'd see if I can get the default OSM raster tiles to render on GL. Turned out to be surprisingly easy using this example.




  • The OSM tiles are raster which are rendered at discrete zoom levels, but the GL interface allows for smooth scrolling. The result might be slightly blurry tiles and may not be as crisp as viewing them in Leaflet.
  • The original example was for adding a WMS layer. So any external TMS/WMS layer should work by swapping the tile url in the code. See for options.
  • The color transition of the tiles from b&w was achieved using the raster-saturation property and zoom functions. Not sure if this is practically useful, but definitely avoids needing to render separate b&w tiles.
  • An alternative to using Mapbox GL JS for viewing the OSM tiles in GL is to use OpenLayers

My new multilingual web application "Travel Info Pack" to view hotels, museums, supermarkets, cafes, etc. on the map prominently

Posted by Alex-7 on 22 December 2017 in English (English)

The web app is multilingual. The language selection is in the upper right part of the page.

Basically, you can view the same information at the, but to use the Travel Info Pack one does not have to know neither SQL, nor English, nor OSM tags.

The list with the OSM tags (key=value pairs) is searchable as one types, and it is with the tags's icons.

The web app memorizes the language choice, last location, and searched object. Each marker has got a link to view Wikimedia images with coordinates in the radius of 500 meters around the object.

Since the drop-down list is searchable, I can add much more OSM tags to it. It is what I plan to do.

Riau Province Administrative Boundary

Posted by Kampar on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

It's 5 in the morning,and I haven't sleep yet ... I mess a lot with Riau administrative boundary ... it's huge nodes after all ... more than 10k nodes ...

My big plan is -- err was -- to jump into admin_level 5 directly and add all 12 regencies/cities within Riau province [admin_level 4].

but ... it's not simple as my initial taught, whilst the boundary of riau and neighboring province is created from 3 sources and they all m:

  • NE (Natural Earth) 10m --> this is so low res --> some how remind me with ESRI admin00 shp
  • Bakosurtanal file (I think), from INIGIS website ( I got files like these prior 2014)
  • new, revised 2014 boundaries [known as BPS 2010, because they embed BPS 2010 reference numbering scheme] , taken from PEMILU API, this is so far the newer one and the "most official" one .... aren't them? lol

And ... I'm too afraid messing around with previously old - sacred - relation / boundary created by OSM guru here ... :lol:

I know I'm messing around here, and if you mad, you'll find me in my campus, reviewing my student internship, gosh, there are 15 of them this 8'am, presenting...

[out:xml][timeout:25][bbox:{{bbox}}]; ( node["boundary"="administrative"]; way["boundary"="administrative"]; relation["boundary"="administrative"]; ); (._;>;); out meta;

^ my cheat sheet

Holiday reflections on OpenStreetMap

Posted by mikelmaron on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

I’m starting to reflect on OpenStreetMap over the holiday. The last several months have personally been simultaneously trying and inspiring. Here’s a few thoughts…

We are all the community Do you contribute and participate in OpenStreetMap in any way? Map, organize, code, discuss, etc? Then you are in the OSM community.

We need to move away from talking about the "OSM community" as being either the people we agree with or the people we disagree with. It’s a pattern I see too much. There are plenty of people and groups that are 100% part of the community, but don't fully realize it.

Community looks different in different places The kind of people, background and settings hosting our community look very different in every city, every country.

This is one of the most amazing things about OpenStreetMap — we’re all working together! University students, open source coders, slum dwellers, professional teams, ambassador(s), geographers. Keeping this in mind is super challenging and necessary for a global project. Trying to understand where others are coming from is something everyone can learn to do, and do better.

We agree far more than we disagree The things we agree on our huge — mapping the entire world openly is still a radical idea.

But the things we argue about might seem like insurmountable gulfs. Yet even on the “polarizing” topics of the past months — organized editing, code of conduct, quality etc — from my seat there’s a huge amount of agreement. Lot of the gulf seems to be about particulars of language and how to get there, rather than essential meanings.

Most of us are quiet The overwhelming vast majority of people on mailing lists and in the OSM community as a whole are not saying anything.

So far in December, there were 411 posts by 94 unique posters. The top 20% of those posters by volume contributed 58% of the posts. I don’t know the exact number of subscribers, but there are about 700-800 OpenStreetMap Foundation Members. There are tens of thousands more active mappers. This is extreme long tail participation.

We don’t know if these people are enjoying or recoiling from these discussions, or totally ignoring them. Every time I post, I do try to keep in mind that my words are going out to hundreds of people.

There are very few barriers to action I have seen very few ideas which are not actionable in OpenStreetMap, there is extraordinary freedom.

That doesn’t make it easy, but it’s much easier than building the map alone. Winning arguments with work is more effective than with words only. You need to listen to and work with others. But there are no absolute blockers. Follow and understand our basic community practices, and big or small things can happen.

OSMCha Mailing list

Posted by wille on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

This year has been very special for OSMCha! We have implemented a new interface, a lot of new features and a new backend architecture. We have some new ideas to improve OSMCha in 2018, but we want to start by achieving a better integration with the OpenStreetMap community. So we are starting a mailing list for OSMCha.

As we have more and more people and projects dependent on OSMCha, using the API, deploying their own instances, it is important to have a way to communicate with more agility. A mailing list will be vital to ask general questions, make announcements regarding OSMCha, collaborate on plans and new features, and inform the group of changes.

You can subscribe to the mailing list on Bug reports and wishlist items should continue be reported as Github issues. Please be mindful of the etiquette rules defined on OSM Wiki.

Look forward to talking OSMCha development with you all!

Initial Results from study human cognition influence on data classification in OSM

Posted by grass_and_green on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

Dear all,

As promised, here are some interesting results of our human-cognitive study after 1 month. The study analyzes how humans are able to describe geographic features in OSM, in particular land-use feature.

Visit the study and participate if you still did not:

Look to some results:

Enjoy your holidays and Merry Christmas every one.

Dr. Ahmed Loai Ali

PT v3 some thoughts

Posted by Polyglot on 21 December 2017 in English (English)

There is some talk about a new scheme for mapping public transport on the German forum.

I'll try to list some requirements such a scheme should have:


  • It should be easier to map than the mess v2 has become.
  • Simple for simple cases
  • Scalable to more complex cases, without the need to convert nodes to ways or relations.
  • Details like ref, route_ref, operator, network, zone should only appear on a single object.
  • By looking at this object it is immediately clear on which side of the road the stop is located.


  • The object that represents a stop for a single direction of travel only appears once in the route relations.
  • easy to understand, for anybody who bothers to look inside the relation
  • straightforward to process for map rendering
    • This means that a scheme with 'hints' about the routes, using reference points along the way, is not suitable.
  • one route relation per variation of the itinerary

It doesn't really matter that highway=bus_stop, railway=*, highway/railway=platform are used in combination with public_transport tags. Rendering doesn't seem to be able to go without the 'deprecated' tags. Mapping (using JOSM) is more convenient when using public_transport style tags (roles are set automatically for example).

From the above requirements the only logical solution is to use a node to represent the bus stops. highway=bus_stop / railway=tram_stop bus=yes / tram=yes public_transport=platform

If an actual platform is present where passengers can wait, it can be mapped as a way/area using highway=platform and/or railway=platform. No need for public_transport=platform on these areas, lest someone might say we're mapping platforms twice. And no need for adding these objects to the route relations. They can be added to stop_area relations. My personal preference would be one such stop_area relation per direction of travel, or per platform in bus stations.

I'm preparing a proposal here:

Ground editing

Posted by Anxhelo Lushka on 20 December 2017 in English (English)

I have been working on the Student City area for about 2 or 3 weeks now, and almost 85% of the buildings have been added, old ones were corrected and their properties were enhanced and/or fixed.

There is still a LOT of work to do, but I really want to finish it all before the start of next year. That won't be it though, later on it starts the hardest part, ground editing to add shops and maybe take pictures for Mapillary, but that is for another time.

Announcing Vespucci "X"

Posted by SimonPoole on 19 December 2017 in English (English)

Just in time for "X*mas we've started rolling out Vespucci 10 "X"-

I discussed the new C-Mode and configurable validator previously in this diary entry, but there are quite a few other changes:

Version number change

Even though Vespucci has been around for over 8 years, we used version numbers below 1 in a rather nerdy understatement fashion. I've been guilty of slightly weird numbering before .

The problem with this is that these days nobody understands if you are not at at least at version 3 after a couple of months and people may actually think something is wrong, so we've decided to do a Mozilla and jump to version 10.

While semantic versioning doesn't really make a lot of sense for applications that don't expose an API, we will be sticking with a major . minor . patch system for the internal numbering for now.

Support for synonyms in the preset search

The preset search will now use the same list of synonyms that the iD editor does additionally to the internal preset search index. The new functionality is independent of preset translations and uses the same fuzzy matching as the index search. Additional synonyms should be added on transifex to the iD translations.

One of the reasons I based this on existing technology, even though the current system has its warts (we should probably simply gather synonyms completely separately from our translation platform) , is that OSM development already suffers enough from rampant NIH and there is no real added value in asking translators to add synonyms to two different systems.

Support for custom tasks

You can now load (and save) tasks in a simplified Osmose JSON format. The format is not particularly forgiving and must follow the following example:

    "description": [
    "errors": [
            "This is a silly error of type 1",
            "Silly Errors",
            "2017-03-26 20:30:16+02:00"
            "This is a silly error of type 2",
            "Silly Errors",
            "2017-03-26 20:30:16+02:00"

The value for "error_id" should be unique in the file. Note the custom tasks can't be uploaded, however you can save the open tasks to a file for later reuse.


Conditional restriction editor

  • The icon for splitting a selected way is now a pair of scissors.
  • Improved label rendering.
  • If a PresetFilter is filtering just on one preset item, apply that automatically when creating new elements.
  • Support i18n attribute in presets to indicate that a text field can have i18n suffixes
  • Improved tile download behavior when zooming or switching layers.
  • Support for object_keys and value_type attributes in presets (current value_type opening_hours, conditional, and website are supported). See the list of JOSM preset extensions for more information.
  • Support for using patterns for way rendering, added styling for natural=cliff, natural=coastline and man_made=embankment.
  • Improved conditional restriction editor with opening_hours editor support.

I broke my streak

Posted by Zverik on 19 December 2017 in English (English)

A few days ago I forgot to spend a minute in an OSM editor. I had almost a month of consecutive edits, level 3 in OSM Streak with almost a hundred points. And then, after a hard day, I forgot about even opening a laptop. Neither an email, nor a telegram notification helped.

Participating three days in a row

The next day I submitted my first changeset in a row. How much did I lose in the game? I had been receiving five points for each changeset (I was too lazy to complete tasks), now I get three, completing the tasks. The fourth level was two months ahead, now... I don't know, two and a half? 500 points is a long way to go.

I am practicing for mapping every day in the next year. Now I have seen how the streak could be broken, and to prevent that, I must not push mapping towards the end of a day, but do it the minute I see a notifidaction. Sometimes the task intimidates me: instead of opening the iD editor on a random place and mapping a building (which takes a minute), it requires opening JOSM, finding a specific place, looking at third-party services like Mapillary, remembering some piece of tagging, adding an imagery layer and uploading changes. All of this fits in five minutes, but there are days when I cannot spare that for OSM.

But seeing the point counter increase is still fun. I invite you to register in OSM Streak and spend a few months mapping. You might like it. Or maybe you will have a few ideas for the tasks.

Mapping Baseball Fields

Posted by jremillard on 19 December 2017 in English (English)

I have been working with baseball fields in OSM for my deep learning/OSM project ( My partial OSM dataset has around 13,000 baseball fields. I have discovered that around 7% of them are traced just around the infield!

If you map baseball fields, please map the entire field not just the infield.

All of OSM has over 100,000 baseball fields mapped, thats around 7,000 fields are too small. I updated the wiki for sport=baseball to recommend that the entire field be mapped rather than just the infield. In the future, I might make a MapRoulette for this. All of the baseball fields that have an area less than 100x100 ^feet are suspect.

Linear barriers

Posted by SomeoneElse on 18 December 2017 in English (English)

I've finally got a reasonable rendering of linear barriers working - like the cattle grid in this picture:


That's here in OSM and you can see a zoomable map here.

The key to getting it working was to ensure that the width of lines used at high zooms mostly matched the real width of the feature on the map (see here for cattle grids), except for gates and stiles which are designed to stand out slightly. Walls and fences are slightly different, allowing you to tell them apart.

Location: Bardney CP, West Lindsey, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Call for 3d model repository API users

Posted by n42k on 18 December 2017 in English (English)

As we’re nearing the launch of the 3d model repository, we now have a test server set up. This means that if you have a tool that could benefit from the use of this repository, you can start live testing it against our API, to support our repository earlier. As this is a closed server meant for testing and only able to handle a small load, I decided against sharing the IP address publicly. If you have an interest in using our API, feel free to send me a private message here to get it!

Additionally, we have decided the 2 licenses we will be allowing users to pick when uploading their models: “Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication” and “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International“, and are working on acquiring a server for the upcoming launch.