During the Esri User Conference, Esri and Facebook today announced the availability of ArcGIS datasets in updated versions of two OSM editors, RapiD and JOSM. You can check out the Esri blog post and Facebook blog post for details, but I also wanted to provide a little more context and contact info for the OSM community.
In addition to the local knowledge and field surveys of OSM contributors, another source of OSM data is government data that has been released with appropriate licenses. Many government agencies in the United States and around the world are Esri customers, and they use ArcGIS software to create, publish, and share their GIS data.
Esri would like to help OSM mappers by providing more convenient access to this type of data where it would be useful in OSM and it can be provided with an appropriate license. Esri is encouraging our ArcGIS user community to share their data as open data, preferably with licenses that are compatible with OSM.
In the past few months, Esri has identified some open data (e.g. building footprints and address points) that can be used in OSM and processed that data so that it is more ready-to-use in OSM. To enable access to this data for OSM mappers, Esri has worked with developers at Facebook to expose this data in OSM editors through a new version of RapiD and an updated Map With AI plugin for JOSM.
As described in the Esri blog post, these tools will enable OSM mappers to choose a dataset they’d like to use for mapping, select a feature in the dataset that does not currently exist in OSM, review the geometry and available fields (tags) for the feature (such as below) and make adjustments based on local knowledge or other appropriate sources as needed, and then upload their changes to OSM.
Esri has identified several GIS datasets that contain data we believe would be useful additions to OSM and which are compatible with the OSM license. For those datasets, we have processed them into a more OSM-ready format (e.g. converting field names and values to those expected by local OSM community), and then published and shared them for access by OSM editors.
You can view the datasets in this Esri-curated group in ArcGIS Online, and get additional details on the datasets and plans for using them in this ArcGIS Datasets page on the OSM wiki. As described above and in the dataset pages, the intent is for OSM mappers to access and uses these datasets while doing manual editing in OSM editors such as RapiD and JOSM, and not to use them for bulk imports.
Going forward, Esri intends to assemble more types of data (e.g. roads, parks, POIs) that would be useful additions to OSM and make them available to OSM mappers. One of the primary ways we will do this is through the new data sharing option in the Esri Community Maps program, which will explicitly permit use of this data in OSM.
Many of us at Esri in the U.S. and around the world are OSM mappers and enjoy contributing to the project, both personally and professionally. We hope the availability of these ArcGIS datasets will be helpful to other OSM mappers and will help enhance OSM data for everyone.
How to Reach the Team
If you have questions on specific ArcGIS datasets, or suggestions for additional datasets, you can add them to the discussion on the respective ArcGIS Datasets wiki pages or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions or suggestions on the new tools in RapiD and JOSM, you can tweet @MapWithAI or find the team in the #mapwithai_feedback channel of the OSM US Slack: OSM US Slack. To submit an issue, you may do so here for RapiD or here for the MapWithAI plugin for JOSM.