Hello, everyone!

It’s my first OSM Diary post; please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jikka and I just joined the mapping community some time during the second half of 2020 through Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - Philippines. I’ve long wanted to write an OSM diary entry (I’d already thought about writing something regarding AWS and PhilAWARE) but I wasn’t so sure if my thoughts (a newbie’s!) would be welcome. But, seeing the push for openness and inclusivity made me feel more confident in expressing myself. I’m sure there are people who share this sentiment. 🤗

Anyway, I am writing this just in case any newbie here reads the OSM diary entries. That’s what I did when I joined, and I learned so much from just being a #lurker lol. I’m sharing three trips for any newbie who wishes to contribute:

  1. If you are a newbie (welcome!), please add the hashtag #newbie when making changes and explicitly state in your comments that you are a newbie so that other mappers can guide you. (I’d like to thank arnalielsewhere for this tip!)

  2. That being said, please don’t be discouraged when other mappers add comments or send you direct messages to ask about your recent edits. Whenever they ask questions (usually about data that you ~unknowingly~ changed), just be honest and say you’re learning.

  3. Please join mapathons. It’s always good to have someone answer your questions real time. Lessens the chances of us newbies uploading changes that don’t necessarily improve the map.

The reason why I’m posting this is because we can’t really claim to be making OSM a free and inclusive community when we’re being discouraging to new mappers. Likewise, for newbies, we can’t cement ourselves in the discussion and the movement in general if we’re always discouraged by comments or if we’re intimidated by the system we want to improve.

Anyway, that’s it from me for now. If there’s anyone who reads these, please add more tips in the comments to help more people like me too. If you have resources you want to share, please feel free to link them in the comments, or notify me when you spot them.

Thanks, and happy holiday mapping! ☺️🎄

Comment from philippec on 28 December 2020 at 09:10

Women have always been welcome in Belgium, even too much. But it does not help. We cannot force anyone to be interested in mapping.

Comment from IpswichMapper on 28 December 2020 at 21:32

If you are a newbie (welcome!), please add the hashtag #newbie when making changes and explicitly state in your comments that you are a newbie so that other mappers can guide you.

I feel like this is unnecessary. Tools like OSMcha (OSM changeset analyser) allow you to see edits made by new users. You can then contact them if you feel that they could benefit from some tips, help, affirmation etc.

Comment from Glassman on 28 December 2020 at 23:44


Welcome to OpenStreetMap. I like your suggestions. I’d also add a don’t be afraid to ask for help. Of course know where to ask for help is difficult for #newbies. I’d encourage to start a discussion in your community to set up a committee to welcome new mappers. This way new mappers can be shown the best place to ask for help and become members of the local community. The Belgium and Italy communities are using software to help with the process and are happy to share. As a member of the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group, I know we would be happy to help.

Stay safe,


Comment from bo_hot on 29 December 2020 at 01:30

Great post @Jikka!

Nothing but support from me on this!

I really hope that as the real word changes the virtual world in which we all operate can evolve and change as well (like the statement you mentioned). One tip from me, newbie isn’t a dirty word and every word from your first to your last shoud be valued equally. It’s #newbies that bring new perspectives, new ideas and new voices to the conversation, so I hope we hear more from #newbies and listen more to them as well.

Comment from amapanda ᚛ᚐᚋᚐᚅᚇᚐ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 29 December 2020 at 12:07

Welcome to OSM! iD adds the mapper’s “edit count” to a changeset, which can be usefult to know that someone is new to OSM.

“Be bold in what you add, and cautious in what you delete” is good advice for starting in OSM. We all make mistakes at first.

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 29 December 2020 at 13:03

WERPA! Actually it was one of Celina’s tips, to add #newbie :)

+1 on newbie tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask away! :D

Comment from pedrito1414 on 29 December 2020 at 14:46

Great post, Jikka! And, thanks to the commenters, too. Lots to learn from…

Comment from mapmeld on 29 December 2020 at 14:59

Thanks for encouraging newbies! I will recommend the hashtag to new users in the future.

Comment from Britzz on 3 January 2021 at 15:36

“Be bold in what you add, and cautious in what you delete” : i like it and thanks @Jikka for this post

Comment from IpswichMapper on 3 January 2021 at 16:02

To everyone commenting that we should use the #newbie tag, I think this is a bad idea.

Currently, “review_requested=yes” already exists: simply check the “I want my changeset to be reviewed” button before uploading.

The newbie tag will create two standards of checking for users who want help, which will make it even more confusing. Let’s not do that, I think it is more important to tell users who are more accustomed to OSM to look for changesets tagged with “review_requested=yes” using a software such as osmCHA.

Furthermore, to identify new users, this tag is unnecessary, as like mentioned before, there are many ways of already doing this that don’t require any extra effort. The “#newbie” tag would be a worse way of finding new users because most users won’t use the tag (as most new users have not read this diary entry).

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