We use the data from OpenStreetMap while hiking through Colombia, Panama and Peru. It is really solid and a big thanks you to all the contributors!

One thing always stands out though. Almost all of the local people have never heard of the name ‘OpenStreetMap’. However, whenever we get information about trails they ask if we use or recommend using it. For those that don’t know, is simply an app showing data from OpenSteetMap!

We’re not sure why is such a popular recommendation, though the name may be easier to remember that OpenStreetMap. We think it may simply have been one of the first apps that was free and allowed you to easily download maps for offline use?

We use an app called Organic Maps ourselves and can recommend it to anyone that goes hiking in another country. It is a privacy-friendly app and we found out it even preloads data from Wikipedia (for instance on towns, soms highlights/attractions and mountain tops).

Comment from Raretrack on 13 November 2023 at 09:23

I’ve often thought part of the problem is the inclusion of the word ‘street’. It can be taken to imply OSM is a subset of maps for a particular use case (getting around towns and cities), rather than the multi-use map we know it to be.

Imagine if Google’s maps were called something like ‘Google Highways Maps’, but still did the same thing. Would as many people know to use it to find a local restaurant? Or, in your case, a hiking trail?

I’m not suggesting changing our map’s name - it’s a strong brand - but I do wonder if we need a simple explanatory strapline, like Wikipedia has.

Something like “OpenStreetMap - the everything map anyone can edit”?!

Comment from Kovoschiz on 13 November 2023 at 11:54

It’s part of history. The origin is from drawing streets and roads. Arguably the unique advantage in trails has outgrown the framework and competition later.

Comment from Fnordson on 19 November 2023 at 12:45

You answered yourself. is an app. OSM doesn’t have an app called OpenStreetMap.
That’s why people don’t know it.

It is the same thing with komoot. It’s quite popular but, at least here in Germany, most of the people I told about it using OSM looked at me weirdly since they never heard of it.

Comment from jomamoj on 19 November 2023 at 12:50

Actually, Organic Maps is an Open Source fork of ;-)

Comment from Fnordson on 19 November 2023 at 13:43

I know.
I meant people’s knowledge of the name “OpenStreetMap” as of in this sentence:

Almost all of the local people have never heard of the name ‘OpenStreetMap’

I personally, use OsmAnd however I try the others from time to time. But I know it’s not for everyone. I wish they’d have a “simple layout” or something like that. People tend to be overwhelmed by the possibilities. It took me a long while to get used to it, too.

Comment from -karlos- on 19 November 2023 at 18:28

Yes, the “Street” in OSM is historical and rather wrong now. We can’t rename it to OpenMap? There are a lot of trademarks, no-one knows the meaning: RTL BVB … So it’s no problem to use “OSM” without referencing to the full name. We should split our appearance. Two different Web portals with different functions:

  • - for the Editing and Coding community
  • - for the Map/Data users

There also should be an OSM-App! (Android, iOS, Desktop) And the apps and should be alike, mostly. Ok, OSM only offers editors, no map use. But there are >2 FOOS apps, doing it: OrganicMaps, MapLibre, … Could we “merge” projects to an OSM-app? Or setup a new one, supported by the existing teams? Sure, redundant apps are needed. But >2 parents could merge the best genes to a better offspring.

Comment from mweper on 19 November 2023 at 23:00

I dare to leave my humble opinion. I think something similar happens with the well-known Android system but they don’t know that it is Linux (its main kernel).

Login to leave a comment