OpenStreetMap

The story of the oldest node in OSM.

Posted by bdiscoe on 26 April 2015 in English (English)

I’ve been using Osmium, and today parsed the entire planet.osm.pbf for the first time. I noticed that the nodes are in order by ID, and the very first node, the oldest node still in existence, is node 10. Let’s look at it!

http://www.openstreetmap.org/node/10/history

This tough little node has had quite a history! Presuming that the database is accurate, this is what it tells us today:

  • v1, April 18, 2005, user sxpert creates this node in chageset 4. That’s right, the fourth changeset ever. We have no record of its geographic location.
  • v2 was redacted.
  • v3, April 2009, super-user woodpeck (Frederik Ramm) places this node in London, near Regent’s Park.
  • v4, September 2009, dtr20 deleted the node, as part of “Survey east of Regent’s Park”
  • v5, April 2011 max60watt somehow re-uses the node, placing it near the bus stop in a quiet little village near the town of Kassel, in the German state of Hesse.
  • … and that’s where the node has stayed, through 3 small edits.

The name of the village is Furstenwald. As an English speaker, saying this name out loud causes me to giggle. Of all the nodes still alive today, the first in the world is in… Furstenwald.

Comment from SDavies on 26 April 2015 at 17:33

‘Somehow reused’? I wonder how!

Comment from Andy Allan on 26 April 2015 at 19:52

Remember that there were no changesets back in 2005, so it wasn’t really the “fourth changeset ever” so much as the 4th artificially-created changeset at the point we created them (in 2009).

Also, most of the low-numbered nodes have been used and re-used a number of times, usually because of badly-executed bulk uploads using them instead of using new node ids. Then someone has to move everything back and/or delete the bulk upload.

Comment from Ökkel on 30 April 2015 at 13:16

Near to that old node is “Ehrster Weg”, which sounds like “Erster Weg” = “First Way”

Comment from dieterdreist on 13 May 2015 at 10:20

To nitpick a bit, the name of the place is “Fürstenwald” which transscribes to “Fuerstenwald” if you lack the ü-character and which means something like “the sovereign’s forest”.

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