First steps in historical OSM analysis

Posted by joost schouppe on 7 May 2014 in English (English)

EDIT: yeah, so my little hosting package didn’t agree with your interest (you consumed 12 times my allotment). Fortunately the nice people at came to the rescue and offered me some space. Thank you Ben!

I have a big scheme in my head to do somehing fun with OSM data. Unfortunately I’m still taking babysteps. Still, here is one step that makes me pretty happy: a map of the evolution of La Paz, Bolivia. EDIT: as I’m a disaster in reading manuals, I didn’t add timestamps to the first few tries. I’ll re-run them with timestamps when I get the time.

La Paz, Bolivia

Gent, Belgium (with timestamp)

I can make an animation like that for any bounding box with just a couple of minutes work (and some waiting time, depending on the data-density of the area).

In fact, doing this is extremely easy. It still took me two months :) All you have to do is follow the instructions here: (this was very helpful too:

Only for me, that meant setting up a VirtualBox with Ubuntu, understanding how to install software on Ubuntu and how to fix messed up installations, getting Ubuntu to be able to read data from my host Windows 8 laptop. A big challenge was also not throwing the laptop out of the window (everyone LOVES Windows 8, right?). I could have not done this without Mazdermind Peter who didn’t just make the data available in a workable format and the tools to work them, but also gave me personal support. Eternal gratitude and what not. Also free Belgian beer (or chocolate) on any future IRL meetings.

If you want something similar for a bounding box that interests you, let me know. Just send me a bounding box made with and send me the “EPSG:4326” line. That way I can stupidly copy paste the coordinates.

Next step: creating yearly statistics about the state of the map.

Here are some requests:

Krakow, Poland

Silesia, Poland

Lubumbashi, Congo: region, urban area, city center

Kathmandu, Nepal

Norco, California

Pointe Noire, Congo

EDIT: Peter suggested I make an extract of my setup for him to distribute. That would mean you can install VirtualBox (easy), load up a copy of my VM (should be easy), write three lines of codes and you have your thing (easy).

EDIT: There are some bugs visible (Krakow, Kathmandu). It might be I failed to do an update for some of the involved packages. If after a re-run they still show, I’ll try and make some bugreports for Peter.

Location: Barrio Brasil, Santiago, Provincia de Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, 8340405, Chile

Comment from Rps333 on 8 May 2014 at 00:49


Comment from escada on 8 May 2014 at 05:32

It would be nice to have something like this on the Belgian osm website, for course for a Belgian town. And… would it be possible to include a timestamp somewhere ?

Comment from Yarl on 8 May 2014 at 10:33

Really nice, however +1 for timestamps. Silesia for me, if it’s possible (EPSG:4326: 18.610968,50.213027,19.0978,50.412539)

Comment from stragu on 8 May 2014 at 12:17

Great, awesome job! If you have a second, can I ask you to do beautiful Strasbourg please? EPSG:900913: 858273.108283,6201011.456994,867235.349848,6207432.167369

I of course understand if you don’t have time - and I need to give it a go too! :)

Comment from Jorieke V on 8 May 2014 at 15:22

Hey Joost, really cool! And for sure interested in one for Lubumbashi to show to MSF. A great tool to show to humanitarian (and of course other) actors how fast it can go! Have a good time in south america! Groetjes, Jorieke

Comment from frankthetankk on 8 May 2014 at 21:42

Awesome project! I’d like to see more about this. If still taking requests, here is the area where I’m working on editing. EPSG:4326: -117.619329,33.886201,-117.491441,33.956569 Thanks

Comment from amritkarma on 9 May 2014 at 10:10

Can you make one for Kathmandu? There has been a lot of activity here but we have no means of visualization. EPSG:4326: 85.232062,27.62921,85.478568,27.787873

Comment from baditaflorin on 10 May 2014 at 10:27

We will have in Bucharest a mapping party on 16-17 may, and it would be beautiful to do this before the mapping party, to present the evolution Bbox 25.872244,44.295443,26.307578,44.592516

Have a good day

Comment from lxbarth on 10 May 2014 at 21:10

Joost - very interested in the results. All pages linked from your OP 404:

Comment from Ben Abelshausen on 23 May 2014 at 09:33

Some of the results there are back online:

Comment from bobTE on 4 June 2014 at 16:51

Nice work, making the VM available for download will be indeed a plus. If you are still taking request please can you try to do an animation of Pointe Noire, Congo please. EPSG:4326: 11.810259,-4.843182,11.970248,-4.712831



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