17 August 2009

Easy OpenStreetMap Editors

Easy OpenStreetMap Editors

One early frustration with wanting to help the OpenStreetMap project was how do you edit the data easily?

OpenStreetMap has lot and lots of data already, though more and more people are required for their local knowledge and to do the mamouth task of keeping the 'map up-to-date'

Well there are lots of different applications from online editors to compiled source code are out there. Which is easiest and user friendly?

These two are mapperz best picks

Merkataartor (v0.14) - fairy new software - but nicely laid out user friendly. Has great potential and is supported by most OS
see the list

Small download, very simple to use - download by area/map of your choice.
No knowledge of OSM to start using. (But advise you to research first)
uploading does require a osm account so you can contribute but downloading and viewing data (in cartographic map-form) does not require a login.
Merkaator Yahoo Imagery - London Bridge

Software is updated regularly and many features have been added - recently Area digitising and tagging tools have been introduced.
Offline mode.
Map Style mode - set one from the list or make your own.
Documentaton: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Merkaartor_doc_0.12
(requires an update to v0.14)

Potlatch - long standing Open Street Map 'online editor' but now more user friendly than ever (thankfully).
Back along mapperz liked the idea of editing in a browser (as all GIS will be in the future).
But Potlatch back then was slow,buggy and choked the browser up - all those issues are long gone and now it is a really fast and easy way to edit 'live'.

Potlatch POI drag and drop editing
Potlatch has greatly increased productivity due to the 'drag and drop' POI (Points of Interest) tool. Tip you reuse tag names with the 'r' button (repeat tag) remember to give as much infomation as you know.
Note: There are many tag names (too many to list) please visit
for a full list of tags.

Yes, there are many, many other OSM editors out there but this is for the curious potential new user, that just wants to help out.

JOSM is currently the most popular desktop editor. It is a standalone Java application (requires Java 1.5) which allows fluid zooming, panning, and editing of a locally stored dataset, before uploading changes in a batch.

OSM2Go is a mobile mapping solution currently supporting the Nokia Internet Tablet family (N800 & N810), can also be compiled for the Linux/GTK+ desktop.

Vespucci [1] for android devices.

Amenity Editor is a simple online editor for creating and editing nodes and POIs. (ATM only in German)

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At Wednesday, January 27, 2010 6:20:00 pm, Anonymous Harry Wood said...

I recommend JOSM, even to a new user.

Potlatch feels a lot more comfortable ever since it introduced "save mode", but it still downloads on-the-fly, which makes it feel slow and cumbersome at times. Naturally that's design trade-off, with other ease of use factors, and in general there's all sorts of pros and cons in the choice. It always used to be a two-way choice between JOSM and Potlatch.

I'm hearing more and more about Merkaartor these days. Never actually tried it. In fact it's not new. It's been around for years actually, but has there been some new development or promotion push recently? Not sure why it's suddenly featuring highly, and why you're choosing to list it first.

Coming up on the inside is Mapzen ( http://mapzen.cloudmade.com/ ) and it's little brother Mapzen Mobile for the iphone. I think Mapzen could good choice for beginners if they fix a few remaining usability glitches. Development is progressing fast, so definitely one to watch.

A relatively recent development was OAuth support on the server: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OAuth (implemented by Matt and our London team while we were still working at CloudMade) The idea of this was to promote the proliferation of new editing softwares, particularly simplified targeted at beginners and special interest groups. Hopefully we'll start to see even more choice.


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