Be a mapper. Contribute your local knowledge to OpenStreetMap and improve the global wiki-style map of everything. It's fun. It's free. You can help.
Mappers update their neighbourhood in OpenStreetMap by adding roads and bicycle paths, businesses and playgrounds. When they share their data with OpenStreetMap it can be used around the world within minutes and is turned into general-purpose, or specialty maps of every sort imaginable. In any language you can imagine.
You can improve the map in your neighbourhood. It's easy to get started and it's fun.
Map the things that you observe for yourself. Don't copy from other maps. We don't have permission to include information from other maps in OpenStreetMap data and other maps have deliberate errors called
Add the things that you see in your neighbourhood every day. Add your favourite coffee shop and restaurant. Add the local public school and playground. Add the exercise trail through the park. Include the business names and street addresses. Make sure the addresses of your home and neighbours are included. Is there a wheelchair accessible swingset at the park? Put it on the map.
Add things that are verifiable by other mappers; we're all collaborating on this map. If a business has a sign, add it to OpenStreetMap. Don't add information that would disturb the privacy of somebody. So, the address of a building is fine. The name of the residential tenant is not.
Add things that are relatively permanent. Is there a public restroom at the local ball diamond? Add it to the map. Did the city place a portable toilet for a parade this weekend? That can be left off the map, or be certain to both add and remove it promptly.
Add your local park picnic table to the map. That's significant enough to add to the map. Don't add the piece of gum stuck under the park bench to the map. It might be permanent and verifiable, but it isn't significant. Just throw the gum away.
It is kind of a big job to want to map the whole world and OpenStreetMap started doing this in 2004. While you might initially think that it would take
forever top map a city the size of Toronto, we have many active mappers here. Have a look at this animation of the progress we've made since 2006.
Mapping the world is hard, but we're mapping one bowling alley at a time. Mapping one neighbourhood at a time is simpler, fun and gratifying. It's fun to add an object to the database, and then see that object used in general purpose and specialty maps on hundreds of web sites.
It's rewarding to know that the data contributed to OpenStreetMap is able to help people right away. Just as a mapper would help a lost tourist find their way to the subway station; the combined contributions of a mapper over time will help many tourists, or parents, or students, or home owners, or real estate agents.
We need your contributions of local knowledge to OpenStreetMap. Who knows your neighbourhood better than you do? You can add the missing dry cleaners, and you can update the coffee shop when it changes ownership in a few years. We're mapping one neighbourhood at a time and you can map your neighbourhood.
Do you want to learn more about OpenStreetMap? Mappy Hour is a fun and informative meeting of OpenStreetMap enthusiasts. Mappers range from programmers and statisticians to musicians and cartographers to engineers and people just like you. We meet to learn from each other and share our mapping experiences. And refreshments.
Mappy Hour is held monthly in Toronto and other cities around the world. Attend a local Mappy Hour or start one near you! Join us for conversation, coaching on mapping, and Question and Answer.
There are many on-line resources for OpenStreetMap.