OpenStreetMap is the global, wiki-style map of everything

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.

example watercolour map made from OpenStreetMap data. example accessibility map made from OpenStreetMap data emphasizes wheelchair accessible amenities.

Improve the map in your neighbourhood

You can improve the map in your neighbourhood. It's easy to get started and it's fun.

  1. Register for an account on OpenStreetMap
  2. Zoom in to your neighbourhood
  3. Notice anything incorrect or missing? Press the edit tab and add your favourite restaurant or coffee shop.

Things to add to the map

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 trap streets.

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.

Map things that are Verifiable

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.

Map things that are Permanent

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.

Map things that are Significant

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.

Mapping the World sounds like a Big Job

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.

preview from Animation of OpenStreetMap data growth in Toronto from 2006 - 2011. click to load animated gif

Mapping the world sounds hard

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.

Map your neighbourhood. Add your local knowledge to OpenStreetMap.

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.

Join us at Mappy Hour

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.

Can't wait for Mappy Hour?

There are many on-line resources for OpenStreetMap.


Image Credits