Add a POI from JOSM

rweait's picture

screenshot of the JOSM web site from 2010

There are several editors for contributing OpenStreetMap data. Some describe JOSM as powerful. Others describe it as opaque or User Unfriendly. The truth is that JOSM is just selective about its friends. Let's make friends with JOSM.

JOSM Background

JOSM was written in Java and should run on any computer with a Java runtime. Installation instructions cover Linux, MacOSX, *BSD and Windows. There are other installation options but you'll probably want to install the Tested version of JOSM. A nightly build of JOSM with the latest and greatest features is also available for the bold.

download data to edit in josm

Once installed and launched, JOSM will welcome you with recent JOSM news messages. This will also tell you of updates to the tested version of JOSM and you should upgrade when a new tested version is released.

Select an area to Edit with JOSM

Also shown above is the Download from OpenStreetMap icon. This is where most OSM editing sessions begin. Press the Download from OpenStreetMap icon.

JOSM will present you with another dialogue box.

JOSM download from slippy map dialogue box

There is a lot going on in this dialogue box. For now we'll concentrate on the fundamentals; download your area of interest.

Click the Slippy Map tab to display the map.
Confirm that the check boxes at the top are OpenStreetMap data (checked) and Raw GPS Data (unchecked). The lower Download as new layer check box should be unchecked.

Zoom in to your area of interest. It should be a relatively small area. Several blocks around the location of your point of interest is best.

Zoom in by rolling the scroll wheel up on your mouse. Zoom out by rolling your scroll wheel down.

You can pan to change the center of your map by grabbing the map and moving it. Grab it by right-click-and-hold. Might seem unusual, depending on software and operating systems that you may have used before. Get used to it; you'll see it again later. Right-click-and-hold to grab the map and move it.

If you need to move a large amount, consider zooming out first, moving then zooming in. Also notice that zooming is centered on the location of your mouse pointer, so you'll become very quick at this with practice.

Now that you have zoomed in to the area of interest you'll have to select the area to download. Right-click and drag to draw a box on the map. This is the bounding box that will be downloaded from the OSM server. You'll probably want to select a few blocks either side of your point of interest for context. Draw the bounding box, and press the Download button in the lower left to download this area from the OSM server for editing.

JOSM displays the data after downloading

When the data is downloaded from the server, JOSM will display a slightly larger area. Cross hatching will be shown outside the area that you downloaded to remind you that you should not edit outside the area that you download from the server. You are shown items outside your bounding box because they are included inside your bounding box.

Now zoom in very close to the area you'll edit. In this case, I'm zooming in to the corner of Fisher Mills Road and Scott Road, because that's where Tito's Pizza belongs.

Select Mode

a selected object is highlighted in josm

The left side icon bar shows that the select mode is active. Select mode is confirmed by the arrow icon with a dashed rectangle. You can choose the select mode with the s shortcut key or by clicking the top icon on the left hand icon bar. The east - west road, Fisher Mills Road is selected, it is shown as a white line with arrowheads when selected. When an object is selected in JOSM, the object properties are shown in the properties window left of the map window. You can confirm that you are looking at the correct area by confirming the street names.

In addition to selecting a single object by clicking on it you may select a group of objects by click-dragging a selectbox around them. Don't do that now though. Press Esc to unselect everything.

Add mode

To add a node, change to Add mode by pressing the a key or clicking on the Draw and Add mode icon on the left menu. Add mode, sometimes known as draw mode, is confirmed by the pointer changing to a crosshair, or plus-sign symbol. Any point added will be added at the middle of the crosshair.

Add a Point of Interest from a Preset

Place the node for Tito's Pizza on the Northeast corner of Fisher Mills Road and Scott Road. Click once to place a node. If you move the mouse away from the node you will see a line extending, rubberband fashion, to the pointer. Add mode is prepared to draw a line of several nodes. That is a task for another tutorial, for now you want to stop adding. Press s to change back to select mode. The new node will be highlighted in white to indicate that it is selected.

Click in a blank space on the map and you will see your new node change back into a hollow yellow square. Select it again by clicking on it once while in select mode. We've not assigned any properties to this node yet, so the properties panel is still blank. Let's fix that. Time to make this node into Tito's Pizza.

The Presets Menu

JOSM preset menus, cascading
While the new node is selected, from the Main menu bar select >>Presets >> Travel >> Food + Drinks >> Fast Food. Click Fast Food to open the preset hint window.

JOSM preset hint window for fast food preset
Fill in the values for name Tito's Pizza and cuisine pizza. I don't know the opening hours, so I'll leave that blank then press the Apply preset button to save the information locally.

Now we can see that the node has changed to a burger and drink icon to represent fast food. The properties panel tells us that this node is name=Tito's Pizza, amenity=fast_food, cuisine=pizza, so all is well.

Upload Data to OpenStreetMap

Press the upload button from the main icon bar to upload your new Point of Interest. JOSM will present you with the upload dialogue box which will list your changes, and ask for a change set comment. Add a helpful change set comment that summarizes what you have done in your editing session, in this case, Added restaurant POI in Cambridge Ontario is suitable.

If you have not uploaded with JOSM before you will be asked for your OpenStreetMap username and password. Your OSM username is the email address with which you registered, not your public screen name. Add that information in the authentication dialogue box and press Authenticate to upload your changes.

Congratulations. You have added a local restaurant to OpenStreetMap.

References and credits

This tutorial is one of a series of tutorials for OpenStreetMap beginners. Find more OpenStreetMap tutorials here.

Map images and data © 2010 CCBYSA OpenStreetMap and contributors.


This article from the archives was originally published on Sun, 08/01/2010 - 23:21.