This tutorial for the OpenStreetMap beginner will lead you through adding your first contribution to OpenStreetMap in under an hour with no special equipment.
Add a Restaurant to OpenStreetMap - Using a Preset Icon
You can make your first contribution to OpenStreetMap within an hour. Or even sooner if you don't stop for a leisurely coffee along the way. I say, enjoy the coffee, or your beverage of choice. OpenStreetMap is fun. You don't need to set a deadline for yourself. There are five easy steps.
Inquire - What does OpenStreetMap know about your neighbourhood?
What does OpenStreetMap know about your neighbourhood? And what doesn't OpenStreetMap know yet, that you can provide? Visit OpenStreetMap.org and navigate to your neighbourhood. Get right up close and take a look. Do you notice anything missing? We add information to openStreetMap from our own observations. Do not copy anything from other maps into OpenStreetMap. It isn't permitted.
Inspect - What's missing from the map in your neighbourhood?
Depending on your neighbourhood you might find things large or small missing from OpenStreetMap. Large things like lakes, or major roads, or small things like the local library, street names or your favourite restaurant. You can fix all of these things but let's start with a modest accomplishment. What about that great pizza place on the corner?
It should be at the north-east corner of Scott and Fisher Mills. I know it is there, but OpenStreetMap doesn't know about it yet.
Observe - Let's go collect data for OpenStreetMap.
Sure enough, here it is. Tito is still in business. Let's put him into OpenStreetMap.
Record - Keep a notebook for your OSM data.
Collecting data for OSM without a notebook is only practical if you add data to OSM in small amounts or have a really good memory. It's better to record your observations so that you can contribute them later. The nicest OSM log book I have seen so far is this one.
This is the wonderfully detailed, and chock full, OSM survey logbook of Frank Steggink. Frank has mapped in Canada and The Netherlands and is rapidly filling this notebook with his observations as he goes. He uses a combination of GPS trackfiles, sketched maps and a legend with points of interest and details to keep an orderly, complete and detailed log of his observations. You should emulate Frank.
Contribute - Send your observations to the OSM server.
If you haven't yet got an account for OpenStreetMap, sign up now using the
sign up link at the top right of the map. Once you have signed up and confirmed your email address you can log in with the
log in link.
Zoom in very close to the area you wish to edit, then select the
Edit tab from the tab bar. This will start the
Potlatch editor in your browser. There are other OpenStreetMap editors as well.
You'll be asked if you want to
Edit with Save or not. You want to
Edit with Save. So click that option.
Now you'll see your area of interest in the Potlatch editing window. In this case we see the intersection of Fisher Mills Road and Scott Road, plus some of the surrounding area.
Notice the icons on the lower portion of the editing window? Those provide an easy way to add Tito's Pizza to the map. Drag the
Fast food icon on to the map and drop it north-east of the intersection of Scott and Fisher Mills.
Once placed, you'll see the pizza slice icon on the map. If it is the currently
selected object in the editor, the icon will be surrounded by a yellow
halo. If it is not selected, you can select the fast food icon by clicking on it once. Select the new point of interest if it is not currently selected.
The fast food preset icon has also pre-filled some information about Tito's pizza for you. OpenStreetMap uses combinations of
values to store information for the map. The fast food preset has added these keys and values.
k:name; v: (type name here)
This saves you re-typing and mis-typing common keys and values and the presets are clever enough to prompt you for common details to add to the point of interest. Let's follow the prompt and add the name of this pizza place. Click in the
value field, to the right of the
name key. Type the name of your pizza place.
International characters from the UTF-8 character set are supported. So is Tito's apostrophe.
With our data complete, all that is left is submitting the data to OpenStreetMap. Click the
Save button in the lower right corner and your data will be sent to the servers.
You'll be asked for a comment about your changes. Use these
changeset comments to summarize your editing session to other mappers.
When your upload is complete Potlatch will play a confirmation sound and display a message on screen. Congratulations. You have contributed data to OpenStreetMap and now we know a little more about your neighbourhood.
References and credits
This tutorial is one of a series of tutorials for OpenStreetMap beginners. Find more tutorials here.
This article from the archives was originally published on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 19:00.