Add a Retail Plaza to OpenStreetMap

rweait's picture

Shops in Cambridge Ontario

There is a small group of shops in your neighbourhood and you wish to add them to OpenStreetMap. This is a tutorial that will lead you through the steps required to add a small group of shops to OSM. You'll be able to complete this contribution to OSM in about one hour.

Let's go mapping.

You know that you added Tito's Pizza to the map a while back. But you also know that Tito isn't alone. There is a convenience store and a couple of other shops on the same corner. This time we'll collect some GPS data and put the rest of the shops on the map as well.

You have already configured your GPS and you have tested that you can collect GPX track files.

Make your first GPS survey a modest one. Think of how much mapping you want to do then do 25% of that.

Start your GPS and start your survey once the GPS receiver has a good position lock.

In this case the shopping plaza has an access road around back for the staff and a parking lot in the front. Drive around the building.

Now make notes in your OSM logbook regarding each of the shops. At a minimum you'll want the shop name, shop type, and street address.

Take photos to reduce writer's cramp or to remind yourself and provide a reference in future.

Complete your survey and return to your computer for editing. Save the gpx file from your GPS receiver and trim it to the area of interest if you care to do so. (note to self: make a tutorial on trimming your GPX track file to the area of interest!) Upload your trimmed track file to OpenStreetMap.

You'll get an email when your track file has been accepted and you'll be able to see your track files once they are processed. Visit your track file page and press the edit link beside your latest track file.

This will open the Potlatch editor with your track file already included as a background for reference.

Above, we see the previously placed icon for Tito's Pizza, as well as the light blue line created from our GPX track file. This points out a couple of things. Firstly, it shows us where the outline of the building should be, secondly it shows us that our estimated position of Tito's was off by several metres.

Excellent. Let's draw the building. We'll draw it as a closed way, that is, as a line that forms a single rectangle. Zoom in so that you can draw the building at a comfortable size.

Draw the building inside the bounds of the track file since we drove around the building at a safe distance. Place a first node at one corner of the building. Click at three additional corners to form the building outline. Then approach the first node and hover over it again. Potlatch will automatically turn this rectangle into a closed way if we click a fifth node in the same place as the first node. potlatch even gives us a little hint to know when we are close enough to make a closed way. The drawing icon that looks like a pen nib will have an extra dot added to the icon when the cursor is over the first node.

Hover over the first node and click once to close the rectangular way for the building outline. It this doesn't work the first time you try it, press the escape key, and begin again. If the rectangle is not pleasingly rectangular, you can select the individual corner nodes and adjust their location. Once you are happy with the shape of the outline, let's tag it as a building.

Add the tags for the building, based on your survey information:
k: building; v: yes
k: addr:housenumber; v: 165
k: addr:street; v: Fisher Mills Road

We specify that this is a building and we specify the street name and street number of the address.

Now let's add the shops. We see from the photo that there are six sections of the building marked by the seven pillars. We noted five stores in our survey and observed that the convenience store was larger than the others. We can use this to guide our shop placement.

The shops we noted, left to right were: convenience, photo studio, pizza, salon, vacant.

I'll start by moving Tito's Pizza from the earlier estimated position, somewhere on the front lawn, to a newer better-estimated position just to the right of the centre of the building. Now I'll place, from the presets, the convenience store. The salon poses a small challenge as there is no preset for salon. A quick visit to the OpenStreetMap Wiki suggests the

k: shop; v: hairdresser

tag and we are back in business.

A quick search of the wiki finds suggestions for shop=photo_studio and shop=vacant for the other two shops at this mall.

Once you have finished tagging your shops, press the save button, complete your change set comment and you'll have added some local businesses to the map.

And this is how it renders in the default Mapnik Style on the OSM site.

References and credits

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

Map images and data © 2010 CCBYSA OpenStreetMap and contributors.


This article from the archives was originally published on Wed, 07/28/2010 - 17:32