Interesting Facts and Stats about OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an open-source mapping project founded in 2004 by Steve Coast that creates a free, editable world map. Data is sourced from a global network of volunteers who employ GPS devices, aerial imaging, and different methods to produce information regarding roads, landmarks, and other objects. The map can be used, shared, and altered without charge under an open license, with access to it through various web and mobile applications.
OSM is often contrasted with other mapping services, like Google Maps and Bing Maps, due to its distinct qualities. Its user-generated data makes it an ideal tool for navigation and location-based services requiring new and comprehensive local knowledge. Moreover, OSM's open nature allows individuals to utilize the data without licensing fees or advance approval.
The OpenStreetMap Foundation supports the OSM project. This not-for-profit organization provides infrastructure, legal support, and other resources to help the community maintain and improve the map. The foundation also works to promote the use of OSM data and to encourage the development of new and innovative applications that take advantage of the map.
Quick OpenStreetMap facts
- Buildings, roads, and landmarks are represented by over 6 billion nodes in the OSM database as of 2021.
- Over 4 billion changes have been made to the map by OSM's 5 million registered users.
- With contributors from nearly every country, OSM is truly global.
- The United Nations, the World Bank, and the Red Cross are just a few examples of organizations that use OSM.
- OSM data has been used in a variety of innovative ways, such as creating maps for use in disaster response, tracking the spread of diseases, and building self-driving cars.
- Many popular applications use OSM data, including OpenRouteService, OsmAnd, and Maps.me.
- Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are among the companies that support OSM.
- The OSM project has been recognized with several awards and honors, including the Free Software Foundation's Free Software Award, the Linux New Media Award, and the Access to Learning Award.
The following are a few of the many interesting facts and statistics about OpenStreetMap. The project is always growing and evolving, so these figures may change over time.
How does OpenStreetMap work (facts)?
First, let's take a look at how OpenStreetMap works and some usage statistics.
- The data in OpenStreetMap is contributed to and maintained by a large group of volunteers from around the world.
- OSM data is collected using GPS devices, aerial imagery, and manually entered information.
- A web-based editor, such as iD, JOSM, or Potlatch, allows users to access and edit the data in a database.
- Everyone can use, modify, and distribute the data under an open license.
- In addition to reviewing and validating changes made by other users, the OSM community also fixes errors and inconsistencies and contributes their local knowledge.
- OSM's data is constantly updated and improved, making it a great choice for applications that require up-to-date local information.
- OSM data is used by a wide range of organizations, including governments, humanitarian groups, and businesses.
- OpenStreetMap Foundation provides infrastructure, legal support, and other resources to help the community maintain and improve the map.
How does OpenStreetMap work?
In OpenStreetMap, users contribute geographic data to a map of the world that is stored in a database. The data is collected using GPS devices and aerial imagery, as well as manually entered.
It is possible to edit, add, and delete data on the map using an online editor called iD, JOSM, or Potlatch. By tracing a road's path on an aerial image and adding details like the road's name and type, a user can add a new road, for example. Points of interest, such as buildings, parks, and landmarks, as well as additional information, such as the feature's name and address, can also be added by users.
Once the data is added to the OSM database, it is available to anyone under an open license, which means that it can be used, modified, and distributed freely. The data can be accessed through a variety of web or mobile applications, such as the main OpenStreetMap website or APIs.
A large community of volunteers maintains and improves OpenStreetMap. They provide feedback on changes made by other users, correct errors and inconsistencies, and contribute their local knowledge. For the community to maintain and improve OpenStreetMap, the OpenStreetMap Foundation provides infrastructure, legal support, and other resources.
Overall, OpenStreetMap is a collaborative and constantly evolving project that relies on the contributions and engagement of its community to make a detailed, up-to-date, and accurate map of the world.
Downsides of OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMap (OSM) can be a strong asset, however some downsides should be noted. The data quality and accurateness of the map can be inconsistent depending on the location and the level of dedication from local users. In certain places the map is exceedingly detailed while in others it might need updating or filling out completely. This may present challenges for people using OSM for important tasks like navigating or responding to an emergency call.
A disadvantage of OSM is that it is an open-source project with different resources and infrastructure compared to commercial mapping services like Google Maps and Bing Maps. The level of customer support, uptime, and scalability of OSM may differ from those of these services. Also, OSM does not have the same level of coverage as commercial mapping, which could pose a problem in areas that are less developed.
As a result of the fact that OSM is based on volunteer contributions, it may not have the same level of consistency as commercial mapping services. Different users may map some features differently, resulting in inconsistent data. Additionally, because the data is constantly being updated, it can be difficult to know exactly when a particular piece of information was verified or updated.
Also, while OSM is free to anyone, it does not come at a cost. It does require servers, storage, and internet bandwidth, as well as maintenance, updating, and running the website. In order to cover these costs, the OpenStreetMap Foundation and other organizations rely on donations.
As a result, OpenStreetMap is a valuable resource that can be utilized for a wide range of applications, but it does have some downsides to be aware of. The data quality and completeness may vary, it may have different levels of coverage or consistency than commercial mapping services, and there are costs involved in maintaining, updating, and running the website.