Open Street Maps is my preferrred mapping application. Its not perfect but it also not owned my MegaCorp and whilst the MegaCorp versions have advantages, theres a long game here. A well constructed and maintained open mapping option has a much better feel about it.

I use my phone in the car and Organic Maps is starting to move into Android Auto and will take over Google Maps in due course as the only solution. I sometimes have to use Google but its getting rarer and rarer nowadays.

So, as I’m not a coder, how can I contribute?

  1. Keep you local area up to date and mix the map
  2. Repeat

OSM has a few tools to help contribute and its ridiculously simple. The built in browser tool iD is very good and caters for most of my needs this tutorial is pretty handy. The best bit is that you can ask someone to check your edits for the first few times just to make sure you’re not making a mess.

Another tool is Street Complete. This android app (sorry, don’t do fruit based devices generally) ‘gameifies’ the whole thing by asking for detail that gets added to the map. So for example, what is the road surface? or whats the number of that house? or the opening times of that shop? The app just asks to get th edetail in a simple way. You can then walk the area and fill in the blanks. I like to do it during my lunch hour or when I’m waiting for the kids to do something instead of scrolling through stuff.

Why should I care?

You don’t have to, but OSM is used in lots of places, so improving accuracy should be a normal thing to do. Especially if you see there’s a problem that you can fix in a few seconds. Its just a nice thing to do

Open Street Map