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OpenStreetMap Quickstart


OpenStreetMap is a free street level map of the world, created by an ever growing community of mappers. Anyone can edit OpenStreetMap. The Learn OSM website provides easy to understand, step-by-step guides for you to get started with contributing to OpenStreetMap and using OpenStreetMap and using OpenStreetMap data. The Learn OSM guide at the link above shows step by step how to navigate the OpenStreetMap website, view and print maps, and sign up for a user account. After you have your own username and password, you will be able to add your first points to the map, learn how to do street surveys and work with aerial imagery.

The remainder of this quickstart introduces some of the on-line and off-line software used to edit and render OSM data.



iD is the default on-line editor for OpenStreetMap (OSM). iD is fast and easy to use, and allows mapping from various data sources such as ground survey, satellite and aerial imageries, GPS traces or street-level imagery.


JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) is an advanced editor for OpenStreetMap (OSM) written in Java. It is more powerful and complex than iD, can be used for bulk editing, off-line or on an unreliable Internet connection. It can be extended with plugins, custom presets and more extensions.


Merkaartor is a map editor for OpenStreetMap which uses the Qt toolkit. It’s a bit more user friendly than JOSM, but has a few less features.


OpenStreetMap data can be loaded in QGIS as vector layer, as a core functionality or through plugins like QuickOSM.


Osmosis is a highly capable utility program for performing many tasks at a raw level on OSM data. This includes data import and export to databases, sorting, cleaning, and creating data dumps.


osm2pgsql is a utility program that converts OpenStreetMap (.osm) data into a format that can be loaded into PostgreSQL (PostGIS). It is often used to render OSM data visually using Mapnik, as Mapnik can query PostgreSQL for map data, but does not work directly with OSM files.