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After +1000 edits in Wikipedia, I just now started editing OSM, making corrections in areas that I am familiar with. I'm finding some of the exact same big errors in both OSM and MapQuest. Did OSM get its initial data from MapQuest?

Well either way, my question is primarily about updates going the reverse direction. I was wondering if the corrections I'm making to OSM will eventually be corrected on other maps (Google, MapQuest, Bing, etc.). I'd feel like my edits were more useful if they would also eventually find their way to correcting the same errors in other maps too.

asked 08 Apr '12, 20:43

gopanthers's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

When you say "MapQuest", do you mean standard MapQuest or MapQuest Open?

(08 Apr '12, 22:30) Richard ♦

OpenStreetMap is, mostly, an original source of data. We have occasionally imported data from other sources, e.g. TIGER in the US, but we don't routinely do that.

Other services have other data sources; some buy from Navteq/Teleatlas, some do their own surveys. Some - like but not the MapQuest site without "open" - also use OpenStreetMap.

Our license has a strict attribution requirement, i.e. nobody is allowed to use our data without saying that they use it. Unless you are looking at the work of a license violator, a map that uses OpenStreetMap will therefore be labelled as such (not necessary on the map, but at least as prominent as other data source information).

So, if you fix something on OSM then the fix is currently unlikely to appear on either Bing Maps or Google or the non-open MapQuest site because none of them use OSM data (although they would be allowed to if they wanted). It will however show on as well as on the maps embedded by popular OSM users like Foursquare or

If you find striking similarities between OSM and a non-OSM-using other map site, then there are several possible explanations for that:

  • someone in OSM used that other map as a data source. Not allowed!
  • someone from the other map site used OSM as a data source. Not allowed without saying so!
  • both OSM and the other map used a common third-party source (e.g. TIGER in the US)
  • both OSM and the other map traced from the same aerial imagery (OSM is allowed to use Bing imagery and was allowed to use Yahoo imagery before, so anyone who legally traced from those aerial images might end up with data similar to what's on OSM)

If you have a suspicion of wrongdoing on either side, do mention it to the OSM community - using the talk mailing list or on IRC for example, as this help system is less suitable for discussing concrete cases - and people will happily investigate.

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answered 08 Apr '12, 21:27

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

As a small addition, MapQuest (non-open) does use OpenStreetMap data in quite a number of regions around the world, however in Europe and the USA in uses Navteq instead. It correctly attributes the use of OpenStreetMap where it does and so one can easily see where it is used and where not.

(09 Apr '12, 06:26) apmon

OpenStreetMap did not get its initial data from MapQuest or any other map providers. There have been some imports from free sources like the TIGER data in USA and AND data in the Netherlands. Common errors can be from such an import.

Other maps can freely import data from osm as long as they give attribution and license the result under CC BY-SA. This far there are MapQuest Open and Bing Mapnik layer that both use only osm data. We hope that the coming license change would make the map data more attractive to map consumers. You can also find osm data used in Wikipedia, Forsquare,, Apple's iPhoto and many other places.

We are still waiting for Google to come with a osm layer.

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answered 08 Apr '12, 21:20

Gnonthgol's gravatar image

Gnonthgol ♦
accept rate: 16%

edited 08 Apr '12, 22:39

Tordanik's gravatar image


I was curious about this question too re mapquest. According to mapquest, it (open mapquest) usually updates within 10 minutes or so, except that they have not beed updated since the recent licence update.;jsessionid=03D644325FD3989AD095531931B9CDD8

(09 Apr '12, 08:53) girabbit

Sorry it's been such a long time since I returned to this question but I can answer my own question, for the sake of others who are curious: YES! Within a month of me making obvious edits in my neighborhood (one adding an entire street that was missing and another of removing a street that was planned 30 years ago but was never actually built) my changes did show up in both Bing Maps and MapQuest (regular).

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answered 05 Sep '12, 17:43

gopanthers's gravatar image

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question asked: 08 Apr '12, 20:43

question was seen: 6,702 times

last updated: 05 Sep '12, 17:43

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum