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If I live somewhere like here, where there isn't any usable background imagery, and I don't have a GPS device, how best can I contribute to OSM? The road that I live on hasn't been added to OSM yet - I'd like to do that first.

(prompted by this question)

asked 12 Jun '12, 09:12

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

In addition to the other suggestions:

  • You could add POIs (Points of Interest) like shops, restaurants, schools etc at existing streets. It is ok to make a rough guess at their position first, e.g. “halfway between these two intersections”. You can improve existing POIs by adding names and opening hours.
  • Maybe you have other mappers nearby who do have GPS equipment. See your user page on for a list. You can check the contributions of those looking still active and see if they have uploaded any tracks. Then you could split up work: The GPS guy records the tracks and uploads them. You would trace them and tag the data.
  • If you feel you want to contribute to the greater cause of OSM but not necessarily in your local area, you can turn to HOT and help trace aerial images for humanitarian purposes.
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answered 24 Jun '12, 14:30

hfs's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

One Possibility is to try Walking Papers. You can print a certain area and then draw features on the paper. When you are finished, scan it and digitize. It will not be as accurate as when using GPS, but it is still better than not having any details at all on the map. You (or someone else) can still improve the data later, when better equipment is available.

what can be useful if you map by this method: add a tag fixme=resurvey or something similar, so that other users know that the data might not be accurate. There are even users who systematically look for these tags to go out and improve it.

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answered 12 Jun '12, 09:42

moszkva%20ter's gravatar image

moszkva ter
accept rate: 17%

Do any of the Truckers use gps or sat nav? maybe emailing them ( web addresses could be sign written on the trucks) for traces and telling them something about OSM. Locals could them add addresses for the benefit of all. Does anybody fly over? in aircraft or balloons could they take pictures? would the government supply any help? after all it is a step towards prosperity and trade. Glider flying clubs could be asked as a source of Ariel pictures as well.

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answered 12 Jun '12, 11:38

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 12 Jun '12, 14:53

Asking local government seems like a good idea. The city council definitely has detailled map data. Maybe even in digital form. Perhaps they donate it to OSM.

(12 Jun '12, 11:45) moszkva ter

You should forget about contributing to OSM. Take up a different hobby like producing invisible art or alternativly, produce invisible maps ???? They would be better than some of the efforts I've witnessed recently and I'm sure you would definitely find someone to sell them to.

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answered 26 Jun '12, 19:39

BillyWizz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Excellent way to show new users, how welcome they are, troll!

(26 Jun '12, 20:29) moszkva ter

I'm not about knocking new users here as some of the work I'm talking about was done in 2009. If you bothered to do your homework, you would have found that I've only been involved a month. Have you had your sense of humor sergically removed? Look at , and them give me my point back.

(26 Jun '12, 21:11) BillyWizz

seems like I missed the smilies in your answer ;)

well you were advising people, who want to contribute to the map, to do something else, and in a not very polite way. I never heard about this invisible art before, so I apologize. You could have provided the link right away, so that it is noticeable as a joke.

(26 Jun '12, 21:44) moszkva ter

I don't think your answer works as a joke. But look at the bright side: This seems like a good chance for you to win the rare bronze Peer pressure badge. ;-)

(26 Jun '12, 22:49) Tordanik

I promise to always keep my sense of humor , if all you with the Large Kalma scores keep your badge. I do not suffer bullies easily.If you need my Kalma points take them all.

In my opinion my only mistake was to miss of the link and a few ;) ;) ;) .

You will not kill my wish to provide my free time to update and edit OSM.

(26 Jun '12, 23:09) BillyWizz

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question asked: 12 Jun '12, 09:12

question was seen: 7,543 times

last updated: 26 Jun '12, 23:09

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