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

Yes I know it sounds dense but where on the main site is the how to do it page? I can open a map of a particular area but then there is no clue about what I can do or might want to do. I did hit the export button but then it tells me that I need to find a program to open it with. Now how do I know that? I expect the PC or program to tell me that. Click the "try online" button produces pages of what look like commercial links. What I wish to do is grab a big chunk of the UK, say 50 miles by 50 and take it to both my Pc and my phone.

I am now being asked to "tag" . No idea what this is or why so I will just add something random.

asked 18 Dec '13, 20:19

mattsccm's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Dec '13, 13:55

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


@«I am now being asked to "tag"»: okay, you meant here below your question, apparently. I have improved it.

(18 Dec '13, 23:12) aseerel4c26 ♦

Thanks you for your replies and patience. I am even more confused but that's not your fault. You say I can create maps? Draw my own? Wow. App store?? This is where I store apps yes?

You mention something about OSmAnd and something for my Pc. Does that mean that I can't use the same thing for both my phone, a Motorola Defy which is Android what ever that is and my Windows PC.

Quite possibly I am at the wrong place. This is what I need. 1. I wish to get a big map of some the Uk at road atlas level or maybe a bit more detailed. This must be downloadable through my PC as there is no mobile signal at home. I don not want to do anything to that map. 2. The map needs to be transferred to a SD card which then goes to my phone. 3. My phone reads the map in conjunction with its built in GPS. Phone is Motorola Defy 525 with Android.

Am I going about things in the right way? Thanks

(19 Dec '13, 08:31) mattsccm

Thank you. Now can someone link me to the how to get started page please.

(20 Dec '13, 11:50) mattsccm

I too am totally confounded by how to use OSM. The "FAQ" page shows a pencil saying it indicates an "editor" but there is no "editor." When I manually set the parameters for the map I want to export, nothing happens.

The transportation map is absolutely perfect but I simply can't get it. I am not a cartographer or programmer or anything of the soet - just a writer looking for a map.


(16 Oct '14, 19:19) MMImedia
(16 Oct '14, 19:50) SimonPoole ♦

@MMImedia: please ask your problem in an own, new question (one question entry for each topic).

(16 Oct '14, 19:53) aseerel4c26 ♦

@MMImedia: It would help if you could explain in more detail what you mean by "use OSM" - the "export" button on the main page may not be the best way of achieving it. For more options, read the text on the screen below the co-ordinates that appear when you click "export".

For an explanation of the problem that you're seeing with "export", see this previous answer:

Note that "export" exports raw map data - probably not what you want.

See also the "share" button at the RHS.

(16 Oct '14, 21:31) SomeoneElse ♦
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

Hi I have just had several replies pop up on my email after all this time. no idea what they mean. I was sent to a Wiki page, what ever that is. Hell that is complicated. Please can some one just tell me exactly how to dump a map of the UK at road atlas level onto my PC. I have no need to edit it, especially as I can see edits that are plain wrong and I do not want to add to that.
I cannot see how to even look at the maps I want. Any help there? Sorry chaps, perhaps it intentional and if so that's fine , but the site and help is just one big mass of techno blurb with nothing for the person who just wants a map. Maybe that's the intention, after all many websites and forums are aimed at a close knit community of experts, but that not what I was led to believe. Just tell me if I should go else where? thanks Matt

permanent link

answered 16 Oct '14, 21:30

mattsccm's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Just looked at the Maps me link. that's some phone site I think, that offers apps, what ever they are. Can I dump a maps off there onto my PC? I have realised . I need Bing maps on the Pc not online. That's all. Thanks

(16 Oct '14, 21:32) mattsccm

What do you mean by "dump a map of the UK at road atlas level onto my PC"? Most people who "just want to view the map on a PC" would point a web browser at and use that. Can you explain how your requirement differs from that?

(16 Oct '14, 21:34) SomeoneElse ♦

Given up on the phone by the way. I have land line so it was just a waste of space.

(16 Oct '14, 21:34) mattsccm

NOt sure what you mean by having a web browser look at OSM. do you mean on line? Nope, that's not what I want. If I want a map on line I would go to Bing as they provide OS which is much better for close up work and I can easily zoom out to road atlas level. I want map on the Pc so that I can look at it when I am not attached to the phone socket. Lets say sitting in the car with a lap top on my lap as I was last week. the road map didn't give enough detail about small roads I needed to use on an unexpected diversion. Maps on the lap top would have allowed me to look closer. To me a Pc is a lap top is a computer etc.

(16 Oct '14, 21:39) mattsccm

If you want to display OpenStreetMap maps offline on your PC, perhaps consider something like Marble?:

See this previous help question:

On the subject of Bing, you won't get that offline via OpenStreetMap. See also this:

(16 Oct '14, 21:41) SomeoneElse ♦

Here's what sort of worked...

Identify your general coverage area and then, on the left, "manually select a different area." There, you can crop the map to the portion you wish to save. On the righthand bar is an arrow flowing out of an envelope - "Share." Click there and then "Set custom dimensions." Another frame will appear over the frame you've chosen and adjust that frame and "Download."

Still I was unable to capture a simple "Transport Map" (see Layers), always getting the more-detailed "Standard" version.

I hope this helps.

(17 Oct '14, 01:23) MMImedia

@MMImedia Yes, that will always give you the "standard" map. The "transport" tiles are actually hosted externally.

(17 Oct '14, 09:42) SomeoneElse ♦
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

If you are being asked to "tag" then you have indicated to OSM - likely by clicking on "Edit" - that you wish to edit OpenStreetMap, i.e. contribute your knowledge to the project. If you have no knowledge that you wish to contribute, then don't edit. Do not add "something random".

I don't know any "try online" button on OpenStreetMap, can you supply details?

OpenStreetMap supplies map data and not applications. If you are looking for a map application on your phone, then you will likely want to download one through the respective "store"; there are both open source and proprietary types of mobile map viewers available, supplied by third parties. On our wiki we have lists of Android and iOS applications. Note however that by using these, while looking at OpenStreetMap data, you are not actually using an OpenStreetMap application, so anything that you dislike about these applications should be taken to the respective providers.

permanent link

answered 18 Dec '13, 20:44

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%


Thanks Re the tag. I added "how" as it seemed harmless. I couldn't post without it.

The online bit was when I tried to send the map section I had open. I was asked if I wanted to save or open, I tried open as I wasn't sure what I might save and I was asked if I wanted to open it via a program from the web. Re data. Do you mean OSM supplies a map? I assume so although the technical term is not familiar in that context. I am not sure what you mean by application.

All I want is to get a map on my phone. I assume then that I either have, or load a way of the phone talking to the map. Is this the application? I do this on my lap top connected to my GPS via a program called TTQV. The maps are there (from a variety of sources) and calibrated to TTQV. Is this application that sort of thing? Sorry for my ignorance. All I know is that I was told that OSM was a good source of maps. One thing I have noticed is that the maps are rather vague. IE more detailed than rad maps but not as good as OS maps. Is this the nature of OSM. Not a problem as they will be fine, just wondering really.

I suspect that if I could find the introduction/how OSM works and how to use it page I might have not needed this post. Maybe you can link me to that page. Many thanks

(18 Dec '13, 22:18) mattsccm

If you want to get a map on your phone, the best place to start is your phone's app store. OpenStreetMap is not just one map from one company, like Google Maps, but a free source of data that anyone can use - including dozens of app creators. If you tell us what phone you have, we can help further by suggesting apps for it.

(18 Dec '13, 22:27) Richard ♦

the level of detail and accuracy will depend heavily on the area you are looking at. We are a project of volunteers, and everybody just inserts the stuff he is interested in, so in some areas OSM has great detail and in other areas there is not so much info yet. Think of it as the wikipedia of maps.

(19 Dec '13, 10:21) dieterdreist

I think you will find what you are looking for in the OSM wiki. You can reach it with 2 clicks from the start page (help -> wiki) or go directly to this URL: There is an introduction for beginners and also definitions for many tags.

(20 Dec '13, 14:18) dieterdreist

A quick web search suggests that a Motorola Defy will have shipped with version 2.1 of Android on it. On the phone there'll probably be an icon labelled "Android Market" (the old name) or "Google Play" (the new name) on it (2). That's the easiest place to go to download new apps for the phone. In there you'll should find osmand (1). If you install that you'll be prompted to install offline maps files, which you can do at home if you've connected the phone to your home wifi. If you can't do that, it should still be possible to do that but the process might be a bit more complicated.

(1) As mentioned elsewhere, other mobile phone apps are available

(2) On Android, you can configure other app stores too, and also download applications directly, but this is the one that you'll probably already have.

permanent link

answered 19 Dec '13, 09:33

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%


Given that mattsccm just wants to view maps, not edit them, I would recommend MapsWithMe rather than osmand:

(19 Dec '13, 11:51) Richard ♦

At its heart, OpenStreetMap is essentially a very big pile of data. The links that you see when you click "export" at the top of an map page allow you to either to export a small part of it directly or download a section of it.

The standard "map" that you see at is made from this data, but it's only one possible representation of it. If you select the layer switcher at the right-hand side (the thing that looks like a stack of books) you can choose another representation - one that highlights bus routes, for example.

Within the restrictions of the licence, anyone can use this data to create a map, and how it looks is entirely up to them - it's not like Google Maps where the only map you can have is the one designed the way that Google designed it. Because of this freedom, there's no need for a "standard" OpenStreetMap application for a particular breed of mobile phone, hand-held GPS or car sat-nav.

In your mobile phone's app store you'll probably see lots of applications using OpenStreetMap data. Which one is best will depend on what you want to use it for - have a look in the OpenStreetMap wiki lists that Frederik linked to.

I can't comment about iOS, but a reasonable Android online and offline recommendation that uses OpenStreetMap data would be OsmAnd. If you want something on a PC, perhaps QLandKarte or Marble?

You mention TTQV above - I guess that that's referring to this. According to their website that supports online OSM maps as well.

permanent link

answered 18 Dec '13, 22:46

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 18 Dec '13, 20:19

question was seen: 9,661 times

last updated: 17 Oct '14, 09:42

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