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I looked in the Wiki for this without success, so here is a DIY job

any alternatives.... or improvements?

asked 30 Apr '14, 10:48

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 09 May '14, 14:02

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


Thanks for the answers and Harry Woods diary comment with this link It took me some time to have some understanding of the difference between the map we edit and the rendered maps which can be displayed on PCs Tabs Sat Navs and a GPS so thought this question could be useful.

(09 May '14, 08:40) andy mackey

I'll have a go...

At it's heart, OpenStreetMap is just a big pile of data that represent things in the physical world such as roads, trees and all sorts of other things.

The way that the data is organised is described here and data items have tags with values that say what the data represents. Lots of information about the sort of data that is stored is available on the OSM wiki and information about what tags people have used is also available on pages such as this one.

When you point a web browser at you're seeing a representation of that data (one of the the five that are available there) - click the "layers" button at the right to see the others. Behind the scenes the data is converted to an actual map by a process called rendering. The actual maps that you see on are made up of individual tiles such as this one. Most of these are actually created only when your web browser asks for them, from the latest OpenStreetMap data.

If you want to set up your own map server that you can point a web browser at you can, if you follow the instructions here. You can use the same style as the "standard" map on, or the humanitarian style or you can use these or others to create your own web map style.

Lots of people have created lots of maps in different styles showing different sorts of data.

A web map is only one one sort of place where you'll see OpenStreetMap data. You can download maps for handheld GPS devices and car sat-navs, (or create your own), for mobile phones and some services using OpenStreetMap data don't involve maps at all.

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answered 08 May '14, 22:04

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

Andy, a nice piece of text but is this a question or a remark ? If it is a remark, it should be adressed to the developing desk, please do so as well. Since its not a question it should be removed from this question board.

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answered 30 Apr '14, 11:25

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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question asked: 30 Apr '14, 10:48

question was seen: 3,124 times

last updated: 09 May '14, 14:02

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum