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I am recording a lot of tracks using OSMtracker. But I am still a beginner in OSMapping as such. A serious question I am facing now is what visibility to set for my uploaded tracks. I've read the corresponding wiki-page, but I am quite confused and have additional questions.

  • Public is listed as a "historical" option. (Wouldn't it be a good idea to remove it all together?) So I am not using it.

  • Identifiable is a recommended option. However I feel really uneasy about someone knowing my name and when exactly and where I've been. I am pretty certain one could easily automate extraction of this information and, if I GPS a lot, re-build my whole life including my driving habits, whether I do jogging and even how often I visit a toilet while on city trips! :)

  • Private is not preferred and I am not certain what useful information they contain. Can I see examples of private tracks somewhere?

  • Trackable is the remaining option, and that's what I am using now. But I do not understand exactly what information they provide, so I would appreciate some more clarification. Again, can I get a list of trackable traces somewhere? only lists public traces.

I would think that the main useful information is the ordered list of track-points plus the POIs. This is what the wiki page states too. It is also useful to know when the track was recorded (how long ago as well as the time of the year/day). I also see the point in knowing who was in a particular area, to get in touch with questions. But it would be nice to be able to disconnect this information from specific tracks and time. Update: I actually wonder how often the ability to connect to the trace author is used in real world. Is it the only advantage of the identifiable trace in comparison to the trackable one?

The wiki page says something about getting the data via API. Obviously, it's too far for me yet. I just want to see all my and other users' tracks while editing the map (I am using iD and Vespucci mainly). But are there maybe some online tools that implement the API and provide access to all the tracks?

asked 22 Sep '14, 16:52

Kotya's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Sep '14, 08:43


The "historical" and "recommended" commentary is just someone's opinion. You don't have to agree with it. Personally I don't bother filtering out my home location as it's trivially discoverable through a bunch of public records anyway.

(23 Sep '14, 11:31) Richard ♦

I have a quesiton regarding the visibilty of tracks i did draw according of them to fill up the gaps mainly of trails around my area. How long it takes until they are implemented on the chart? I deleted the tracks after i did draw the missing trails. But i uploaded them again as i do not know if they are necessary to verify the data. Thanks for an input

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answered 04 Mar '19, 18:40

luckymaaa's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


If you have edited the osm map show us where and we can then check it. New additions now seem to take longer to be displayed ( on the map page ) than they did. If you revisit the area in the editor again and you cannot see your additions you probably didn't save them. Deleting uploaded traces will not delete any map data.

(04 Mar '19, 20:03) andy mackey

Note you should have asked a separate question or just added a comment otherwise others may not know which answer is related to which question.

(04 Mar '19, 20:08) andy mackey

The closest to what I wanted to hear is the answer of @andy_mackey. He uploads identifiable tracks after manually removing all sensitive information from them. Which is quite a bit of work in my opinion. This helped me conclude that identifiable tracks as such are indeed a not so nice solution, unless you don't care at all or you track so occasionally that no patterns can be derived from your tracks.

In view of that, I will stick with the trackable mode until a better option appears. These tracks contain all the information needed to extract extra data (speed, exact time of year/day, text notes) but do not disclose the author's personality.

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answered 08 Oct '14, 08:12

Kotya's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Could you just turn off, or exit OSMtracker when you don't need the trace recording?

(08 Oct '14, 10:27) andy mackey

You can use this program to prune your traces, it will also display your trace on an OSM map so that you can see what need to trim off and see if you have surveyed somewhere unmapped. Just select a track point you wish to remove and keep pressing delete key to remove successive ones.

(10 Aug '15, 14:51) andy mackey

Kotya: GPSPrune and MemoryMap only need a few clicks to to delete points or sections of traces. Prune as the advantage as it will display the current state of Openstreetmapas a background which means you can then decide if your new traces will be useful in editing and are worth uploading. GPSPrune is a tiny, fast, and free program as well.

(04 Mar '19, 20:19) andy mackey

I upload my traces using the identifiable tag, but only after i have cut out the following:- ends that lead home, roads that already have a million traces, inside where signal get disrupted, any where i shouldn't have been, and birds nests( they are the tangle of traces record while stationary). To sum up I like to see several traces for mapping a way as it will indicate any off line traces especially in places where the route is narrow like a bridge or stile. Even a trusted gps will create a trace thats offset sometimes. So please let us all see your traces unless there are plenty there already. I use a paid for piece of software to edit my traces from Memory Map but you may find some free help at I have just installed GPSPrune which only took a couple of minutes, i already had JAVA installed, Prune dispayed the trace and with a another click OSM map layer. see

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answered 23 Sep '14, 08:19

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 08 Oct '14, 11:10

What is the tool you are using to edit the traces? It sounds like a rather complex activity what you're doing in comparison to pressing "upload" in OSMTracker :) I am concerned that the necessity to do all this might prevent me (and probably many others) from tracking at all. Please see also my update on identifiable visibility in the question.

(23 Sep '14, 08:40) Kotya

I use Memory Map which is a paid for piece of software to inspect and edit my traces. I am not too worried that others know where I HAVE been but would be more concerned if I were live tracked, but I don't use a GPS with a phone connection so i can't be.

(23 Sep '14, 10:44) andy mackey

Easiest way to access all uploaded GPS traces, is via the "OpenStreetMap GPS traces" option in iD. You can find this under the layer action. See for some details. The same layer is available in JOSM.

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answered 22 Sep '14, 19:33

escada's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%


There are some differences between the traces that iD shows and the ones that Potlatch 2 and JOSM show. Both P2 and JOSM show all traces, including anonymous ones. iD shows only those traces that were uploaded as public (if you change it to public later, it won't count).

Here, for example, is an area where there are a large number of non-public traces. Try editing the area in iD - you won't see them.

(22 Sep '14, 20:58) SomeoneElse ♦

Indeed, iD doesn't show my "trackable" traces. Potlatch 2 does, but without text notes added via OSMTracker.

(22 Sep '14, 22:55) Kotya

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question asked: 22 Sep '14, 16:52

question was seen: 7,610 times

last updated: 04 Mar '19, 20:34

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