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I have looked at the FAQ and How to contribute and searched the wiki and help sites for "what should I add to the map" and cant find an answer to this rather fundamental question. The nearest I can get is the good practice to map what is on the ground. My question is about the things that constitute that what. Is it every fixed object I can see? Or can some things be safely ignored? And if I do map everything, what is the priority? What should be mapped first, second, or left for later? Is it just the streets and public places? Or should I also consider mapping private places?

asked 07 Jun '15, 13:01

Huttite's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Within the bounds of the links that you've already mentioned (e.g. "Map what's on the ground") do whatever you want, in whatever order.

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answered 07 Jun '15, 13:23

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

What I am seeking an answer for is what is it that is important to map. Or at least map first. What things are of high value to be on the map? For example: Streets seem important but are the addresses, locations and boundaries of every individual residential property needed or is it sufficient to map a whole suburb as having the tag of landuse=residential and the house numbers at each end of the street?

(07 Jun '15, 13:50) Huttite

User Harry Wood's answer to the question "Should I map sidewalks" gives me better guidance!

For example: If I map a road with sidewalks, the sidewalks are attributes of the road, not separate mapable objects.

(07 Jun '15, 14:12) Huttite

Priorities depend on your tastes. Most people agree that the basic road network geometry should come first, but after that it is to each his own. Should you draw buildings before shops or housenumbers ? How important are number of lanes, turn restrictions, wheelchair accessibility, cycling amenities ? Some mapers will never consider tagging a tree's genus, while others make that their specialty. Some mappers add all the details to one small area before moving on to the next neighbouhood, while others work on larger areas topic by topic.

It's your call.

(08 Jun '15, 12:08) Vincent de P... ♦

Many people map different things. Some people focus on natural things, some on streets, some on POIs, some on addresses. Many people map areas that are important to them, or their local area. This is a mapping community, we all map different things, based on what is important to each person.

Sometimes people will map an area important to them in high detail (narrow depth), and sometimes people try to map a larger area (e.g. their country) in an average level of detail (broad & shallow)

Map what you're interested in. Have fun.

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answered 08 Jun '15, 11:46

rorym's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

Previous studies have shown the data generally grows in the same manner as the cities themselves i.e

  • Major routes
  • Minor routes
  • Major Landmarks (Hospitals, Large Churches etc)
  • Residential areas (roads)
  • Industrial Areas (roads)
  • Buildings
  • POI's (Points of Interest e.g. shops, amenities, businesses etc)
  • Public Transport Infrastructure (Bus stops, routes etc)
  • Addresses
  • Public infrastructure (Lighting, fire hydrants etc)
  • Historical & natural features

I would recommend taking a look at the present area you want to map, see where it is along that list, and carry on from there.

My city "looked" well mapped until I dug deeper and found a lot still to be done.

One thing I would advise, is pick one thing and ensure full coverage of that before moving on to something else, e.g. start with roads, do you have full coverage and are they all tagged appropriately including names and ref numbers if applicable. Doing it this way will benefit you later on when it comes to mapping bus routes, addresses etc etc. One thing I always keep in mind is "how many use cases can I impact by my edits". The more complete and more accurate the data you add, the more beneficial it is to everybody.

One last piece of advice, if you are mapping something, add as much info as you can about it at the time you are mapping it. For roads, you would be looking at surface, lanes, speed limit, ref number, name, lit/unlit etc. Don't leave to "do another time" because trust me, you will forget and if you live in an area where mappers are thin on the ground, you might be the only person touching that piece of data for years so make it as accurate as possible

All the best in your mapping and continue asking questions :)

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answered 08 Jun '15, 17:57

DaCor's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

edited 08 Jun '15, 18:02

Good advice.

(10 Jun '15, 14:06) Huttite

To rephrase some of the previous answers: Map what your are interested in.

For me, it is being sure that the highway system is accurate and posted speed limits and turn lanes have been tagged. I also work on address information which is sorely lacking for my area in OSM. I map those items because it directly benefits me when I use an OSM base navigation system.

In addition, in the mountains I map trails and landcover because I like to hike and would like to have an accurate map with me.

But I don't map lots things (power lines, fire hydrants, bus stops) that other people map as that does not interest me and I don't use that data.

So, map what you want to use in OSM.

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answered 08 Jun '15, 22:54

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Huttite, don’t map everything at the same time; you never finished your meal in one bite. Try to map one item at the time. It’s easier to work it out at home too, first ways with paths and crossing and the road specific items. When it’s all done map extras as grit bin, mail box, waste-bin, recycle containers, or shops in a city with their specific items as trade, address and website. And dont forget to take pictures of it all, just to keep your memory updated.

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answered 07 Jun '15, 15:11

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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question asked: 07 Jun '15, 13:01

question was seen: 4,766 times

last updated: 10 Jun '15, 14:06

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