I wanted to check if there's a way to use the iD editor from the openstreetmap.org on my mobile browser (tried some mobile apps, but didn't like any of those). When I visit openstreetmap.org on my mobile browser, I don't see any option to edit the map there. But I navigated directly to openstreetmap.org/edit directly, and the iD editor showed up. It's clearly unusable from the browser: the view port displayed is too narrow to make any edits at all.

So, as above, what is the best way to edit open street maps from a mobile browser.

asked 15 Jun '15, 09:27

Jeenu's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


could you elaborate e.g. in your osm diary why you do not like the mobile apps ? Perhaps some developers can learn from it and bring improved editors to mobile devices. it seems that it was also addressed on SOTM US: http://www.mappa-mercia.org/2015/06/we-need-to-think-about-smartphone-editors.html

(17 Jun '15, 06:39) escada

I'm not sure I can put it into words, but they all looked crude and cluttered to me. Besides, some require me to explicitly download the area to edit, then export back when I'm done. These, to be honest, just gets in the way of editing. iD browser felt like a live operation, and more a fluid experience. Above all, I'm felt I could fill data in the right category with auto completion et. al. (apps might offer the same thing, but I must admit I didn't get that far with them!)

(17 Jun '15, 18:38) Jeenu

The last time I used iD (two days ago) I didn't notice that the save button had gone.

Seriously there are good reasons that the normal modus operandi of most editors is to require an explicit download, particularly when used in an mobile context. At least JOSM and Vespucci support auto-download around the current position as an option.

(17 Jun '15, 21:15) SimonPoole ♦

@SimonPoole could you give brief details of what those 'good reasons' are? (I ask as an iD-by-default user hearing now and again that it has its limitations)

(18 Oct '19, 10:04) eteb3

Handling of brownouts, -large- amount of data that can potentially be downloaded inadvertently (an issue for anybody that is not on an unmetered mobile plan) compounded by potentially little memory available, and so on. All of this still tends to be true now, 4 years after I wrote the original comment.

Note Vespucci 14 has pan and zoom download (as an option).

(18 Oct '19, 19:52) SimonPoole ♦

For reporting bugs in iD please go to the corresponding iD project page at github. But I guess mobile browsers are not within the scope of iD.

The wiki has a list of OSM editors that also mentions several editors for mobile devices, for example Vespucci for Android. This list is not complete, though. Please see the corresponding wiki page for your mobile platform where more editing software might be listed, e.g. Android and iOS.

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answered 15 Jun '15, 09:57

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%


scai has already covered most relevant information.

Just a word of caution: you need to differentiate between real OSM editors which currently is limited to Go Map! and Vespucci, surveying apps and apps with other main functions that have some facility for adding OSM objects (typically only nodes).

Particularly the later, but in some cases the surveying apps too, will not expose the full existing OSM data in an area to the end user. This makes it difficult to decide if a feature is already in the data or not particularly because these apps tend to ignore everything but nodes (as we know many features can be mapped in many different ways (node, way, relation, and combinations of these)).

That said given the current UI of iD I suspect it could work on a tablet but is unlikely to be usable on a phone. Further you would need to test how gracefully it works with flaky connectivity.

(15 Jun '15, 10:56) SimonPoole ♦

As I mentioned before, I didn't quite like any Android apps I tested so far. But I liked the iD editor, and was hoping to use it on mobile too (why then go for an app for just editing). But I just realized that even with my mobile browser identifying as a desktop one, it wouldn't display properly on the screen. It loads fine I guess, but the editing area won't fill the screen, but only a patch which is too narrow.

(15 Jun '15, 17:55) Jeenu

Did you try different browsers?

(15 Jun '15, 19:28) scai ♦

Yes, I've tried a couple of browsers and they were all consistent in experience, not to mention awful :(

(17 Jun '15, 18:30) Jeenu

Hey Jeenu, iD developer here. I definitely agree that our support for mobile devices is not good.

I would actually love to see iD improve in this area -- we just don't have enough people helping out with the code right now to make it happen. As a client-side javascript app, there is no technical reason that holds iD back from being a good mobile editor.

So, what scai said above - for now your best option is to use an app built for your mobile device.

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answered 19 Jun '15, 16:02

bhousel's gravatar image

accept rate: 38%

Do you know of any other editors that work on mobile?

(22 Jun '15, 08:57) Jeenu

I know at past events Ive seen people using iD on tablets quite effectively so it is possible though I never queried as to how they brought it up from the site

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answered 15 Jun '15, 17:50

DaCor's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

A brief note: the Edit button will not appear in portrait mode but will appear in landscape mode.

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answered 12 Aug '19, 09:13

LittleGreyCatUK's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Actually it's to do with the width of the browser window. Try dragging the edge of a PC web browser to and fro and you'll see the effect.

(12 Aug '19, 15:09) SomeoneElse ♦
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question asked: 15 Jun '15, 09:27

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last updated: 18 Oct '19, 19:52

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