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


I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get started with OSM editing. People point to pages like which are completely useless for beginners, I don't understand a thing it says there.

Can someone look at please? Is that ok? I'd like to know if it is before I go write down the house numbers.

What I want is to add a house number for each house on this street, and am not sure if using the aerial photos from OSM was an acceptable source of data for drawing the house outlines.

Thanks in advance.

asked 03 Dec '15, 20:15

Mig21's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 04 Dec '15, 18:25

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


Thanks for your question and ... wholeheartedly, welcome! :-)

(03 Dec '15, 20:41) aseerel4c26 ♦

not fully clear: which aerial photos did you use? could you describe how you got to them / viewed them? Did you mean the ones which show up in the iD editor (which you used) by default?

(03 Dec '15, 21:33) aseerel4c26 ♦

regarding your next step (addresses): note that in that area there are quite nice address interpolations. That is nearly as good as single addresses (and just drawing the building outlines would be fine too). You do not need to survey each single number - but of course you could. Please delete the interpolation way (and nodes) when you're done (you could keep the nodes by moving them into the relevant building and then delete the interpolation way if you do not plan to add the numbers to the building itself).

(03 Dec '15, 21:44) aseerel4c26 ♦

Yes, I meant the photos in the iD editor. Is that ok?

Thanks also for explaining interpolations, I figured it was something like that, but I want addresses to work, i.e. I can get directions to my house :)

(03 Dec '15, 22:28) Mig21

@Mig21: hmm, that should work quite well too with interpolation. See: However, single numbers are better! :-)

(04 Dec '15, 18:30) aseerel4c26 ♦

@aseerel4c26: One would think so but AFAIK that doesn't work at all in OsmAnd, which is where I use OpenSteetMap most.

(05 Dec '15, 15:10) Mig21

@Mig21: yes, could be. That depends on how the data consumer processes our data.

(05 Dec '15, 16:25) aseerel4c26 ♦
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

Welcome aboard!

It looks like you used the Bing imagery. That imagery is shown in the iD editor is one that we are allowed to use. So yes, you are allowed to trace from that source.

I use JOSM which has a nice feature to square up areas after you have drawn them. If iD has that ability, then I suggest you use it on those house outlines which are all slightly out of square. But even with the slight issue of squareness, those outlines are far better than many I've come across in OSM and I think most will consider them entirely adequate.

For address information, I think the minimum is setting the addr:street and addr:housenumber values. The data consumers can usually figure out the city and other information by the location of the object. For completeness, and if you have the data, you can certainly add the addr:city and addr:postcode values but don't fret too much if you don't know them.

Regarding collecting house numbers, I've found that being inconspicuous helps. Early on I printed out a OSM map for the area and wrote the numbers down on it as I walked by. Basically my own home brew walking/field papers setup. But there are areas where the locals will report suspicious activity and apparently some consider walking down the street with a clipboard taking notes suspicious. Nobody thinks twice about someone walking down the street texting or talking into a phone, so I use one of two Android apps to collect data.

OsmTracker does not have a good way of typing in house numbers but it does have a geo referenced voice record feature which I used to use. As you walk by a house, tap the record button and speak the number. It helps if you have a hands free earphone/microphone. The main issue with that is it takes about as long to enter the data in the computer when you get home as it did to walk the streets and sometimes the ambient noise on the recording makes it hard to understand the numbers.

So nowadays I use Keypad Mapper2 (not Keypad Mapper3 which collects cell data for OpenCell ID). It is fairly old and you have to compile it from the github sources yourself but works for me. The advantage is that it generates .osm files with all the address tags reasonably well located. It only takes a short while to adjust the locations from where I recorded them to where the satellite imagery shows the buildings and verify the street names were typed in correctly, so post processing is very easy. Not sure what iD can to with a .osm file but this works really well with JOSM so I hope it works with iD.

In any case, try out various address collection techniques, there are several, and see what works best for you.

permanent link

answered 03 Dec '15, 22:48

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


Those tools are a little too advanced for me right now, being my first day, but that's probably what I'll move on to next when I figure out some of the simplest basics.

I don't particularly care if people think I'm suspicious, they are welcome to ask what I'm doing :)

(03 Dec '15, 22:58) Mig21

To make straight angles in iD: - finish the outline y doubleclicking on the last necessary node - click on your new object - pick on of the four geometry changing tools

(04 Dec '15, 18:30) joost schouppe

@stf: iD can "square" closed ways (shortcut or in the radial context menu). @Mig21: often it is useful to rotate and move after squaring to get the best fit. Also keep in mind that not all building outlines feature rectangular angles only ;-)

(04 Dec '15, 18:33) aseerel4c26 ♦

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: 03 Dec '15, 20:15

question was seen: 3,546 times

last updated: 05 Dec '15, 16:25

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