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I've been on a trip this summer where not many people go. I've added a couple of campsite access roads. And now I realized that one of the campsites was on a lake that doesn't show up on OSM at all.

It's here:

How does one go about mapping a lake? It's a large one, or collection of ones, or maybe a river, I don't even know really. I don't think I have the time for the entire thing. Is there a reasonable way to map a part of a lake without the entire thing looking like a mistake?

Are the waters in OSM entirely croud-sourced? So people making small updates like me? Is there a guide specifically for water mapping?

Thanks in advance.


I started adding points to the lake I mentioned but the process is significantly slower than I thought it would be.

Would it be useful to make a rough outline and let someone else fix it later, or should I wait for better data to come from somewhere?

For example most of the part already mapped - was that someone tracing or some kind of automation? I can't figure out how to read history in the iD editor.

asked 27 Feb '16, 06:54

Mig21's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 13 Mar '16, 15:17

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


I would leave it and do other mapping you would rather do. Others can do this in the JOSM editor using the scanarial plugin on the satellite imagery. Is is still a bit of work as the imagery of the water (on Bing at least) is not uniform, but doing a few scans on different parts and splitting and joining the pieces does not take as long as wandering around the edge with a mouse. There may be other imagery that makes it easier but I am not familiar with the your country.

(13 Mar '16, 09:47) nevw

Thanks newv. I'm new to OSM. Would you suggest learning JOSM is a good next step if I want to be a long-term contributor? Or is there another step between iD and JOSM?

(13 Mar '16, 14:49) Mig21

@Mig21: please see that older question for your JOSM question. And please ask a new "question" (new entry) for your history question if you cannot find an older question about the same thing. Oh, and, welcome to OSM, thanks for helping! :-)

(13 Mar '16, 15:00) aseerel4c26 ♦

Just map what you can or want to when you can. Plenty of information on the how and why of water mapping available by simple searching.

There's a start made for you around your camp site. Drawn from Bing and Canvec. Anyone can now extend this section, or add detail to the tagging. When you get up to 5000 nodes simply start another area section, (look around for similar circumstances if you're not sure).


permanent link

answered 27 Feb '16, 07:53

BCNorwich's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%


Up to 5000 nodes won't work since a way can only have a maximum of 2000 nodes. For larger / more detailed areas a multipolygon relation will be required.

(27 Feb '16, 08:17) scai ♦

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question asked: 27 Feb '16, 06:54

question was seen: 3,464 times

last updated: 13 Mar '16, 15:17

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