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Today I had fun with gps tracks: recording, uploading, watching them on the map with JOSM and ID. But apart from the fun, what is the use? The roads where I am driving are mapped already, and ofcourse there is splendid imagery that can be used for tracing. Am I missing something?

asked 18 Oct '18, 20:50

Woestijnprinses's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


There is no single answer as it depends on what you are interested in mapping and what is already mapped in your area. Among possible uses are:

Imagery is often out of date. GPS traces can be very useful for mapping new roads or changes to the layouts of existing roads.

Minor roads, tracks, and especially footpaths are often more difficult to map from imagery, especially in forested areas. Personally I use tracks mainly to improve mapping of hiking trails and other things of interest to pedestrians, e.g. I sometimes find steps that are not obvious from imagery.

Imagery can be offset from the true location and GPS tracks can help to align it correctly.

Public transport routes cannot be mapped from imagery and are not always available under an appropriate licence, so GPS can be helpful in surveying a route.

GPS tracks combined with other details recorded at the same time can help add detail to ways that are already mapped. E.g. you might record waypoints where the surface or the number of lanes changes, or some other feature indicated by signs that cannot be seen in imagery.

I'm sure there are others I have overlooked.

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answered 18 Oct '18, 22:36

alan_gr's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 18 Oct '18, 22:38


GPXes are useful for new roads. For footpaths that can't always be seen, such as paths on earth or sand, and paths and tracks through woods and forests.

(22 Oct '18, 15:11) andy mackey

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question asked: 18 Oct '18, 20:50

question was seen: 1,953 times

last updated: 22 Oct '18, 15:11

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