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(First, let me just say that I don't think I'm thick - I used to be employed as a software engineer until redundancy struck again.)

However, I think I might have been making an assumption about the OpenStreetMap editing process that is fundamentally wrong. I have been assuming that when I recover a trace from my Garmin and upload it to OpenStreetMap, that the GPX file itself becomes part of OpenStreetMap, only my traces have never appeared on the map.

Please somebody correct my understanding because I now suspect that what I am supposed to do is use my traces as a sort of master copy, and then use the OpenStreetMap editor like tracing paper to add ways to the database.

Which of the above is correct?

asked 28 Aug '11, 11:14

flightmaker's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 21 Oct '14, 13:46

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


We welcome traces of areas that are less well mapped, even if you do not want to get involved in editing. We can then use these traces to assist with image alignment and confirming routes on the ground.

(04 Jul '12, 15:18) andy mackey

Hi please read this

Simple starter:

  1. zoom right in on an area that your trace is in
  2. click on edit choose potlatch2 and sign in
  3. click on gps data choose my tracks
  4. refresh list
  5. pick the trace
  6. trace should appear in pale blue
  7. click on background choose bing
  8. put mouse pointer on the trace and left click to make a node move along trace a bit and click again you now have a way (road or path) which now need labelling or tagging

I'll stop there. Do a search for the videos I'll post a link or some one will they are a good help also. If you start to edit and mess up use "undo" in steps or exit without saving. Good Luck! try these

permanent link

answered 28 Aug '11, 11:55

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 01 Nov '14, 20:26


The latter is true. By uploading traces you don't automatically add ways to the map, you have to do this manually afterwards. But you can use these traces in most editors (Potlatch, JOSM) for drawing ways instead of (or additionally to) aerial imagery. See the Potlatch Primer and the GPS traces page in the wiki for additional help.

permanent link

answered 28 Aug '11, 11:27

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%


I think this needs to be strongly emphasised in the help documentation. It's a while ago now since I first attempted to add an unmapped footpath to the database. I very much want to help with this project but because of this misunderstanding I have spent many hours in confusion, trying to work out what the hell to do.

The whole thing is very confusing and unintuitive to anybody who does not know the ropes. I will now make another attempt to add the footpath between the car park and the ancient ruins that I just placed as POIs.

(28 Aug '11, 11:44) flightmaker

If a specific wiki page (maybe the one you looked at) lacks a proper description about this issue, you can simply add it by editing that page yourselves.

(28 Aug '11, 12:06) scai ♦

What scai said. Our documentation sucks. If you would like to help improve it, that'd be great.

(30 Aug '11, 10:44) Richard ♦

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question asked: 28 Aug '11, 11:14

question was seen: 14,092 times

last updated: 01 Nov '14, 20:26

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