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Good afternoon.

I am working with OpenStreetMaps and I would like to know what is the tolerance for measuring distances between coordinates with OSM. Is there any article or website where I could find this tolerance specification?

Thanks in advance.

asked 26 Oct '21, 14:37

Migueltm_22's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

There are numerous published studies going back over 10 years (for instance, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfamha/OSM%20data%20analysis%20070808_web_orig.pdf) comparing OSM road networks with alternative (usually official) sources. For Western Europe it's probably reasonable to assume highways are within 10 m of their true location. It's entirely possible that most may be within 5 m or better. I don't have a feel for other parts of the world: imagery offsets in places like Africa may result in quite large discrepancies.

Less attention has been paid to other data such as buildings. I did look at one set of boundaries http://sk53-osm.blogspot.com/2015/12/how-accurately-have-townlands-in.html using a fairly simple approach.

Broadly OSM prizes topological accuracy above spatial accuracy, and for users of consumer grade GPS 5-10m discrepancies are not usually noticeable.

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answered 27 Oct '21, 09:58

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

Generally it's whatever the contributor feels like, refined iteratively by subsequent contributors. There is no "specification" as such - you can't specify what volunteers might or might not want to do.

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answered 26 Oct '21, 15:15

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

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question asked: 26 Oct '21, 14:37

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last updated: 16 Nov '21, 08:17

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