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I want to develop a commercial app for android, this app must have locally stored maps from some cities. I think it can be done with openstreetmaps and openstreetmaps API. I'm trying to read & understand the license of openstreetmaps and his API but it's not clear for me.

My English read skills are not 100% perfect, and i think i am misreading something or just i can't understand it clearly.

Please, can someone clarify my doubt?

Can i use OpenStreetMaps & OpenStreetMaps API for commercial apps on Android ?

If yes, what i should do to use them legally? just putting a link to openstreetmaps on my app?


asked 07 Dec '11, 16:36

AndroidUser99's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 03 Jul '13, 14:25

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

Also check out the CloudMade APIs ( They use OSM data, although it tends to be a few weeks (or more) old.

(07 Dec '11, 18:08) jwernerny


First of all, OpenStreetMap's "API" is probably not what you are thinking of. Our API sends vector map data back for editing purposes only in XML format. If you want an API for displaying map tiles within a web view, like that for Google Maps, you should look at Leaflet, OpenLayers or Mapstraction. If you want an API for incorporating into an Android app, see Ericsson's OSM API, Mapsforge, or Nutiteq. I'm guessing that Mapsforge might be the most useful app for your offline city maps.

Secondly, OpenStreetMap does not provide free server resources for your app. We provide the data, but with the intention that other people will redistribute it. Your app must not access our servers except for very very limited use. Rather, you should find a third party that redistributes OSM data, whether as tiles (such as MapQuest Open) or vector data. Better still, you can download the data yourself (from or a mirror site) and host it on your own servers. (To find out the restrictions on data and tiles served from OSM's servers, see the Tile Usage Policy and API Usage Policy.)

Finally, for the copyright requirements (attribution and 'share alike'), see our clear copyright page and Legal FAQ.

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answered 07 Dec '11, 18:09

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

link to Leaflet

(09 Jul '16, 09:04) bookL

Yes, you can use OSM data for commercial purposes, as long as you retain attribution (in other words, your app should clearly state that the data comes from OSM). These are FAQs.

While you're at it, if you do make money from OSM, consider donating a percentage back to OSM. This is by no mean an obligation, but should be seen as a win-win for commercial users.

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answered 07 Dec '11, 17:18

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
accept rate: 19%


This is a correct description of the copyright situation for OpenStreetMap data, but it has to be mentioned that there are additional limitations when using server resources such as tile downloads and the API (which was explicitly mentioned in the question).

(07 Dec '11, 18:43) Tordanik

In my defense, OP talked about "locally-stored maps for some cities", so no server-load worries. OP doesn't seem to know yet what he wants tough, so talking about the technical usage restrictions too is fair enough.

(07 Dec '11, 22:50) Vincent de P... ♦

One very important thing is to not download the tiles from onto the android phones for offline use in an app. This has caused a lot of trouble for OSM in the past. If you create a good app it will cause a huge load on the OSM servers, which are primarily there for editing the map data. The policy is here:

If you want the map tiles you should use the data and render your own tiles hosted on your own server, or find a commercial source for these tiles. You can provide an app without map tiles, using the data to render a map on the phone.

It is very good that you ask before you write your app.

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answered 07 Dec '11, 18:09

ChrisH's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 07 Dec '11, 18:11

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question asked: 07 Dec '11, 16:36

question was seen: 49,521 times

last updated: 09 Jul '16, 09:04

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