A small poll about "Home Location"

Hello community :crab:,

OpenStreetMap has this feature called “Home Location”:

When set, your profile will become discoverable on the “nearby users” view:

Having said that,

How often do you use this feature? (anonymous vote)
  • I use it frequently
  • I use it from time to time
  • I use it rarely
  • I used it just once
  • I never used it
0 voters

If you picked (I use it frequently) or (I use it from time to time), please share your use case in the discussion below. I really want to understand your perspective!

Context: I will use this poll as a guidance for OpenStreetMap NextGen development. I personally never truly used this feature due to privacy concerns. I also believe the current design may trick some young and inexperienced users into sharing their true home location publicly unwittingly. I consider redesigning the dashboard to focus more on your OSM friends rather than nearby-home location users.


I set mine, but to a location nearby - not right on my house.

For discovering others, I think Pascal’s Nearby Contributors is more useful. (best to untick infrequent contributors imo)


I use it regularly to quickly move the map location back to the home location using the option in the user menu. But I’ve also set it to my town’s center, not my house directly.


This feature is a privacy nightmare, without any clear benefit. Now that you said it, I did have it in my profile since the time I was “young and inexperienced users [tricked] into sharing their true home location”. I guess it was a leftover from some early OSM days when mappers was scarce, everyone was internet friend, and approach to privacy was lax.

As far as I know, this works by querying map location from the operating service’s location services, not by relying on your own setting. So it’s unnecessary for regular OSM users.


I think they’re referring to this link under the username dropdown, which doesn’t query device location.


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Possibly, but I don’t see a need for it – I know where my home is, and its surroundings have been mapped just fine.

This one shows my current location, wherever in the world I am:

I’m here with good intentions - so why should I hide myself? :thinking:

If anyone wants to visit me, please feel free!
(Make an appointment, then there’ll be :coffee: or :beer:!)

If someone really want to find me, you can always find me also somewhere else…


where is it?

I have mine set to the local station, not my house but close enough if
a mapper wants to suggest meeting up far a pint.

Whilst I can see my location on the map and can see others as a list
with a rough distance. I have never seen another users map so I take it
as not a big privacy issue.

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Well, I can contribute most where I know my surroundings, and that is in my home town. And also for looking things up (when I use OSM as a planning tool or for navigational purposes, rather than contributing to it), it’s nice to have a quick way to center the map in my home town (where I usually am).

That doesn’t work that well for me on my computer, as the location my browser provides is based on my ISP’s server location (IP-based location lookup), which can be ca. 100km away from my true location, and sometimes does not return anything at all.


We’re travelling at the moment, but I’m still logging in most days & doing some local mapping / updating.

When I’ve just tried checking that Location, yes, it brought up a spot ~50m away from where we actually were - 3 weeks & 2000km ago!

I use the Go to Home Location feature on a nearly hourly basis, but probably not for its intended purpose. I still have it set to the town where I grew up and started mapping, my “home base” if you will, even though I’ve lived clear across the continent for over a decade now.

For me, it essentially serves as a bookmark. As an avid reader of this forum and other OSM communication channels, I often follow other mappers’ and users’ links to areas under discussion. As an avid armchair mapper, I also find myself straying quite far from my area of interest after an afternoon of roving edits, in unfamiliar territory. Once I’m done with the task at hand, I want to “reset” the site back to something familiar instead of remembering what I had been looking at.

The Go to Home Location feature isn’t ideal for this purpose. There are two or three other places in the world that I return to frequently, but the site makes me choose one. I really should just set some bookmarks in my browser. But since this feature exists and goes where I want it to, I’ve been too lazy to create those bookmarks. If the site gets rid of the feature, I’ll create them.

Secondarily, I like the idea that someone from my old hometown who has just joined the project can find me if they want to know who put the town on the map. You know, so they can gripe at me for all the misshapen buildings from before it was possible to map them cleanly. It makes the project seem a little less faceless, something people from there would appreciate. And once in a while, I get a little satisfaction seeing the Other Nearby Users map fill up with green pins, where once there was no one around for hundreds of miles. Someday, once Microcosms becomes a reality, this map will seem quite redundant too.

OSM is far from the only site that gives each user an opportunity to proudly associate themselves with where they’re from. This forum also lets you put a home location in your profile, but only as text. It makes sense for a mapping site to plot that location on a map, but it probably isn’t clear enough that someone could “wardrive” others’ home locations using the same feature. Even when I lived in the town I still claim as my Home Location, I intentionally kept it ambiguous by placing it on a bridge in the center of town. But I wonder how many mappers have thought of that.

The site doesn’t really need to ask anyone for their precise location, just the name of a city or maybe a neighborhood if they like. It could store that location as text and geocode it to no more than neighborhood precision. If the resulting map ends up with lots of pins at the exact same location, Leaflet has plenty of options for expanding point clusters.


My location is only 600 m off to my set home location, which I find quite accurate.
edit Considering only the last six month its only 100 m :open_mouth:

Rethinking old things can often lead to good results. However, if you don’t want to put too much effort in it, I could imagine to blur the result a bit. So instead of a precise marker, it could be an area. A circular area or a neigbourhood, as mentioned above. The precise marker could still be an opt in.

I have never seen a map showing another users home location, just a that they are a rough number of km away.

I thought the pins on the My Dashboard map showed the exact “Home Location” given by other users in their profile settings. Of course it’s likely that many users have not literally input the exact location of their home, but probably some have done so when setting up an account (and may well have forgotten they did so).

There could be problems with stalking, over officious officials or outright oppression.

I will fear no evil :pray:t3::

1.) I’m an old bloke :older_man:t3: and don’t harm anyone with words or deeds,
2.) I abide by the law and trust in a fair justice system :balance_scale:,
3.) I live in Germany :de:


I found setting it to the location I’m updating useful. There is nothing to update where I live apart from the occasional speed limit changes. People here do that before I even know about it. So currently my ‘Home’ is on an island I’ve been updating.
I was able to contact people near by to see if they were interested in collaboration.