Automatically sending data to


I work for a Local Authority in the UK and we are keen to get our open data onto the OSM database. We do not have the resources to be entering in information manually and therefore wondering if anyone has information on how to automatically send updates to OSM?

An example would be, we publish all the Community Centres to our own Open Data website but at the same time we’d like to bolt on a process internally that can send these ‘elements’ of information i.e. community centres, to the live OSM database rather than having to go and update the map manually one by one.

Or, whether there is a dedicated place to let people know we have an Open Data website that needs contributors to take that information and manually add them into OSM?

Any help is much appreciated,

Kind Regards,

You can find how to contact the UK OpenStreetMap community in this wikipage

Although you’ll need to ask this on the talk-gb mailing list, the general rule is that fully automatic updates are not allowed; someone needs to manually vet them. One reason of this is that the feature may already be mapped, and the additional data need to be merged.

Generally it would be better to release the data with an Open Government Licence, so that individual mappers can merge it into the main OSM database.

As hadw pointed out, automatic updates are not a good idea because that may end up conflicting with (correct) information input by a different user.

Asking contributors to keep an eye on your website is a better move, particularly if you can arrange for it to have a changelog they can access (or, even better, an RSS feed).

This raises an interesting matter, though. Presumably you’ve investigated the regulatory issues and determined that your local authority is permitted to make this data available to OSM. You’ve presumably also investigated matters and decided that it would be a good thing to do so. In which case, do you have documentation about that process which you could put on your own site and then add something to the OSM wiki about it? Other mappers could then use this material to suggest to other local authorities in the UK that they might wish to consider making such information available to OSM mappers.

Hi Hadw, thank you for that. I assumed it would be something along those lines, and I can imagine an automatic update could create issues around hackers overloading the database with random/fake data.

Hi Brian de Ford,

You’re correct, the data we wish to publish on OpenStreetMap have been exempted from Ordnance Survey restrictions through the “Presumption to Publish” method. This allows us to publish the data under the OS OGL Licence. The data is captured by Nottingham City Council but the location or polygons are derived from Ordnance Survey’s topography products. Presumption to publish allows us to open up that data under the OS OGL licence and therefore we have published such datasets on our Open Data Nottingham website (

We don’t currently have the capability to provide change logs via RSS to all our datasets but we do update the ‘Last Updated Date’ on the dataset as an indicator of when it was updated.

It’s interesting to see that a change log is probably more useful for OSM contributors because they would want to know the specific change rather than having to go through the entire dataset again and find the changes. That sounds like a sensible development idea, thank you for that.

In terms of adding a page to our website regarding OSM and how Nottingham City Council supports it by delivering Open Data, I can most definitely do this - I’m very busy at work so I can’t promise that it’ll be on there tomorrow. I’ll pop it onto my ever-growing to-do list.

Thank you for your time


Hi Kam,

The next OSM meetup in Nottingham is on 31st October, up Mansfield Road: . You’re welcome to pop in and say hello!

Best Regards,

(aka “SomeoneElse” in OSM)

That site is quite helpful as it stands for trying to persuade other local authorities. Nevertheless, an overview would be even more helpful. If only because seeing that your site exposes salaries might deter my local authority from taking up the idea. :slight_smile:

The one thing that came to mind as I skimmed very quickly through it is the attribution requirement. Even though OGL is compatible with Creative Commons and Open Data Commons Attribution licences, it requires attribution where used.

Yes, we could ask (and hope for compliance) that mappers using the data set give an attribution as a note tag to each element. Anything that showed up in rendered mapping would not really be sensible, so it would have to be a note (which isn’t visible to ordinary users). Alternatively, the slippy map as a whole has a link to a statement about contributors and this stuff could be added there, if that would be acceptable (to the OGL and to OSM). A detail that has to be sorted out. Not a show-stopper, but it has to be sorted out before adding any of your data to OSM.

I understand about to-do lists. I handle them by continually adding to them and hoping that the lower layers get composted or fossilised. :slight_smile: