Clarifying uses

I’m new here, and I’d like to clarify something. Can I use OSM to make my own map, or is everyone just editing one public map–a WikiMapia, as it were? I wouldn’t mind contributing to the public map, but I am looking for alternatives to google maps for making my own shareable map of a particular area–a map that would not be editable by others, unless I give them permission.


OpenStreetMap is just one big public database, things you contribute to it are seen and shared with all. As you suggest, it can be considered the “Wikipedia of maps”.

I make paper maps of an area that have details not appropriate for inclusion to OSM, which sounds a bit like what you would like to do. My production process is to use OSM data on one layer and then my organization’s private stuff on another layer which I believe meets the requirements of OSM for not commingling the data. And, of course, I credit both OSM and its contributors and the people who contribute the data for the private organization on the printed map. If/when we acquire data appropriate for inclusion in OSM then we add that data to OSM rather than to our private database.

Perhaps you could setup a process/system similar to what we have done for your maps that have data you don’t want editable by others.

Yes, at OSM we’re editing a shared public map database.

Depending on your specific needs for map editing, uMap might be worth a look:
It’s limited in the available cartographic tools (mostly drawing on top of an existing map), but it’s easy to use!

If that’s not sufficient for your use case, I wholeheartedly support n76’s suggestions. The software we’re using to run and edit OpenStreetMap is open source, so they can be used for your private data, too.