editing someone else gps tracks


I would like to know if is generally accepted to map someone else GPS Tracks or to edit allready (poor) maped objects to increase the quality/quantity of the information.

Thank you


I’d say: why not? If you are editing an area and see a tracklog but no ways and you happen to know what the situation is on the ground, then you can (maybe even: should) edit that area. That’s one of the reasons why the tracks are uploaded.

Imagine going on a holiday and have your tracker in your pocket. Once you get home you forgot what the situation was in some areas so you don’t edit there. Uploading those tracks might give someone else the opportunity to fill in the blanks.

I would be honored if someone did that for my tracks.

As well, I do sometimes upload tracks that others can use as I have too little information gathered to properly map them.

It’s very helpful in potlatch that you can turn on the display of all the publicly uploaded tracks in an area. So you can check the quality of your track and also the quality of any already mapped objects and maybe add a point here and there etc.

Always thought it was in bad form to edit someone elses work, without his consent. However, if the community thinks otherwise…

I prefer cleaning up tracks offline (and a lot of the tracks submitted need cleaning up). Is there any way of simply downloading tracks for a given area. And uploading them them again, keeping all the old tags, and the name of the original poster.


There are 2 different items: Editing other peoples work (a favourite paste time of all OSM activists) and using the GPS tracks. If you up-load a track, others can only see the track if the box “Public” is ticked. That means you agree that others can see and use the information to improve the OSM data.

To me: use it sensibly as we all benefit from increasing map and data quality

Actually it should be the opposite: OSM is a wiki, so the combined knowledge of all mappers make a better map. This means that if I have added a road and someone else edits that road to add additional information of place the road more accurately then OSM benefits from that and therefore it’s a good thing. If anyone feels otherwise then they should create their own project where they can be Emperor, King or Dictator as much as they please.

Tracklogs are personal ‘posessions’, anyone can decide if they want to share the tracklogs with others (I always do) so that the combined tracklogs from multiple users allow more accurate roads. But unfortunately many tracklogs are inaccurate and clutter the editor which is why you can choose to use only your own, all or no tracks when mapping. I would recommend everyone to preprocess and moderate their own tracks in such a way that only high quality tracklogs are uploaded, but on the other hand a low quality tracklog in an empty area is better then none.

I’ll be very glad if someone improved “my” train tracks in former Yugoslavia because sometimes the tracklogs weren’t very good (GPS reception in trains is not that good, plus there are a lot of tunnels), but I figured an inaccurate way is still better than none.