Feeding data to Open Street Map

As a representative of a Local Authority I know we are required to maintain GIS data and make this availbale as a WMS/WFS in order to comply with the open data agenda. Our approach has been to create OGC complient WMS for important datasets we are required to publish. It has come to my attention that some of the data we publish may also be maintained by the OSM comunity. How can we make data already pubilshed available to OSM. I understand the drivers for community led mapping. However to take Cycle routes as an example subject area. There are official National Cycle Routes, Locally Authority approved routes and community routes (my favourite route as recorded by my GPS devidce). How does OSM tap into the existing web services to obtain the official routes leaving the community to fill in the gaps?


David Senior

I think you are talking about mechanical imports. Their use in the UK is somewhat controversial.

The safest way is to make the data available but then allow individual mappers to integrate it, after verifying it by an on the ground survey.

Note that, for footpaths, you may find that the status, reference number, etc., are yours but you didn’t survey the detailed route, but rather it is OS that owns the copyright for that. In that case, mappers will have to transfer your data onto, possibly less accurately mapped, existing data, or use your data as a hint as to where to survey the actual route of hte path. Beware that over enthusiastic mappers may not read warnings about exclusions from your copyight.

If you own the copyright on the geometry as well, I would suggest either manually reconciling your data with the existing data, or providing it as a .osm file, per feature, as would be saved by JOSM for newly created data

If you are in the UK, however, you should read about three months back on the talk-gb mailing list, to get the general flavour on mechanical imports, and then ask there.

Taking your final question more directly. In general it doesn’t tap into third party web services except fof the few that are definitely licence compatible, or which are sufficiently valuable that it has been deemed acceptable to comply with any special attribution requirements in order to use the data. They may, however, be used as quality control checks and as hints as to where to survey.

PS You missed out the sixth word of your article, namely what sort of organisation you represent.

This is a misconception. The OSM website does not “tap into the existing web services”, it is not a mash up of existing web services re-styled and layered on top of each other in some spatial webapplication.

Instead, the OSM website shows a rendering of both community derived, and publicly available, data digitized and imported into a single dedicated OSM spatial database. That is, any data that was derived from publicly available data was either directly imported or re-digitized to fit into the OSM eco-system.

thank you fpr the responses. Original post edited.

Taking a subject at random like cycling routes. As a local authority we hold official route information such s Public Rights or Way, approved routes, recommended routes and records of off carriageway marked cycle provision. The EU Inspire regulation and the government transparncy agend requires that we make GIS data open and accessible. We have already published some datasets through data,gov.uk in the form of an OGC WMS. The last thing I would want is for a GIS enthusiast to repeat this work and digitise the information indipendantly. Even exporting the data from one source and importing into the OSM is not ideal if the origanl WMS is dynamic and always being maintained. I understand that OSM is not primarly a mashup of existing web services. However access to those services as part of the data captuture process or as a quality check should be technically possible.

We don’t have cycle route data as a WMS at this time and the reason for my enquiry is so I can design a system of maintaining data such that we can maximise the benefits. I would hope that if a cyclist used a local Authority mapiing system, OSM or any of the growing number of comunity led or navigation device related web sites they could access the same data. If there are formats other than OGC that OSM can consume I would be happy to investigate with our GIS supplier.


Since those type of collaborations are typically worked out on the level of a country, I think it’s best that you sign up on the talk-gb mailing list and discuss it there.