Historical streets and POIs in OSM?

Hi all,
I would guess I’m not the first who comes up with that questions but I haven’t found a thread in the forum…

Can I enter historical data into OSM? I don’t mean data from old maps which are still valid.
I mean historical streets, POIs etc. that ceased to exist. Some historical places can be located quite good e.g. the Roman Limes in Europe.

I would polute the OSM database if I would enter such a historical and no longer existing entity into OSM, wouldn’t I?
I mean I can hardly enter a GPX track that describes a former Roman castle which is now e.g. under woods or hidden by a motorway or something else.

I pretty new in OSM but I could imagine that a tagging would be a solution. Something like existed=3d_century,4th_century
Viewer and editor software should be aware of such tags, though.

Apparently, I’m looking for historical maps in OSM and I’m also interested in producing such historical spatial data.
Are there others working with such things?

Thanks in advance,

Yes, entering historical data into OSM wouldn’t work very well today. The presence of such features would confuse people when editing, and those features would likely be accidentally moved when updating real features.

There has been some talk of creating a separate database to hold historical features, but no one has set this up yet.

Hi thsc42,

I’m also interested in producing some historical maps based on OSM, i’ve seen a few examples (http://chnm2010.thatcamp.org/05/20/openstreetmap-for-mapping-of-historical-sites/) and other threads dealing with that but nothing advanced.
I have a lot of subjects about historical stuff that could be put in OSM, and i’m interested in the different ways to make movements and changes in time visible for some places or items : evolution of some borders, description of an entire military campaign, street changes in city, ancient monuments localization etc. ; a lot of things, as you can see :slight_smile:

Yes as i know there is no problem to enter the this type data in OSM. I think its work very well in OSM.

I also like to watch old maps and compare to the streets of today.
In Germany there is a complete detailled map of 1893, as overlay for Google Earth:


It’s a nice feature, especially with the vector overlay of the current street system over the old raster image. I also created some Overlay-Maps from own raster maps (georeferenced corners, KML-Overlay).

The original 1893 map is available as ECW georeferenced image, or as GeoTiff. I think there must be a way to use such maps as JOSM-Background map (set up local WMS server etc.).

David Rumsey collected many other historical maps on his website:
The good news: the copyright expired. The bad news: many old maps do not have an exact cartographic projection.

I think the best solution would be to clone the OSM-Datebase first. The landscape features (sea, lakes, mountains) don’t change over a long time. Even many current streets just evolved out of very old streets. Many old towns existed in the medieval time.

Default tag: existed=[unknown … today]

From this default database, people could derive historical maps.
existed=[approx 1200 … today]
or create new roads wit
existed=[unknown … approx 1700]

something like that.

A renderer then just filters out the objects that are valid for a certain time.
So you can create historical maps.

I think the complexity is too high for the main OSM database. It would slow down processing and flood JOSM with objects that are not relevant today. A separate database would be more suitable.

But the exists/existed tag is also quite interesting for current objects. You can label an old monument with it. Or and old roman street that still exists today. However, the tag definition should be quite exact to allow automatic processing. How to handle ranges, uncertainty, approximate values …