Is there a way to upload maps, not tracks?

As it can be clearly seen from images of OSM coverage, there are areas that are almost white. Russia is among them. However, there are a lot of volunteers who work on maps of their cities in different formats.

I made a map of my own city, too. It was semi-automatically converted from scanned military maps, then edited to represent a modern state of the city using GPSMapEdit. Now it is ready for download in different formats, the most popular one is Polish format - plain text source file for conversion for Garmin navigators.

I would like to contribute it to the OSM project but I don’t know the way I can convert my map to OSM format. There is no clear way to convert it from Polish format to GPX. I can convert Polish → Google KML → GPX, but I’m afraid that it can cause a lot of unwanted errors. Besides that, GPX is more suitable for describing tracks, not maps.

I’m sure that not only me, but a bunch of authors of different maps were happy if they could convert their maps and add them to OSM. E.g., Vsevolod, author of great freeware GPS navigation software for Windows Mobile also has some maps of his city. He asked about the way to convert them to OSM, too -


Unfortunately you cannot use your map data for OpenStreetMap. Why? Because of the following:

OpenStreetMap is about free maps based on the effort of volunteers to do the mapping by going down the streets themselves. Uploading derived work from copyrighted maps (such as the military maps) is forbidden. Doing so will eventually cause OpenStreetMap to become subject to law suits from copyright holders. This would probably mean the end of the project.

So to put it simple: do not upload material that is scanned, drawn over or otherwise copied from copyrighted maps or other sources that do not comply to the OpenStreetMap licence CC-BY-SA.

More info is in the legal FAQ.

If you have maps or tracklogs that are completely based on data that you gathered yourself then it is no problem to contribute that to OpenStreetMap ofcourse. You’ll need to convert the data to a dataformat that OSM can understand. Then you can bulk-import it to the server. The JOSM data format is very similar to the OSM XML-schema.

Lambertus, thanks for quick answer. However, it produced more question than answers.

But on the Wiki page about Copyright and more specifically, on the page about Out-of-copyright maps there is a direct note:

It means that OSM project allows to use scanned maps (that are out of copyright). When I was speaking about scanned maps I used, I meant old maps, not the modern ones (try to find a modern military map in Russia nowadays and I’ll see how long will you enjoy your freedom :slight_smile: ). It means that the maps I used are out-of-copyright because thay were published more than 50 years ago (right after the World War II). So, is it possible to use a vector map derived from such kind of map in OSM?

If yes, than how it can be converted? Of course, it is possible to take a GPS receiver and to walk around the town (well, a city with population more than 800k people is quite large, though), but it will be a complete waste of time. The map I have already has a street names and quite a large number of POIs (around 2k). So I would like to find a way to convert my map rather than to repeat the work.

Yes, if the maps are out-of-copyright then it is obviously no problem using those maps for OSM.

Best practice dictates that you add a ‘source=’ tag to all the data that is uploaded from sources like yours. e.g. ‘source=out of copyright map military map’. This allows, if problems arise, that the data from this source can easily be differentiated from the other data.

The out-of-copyright wiki page gives you hints about converting old maps into OSM data. Additionally to that page, maybe you can take a look at GPSMapEdit as a converting tool.

if you didn’t trace the maps yourself then the copyright on them is owned by the people who did, you would need their permission. If you personally derived the data from out-of-copyright maps then it’s totally up to you, and we’d welcome their addition to osm :slight_smile: