Maxar imagery not working (was "Maxar is blurred in ID" and other similar topics)

It would be interesting to compare Profiles of Changesets vs Objects edited
to assure tjat the Changesets statistic dont give more weight to projects / countries with contributors having very small edits per changeset. The number of objects edited are available from the changesets.

“ChangesetMD” (which I suspect we’re all using) does have the “number of changes” that you can see from the XML for a changeset on the website. However, you’d need to think carefully about how to use that to get anything meaningful. If you can suggest some SQL or a calculation someone can probably do it.

In changsetMD, num_changes refers to objects editted ( nodes + ways + relations) but do reference how many tags edited. Even if this is not a perfect measure of the intensity of mapping, it is significantly better then the simple changeset count. If we want both statistics, we simply use :

select created_a, count(*) as changesets, sum(num_changes) as obj_edited, geom from osm_changeset ...

One option might be checking if local government has Orthophoto imagery and if licensing allows using in OSM, if not email them and work towards government opening data… All this is long and tiresome process… And even after that you need someone to host tiles.

In Slovenia all this data is open and refreshes 1/3 of country every year and local GIS company is willing host tiles for OSM.

In Timor-Leste the Bing (which had very good quality, maybe better than today, but could be near as 10 years old depending of the region) changed.

Data de captura:1 de jan. de 2012 - 12 de fev. de 2023

The photo is not even from the city area (which sometimes imagery tends to be more recent), but rural/remote area in Timor-Leste and is from 2023-02-12.

So, not sure about “how much outdated” Bing is expected to be, but even then, there’s ESRI, which often I found to be fairly recent (Maxar the iD does not reveal the imagery date, but I would not assume that just because Maxar, Mabox, etc don’t advertise date they are necessarily the most recent ones. Also, maybe coincidence, but in the places I do map, often Maxar had almost same imagery (but just don’t mention date) as ESRI or Bing).

A general statement about quality and actuality of different imagery providers simply is not possible.

All global imagery is a patchwork of countless small images stitched together from various raw images in order to avoid cloud cover, reduce license fees etc. etc.
Very often imagery from different providers is derived from the same raw source. On the other hand image capture may vary more than ten years.
This may vary drastically not only between countries but sometimes within kilometers. In some cases it may even vary within zoom levels.
In addition the “ranking” of imagery changes constantly as new imagery patches are made available by providers.

Maxar is no exception from it. There were regions in middle asia where the imagery was roughly ten years ahead of all others estmated from the amount of new roads built in the meantime. New built houses and replacement of wood by farmland are an additional hint for actuality.

Actuality of the road net on maps is a very important feature in difficult accessible regions. I just want to mention the Nepal earthquake.
In this sense the unavailability of Maxar imagery is a considerable loss in several regions whereas is does not matter at all in others.


Actually, Maxar -is- an exception. Essentially they are only constrained by their own economic considerations, this is very different than any other provider of an imagery mosaic that we have access to.

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On that tangent: The OpenStreetMap Foundation can and does happily host imagery too, if that’s needed. is the current list of chef configs. Send me a message if you’d like to host something there.


I have summarized the whole story here:

  • March 15, 2017, Facebook’s AI Assisted Tracing was announced on the OpenStreetMap mailing list. It used Digital Globe’s satellite imagery of Thailand to trace roads with AI and manually verify them using human input.

  • Several members of the OSM community demanded that Facebook should release the Digital Globe satellite imagery to facilitate the re-verification of all submitted contributions.

  • Digital Globe agreed to release the imagery only to registered OSM editors, through funding from “a group of organizations”.

  • May 9, 2017, DG-Premium and DG-Standard layers were released on OSM. Their EULA specifically stated that the imagery could not be downloaded for any other purpose than OSM contribution.

  • June 28, 2019, DigitalGlobe was renamed to Maxar, and the DG-Standard layer was renamed to Maxar Standard, while the DG-Premium layer was renamed to Maxar Premium.

  • December 19, 2019, Maxar announced that it had seen a sharp increase in usage through automated requests coming from a few areas of concern. As a result, it would soon suspend its imagery service.

  • 2023 : It has been stated that the reason for the current outage is that a small number of people are using the OpenStreetMap API key to steal imagery for non-OpenStreetMap usage.

See details here :


To present a complete yearly profile, I wrote my own analysis grouping this same Changesets data. I have a slighlty different perspective with 2022 changesets (the data I have on hand) by continent / Sub-continent (a least 70% of the changeset BBOX must be inside the Continent geometry). I also show other major imagery providers. I did analyse also with the variable num_changes (no. of objects edited). See PierZen's Diary | OpenStreetMap Imagery sources by Continent / Sub-Continent, 2022 | OpenStreetMap


Has the option for Maxar imagery now disappeared out of iD everywhere, or only in Australia?

In Greece too, I assume everywhere, since no new keys yet.


@tyr_asd removed the Maxar option from iD, globally, but it’ll be restored once the layer becomes available again.


At that price point, I would only be able to pay for my own home town’s imagery.

Yes, but imagine if everyone did that…

Yes, but imagine if everyone did that…

then they would not think about ever making it free again :smiley:


it’s still a lot cheaper than my own country’s govt mapping service’s imagery…

I think a lot of editors - including yours truly - would try to assist the Foundation and Maxar to find a solution which lets editors use the imagery and the same time stops nonconforming retrieval.

Personal keys sound like a good way to stop abuse but it shall be done carefully not to do it in a way which would make it prohibitively hard for editors to get keys (say, editors with a normal amount of edits would get a key, or an automgically retrievable yearly key, and both parties would promise to help investigating disabled keys and reenable false positives).

Also requires some common sense not to flag “abuse” those editors who scroll more than average but do not abuse the service. (For example it could have been me when mapping rivers in Siberia; but I did it consistently with JOSM useragent and a stable IP, among other things).

I support Maxar in protecting their own interests while they would support OSM community, and I really trust the Foundation to keep communicating with them and try to reach an optimal point where both parties are happy.

I have used their imagery where it was important that it is fresher than 4-5 years. (My government would rather eat or burn the images instead of offering it for free. We have theoretically freely available 10+ years of imagery. Useful only to establish reference points.)


A lot of the suggestions seem to suppose we can work with Maxar and they’ll respond to us. Past experience has shown this is often not the case, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The OSMF has the best chance of getting a response, but they can’t force one.


In my experience with such large data owners is that it requires a dedicated person to keep searching someone there who supports the case from inside, then in cooperation with them search the person who can repeatedly ask the legal team not to drop the case and go for yet another coffee break but try to suggest a workable solution.

[In my experience] it is usually a failure if someone thinks such things can be done by sending one email to a random address and expect them to offer their valuable resources for free just because we asked.

[Unless someone really knows someone there… - ] It definitely requires a reliable, trustworthy organisation (like the OSMF) to make the request. Sometimes it takes a personal meeting, or even several, to convince them that they do not lose value by the process and that OSMF really positively try to protect their intellectual property while using their valued contribution to make a freely available global resource to advance, and also that their name will be attached to all the edits people are creating using their resources, and also OSM lists them as Big Sponsors on the wiki and possibly elsewhere.

(I am rather sure that OSMF and various people from the OSM community already have contacts with Digitalglobe/Maxar, and it may be useful to collect these people and try to organise this. Sat imagery is extremely useful for OSM editors, and if it is done properly it does not harm the business of Maxar; it is worth the time and energy spent on it doing right.)