Hello, I am new to OSM and I find myself mainly adding stores and other things that I like due to the lack of a GPS-Logger. This is a little unsatisfying due to the fact that a lot of amenities don’t have an icon and therefore don’t show up on the map. I would like to propose two things:
1.: Would it make sense to make a general icon (a dot, mabye) for amenities without an icon so they show on the map (like a dot and whatever is in the name-tag)? It happened more than once that I wanted to add an amenity and I only recognized in Potlach that it is already there. This leads to another thing that I still don’t really get: Is there any way for users that don’t have an account (and therefore cannot enter the edit-mode to find out) to get the name of an amenity which’s name doesn’t show on the map (due to it’s lack of space in the surrounding, I guess)? I guess you would need another layer like http://olm.openstreetmap.de/ right?
2.: And maybe more important: I am a designer/illustrator and I would be interested to do some of the missing icons for amenities etc. How should I do that? I mean, I know how to do the icons but where should I post the drafts, who is going to decide of they’re, ok etc.? Okay, I just found: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_Icons But that site seems to be more or less deserted. Lots of these icons similar ones are already in use and I don’t get how or where this voting is taking place.
OSM is a database of geospatial information. What you do with that information is entirely up to you. To make it look a bit more user-friendly, OSM shows a rendering of the geospatial information on the homepage. This, by default, is performed by a piece of software called Mapnik. Mapnik is not OSM. It is Mapnik that decides which pieces of OSM data are shown, and which are not. Thus if your concern is that a certain amenity type should appear on the default map on OSM, you really want to be trying to find out how to alter the Mapnik style sheet so that it includes your icons. I guess you might start with reading through the Mapnik mailing list archives, which are described here: http://mapnik.org/faq/
Part of the point of Mapnik (the default map on openstreetmap.org) is to make a nice looking map. If it included icons for everything, the map would probably look a bit of a mess.
The Osmarender map is maybe a bit less fussy, so shows more icons for amenities etc (and can look a bit messy to be honest).
You can also switch on the “Data” layer (click the blue “+” symbol in the top right corner, and tick the box for data). This will show all objects that are present in OSM, even if they’re not rendered. And you can click on the objects to get their name and tags etc.
Also have a look at OpenStreetBrowser. it shows icons for many types of amenties, shops etc, and you can click on them to get their name etc. http://www.openstreetbrowser.org
If you think something should be rendered to Mapnik or Osmarender, you can add a request on Trac. http://trac.openstreetmap.org
If your request includes a suitable icon, its probably more likely to be added, as its less work for the maintainers.