OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast joins Bing / Bing Aerial Imagery

It sounds somehow strange but there are interesting news from Microsoft for the Openstreetmaps project.

Microsoft is providing access to our Bing Aerial Imagery for use in the OpenStreetMap project.

I have just looked on the quality of the aerial material of Microsoft for Israel and it looks quite detailed.
Not in the quality level like in Europe but good enough to see streets and building. I expect this will provide a big push to the Israeli and Global OSM mapping.
Who is waze ? :slight_smile:

I just hope that they own the whole arial material they show on bing.

Some more info, from behind the scenes:

Both JOSM and Potlatched 2.0 are already patched to support Bing Aerial Imagery, and they’re waiting for the lawyers with the release.

Microsoft says openly that they “want to use OSM data”, which is left ambiguous, probably for a reason…

We’ve seen in Haiti that OSM is better than anything else, so maybe this is one of the reasons.

We’ll just have to wait and see…


That’s super exciting!

As I understand we’re not allowed to trace yet.

For countries like Israel it would be a amazing benefit for Bing to use OSM instead of the “10 streets” they have currently.
So its not only a one way benefit in this announcement.

Its just so strange to talk about Microsoft in this kind of topic. I have expected Google to have opened their aerial images instead of giving other companies the chance to get on a ride on the OSM horse.

Seems like we are allowed to trace them.

see here

“Bing maps have declared that we are allowed to feed their imagery into OpenStreetMap editors and create our vector maps by tracing them”

Good for us.

Lots of clouds on those images though.
I wonder if Google is ever going to jump on the OSM wagon.

It will be helpful if we updated Israel’s coverage by Bing here, including “cloudy areas”.

Clouds ? The most areas are very detailed in the material and I’m sure this will push OSM in all countries on the next level.
Great to see this happen. It was about time…

I thought that Google will jump on the OSM wagon but I actually don’t care who delivers this, its there!

Yep, clouds.

See this satellite image for instance.

Unfortunately, not only clouds but entire patches are missing in hi-res.
For instance:

  • the stripe between 35.0 and 35.1 degrees east near Haifa
  • everything beyond 33 deg north (north-ward)
  • and more (now creating a multipolygon for the covered areas)

Please note that at least in Hashfela the bing images are ~10m western compared to GPS positioning.

In Potlatch2 you can Space-drag to realign the background.


If I hadn’t missed anything, this seems to be the Bing hi-res coverage for Israel.


Thanks Dimka,

This is really helpful. Cities like Eilat, Ashkelon Tveria and Ashdod should benefit from this material.
Do we have the “~10m” problem all over Israel?

BTW: This is what will make the OSM Map of Israel more detailed in compare to WAZE!

As much as we’d like to be be the best, we still have a long way…

Waze has a much larger user base, and essentially limitless number of gps tracks uploaded all the time.

The benefits that we have over Waze, as I see them, and this is a VERY limited list…

OSM has a larger R&D. OSM has many tools and applications (e.g. hiking maps…), and a mapping application for almost any gps enabled device.

OSM has richer features. Everything in the Map Features, and all that couldn’t fit in that page, but is spread all over the wiki.

OSM has several companies backing it, like Geofabrik and CloudMade.

OSM has report tools, like KeepRight and OSM Inspector.

In some areas we are lightyears ahead of Waze, but in road coverage we still have a few miles to go…


You forgot one great benefit.
It’s really free and it’s ours…

Anyway, Once theres a larger user base for OSM it will become detailed in many ways more than what WAZE is (Businesses, attractions, Hiking, etc…)
It needs to reach the people who are not “geeks” to get there.

Of course. I wasn’t listing OSM’s benefits, just the things that make OSM’s platform better.
Being free wouldn’t make the map better.


I would love to see a detailed comparing between Waze Israel and OSM Israel. I’m not sure waze is soo much better than OSM.
Specially in the south and the north I couldnt see detailed work in waze.
In Netanya for sure not :slight_smile: I just can’t believe where it would guide me using waze as navigation system.

Don’t forget that Waze is a joke in compare to OSM in other countries than Israel. And in Israel they have started years before OSM. Today OSM is not very far away from Waze.

Note that the “up-to-dateness” of the Bing imagery varies. In some areas it’s 2005 while in others it’s 2009.
See here (zoom in to hi-res in order to see the real date).