OpenStreetMap vs MapMaker/GoogleMap

I love OpenStreetMap, but I currently map mostly in MapMaker. I want to share that with you so that OpenStreetMap gets better and I come back here since it suits my values much more.

I’ll explain why I started using MapMaker. My navigation app (Mappero on n900) can be configured to use different tile sources. As I mostly cycle, I found the OpenCycleMap to be the best by far ! Mappero can also be configured to get routing information from different sources, but only google works. So I use google for routing. Since I’m cycling most of the time, I want my navigation app to get accurate cycling routes which google does not provide so far. So when MapMaker became available in Canada, I started mapping cycling trails so that google can indicate me the right way.

The problem I face is that as far as I know, there is no world wide routing system based on OSM. In my case, that make OSM dependent on GoogleMap for routing. So I want better cycling trails on google map for it’s router.

Another problem I find about routing. When I search for my address on OSM main page, I get at the wrong place and need to put way to much information. I live on Ontario St, but I cant write only Ontario, it needs to be rue de l’Ontario. My suggestion to this, is to use google for looking up start and destination and use OSM data for routing, that would be the best !

Now that I’m mapping on MapMaker, I feel more feedback from it than from OSM which encourage to keep on mapping. My mapping needs to be approved by others. I can review modifications from other MapMaker users. I get asked about the validity of my modification. They eventually suggested me to organize MapUp (Mappers gathering). They suggested me to take part in the forum. They even sent me a t-shirt. All this makes me feel less alone and more part of a community than with OSM and encourage me to map. Even if I know OSM is all about the community, It does not make me feel as much important.

Also, when I went to see my grandma in Val d’Or, I was surprised to see that OSM has about no streets in a city of near 40 000 people. See by yourself :,-77.783338&spn=0.1,0.1&q=48.100005,-77.783338&hl=fr

When google+ came out, facebook added a way to group your friends and publish only to subgroups, copying google+ circles. I think OSM should get inspired by MapMaker to reenforce it’s community.

So in short, 3 things seems to be missing/incomplete in OpenStreetMap :

  1. An open routing service
  2. More feedback and a take me by the hand and show me the community when I start mapping.
  3. Having the minimum of data that allow people to start mapping every where possible.

I hope this will help going forward to make sure OSM is the BEST community for mapping.


How about the coastline being available everywhere? And Landsat/Bing aerials? :stuck_out_tongue:

Or grab a GPS, drive around, open an editor and start drawing. What more do you need to get going?

Well, I’d argue OSM is already there. Does MapMaker give you anything back besides the Google slippy map? Cycle maps? Wheelchair maps? Raw data? Nautical Maps? State of the Map conference with a cool T-shirt? No?

But I’m not going to try to win you over, stay at MapMaker if you’re happy there…

Thank you for explaining your ideas to us, Kristian! I think it’s important to know that and why Google MapMaker is appealing for some contributors.

So I understand that you are motivated by immediately available useful applications, particularly routers? I can see why Google would be attractive in that case, considering the decent quality of Google Maps’ routing engine. And, well, Google don’t seem to appreciate the idea of simply using OSM data instead of duplicating the mapmaking effort, so it’s obviously not possible to use Google’s software with OSM data. But maybe some of the projects listed on Lambertus’ link work at least good enough for your purposes?

(There are also some neat smartphone apps using OSM, some of which have online or offline routing capabilities, but unfortunately it seems that there are not that many for your particular phone.)

A lot of this can happen in OSM, too, but it very much depends on the local communities. In my area there are several regular OSM meetings (I’ve even started one myself) and I will of course review edits that happen around here. It’s not required for them to appear on the map, but an important task nevertheless!

Naturally, all of this requires a pre-existing local community to work well, so someone just has to make the first step.

There are a few tools that help you get in touch with other mappers. Do you know that you can set a position as your home spot in your preferences? This lets you see other mappers who have placed their home spot near you and makes you visible to them. There’s also the “history” tab that shows recent edits in an area. And if you are interested in the thoughts of mappers around the world, check out the blog planet. We also have a help portal, a forum and a wiki, but you know about these already. :slight_smile:

The minimum requirements to start mapping are a blank map and a GPS device. :wink: I know some mappers who’d love being able to survey an empty area where they can build a map from scratch and make a real difference. With every road and building in their town already mapped, they are getting desperate enough to draw individual trees in the park. Different tastes, I guess.

Also see this page on Google Map Maker:

The problem I face is that as far as I know, there is no world wide routing system based on OSM.

For cycling, here are the three I use:

Each has its own idiosyncratic approach to routing. I find Mapquest generally the most useful.

I agree that it would be much better to have routing built directly into the view.