Out-of-date satellite images

Hi everyone, new here.

There are a lot of buildings, roads, parks etc. in my area that are not reflected on the satellite images. Are there different sources available for the satellite imagery and/or is it acceptable to add features that are not reflected on the satellite? For instance, I added a node for a library nearby but cannot create an area because the satellite image just shows the lot under construction.

Any help is appreciated, thank you.

It really depends where you live. Different places can have their own state or local governments releasing an aerial map which can be used (if permission was given) to trace objects.

However, it’s not a big deal if you just mark a library or other POI with just a node, as long as it’s reasonably accurate. There’s still plenty of things to map even when aerial imagery is outdated. Though, you may want to place Notes to fellow mappers (in reasonable quantity) to mark things to map later when new imagery is available.

Thank you, I actually found what I was looking for in the Potlatch editor’s background drop-down menu. Also, I did add a note mentioning outdated imagery on the node but its a moot point now. Thanks again!

Hi quantumriian. Welcome to OSM.

Yes, mapping the real world is very much encouraged. Mapping a library as a node is certainly better than nothing, and the outline can always come later. You might want to mention source=survey in your changeset, which indicates the data comes from a personal visit. The best kind of data, in many people’s estimation.

As for satellite imagery, there are different sources available to us, and the specifics depend on the editor you use. I use JOSM, and in my area there are five sources that are both available and useful. But it’s important to mention, do not use other sources, specifically Google. Google doesn’t give us permission, and likely never will. But given the often high quality of the permitted sources (in my area lately, Bing is excellent), who needs Google’s imagery?

In iD (your OSM Online Editor) you can change between different layers.
For your library I have used “Digital Globe”:


Have a look at this OSM Editor: JOSM

JOSM has a built-in validator, that checks for common mapping errors before data upload.
A big selection of aerial imagery and third-party GPS traces immediately available as backgrounds for tracing.
Fast fluid panning and zooming. Near-infinite zooming for super-precise mapping.

The ability to map from direct, on the ground, observations, with only GPS as an aid was what made OSM possible. When it started, there was no aerial imagery, and, in the UK no maps, that could be used as a source