I am new to all this and finally (after hours of looking) found a place to ask questions.


I don’t have a GPS and no GPS knowledge so I cannot get involved with the mapping and I am a user and forums like this are invaluable to me.

Now I have a general question about when an area is complete.

Obviously this project is ongoing and large chunks of it are not complete at all.

But I read the most of very central London (zone 1) is complete.

Now I looked for places that I know and where I worked at in the past in central London and some are not there. (Heddon Street just off regent street, etc) And street names are wrong “Beak Street” not “Bean Strett”

Now this is fine but I got the impression that the project thinks that the whole area is complete? (I presume the different coloured shading indicates this).

What can I do to help fix this? Do I have to notify anyone or could I do something myself?

I am thinking one of the biggest problems of this project is not knowing when an area is complete.

Welcome :slight_smile:

Well, actually you can get involved. Maybe not at the surveying level, but by completing and correcting the data already present. Please read on.

Actually, an area can virtually never be complete. There is always something more to map. Look around and you will (maybe unaware) see tons of things that could be mapped. If it will be mapped is up to you.

True, very true, but the data is getting better (assuming more equals better) every day. Also there is currently data being imported from AND Automotive (The entire road network in The Netherlands, in the future maybe also India and eastern Europe) and the Tiger data of the U.S. Additions like this will give the project even more momentum, which should result in more mappers , which should result in more and better data. See where this is going?

That depends on what your standards are. Maybe, if you’re interested in the position of every light post, manhole or public bench in the city, you might find it utterly incomplete… But, I assume, on the road level it is pretty complete.

Well, here is something that you can do without actually having a GPS. Please register on the OSM website and download the JOSM editor or goto the online webeditor and correct any errors you see. Local knowledge is worth much in this project.

Like I explained above: no one will ever be able to say that an area is complete and neither is there any coloring to indicate the level of completeness. The difference in coloring is probably caused by the age of the different tiles that make the map and with which version of the render client it is rendered. The cartography area is heavily being worked on (like anything else) so now and then new color schemes pop up. When that happens the map will slowly catch up to the next scheme.

Thanks for the reply. :slight_smile:

What I meant by complete is in a basic form like all roads on the map. I know some roads will be brand new and need to be added, etc and the state of play always changes but I want a “complete” A to Z/ Road map.

Obviously this a goal. But it was stated somewhere on the wiki that Central London is nearly complete (roads complete I am taking that to be) expect for a certain area (Edgware road area). Now if this implies that they think that the rest is correct I was merely stating that is not the case.
I think it is a little dangerous to imply that an area is complete when it is not as no-one will look to map that area again.

If the roads are correct then it becomes a very useful tool. People then can link to these pages on their business websites, etc and will be more inclined to fill in more details for their local area. The name of the pub on the corner, the public bench down the road, etc as it will increase the usefulness for people finding their location.

If a street is missing nearby then obviously the initial confidence is lost. In some ways this is worse than having no mapping at all for an area as people might think it is perfectly mapped.

Anyway I do not want to sound overly critical about this I know the nature of the project I just want to get ideas for future.

I am a computer geek by trade and involved in various open source projects myself.

I have an idea though to improve things.

Maybe you do this already I have no idea. As it is not sated anywhere in the wiki from what I can tell.

Could we get a list of the streets and postcodes for all the streets in Central London that we think we have mapped. It shouldn’t be hard to compare this will the street in the open mapping database thus getting a list of all the outstanding streets.

Not in our database
Heddon Street, LONDON, W1B 4BD


Then you have something to compare things to and look up these postcode/streets on an commercial mapping website like or or in you local AtoZ/road map and then you can send mappers around to these locations to map them.

And then you can say with more confidence that we have mapped all the streets in Central London

This could then be repeated for all the cities that are nearly completed. The process will stay the same. I should be a simple task to code presuming that the “official” road maps source data and the open mapping data are in sensible formats.

If someone was to provide me with the “official” road data to could probably easily do this for the project (you will probably have to buy a copy of something official in the UK from royal mail or someone – you must have some of this info already as you can search via postcode on the main mapping site)

Provide a list of all the streets in a said area (based probably on postcode) that donÂ’t have corresponding entries in our database. Also new roads from new building projects that come up will be quickly flagged as new and you can remap that road only and be bang up to date.

Also this will have the benefit of being able to give more accurate estimations of the roads covered in certain areas.

For example

has what I presume is a guess for the estimated completion of a given city/area. This will then be more accurate as you will be comparing them with the “official” road map info.

Then you could have a link to another wiki page saying “as of blah, blah date the following streets are not mapped” and listing all the finding of the comparison.

Then people will know what needs mapping more clearly.

I hope I have explained myself enough. :slight_smile:

Other than that I will try at some point ot have a look at manually changing those streets I noticed.

The colour yes it seems a new colour scheme was used for the buildings in a certain area it just so happened that they siad that near that area it was not completly mapped thus I presumed that they were "no properly mapped " areas.

Don’t be fooled that commercial routeplanners and maps are correct all the time. They even introduce errors by design (easter eggs) to be able to proof that someone has copied their data.

I understand that they have easter eggs, etc but do they omit streets…I thought they just added new ones.

Anyway it doesn’t matter for the idea I had having a list of streets is that are misssing / at least worth checking out would be useful do you not think?
If they are an easter egg, etc then we can add them to the list of easter eggs. If not then you can add them to the map to make it more complete.

Otherwise how are you ever going to know if the street map is complete to any degree. It would be pure guesswork…

Anyway the offer of help is there if you want it. If you do not think it would be useful then no worries…

OK I download the XML of all the data from this project (the osm file) for the UK from

Now I am really confused as it appears to contain no street name data. It is all just co-ordinates and a whole load of Tagged by… and the odd lankmark like a church but no street names.

Am I missing something…

In case we misunderstand here: Let me assure you every help is welcome!

What I read between the lines here is that you want to add information (like streetnames) to OpenStreetMap based on some maps you have? If so, that is strictly forbidden as commercial map makers claim copyright on their maps. Please only add data that you know of (remembered it or wrote it down) from e.g. the local streetsigns. See the mapping techniques page for more info on that.

Now, on the subject of adding the knowledge you have:
Using the raw XML data is possible, but there are much better ways and tools for that. Perhaps it’s a good idea for you to read the beginners guide in the OpenStreetMap wiki.

Ummh I don’t think I explained myself clearly enough.

a) There is some local knowledge that I have to make maps more complete. I can add these myself at some point…street names, etc
and I will probably end up just adding all the pubs I know.:slight_smile: I do not intend to use any other mapping data to get this information.

b) I would like to compare the street name data/index from OpenStreetMap with a commercial/ official source (for example the royal mail in the UK as they have a list of all streets postal address, etc) for a set area. (maybe this is needed in the development section of these forums)

Now I just want to compare the data. I am fairly clued up on software licensing issues and I do not believe that just looking at the data and comparing it to your own will be illegal in any way.

Once we have a list of the streets that are in the “official” street maps and not in the OpenStreetMap system we can then look them up by hand. Go out and the streets take photos, etc. Maybe there will be Easter Eggs in there but we can find out what they are and an index of street might not contain

I don’t understand how this would be illegal. Could you explain?

That way we can map areas better. And areas that the OpenStreetMap thinks are complete can be more verifiably complete for the labelled streets.

list the percent complete and I thought it would be useful for nearly completed cities like Cambridge to test and verify this.

Now I can do some coding and know databases and from what I figure this should be pretty straight forward. We could get the “official” street maps data/index for an area e.g. in the UK by postcode and compare that to OpenStreetmap data I suppose by a range of XY cords that cover the area of the postcode. So that leads me as to wanting to know where the street data is.

This will obviously be more useful when we have nearly complete and we think completed maps. A analysing a city that is 5% completed will not be much use as it will obviously have many missing.

Does that make sense?

Okay, got it :slight_smile:

Indeed, I can’t see how that would violate commercial map licenses.

Okay, that is a valid mapping technique and will not violate any licenses I think. But how do you plan to create street indexes from commercial maps? Hard copies are simple of course, but digital indexes would be much easier to work with.

The OSM planet export file that you’ve downloaded is suitable for building an index of OSM registered streets. All the info you’re looking for is in that file, you just need to know how to extract that. That info can be found in the wiki.

:slight_smile: OK we understand each other now. :slight_smile:

Yes there would be need to be a index of street names. In the UK the postal service - Royal Mail - would be a good start. You can buy a copy of stuff for example here:

True this means buying something (but it is hundreds of GBP a year rather than thousands or more) and I know this is an open source project but I thought maybe someone would have that sort of information already. You could have a digital AtoZ directory or something too.

Reading up doesn’t Steve Coast a founder of this project run a mapping company of sorts I would have thought he would have information like this of all UK addresses. Or someone could have a copy of this type of info for a database compare.

To be honest I know very little about the subject of mapping and my terminology my be off in parts I am just trying to throw ideas in there and offer to help doing a bit of coding for this. It would also be a useful tool too for the mapping parties you could say 25% completed before the party and after now we have 70% or whatever.

Anyway it is an idea that I will need some help on e.g, the “official” data and maybe the XY co-ords for the city boundaries but after that I could no doubt do something with it. It may not be perfect but it would be an improvement I feel.

So if people like the idea maybe they could help out? Who would know this knowledge?

Maybe you can get this information from someone. A good place for such a request would be to post a message to the talk mailing list as many more people read that list than visit this forum (unfortunately :roll_eyes:).

I was in the understanding the SteveC used OpenStreetMap data for his commercial property search engine. He even used the OSM frontpage map for his (and OSM 's) commercial trials.

The knowledge will come in time and noone will (should) judge you on that.

On the numbers subject: Having all the streets and streetnames mapped does not mean a 100% completeness in my book. What about turn restrictions, one-way, cycleways etc. Who is to decide when the map is 100% done? In my opinion: Noone! I Also believe the map will never be complete.

As stated earlier, I think it’s best that you post your idea to the talk mailing list and see what happens.

OK Cheers.

Yeah no map will ever be fully complete as there is always something else to map. but they are using the % complete info on the wiki with no reference to anything. At least it will be a start and once there is 100% streets mapped (well that is the names of the streets match up)

sigh mailing lists do these people not know it is the 21st century? :wink: I guess I will have to be spammed to ask a simple request…

Hi, I am a new user of OSM. Installed some asian maps in my Garmin 255. Map browsing works very well but in order to search for a street it is not possible via “where to” menu. In fact I could not change the contry/region to those i have installed. Did I do everything correctly?

Yes, previously Mkgmap (the application that created the Garmin maps from OSM data) cannot create a list of streetnames. Only the very latest builds have (limited) support for that.

There have been works done on the quality of Openstreetmap data compared to OS openspace data. The first report was released about a year ago, that one was about the positional accuracy of road networks. You should try to contact the UCL professor who did this and ask him what he thinks of your project.

Also, I think the germans did a dump of all the streetsnames in München(not sure), and check that against a government own database to see if any street was missing.