Saving the information


We are trying to build accessible indoor maps and using Open Street Map and OSMInEdit tool for one of our projects. We have already mapped one of our campus buildings. But we have a concern. As OSM is open source, anyone can edit our map and delete all the work that we have done so far. To prevent this from happening, we would like to know if there is a way to save that progress so even if someone delete it, we can reupload the information easily or if there is a way to revert the changes to some check point where we uploaded the changes. Kindly let us know if there is anything that could help us.

Badrinadh Aila.

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There are two points that are relevant here:

  • OSM data is versioned and on top of that even when an object is deleted it remains in the database. As a result it is completely possible to reinstate an earlier state of the data.

  • you can naturally download load a copy of the area / data you have worked on, however ‘re-uploading’ wouldn’t necessarily be easy.



Nice, Simon (what he says is all true). Do know that vandalism of the scope of “what if somebody deletes all the work we’ve put into the map?” is a real concern, but in reality, such active destruction of specific data is quite rare.

When I have similar concerns (that I might “lose data” which I have or will upload to OSM), I’m heartened to know that I can simply save a copy onto a local machine’s storage (SSD, a thumb drive…). If you are using the JOSM editor, for example, (which I recommend as it is an excellent editor, quite extensible and has such features as I’m about to describe), you can always do a “save” of the data which is in your “current buffer,” saving those data to your local disk. If you do this without any additional OSM data (possible, but you must do things in the right order), you’ll have a pristine dataset of just your data, which could be uploaded to OSM in the exceedingly rare event you found your data were deleted (inadvertently or on purpose). As Simon says, there are methods that would allow you to do this from within OSM (using the “going back in the history of the data” revisions), but these are not especially easy nor user-friendly. A “local copy” of the data (in .osm format) is much easier, and you can store these locally on your own (local) storage.

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I’m using JOSM with a local copy of my current work. In which I save all my updates and then upload. After each upload a new download must be done of a new fresh local copy, in which the remaining work is done. If a new download is not done, after the upload, duplicates will be created on every objects which was updated/added in the previous upload.

Just to clarify: while reverting changesets is not a beginner topic, we -do- have multiple tools that will do it and the process is in the end well understood and there are lots of contributors that are very comfortable with it.

None of the above is true for restoring a local copy of the data. The likely easiest method would be to locally save pre-upload (that is with placeholders) osmchange files for every editing session and then sequentially applying them to “re-play” the edits. Doable but overall a lot of work to duplicate what the OSM API/DB is already doing for you.