So few posts here?

Hi, I wonder why there are so few posts in this US subforum. Is OSM not popular in the US?

Hi, yes, my impression is that OSM is not popular in the US, aside from a handful of contributors. This is partly because in the past, there was an impression here that ‘maps are plentiful and free’: from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Mapquest. A few more people have become interested since Google began charging high volume map users. Although my area has had a number of people overall contribute to it, for the most part it is my private map playground - I have never had an edit conflict. But I would welcome others. Any attempt at creating a ‘community’ locally has been met by disinterest.

Oh, and there are a few “Mailing list die-hards” that hang out on talk-us.

Actually, I’m from Russia. General public is not aware of OSM here either (although the number of posts in the Russian subforum is slightly bigger).

Hello from Ukraine. Yesterday I looked at OSM map of USA. There are so few buildings on the map. Hey guys, you have so beautiful satellite photos to draw buildings. I think, you are lazy! :stuck_out_tongue:

P.S. Sorry for errors in my english :confused:

Золотое правило интернета: никогда не извиняйся за свой английский! :wink:

I think part of the problem is, that the link to the forum is rather hard to find on the English wiki page (that itself is found under documentation).
On the german wiki page the forum has a much more prominent place and can be easily found.
There is a block called “contact to the community” where there’s a direct link to the German sub forum.

Since OpenStreetMap is a comunity project, a link to the forum should be more prominent on the English wiki main page as well, I think.

I’m in Northern California and have been monitoring this page via RSS. I’m guessing that the detail found on Google Maps and others has indeed discouraged some contributions here, though the OSM maps of Disneyland and Disneyworld are wonderfully detailed. I’m interested in documenting off-road trails and other hiking routes, which I’ve done pretty extensively for a year or so–around my my county (Marin), in the Sierra, and elsewhere (i.e. Hawaii and Oregon) when visiting. Like MikeN, I’ve found it to be a solo activity compared to my work on Wikipedia. Would love to compare notes with people doing the same.

It’s not that OSM is not popular, I just don’t think people here use the forum as the primary means of communication. I use the email list myself mostly and it’s reasonably active.

before the redaction bot went through, I used to map in South Dakota where my relatives live.

I think, the main problem of the OSM is, that the Tiger data is absolutely unusable… Therefore all other (more or less) free maps are way ahead of OSM. So why should I map when I cannot trust the data 20 miles west? The time will come, but it is still a very long way the the quality OSM has in europe, australia, etc…

You could argue that having at least baseline data is better than having no data at all. I was not here for the TIGER import back in 2007/8, but I suppose the reasoning for going ahead and doing this huge import was something like: ‘What we have here is a vast country where we’re unlikely to get decent contributor coverage anytime soon, if ever for the vast rural expanses between the metro areas. What we also have is a PD street network data source that has a lot of positional accuracy problems, but is at least mostly topologically OK, offers basic road classification and covers the entire nation. If we import this, we will have something to work with. Having a baseline street network available is likely to be more encouraging to both aspiring mappers and data consumers than having absolutely nothing.’

While I am super critical towards data imports, I think that importing TIGER has been the right decision, even though it may not have been perfectly executed. The only way we can improve the map here in the US is by attracting more mappers, plain and simple. We’re not doing a great job at this compared to Europe ( but it’s not going all that bad either. And more importantly, we have a really dedicated core group of mappers who have a really good grip on what needs to be done. After the redaction, the repair started immediately and systematically. See,, and for some tools and resources implemented by the US community to assist in this effort.

So I’m optimistic. Yes, TIGER data sucks, but it’s mostly easy to clean up. There’s no quick fixes though, and you have to believe in the power of the community. We’re probably where most of Europe was in 2008 or so, depending in what you look at. Did they give up because it seemed like an insurmountable task?

Hey :slight_smile:
Yes, at that time TIGER was a big improvement, but nowadays it might be one cause of many, why there is a problem recruiting new mappers.
For me, it is more important to map e.g. South Dakota from sat-images than add every streetlamp in my hometown.
In my holidays I travelled about 3000 miles in 3 countries relying only on OSM-maps on my mobile phone and had absolutely no problem. I wouldn’t do that in the States at this Point, but the time will come.

Since the rest of the guys did a great job in Sydney, I can go on fixing/improving SD… A lot of waterways are missing too…


I would say that TIGER is less and less a factor in whether new mappers start. The road network is ‘largely correct’, with major emphasis on Interstate, US Highways and state roads. I would freely navigate long distance on OSM data, but regional roads might still be problematic. [Except that the license change has temporarily destroyed the long distance routing network ]

Note that this is the same state as if those roads had been created by individual mappers who have moved on: an outsider will glance at the map and say “it is done, I have nothing to do here” and move on.

Just think of the lack of posts here and the lower number of users in the US as providing plenty of room for OSM use to grow in the future. As mentioned earlier, Google started charging for their API for high volume map use, ESRI has started a subscription service fee for ArcGIS Online, Bing has made it harder to use their imagery and maps, and it is only a matter of time before they all understand how much money they are losing by not charging for their services. It is all driven by money. OSM will become more popular among professional mappers when they have to start paying (or start paying more) for the alternatives. So, I see it is our responsibility to get the map in as great of shape as we can to ensure that those who explore with and hopefully migrate to OSM in the US are shocked at how great a resource they have overlooked.

It probably also has to do with the size of our country.

I myself live in the Netherlands. I’ve done a lot (re)mapping in my area and that’s probably 100-200 square kilometers.
That would be a small spot on the US-map :slight_smile:

But if everyone does it’s part as far as he/she can (in it’s own area or on visits or holiays logging data and afterwards enter the data on OSM), the maps will get better.

In Europe it is indeed better mapped, but at the moment I’m on holiday in France and found out that there is also a lot of work to do by entering many local roads (with nice climbs for my roadbike).

Keep going the good work and itthe maps will be better everywhere.


well I am in Kentucky and I can tell you the USGS is stealing your thunder but you guys could fight back with batch files…
Also I am a user of ArcGIS and i have shapefiles I could give you guys any one interested?

Yes, shapefiles are of interest! Traditionally, the 2 types of data we’re most interested in has been roads and addresses. The first issue to get past is licensing; is the data available under an ODBL license?

Other types of shapefiles are useful - such as those that define areas. But they’re much harder to import correctly. The OSM community is very strict on proper topological connection to existing OSM data - no delete and re-import, and having correct topology in respect to other feature types.

Well, OSM looks very useless compared to other so maybe that’s the case :smiley:

Hi Lee! For what it’s worth, this is a very old (nearly decade-old) thread. OSM’s community and the ecosystem of OSM-powered maps have grown a lot since then, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at these forums, because even the talk-us mailing list is more active. These days, most of the community hangs out on OSMUS Slack. If you’re interested in joining the community there, there are several Kentucky- and Cincinnati-based mappers in the #local-kentucky channel who would be interested in taking a look at your shapefiles and discussing how to properly integrate them into OSM. If not, please feel free to post more information to talk-us.

At the bottom of the landing page for creating a new account, there is a note:

Don’t have an email address?
Contact the workspace administrator at OpenStreetMap for an invitation.

it’s not clear who the invite request should be sent to. Anyone know?