State of the art of enriching feature with images

Hello guys,

what is the state of the art of enriching osm features with images? (I am not asking on image mapping techniques!) Why am I asking? I would like to enrich amenity=shelter with images because there are many factors which make a shelter good when you want to stay there for a night or when want to have a picnic in the shelter. And I think people would benefit from images because the other details are hard to map (which does not mean people should stop trying to map such details :wink: ).


  1. So, there is the image-tag. It has the disadvantage, that you cannot nicely add more than one image (either image.1= image.2 or image=…;…). Also you have to host the image somewhere (but where)? Scatter image across hundreds of different domains?
  2. wikimedia_commons… well, we cannot abuse it and upload whatever we want. Images might get deleted, because they are out of scope (from commons’ perspective).
  3. Then there is the mapillary/flickr tag but on flickr/mapillary you’ll give your images outside of one’s control and we don’t now what’s gonna happen with mapillary in the future… E. g. “Mapillary Joins Facebook on the Journey of Improving Maps”.

According to taginfo ( mapillary is used most often. Also image is used very often. wikimedia_commons is used somewhat often and flickr is not used that often.

Now the question: Is mapillary the tag to go to enrich features with images? Is the OSM community’s trust in mapillary large enough that it won’t shutdown or do anything bad for FOSS GIS?


As you can probably guess from the lack of responses so far, there’s no great solution available.

Wikimedia Commons is widely considered the best option for images linked from OSM (whether as image=* or wikimedia_commons=*), at least for those images that are welcome there.

Using Mapillary as a link target, rather than just a source for mapping, isn’t something I’d choose to do, but apparently some people like it. It’s not really a fully open platform, though, even though individual images can be downloaded under an open license.

Philosophically, image=* and similar tags are perhaps a slightly awkward fit for OSM tagging because there’s not really an objective way of selecting the best image(s) for a feature. So it’s a bit of an exception to our usual rule on verifiability of tags. Maybe that has contributed to the lack of effort in finding good solutions for the problem so far?

People who are enthusiasts about certain topics, such as plaques or benches, have sidestepped the problem by starting their own dedicated projects and uploading their images there. These pages can then be linked from OSM, of course. Is there anything like that for shelters?

Hello Tordanik,

thanks for taking your time to answer.

WTF, did not know about :smiley:

Yes you are right. Such tags don’t really fit well in the way we tag things. But isn’t a “bad” image better than no image at all?

That might be the reason… :-/

There are quite a few project dedicated to provide a shelter map in some form. I know of the following:

The last one even does not use OSM data but the owner(?) contacted me asked me if I wanted to join them (and they were planning to sync their data with OSM or something like that, I didn’t read the message fully or answered him yet).

My problem is, that I really want to avoid further fragmentation. Those are only the websites I am aware of. I am sure that there are more such sites. seems to have the best approach (at least from my judgement), but lacks usability and does not solve the tagging-problem…