weeklyOSM 417



Orientation of streets in European cities 1 | © Geoff Boeing, Tobias Kunze © map data OpenStreetMap contributors


  • Warin, who noticed a new mapper trying to map a golf course, complained to the tagging mailing list about the current wiki page describing how to map a golf course. That triggered a lengthy discussion on the mailing list, where we discovered that it makes sense to consider even the grass height in recognising the tee area.
  • Leo Gaspard would like the landuse=highway tag to be used more often as he wants road areas to be tagged along with their surfaces. However, as noted during the conversation, the widely used area:highway=* includes an optional surface tag already.
  • Danilo reported on the Swiss mailing list (de) his experience with creating his own aerial images with a paraglider. He mentioned the project opendronemap.org, a toolchain for processing aerial imagery. His example result (large file) looks promising.
  • How many traffic light nodes should be added for complex intersections? This question was raised (de) in the German forum. The conclusion was to tag traffic lights for pedestrians with highway=crossing and crossing=traffic_signals to avoid multiple time penalties when routing cars over an intersection with multiple traffic lights. The possibility to add the direction of traffic lights was also mentioned.
  • The Open Knowledge Lab Karlsruhe has created a map that shows farm shops, market places and vending machines for food and milk in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and some neighbouring regions. They explain the map and future plans in the German forum (de). If you want to join the development or make your own map for your region, you can find the project on GitHub.
  • Warin61 has created a proposal for ephemeral water, i.e. water that is only present for short duration.
  • The voting for the tagging proposal aeroway=highway_strip is under way.


  • The OSM API is currenly running slower than usual because the master OSM server is moving from Imperial College, London to the Equinix data centre in Amsterdam. In the transition period, a slower server in York, England is serving as the database master server (we reported earlier). The OWG is looking for volunteers from the Amsterdam OSM community to help during the move on 25 and 26 July.
  • OSM US has not found the right person for the new position of an executive director and is still waiting for more applications.
  • OSM Belgium has chosen Lionel Giard (OSM Anakil) as mapper of the month and published an interview with him about his way of contributing.
  • chris66 found an object during his field survey which was treated as a land mine by the police. His finding resulted in the arrival of an Ordnance Disposal Unit and was reported in a local newspaper. He received tips in the always-helpful German forum (de) (automatic translation) on the different ways to tag a crater.
  • The voting for the OSM Awards ends on July 26th. Please vote if you have not done so already.
  • The media platform TriplePundit published a story about the benefits of collaborative problem-solving. It mentioned the well-known code creation and mapping efforts for disaster relief but also forward-looking development aid such as openRMS, an open source enterprise electronic medical record system platform for resource-constrained environments.
  • [1] Rixx published a blog post about the orientation of streets in European cities. He wrote a Python script, which
    he made available on GitHub, which shows the direction that a city’s streets run in most often. He continues the work of Geoff Boeing who wrote a blog post “Comparing City Street Orientations” using his OSMnx Python library. In a description of OSMnx Christoph linked to a number of blog posts about OSMnx use cases ranging from figure-ground diagrams over isochrone maps to network-based spatial clustering.Mapbox catches up with its own version and presented a slippy map with streets orientations. In a blog post they explained their implementation that is available at GitHub.
  • The company Uber uses OSM internally for fare calculations and to optimise driver and rider matching as they have explained in the forum. The team in Palo Alto will start fixing bugs found in OSM by Uber drivers in the Delhi region in India as a test. According to their forum post, they will share the profiles of the editors on Uber’s OSM page, will follow the Organised Editing Best Practices and Indian guidelines, and do not plan to make large-scale, machine-generated edits.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • The OpenStreetMap Foundation has published a report highlighting OSM and OSMF related updates. Regular readers of the weeklyOSM may have heard some of the updates already but there is also a lot of new information such as working group insights in the report.



  • The outdoor map provided by Andy Allan’s commercial Thunderforest Platform is now rendering difficulty classifications based on sac_scale.
  • Skinfaxi introduces a new service of meaningfully cut out topographic maps for Sweden and the southern neighbouring countries on a scale of 1:50.000, which can be downloaded as PDF. Unfortunately there is hardly any documentation (example as PDF).


  • User jbelien has published an article in the OSM user diaries on why one should use OSM instead of Google. The article was originally written for the Open Summer of Code 2018 in Belgium. If you prefer the article in French, voilà.


  • Have you ever been impatiently waiting for your large changeset to finish uploading? Then you might be interested in the blog post from mmd. He wrote about a new, faster changeset upload implementation that has been developed and is available for testing now. Instructions on how to help with testing are included in the blog post.
  • A new version of GeoPandas, an extension for Python’s data science package Pandas, was just released. GeoPandas extends Pandas’ data types and allows spatial operations on geometric types that would otherwise require a spatial database such as PostGIS. The new version 0.4.0 improves the performance and behaviour of the overlay functionality. Further, there is a long list of other new features and bug fixes.


  • The version 1.3.0 of Maputnik, a free visual style editor for maps, has been released.
  • Wambacher’s software list was updated as of July 17. The almost endless list shows the current versions of OSM related software.

Did you know …

  • … that Thomas Konrad created a website showing the coverage of buildings in Austria compared to public data. While he considers Austria as a whole nearly complete (with coverage greater than 85 percent), there are still areas with coverage below 50 percent where some work needs to be done.
  • … of Pascal’s website Unmapped Places? The intention of this tool is to detect under-represented regions a.k.a. “unmapped” places in OpenStreetMap. Basically it checks whether a road can be found within 700 m around a place= tag or otherwise it will be flagged as unmapped.

Other “geo” things

  • The German blog beyong-print published a post (de) about the start-up cartida that is offering art prints of maps based on OSM data in different styles and sizes. Currently they only ship to Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg but they plan to add more countries.
  • govtech.com, an online portal covering information technology’s role in state and local governments, reported that Google’s new API restrictions will have minimal impact on goverment bodies. From July 16 onwards, Google Maps requires an official API key and a valid credit card attached to the account in order to work. However, state and local governments prefer using paid products from ESRI, Mapbox and Boundless Spatial for their work.
  • The Mississippi’s Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors sued the company Vizaline, which provides banks with polygons on satellite images for use in granting loans. The Board says that it should be the state entity solely responsible for land surveying.
  • It is no secret that new edits do not always improve the data in OSM. A research study now provided some more insight. The conclusion was that the completeness and positional precision of features can be improved up to 14% if you take the history data of objects into account.
  • Mongabay, an online platform for environmental topics, published an article about MapHubs. MapHubs is a commercial platform storing maps and spatial data for viewing and analyzing. Paying users can use public and private data sets to create customised maps showing deforestation and generate time-lapse videos in “minihubs” called websites.
  • The website visualising data published the 53th episode of its “the little of visualisation design” series. The series focuses on small design choices and demonstrates with a sample project in each episode. Using an article from The Guardian, the website explains in the current episode the use of thumbnail map images that helps orientate the viewer.

Upcoming Events

BamakoOSM training at Faculté Sciences et Technologies2018-07-16-2018-07-20Mali
Mumble CreekOpenStreetMap Foundation public board meeting2018-07-19everywhere
HeidelbergEnd of semester Mapathon2018-07-19germany
Tokyo東京!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第21回 増上寺2018-07-21japan
Greater ManchesterMore Joy Diversion2018-07-21united kingdom
NottinghamPub Meetup2018-07-24united kingdom
LübeckLübecker Mappertreffen2018-07-26germany
ManilaMaptime! Manila2018-07-26philippines
MilanState of the Map 2018 (international conference)2018-07-28-2018-07-30italy
StuttgartStuttgarter Stammtisch2018-08-01germany
LondonMissing Maps Mapathon2018-08-07united kingdom
MunichMünchner Stammtisch2018-08-08germany
UrspringStammtisch Ulmer Alb2018-08-09germany
Dar es SalaamFOSS4G & HOT Summit 20182018-08-29-2018-08-31tanzania
Buenos AiresState of the Map Latam 20182018-09-24-2018-09-25argentina
DetroitState of the Map US 20182018-10-05-2018-10-07united states
BengaluruState of the Map Asia 20182018-11-17-2018-11-18india
MelbourneFOSS4G SotM Oceania 20182018-11-20-2018-11-23australia

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This weeklyOSM was produced by Nakaner, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, SunCobalt, YoViajo, derFred, jinalfoflia.