OpenStreetMap is Having a Moment

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash
If I write it here, I probably wrote it first on Twitter.

For the Uninitiated: What is OpenStreetMap?

Cumulative registered users over time. Source:
  • A distributed community of mappers contributing information about the geography of the world to a common repository
  • A free web map hosted at
  • A loosely affiliated collection of free and open source tools for mapping the world
  • A real-time stream of instructions representing how to add, change, or remove cartographically projected geometries and associated metadata based on a prior state
  • …Google Maps, but openly licensed

What Jennings Told Me about OSM

Always check the attribution. Source: Bing Maps
Dr. Anderson’s talk at State of the Map 2019, “Corporate Editors in the Evolving Landscape of OpenStreetMap: A Close Investigation of the Impact to the Map & Community.”
Seriously, watch the entire talk, it’s amazing: Curious Cases of Corporations in OpenStreetMap

The Clash of Cultures Happening in OSM

What’s Motivating These Companies?

Why Does it Matter?

  • Existing data is free and growing apace
  • Proprietary data contributed to OSM may be expanded upon and/or maintained at no additional expense by the community



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store