Now that you know all about OpenStreetMap project, and now that we covered the topic of different ways of contributing to the OSM it is time to show you how to edit OSM data and how to add your image feeds to Mapillary by using the mobile app.
Firstly we’ll talk about editing OSM data. Editing OSM data requires an OSM community profile. The process of creating the profile is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is to select a username and create the account password. After you finish making OSM account it is time to dive into the exciting world of OSM mapping.
For the purpose of this guide, we added a couple of entries to the OSM. Nothing big, just a couple of businesses not featured on the current map along with adding a new street to the map. The procedure is quite easy.
For the start visit the OSM site and check out the map of an area you live in. OpenStreetMap project is quite popular among the mapping community so you’ll probably find the data to be pretty accurate and up-to-date. But, there’s a high chance that some newly opened store, or a restaurant, or something else isn’t featured since the map is updated by the community so it won’t be as frequently updated as, for instance, Google Maps.
Since the city where the author lives is quite well covered it was a bit difficult to add new data but after a bit of research, a couple of newly opened businesses couldn’t be found on the OSM so the author decided to contribute. Remember, it isn’t important how big your contribution is; adding a bus stop or a taxi stand can be of great help for people using OSM, even if adding a couple of new markers looks like something unimportant.
When you decide to edit data go to the OSM site and select “Edit” button. You’ll be offered with a couple of means to edit data. We selected the iD option since the iD editor is embedded with OSM and is very simple to use.
After you select the editor you’ll use, a welcome screen will pop, offering you to start editing right away. If you haven’t used map editors before, we advise all to check out the interactive walkthrough, an awesome tutorial that will teach you the basics.
You can edit or add points, lines, and areas. Points can be businesses monuments, bus stops, or other POI (point of interest) content. Lines can be roads or streets, and areas are parks, natural resorts, national parks, etc. We decided to add a newly opened fast-food restaurant since it’s great and deserve to be found on the OSM.
Adding New POIs
You have to select point button and place a new point. It should be as accurate as possible, so if you don’t know the exact address look for it online or by visiting the place you want to add. After you place a point, you’ll be offered with plenty of feature types. Parks, restaurants, cafes, bars, banks and other feature types can be selected and the number of choices is quite large.
We selected the fast-food feature type. Now that OSM knows which kind of feature the point represents, it will offer you different editable fields, enabling users to add as many details about a certain POI as they like. You can add working hours, detailed address, the type of cuisine served (if adding restaurant), the info about availability of outdoor seating, and more. After we added our new favorite fast-food place to OSM, it was time to add a different POI type. A cool hairdressing saloon wasn’t featured on the map so it was our next target. Again, we placed the point and added a couple of details such as working hours, phone number, and name of the business. As you can see below, there are less editable features when adding a business.
We urge you again to find as much info as you can before adding a new point because the whole world will have a chance to discover POI submitted by you so it would be very bad if someone found an error.
Adding Roads And Streets
Next up is adding streets. A small village with only main streets featured on the map was a perfect candidate. When adding a street you have to draw its borders and name it. Drawing borders is simple – start by clicking on the start or the end of the street and then click on every intersection until you come to the end of the street. After that, the edit feature option will appear. Since someone already mapped the village, they marked the street as a residential road so we didn’t want to make changes to that part.
We only named the “line” and saved the changes. You can change the feature type from a road to the street if you think it would better represent the feature, but make sure to explain the changes you made. After the changes are saved a new menu will appear, asking from you to make a comment regarding the edits made. Make sure to explain what you did and why you did it. For instance, we informed admins that new POIs are newly opened businesses that weren’t featured on the map. If all goes well, your changes will appear after a couple of hours.
Now that OSM editing is explained let’s talk a bit about Mapillary.
Mapillary is a platform for crowd-sourced street-level photo feds. Anyone can contribute; all you need is a smartphone and working data connection. Maybe you think that Mapillary is redundant since Google did pretty good jobs with its Street View, but Street View isn’t available for some streets, and you can’t ask Google Maps to send someone to capture a beautiful view from your roof.
If you visit the site you’ll see that Mapillary features millions of images covering the better part of the Earth. We can say that Europe is covered quite well, with large towns being filled with feeds and most main roads being covered as well.
And that’s just a tiny part of what you can do with Mapillary. Hiking trails, parks, image feeds from inside buildings, river banks, or the cool vista from your terrace can all be featured on Mapillary site.
For starts, download the app, it is available both for Androidand iOS. Next, select the capture tab and start making your own photo feed. Before creating a feed, make sure to check out settings and select your preferences. We decided to use timed capture instead of distance based capture since the app crashed with distance based capture turned on. Also, if you have a slow connection, select for the app to take low-res images in order for the upload size to be smaller.
Next, it is time for some photo feed capturing. First of all, enable GPS and then wait for the GPS signal to become green or orange. Then tap on the record button and start walking (or driving). The app will automatically take pictures and will follow your path via GPS. After you finish capturing the feed, go to upload tab and tap on the feed you want to upload. The app will upload the feed and notify you that it will take a couple of hours before the feed become publicly available on the site.
After a couple of hours (usually, it takes Mapillary up to a day to process the feed and publish it) your feed will be publically available for every single person on the planet with an internet connection to view it. Amazing, isn’t it?
We’ve come to the end of the OSM journey. If you followed our articles by now you know what OSM is, how to use it, how to contribute to the project and how to add image feeds to Mapillary, OSM’s street view. What are you waiting? Get out there and start mapping!