More and Updated Data for ImproveOSM

ImproveOSM has been updated with many new roads. We processed recent  GPS data from a number of data partners with some great results. A total of 30,000 new missing road tiles were added, over 17000 in Indonesia alone.

Aside from the missing roads, we added 67000 potential missing one-way roads that we detected with high confidence. Internal testing revealed only 6% false positives.

We are happy to continue providing OSM mappers with high quality data about missing things in OSM based on billions of GPS traces. Because ImproveOSM is based on actual drives from people using navigation or mapping software in their vehicles, and we apply a pretty high threshold for number of trips and quality of the GPS data, you can be pretty confident that every ImproveOSM feature will lead you to something you can add to OSM. Even if the aerial imagery is poor.

You should see the new data in your ImproveOSM plugin or on the ImproveOSM web site very shortly. Happy mapping and let us know what you mapped using ImproveOSM!


New Version Of OpenStreetCam Introduces Points

Late last week, we released new versions of the OpenStreetCam apps and the web site. While we continue to make the platform faster and more reliable, we also like to keep adding interesting and fun features from time to time! This new release introduces points and levels. Every time you drive, you earn points. Earn enough points and you level up.

We went back in and calculated points for all your existing trips, so why not head to the newly designed leaderboard and see how you stack up against your fellow cammers? You can also see the leaderboard in the app:

We also enabled leaderboards by country on top of the daily, weekly and monthly rankings.

Your profile screen in the app and on the site will show you exactly how many points you have, how many you earned per trip, and what your current level is.

The new profile screen

More points for unexplored roads

So as you are driving around, you will automatically earn points for every picture recorded. But not all pictures earn you equal points! The less explored a road is, the more points you get — up to 10x the points for roads that have no coverage at all yet!

(This made it possible for me to gain 11k points on a 50 minute drive last week: most of the roads had no coverage yet, so I was getting 10x points for most of the way. )

11k points!

You can see which roads are less covered, or not covered at all yet, in the app. Just look for the roads with lighter or no purple OSC overlay:

Darker streets have better coverage, lighter streets need more.

We calculate the quality of coverage by the number of trips that cover the way as well as the age of the existing trips. This way we encourage each other to always have the most recent imagery available for OpenStreetMap.

We hope you enjoy the new features! Please let us know what you think by writing us at


OSMTime in Cluj featuring MapRoulette

OSMTime is a monthly OSM mapping event organized by Telenav colleague Beata Jancso. Telenav hosts the events in the Cluj-Napoca office  and sponsors with pizza. Usually Bea chooses a theme and sometimes there will also be a speaker with an interesting OSM related topic.

While visiting the Telenav Romania office in Cluj last week, I was lucky to also catch an OSMTime event. The theme of the evening was ‘Mapping Roundabouts using MapRoulette’. Being the person behind MapRoulette, Bea asked me to do a quick introduction. Colleague Bogdan Gliga also presented the metodology he used to detect missing roundabouts from massive amounts of probe data. (He wrote about that topic here as well.)

OSMTime Cluj with Bogdan presenting
OSMTime Cluj with Bogdan presenting

After the presentations and pizza, the 25 or so mappers logged on to MapRoulette to start with the new Missing Roundabouts challenge. Most people had not used MapRoulette before, so I was glad that everyone was getting the hang of it quickly. Most of the problems and questions were not about MapRoulette but about what is a roundabout exactly, and what is the difference between a roundabout and a mini_roundabout and a traffic_circle. (The OSM wiki helps out a little here.)

At the end of the evening, the mappers in the room already made a good dent in the challenge, which has more than 4500 tasks total.

I had a great time, thanks to Bea for organizing the OSMTime events every month and spreading the word. If you are in the Cluj-Napoca area, you may want to subscribe to the OSMTime meetup so you know when the next one takes place. Or look for an OpenStreetMap meetup in your area and meet local mappers!


Collaboration brings nearly 1 million missing roads to ImproveOSM

If you go to ImproveOSM today, you will notice that it looks a lot different. No, we are not talking about the recent change to a completely iD-based editing environment, although that was pretty neat too J. We are talking about the massive increase in Missing Road tiles worldwide!

Missing roads everywhere!
Missing roads everywhere!

We added more than 800 thousand new road tiles to ImproveOSM all over the world. The anonymous GPS traces are sourced from INRIX, a company that provides traffic and connected car services. We are extremely excited to have such a huge boost to ImproveOSM and to OSM itself!

If you haven’t tried ImproveOSM recently, why not head over to right now and explore the millions of missing roads, one-way streets and turn restrictions detected from big data analysis on anonymous GPS traces from drivers all over the world?

You can read more about the collaboration with INRIX in the joint press release.


OpenStreetView is now OpenStreetCam

This summer, we launched OpenStreetView and received great response both from the OpenStreetMap community and the press.

After only 4 months, you have already contributed almost 12 million images covering 322 thousand kilometers. We have released open source apps, upload and OpenStreetMap editing tools, and are working on many improvements aimed at improving OSM faster than is possible now.

As part of our fast growing public profile, we have also attracted the attention of Google Inc, who holds the ‘Street view’ trademark. They are really interested in OpenStreetView but also expressed concerns about the name creating confusion. Obviously to us this confusion does not exist, but after considering the pros and cons carefully, we decided to change the name.

From now on, OpenStreetView will be known as OpenStreetCam. 


Aside from the name, nothing changes. In fact, we will be launching some pretty cool new features and improvements very soon, so please stay tuned for that. If you have not tried OpenStreetCam yet, why not download the free and open apps for Android or iOS, explore the coverage or start editing with OSC in OpenStreetMap?

Happy OpenStreetCamming!


ImproveOSM now based on iD editor

With the help of ImproveOSM, Telenav’s project to analyze billions of GPS points to detect missing roads, one-ways, and turn restrictions, you have already looked at 60,000 missing road tiles, 15,000 one-way suggestions, and 2,000 turn restriction suggestions since the project launched in September 2015.

Today, the Telenav OSM team has released a completely new version of the ImproveOSM web site. is now entirely based upon the OpenStreetMap iD editor. The new ImproveOSM combines the benefits of the familiar, user-friendly iD editing environment with the power of ImproveOSM detections.

The new ImproveOSM web site based on iD
The new ImproveOSM web site based on iD

The new ImproveOSM web site showing missing roads.

Since the new web site is based on iD, it should look very familiar and you should have little trouble getting started with it. The main difference you will see is that the ImproveOSM version of iD has a special panel, which shows ImproveOSM specific options, actions and information. If you have used ImproveOSM before, these will be familiar to you. You can mark items as solved or invalid and apply filters to determine which detections you see.

I do not want to go into too much detail in this post, but I do have a quick power tip: following up on many requests from you, you can now select multiple missing road tiles more easily by pressing shift and selecting one tile. This will automatically select all adjoining tiles within the current view.

Our goal is to integrate the ImproveOSM functionality into the main iD editor over time. To make that happen, your feedback is really important, so please do not hesitate to report bugs and ideas on the project GitHub page, where the source code will also become available soon.

We hope you enjoy the new ImproveOSM web site and look forward to your feedback! Happy mapping!


Updates to ImproveOSM JOSM plugin for better usability

The team has been working on some nice updates to the ImproveOSM JOSM plugin. I have been taking the new version for a spin and wanted to report back.

In case you need a refresher: ImproveOSM is a suite of tools (currently a web site and a JOSM plugin) that takes the results of a massive data analysis comparing billions of GPS data points with existing OSM data and displays them in a way that makes it easy for any mapper to improve OSM with missing roads, turn restrictions, and one-way tags.

Missing Roads (red), One-ways (orange) and Turn Restrictions (blue) in the clustered view of the ImproveOSM JOSM plugin.
Missing Roads (red), One-ways (orange) and Turn Restrictions (blue) in the clustered view of the ImproveOSM JOSM plugin. This is the Dallas, Texas area. Imagery from Bing.

The improvements are fairly small but gave me a noticeably nicer workflow, so I thought it would be worth sharing.

The first improvement is that you can now right-click on any of the ImproveOSM layers in the layer panel to access the data filtering options for that layer.

Access the data filters using a right-click on the layer panel
Access the data filters using a right-click on the layer panel.

The data filters let you see part of the data for that layer based on various criteria, such as number of trips, confidence level, status and others. The criteria available vary by layer. Here is the filter window for Missing Roads, for example:

Filter window for missing roads

The filters themselves are not new, but you needed to go to the ImproveOSM panel to access them before. I think this is way quicker.

Another thing I really like is the improved visualization for the turn restrictions. The team made it much easier to see the from-via-to flow of the suggested restriction. The from-segment is now green and the to-segment is red. When selected, the info panel will also display more useful information than before:

The new visualization of the missing turn restriction. The 'from' segment is green, the 'to' segment is red.
The new visualization of the missing turn restriction. The ‘from’ segment is green, the ‘to’ segment is red.
The metadata we display for a turn restriction is now more relevant.
The metadata we display for a turn restriction is now more relevant.

The detailed info panel was improved for the other categories (missing roads and one-ways) as well.

Finally, when you are done mapping an ImproveOSM thing, you can now quickly mark the thing as invalid or solved, without having to enter a comment. We realized that this was not a very efficient workflow. You can still add a comment upon closing the issue, but now it’s easy to do it without, by right-clicking on the ‘solve’ or ‘invalidate’ buttons and selecting the appropriate action.


These small but meaningful improvements made my work with ImproveOSM in JOSM much more efficient. We are always looking for more ways to make ImproveOSM better. If you have used ImproveOSM and you have a few minutes to spare, I would appreciate it if you filled out this survey. Thanks a lot!


Improve OSM adds missing roads in Guatemala

In a new data release today, we added about 500 tiles worth of missing roads in and around Guatemala!

Missing roads near Coatepeque, Guatemala
Missing roads near Coatepeque, Guatemala in JOSM. Imagery from Bing.

We are excited to be adding more and more Missing Roads data to ImproveOSM using GPS data from our own users as well as from data partners, like we did in Brazil and in this case.

You will notice that the tiles look a little different from the ones you are used to if you have used ImproveOSM before: they don’t show the individual points. This is because this particular data was processed a little differently. If you use JOSM, you will also see an update to the ImproveOSM plugin to accommodate this change.

While you are looking at the new Missing Roads, perhaps you will also notice some other recent improvements to the ImproveOSM web site. We re-ran all tiles based on new map data from mid-April, and we improved our turn restriction detection so we won’t show a missing turn restriction when OSM already has a ‘only straight on’ restriction.

Happy Mapping!


ImproveOSM with your own GPS data – a Field Report

We launched ImproveOSM about 6 months ago as a way to turn the vast amounts of GPS data that Scout users give us into useful and actionable hints mappers can use to add turn restrictions, missing roads as well as wrong or missing one-way streets. The response has been incredible — since we launched, more than 26 thousand hints have been processed, leading to more than 16 thousand improvements to the map worldwide. I think that is a fantastic result, and we will keep working to make ImproveOSM better based on your feedback.
Initially, we just used our own GPS data to generate the hints. But there is no reason why we couldn’t process any GPS data we can get from other sources. So I was really excited when long time Brazil mapper Wille Marcel got in touch with a cool idea. He worked with the Brazilian Environment Ministry, which collects GPS data of the vehicles that work in environmental monitoring. Most of the data are in rural areas where OSM is much less complete. So this was a perfect fit for ImproveOSM’s missing roads tool.After getting the proper permissions from the agency, Wille sent us the GPS data and we started analyzing it.


We quickly realized that the GPS data is much less dense than what we are used to working with. Some missing roads were only driven once. Our algorithm, tuned to higher density data, initially only detected a few tiles. We decided to loosen the detection threshold significantly for this particular dataset. After a few iterations of tweaking and testing, we ended up withmore than 5000 tiles containing missing roads based on Wille’s GPS data.


The missing roads in Brazil are on ImproveOSM now, so why not go to the web site or fire up the ImproveOSM JOSM plugin and help the Brazilian community out by adding some missing roads?

If you are in a similar position as Wille and know of a source of free and open GPS data for your country, please get in touch with me so we can look at the data and see if we can include it in ImproveOSM.

We are already working with a number of other folks who have lots of GPS data. Soon, the number of missing roads, one-ways, and turn restrictions in ImproveOSM will be much, much bigger. We are also working on a host of new features, so I hope you will stay tuned to the ImproveOSM blog to be among the first to hear about what we have up our sleeves for ImproveOSM and other OSM related projects we are working on. And follow us on Twitter at @ImproveOSM!

 See also Wille’s post about this collaboration (in Portuguese).


Help map some sidewalks for cities in the U.S.

United States cities are built for cars, with very few exceptions. From where I am sitting right now, I see this:


Cars zooming by incessantly at 70kph.

Finding your way in an urban space that is designed this way is tricky – and often dangerous – if you are walking or bicycling. Sidewalks are often not present, crossing streets can be very dangerous or even impossible. OSM has great tagging for bike lanes and sidewalks, but I find that these crucial tags are often missing on ways that need them most: the four or six lane urban arterials that you see in the picture above.

As I was sitting here asking myself how on earth I would get back to my hotel (which is 10 minutes away) safely, I thought to myself: ‘we can fix this problem and make the world a bit safer for those who can’t or won’t drive.’

MapRoulette to the rescue!

I created this challenge highlighting all primary and secondary ways that have nosidewalk tag in Tampa, Florida. (I am actually in Sarasota now, south of Tampa, but I already fixed all the ways there so that would be a boring challenge.) The idea is to look at the aerial image in JOSM or iD, see if there is a sidewalk, and add the appropriate tag. Adding sidewalk=no is actually just as important as adding both, right or left. Here is an example way from this challenge:


Even zooming further in there is no sight of a sidewalk:


So let’s add that information:


And upload!

Create a Challenge for your city

The fun part is that you can easily replicate this challenge for your own city. Here’s what to do.

Overpass Turbo

First you head over to Overpass Turbo and run the query that highlights all highway=primary and highway=secondary that have no sidewalk tag:


You can use my query as a template, replacing the GeocodeArea with the name of your city.

Once you have the results, export them to GeoJSON. Let’s use a gist:



You can now click on the gist link and see the result on GitHub as well:


We will need the ‘raw’ GeoJSON content, so click on the ‘Raw’ button and copy the link it leads you to.


Next we’ll use a little tool I created to easily turn the contents of a GeoJSON file into a MapRoulette challenge. To get it, head over to the Github repository and follow the instructions to install the tool.

The tool takes its configuration from a YAML file. The samples directory contains an example for this sidewalks challenge you can use as a template:

# the base URL for the MapRoulette server API to call
#server: "http://localhost:5000/api"

# server API admin credentials
user: devuser
password: mylittlesony

# source file or URL. You can give a list of URLs too, all data will be gathered and added to the same challenge.
# source_file: ....

# source geojson property key to use as your task identifier (optional, will use random UUID if not given)
# identifier_property = ...

# Challenge metadata, see for background
slug: sidewalks-sarasota
title: Add sidewalks to major roads in Sarasota
instruction: This way has no `sidewalk` tag. Usually you can see from the aerial imagery if there is a sidewalk or not. Please add the appropriate `sidewalk` tagging.
help: "Help make OSM be a better resource for safe, walkable streets! Many primary and secondary roads in the US are not safe for pedestrians if there is no sidewalk. This challenge highlights all `primary` and `secondary` ways that have no [`sidewalk`]( tagging whatsoever. You can help by looking at aerial imagery and adding the appropriate `sidewalk` tagging. `sidewalk=no` is just as important to have as the 'positive' values. Thanks for helping make OSM better!"

The only items you would need to change are the source_url (use the raw GeoJSON github link you just copied), the slug (use sidewalks-YOURSTATE-YOURCITY or something similar – this will be the challenge URL component in MapRoulette) and the title (change the city name).

By default this configuration will post to If you want to post you would need to get in touch with me to get the credentials.

Once you have the YAML config file in order posting to MapRoulette is as simple as:

$ ./ samples/sidewalks-sarasota.yaml --post --activate
Posting 364 tasks...
server alive: True
Updating challenge...
Reconciling tasks...

Let me know if you need any help with this or if you want me to create a challenge for you!