FAQ

From OpenStreetMap Foundation
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Frequently Asked Questions

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is about making maps and map data free and easy to use by everybody, no matter who you are. We hope this list of questions and answers helps you.

Where do I get OpenStreetMap data?

This is the raw data describing the positions of roads, rivers, towns, points interests etc. It can be used to make a map, but is not a map. If you want that, wrong question, see Where do I get OpenStreetMap maps?!

The best starting point is Planet.osm, a snapshot of the OpenStreetMap database. It is in XML format. Data is available for the whole world and is updated regularly. Smaller extracts for certain countries and parts of the world are also available.

You can write programs and scripts quite easily to extract what you need or you can use some of the tools and procedures developed by the OpenStreetMap community.

Is OpenStreetMap data free?

Yes. There are no fees or royalty payments of any kind.

Are there restrictions on using OpenStreetMap data?

There are no restrictions on who can use the data. Individuals, clubs, societies, charities, academe, government, commercial companies. When we say everyone, we mean everyone.

There are no restrictions on where you can use the data. Privately or publicly. Commercially or non-commercially. Paper maps, electronic maps, books, newspapers, TV, gazeteers, search systems, routing, games ... or indeed anything you can think of that will surprise us.

There two restrictions, some call them freedoms, on how you use the data. We have a separate section on our License.

  • Attribution. We would like you to tell people where you got your data from, see License.
  • Share-Alike. We would like more data to be made publicly and freely available. This depends on what license is used. Right now, we use CC-BY-SA, (see License for explanation). If you improve our data and want to distribute the new data, it must be done under the same license. If you make a map from our data, whether you use other data or not, you must publish under the same license. Under our proposed new ODbL license, (see License for explanation), the rule for publishing improved data is the same. If you make a map, you are free to publish that under whatever license you like, provided that if you have improved our data to make it, then you need to share that data (the data, not the map).


Where do I get OpenStreetMap maps?

If you are not making your own maps, the list of resources for OpenStreetMap maps made by OpenStreetMap community members, clubs and companies grows day by day. This link will give you some idea.

If you just want to see what our maps can look like go to http://www.openstreetmap.org/ . The + button in the top right corner gives you the option to choose different styles.

If you want an electronic map of a specific area quickly, the Export tab of http://www.openstreetmap.org/ will allow you download a map of your selected area as JPEG image, PDF file or in other formats.

Or you might want map tiles.

What is a map tile?

Map tiles are made by dividing the map into squares and making an image file, such as .png or .jpg, for each square. Sets of map tiles can be made for different zoom levels. There is one map tile showing the whole world. There are four map tiles making up the whole world at the next zoom level, 16 at the next and so on right down to hundreds of thousands for showing the whole world at a local neighborhood level of detail.

Can I use your map tiles?

We are in principle happy for our map tiles to be used by external users for creative and unexpected uses - in contrast to most web mapping providers.

However, the OpenStreetMap servers are run entirely on donated resources. They have strictly limited capacity. Heavy use of OSM tiles adversely affects people's ability to view and edit the map, and is an abuse of the individual donations and sponsorship which provide hardware and bandwidth. As a result, we request that users of the tiles abide by this tile usage policy. Tile services can also be obtained from [Companies_ offering OpenStreetMap Services, Support and Consulting commercial companies.

Do you provide commercial services?

No. The following companies may be able to help you: Companies_ offering OpenStreetMap Services, Support and Consulting - as policy, the Foundation makes no endorsements or recommendations.