The Best of OpenStreetMap (Thus Far)

The OpenStreetMap is awesome.

From its hyperlocal detail to its catchy aesthetic, OpenStreetMap has single-handedly (with the help of the help of the thousands of contributions by map enthusiasts from around the world) raised the bar on what a map should, and can be.

So with that in mind, we just wanted to take a quick blogging second to go through some of the best aspects, uses and moments in OpenStreetMap history, thus far.

Malleability and Detail

We have said it before, and we’ll say it again, but one of the central tenants that makes OSM stand out when compared to other mapping services is not only the speed at which it evolves, but its detail.

A map is more than just roads and a compass rose. It involves everything from tree lines to ski runs. The great thing about OpenStreetMap is that it can be as detailed as users want to make it (as is on display here, for you Winter Olympics fans), which means it is arguably the most dynamic and adaptable map around. Meaning, it is a major success in the world of maps.

Mapping When It Matters Most

Another great aspect of the OpenStreetMap is its propensity for lending unique mapping insights and up-to-date information in times of need. In 2010, when Haiti was rocked by one of the most infamous earthquakes in history, maps of its terrain were rudimentary, meager and out of date, making rescue and recovery efforts incredibly challenging.

However, thanks to the dedication and know-how of map enthusiasts from around the world, OpenStreetMap was able to revamp Haiti’s map-scape in a matter of days, providing a more current and accessible map for rescue workers to reference.

Edits by the Masses

It’s hard enough to get two people to work together sometimes. So trying to get 1.5 million people (and growing) together to work on something is almost unfathomable.

That was until OpenStreetMap eclipsed that user threshold. The world is an ever evolving place, which is certainly easier to navigate sometimes with the help of those around you. Now sure, some cynics may say this is a romantic concept, but the fact is that OpenStreetMap with all of its users and voluntary contributors proves that this is not only the case, but an incredibly efficient and effective one as well.