How to map

Background about and general Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for mappers's and cartographers's reference on how to contribute to maps of various kinds.

This guide is written to help familiarize Cartographers (also known as mappers) with the process of mapping things in their vicinity.


TK-TODO: Why make maps?


TK-TODO: Why use OpenStreetMap? Why not just build your own thing? Blah blah blah. Because: sustainability, sharability, longevity, portability, etc.

Make a free OpenStreetMap account

  1. Open in your laptop or desktop workstation computer’s Web browser.
  2. Click the Sign Up button. The “Sign Up” page will appear. Complete the form on this page and click the Sign Up button.
  3. Check your e-mail for a sign-up confirmation; click the confirmation link in the e-mail you received to activate your new account.

Add a new Point to the map

  1. Return to the homepage.
  2. Click on the Edit button. If this is your first time editing the OpenStreetMap, a tutorial walkthrough that describes how to use the in-browser editor may begin playing. Complete the walkthrough if you wish.
  3. Search or browse (pan) the map to the location of the gender-neutral restroom.
  4. Click on the Point button to add a new Point to the map.
  5. Click on the location in the map where the venue containing the gender-neutral restroom is positioned.
  6. Search for the type of venue (“feature”) that it is. For example, if you are adding a restaurant, search for restaurant. Then click on “Restaurant” in the search results list.
    1. Add the venue’s details, such as its human-readable address, along with any other details you have local knowledge about. Leave the fields that you are unsure about at their default values.

Add tags to a Point

Any Point on the map can be tagged, which helps to organize the data on the map. The map’s tags describe details about the Point in a conventional way, making it easier to find venues and places of various kinds based on arbitrary criteria that you specify. For example, there are tags for gender-neutral restrooms, surveillance cameras, dietary options, and more. Use TagFinder to learn about the existence and use of any tags. You can also create your own tags.

For example, do this to mark that a given Point has gender-neutral restroom facilities using the Web-based iD OpenStreetMap editor:

  1. Select or create a Point, if one is not already selected.
  2. Scroll down to the All tags heading.
  3. Click the Add tag (+) button to add a new key/value pair (a “tag”).
  4. Enter toilets:unisex as the tag name.
  5. Enter yes as the tag’s value.
  6. Click the Okay () button at the top of the feature editing pane.
  7. Click the Save button to save your changes.
  8. Enter a changeset summary.
  9. Click on the Upload changes button to send your edit to the OpenStreetMap database.

See also

Various maps curated by or useful to Tech Autonomists.