[OSM-dev] What is OSM and what isn't?

Jochen Topf jochen at remote.org
Thu Apr 30 08:40:30 BST 2009

The discussion on using Cloudmade routing on the OSM website points to a
deeper question: What is the OpenStreetMap project and how do we want
to present it on openstreetmap.org?

When giving talks or generally talking to people about OpenStreetMap one
of the questions I hear the most is: "Is OpenStreetMap planning to do X?"
X beeing a "routing service" or "a website where people can upload their
hiking trails, photos, whatever" or many other things people think can
be done with the maps. And I try to explain people that OSM is providing
the data and the maps and that its not the goal of OSM to provide every
conceivable map or mapping web site or service. Thats the mindset people
have gotten into: We wait for Google or Yahoo or Microsoft to come up with
the service and thats it. I think we should encourage people to build
their own, to build a whole eco-system of different websites and
services, not try to get too many things inside the core OSM project.
We should make clear what the OSM part in this eco-system is: providing
the data.

I think we should come up with an idea what the "core" of the OSM
project ist and those things should be on the openstreetmap.org website
and maintained by the community in an open fashion. Everything else can
be done on different web sites and be linked to. Thats the power of the

Once we start bringing in other services, where do we stop? There are
already hundreds of web sites with OSM based maps, routing services etc.
All of them could argue that they want to be on openstreetmap.org.
Surely the ski lift map is useful when entering data for ski areas.

So I think we should distinguish between the core, the open community
project, on the one side and other projects (commercial or non-commercial)
which build upon OSM.

Jochen Topf  jochen at remote.org  http://www.remote.org/jochen/  +49-721-388298

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