[OSM-talk] Using OpenStreetMap on a daily basis

Guillaume Pratte guillaume at guillaumepratte.net
Tue Jul 9 04:41:10 UTC 2013


I have been a serious user of OpenStreetMap for less than six months, and I am proud to recently have achieved my one hundredth contribution to the project. I really love the OpenStreetMap project, and I would like to replace my daily usage of Google Maps with OpenStreetMap.

But it just seems I cannot. Anybody else feel the same issues?

I'll give a few concrete examples why, humbly hoping that my words can encourage changes to the main website.

First point: searching. I have OpenStreetMap zoomed in to some region of Montreal, Canada. I input "café", looking for a coffee shop. I get results from Nominatim, inviting me to visit a village in Brazil named "Café" or even the "Café point" in Antarctica. While these search results awaken my globetrotter's desire to explore the world, they frustrate me at the same time. Why couldn't Nominatim priorize results from the bounding box or surrounding? Why can't OpenStreetMap show me results on the map like the OverPass API does, performing a search on the tag amenity=cafe and showing the results on the map?

Second point: accessing POI information. I cannot click on point of interests (POI) to get more info about them. Why do we input address, business hours and phone numbers on shops and restaurants if the map cannot easily display this information to the user? Why do I have to show the map's data in order to have information on a point of interest?

Third point: maximum zoom level. Some area are densely populated, and OpenStreetMap's current zoom level is not enough to see all details of the map. This is really unfortunate. Example: http://osm.org/go/cIrNs6Qzp-- What are the restaurant surrounding the Hard Rock Café on this map? I have to use the editor to be able to zoom and see all data.

Fourth point: sharing a point of interest. There should be an easy way to do that. I have found a (complicated) way to do it, which is all but obvious to newcomers. Here is how:

	• Using the layer icon at the top right of the map, I select "Browse Map Data";
	• I select the object I want to share (which is not always possible; sometimes it is "hidden" behind a residential area or similar);
	• I click on "Details"
	• On the resulting page, I click on "View way on larger map"
	• I get an URL similar to this that I can share: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?way=225637513

Fifth point: routing. Why is there absolutely no routing implemented on the main OpenStreetMap website? This is I concede a naïve question, as it might be simply because of limited server resources. Once we have our new servers, is this something we want to implement, as a community?

I really like the OpenStreetMap project, and I dream to be able to use it as a primary map instead of Google Maps. I feel resolving these issues would bring me many steps closer to making that dream come true.

What do you all think? Do you also have showstoppers that prevent you to use OpenStreetMap as your primary and daily map?


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