OpenStreetMap first steps in Beijing

The OpenStreetMap is a collaborative map of the whole world. A big city like Beijing will take a lot of work so this page intends to document first steps you will have to take to start contributing.

Sign up with the project:

  • Get an account for yourself with the map server
  • Set your home location appropriately. lat: 39.9 lon: 116.4
  • Get an account for yourself with the wiki (optional)

Frequently needed links:

The easy-to-use flash editor can be accessed from the main OSM map pages anytime by clicking on the edit tab above the map. You have to be logged in to the website to actually use it.

It is very easy to draw linear features like streets, roads and railways, or area features like lakes with it, tracing over the satellite imagery supplied. You will need local knowledge of the area to correctly assign street names and split ways where the name changes. But as these can be added by someone anytime after the initial drawing, feel free to trace the shapes even if you do not know the names.

The more capable editor, JOSM, is a Java application that can be installed on your computer. It works on all platforms. Unfortunately, its site is blocked by the great firewall of China. There is a working mirror in the UK: Larted JOSM mirror, where you can download it from. The recommended version right now is the stable 1.5 version.

Besides drawing ways over GPS traces, JOSM also supports adding and tagging single points (nodes), needed for marking landmarks or linking to geolocated media.

You can extend JOSM with plugins, especially recommended is mappaint, get them trough an anonymizing service, like the one behind this link.