In the following article, we will cover what OpenStreetMap is, how it is used inside X-Plane and more importantly, how to contribute.
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative effort to create a free editable map of the world. It was started in 2004 by Steve Coast, and since then, has grown to a large scale project with over a million users all over the world and thousands of contributions everyday.
OSM data in central Berlin, showing the amount of detail available. Even individual trees have been mapped
Many people are unaware of what OSM is exactly and mistakingly believe it is simply the draggable map on openstreetmap.org. It’s important to understand that the OSM website is simply a tool used for viewing the vast amounts of data inside OSM and for viewing and creating basic changes. The actual OSM data contains much more information than is available on this map and more importantly, is available for free under the ODbl license. This means that no single company or agency (such as Google or USGS) control the data, and people are free to use the data in their applications. The following lists some of the uses/and key points of OSM, and will help you get an idea of the information available and how it is used: