New OpenStreetMap Editor iD Increases Participation

September 21 2013 by Eric Fischer

Great editing tools directly drive contributions to OpenStreetMap. It has been exciting to watch how OpenStreetMap’s new iD editor has encouraged more people to do more editing of the map. Specifically, more people edited the map on the day after iD’s public release on May 7 than on any other day before or since. Afterward, the average number of people who kept coming back each day to edit rose by 8%.

When iD became the default editor on August 23, the average number of daily mappers went up another 7%. More people are now using iD every day than Potlatch 2, the legacy in-browser editor iD is intended to replace.

Growing open data through more accessible editing tools was a key premise of our OpenStreetMap investment push funded by the Knight Foundation. These numbers are a clear sign that this strategy is working.

Large edits from JOSM—OpenStreetMap’s most popular desktop editor—continue to dominate the total number of OpenStreetMap changes made each day. The number of changes made with Potlatch 2 has been slowly declining over the course of the year, but iD’s increasing popularity has made up for these losses.

On many days, iD is responsible for more OpenStreetMap changesets than any other editor. The number of changesets made with JOSM has remained steady, but when iD became the default editor, the number of Potlatch 2 changesets declined sharply while iD’s changeset numbers jumped.

To take a look at iD yourself, just head over to OpenStreetMap.org and click “edit”.