New Map Editor Launches on OpenStreetMap.org

May 07 2013 by John Firebaugh

Today iD, a modern in-browser map editor, launches on OpenStreetMap.org. This editor is a critical update to OpenStreetMap’s tool set and it is designed to radically improve the first-time editing experience while providing a fast and intuitive interface for anybody mapping on OpenStreetMap.

iD ships with an interactive tutorial, inline help and a much more intuitive UI helping users to map hundreds of distinct features like roads, trails, buildings, parks, cafés, schools and hospitals.

Mapping with OpenStreetMap’s new iD editor

This release is the culmination of a concentrated seven month sprint kicked off together with Richard Fairhurst, creator of both previous web-based OpenStreetMap editors, and supported by a substantial grant from the Knight Foundation. Over the course of this sprint dozens of contributors have chimed in with patches large and small, and the amazing international OpenStreetMap community has translated iD into two dozen languages.

We have written iD from the ground up in JavaScript using state of the art libraries like D3 and having reuse in mind. The code is open source, allowing for unrestricted reuse in any other software project. Our intention is not only to radically improve editing on OpenStreetMap.org, but also to lay the groundwork for a new generation of fast in-browser tools in OpenStreetMap.

Using alpha and beta releases of iD, OpenStreetMap users have made a quarter million individual changes to OpenStreetMap in nearly 8,000 changesets. The development team has been busy too: since the beta1 release, we have focused on getting the editor rock solid, optimizing its performance to ensure the editing experience feels snappy, and preparing it for embedding on OpenStreetMap.org. Now that we’ve reached this milestone, we’ll move quickly to address any important issues that surface from iD’s increased userbase and then turn our attention to interesting new features:

  • Support for displaying and editing route relations and turn restrictions
  • Compatibility with iPad and other tablet devices
  • Integrating with OpenStreetMap’s new map notes feature
  • Custom UI bundles (presets), for regional or task-specific mapping projects (e. g. water wells and refugee camps)
  • Further modularize iD’s core architecture to stoke the creation of more great OSM projects

We are also starting to put our expertise with satellite and aerial imagery to work with some experiments in using automated feature extraction to augment editing sessions.

Take the new editor for a spin and improve the map. Head over to OpenStreetMap and click on “iD” in the edit drop down to get started. For more frequent, in-depth updates from iD development, follow our OSM development blog. To join development or simply provide feedback, head over to GitHub.

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