Improving OpenStreetMap with the latest TIGER data

Much of the United States in OpenStreetMap is based on US Census Bureau TIGER 2006 data. While this data has been edited and improved in OpenStreetMap over the past several years, TIGER is also dramatically more accurate and complete now in many places than it was in 2006.

We are starting to incorporate these improvements to TIGER into OpenStreetMap by designing ways to identify where TIGER has been changed and OpenStreetMap hasn’t and exposing those areas for editing in OpenStreetMap’s iD editor.

This is a screenshot showing a development version of the iD map editor with a layer of TIGER 2012 changes that don’t also appear in OpenStreetMap (yellow) and obsolete TIGER data that is still in OpenStreetMap (blue). Mappers can go in and focus on these areas, improving data in OpenStreetMap accordingly. The orange layer is tweet locations that we are using to guide priority areas to map. This layer is similar to our work with Gnip, but sourced from the public Twitter gardenhose instead. The tweets can’t be traced into OpenStreetMap, but they are a good indicator of the most frequently visited places.

We’re busy right now making the map update dynamically from OpenStreetMap. Stay tuned for updates.