We just made iD, our new OpenStreetMap editor, simpler and friendlier for new users. This is part of today’s Alpha3 launch that also includes performance improvements, some friendly UI adjustments, and bug fixes. Try editing OpenStreetMap with iD alpha3!


Feature Interface

OpenStreetMap uses tags – pairs of keys and values such as shop=butcher – to represent features and their attributes. Knowing how to tag a feature is one of the hardest parts of editing OpenStreetMap, because there are thousands of different tags and values, and most features require a combination of different tags. For instance, the highway tag to identify basic road type, but details like speed limits, access, and surface require additional tags.

This idea of tags is essential to handle the complexity and detail of mapping the world, but it’s intimidating for new users.

With iD’s new interface, users can create & edit features without being tagging wizards. After drawing a new feature, you can search for a feature type, or select one from the grid. The search is smart and includes synonyms, so you find a feature without having to know its exact name - searching for ‘coffee’ brings up the ‘café’ preset.

For active mappers, we keep recently used options in the grid, so it’s easy to add many features of the same type.

address input

The feature editor then shows relevant attributes with suggested values. Specific inputs, such as the address input which suggests nearby roads, make adding values even easier.

The interface builds on the ideas of existing OSM editors like Potlatch 2 and JOSM and integrates them further into the default editing workflow.

There is still plenty to do – we plan on improving search suggestions, adding more feature types, and customizing more form elements. This is another area where iD must strike the right balance between flexibility and simplicity.



You can now rotate areas, merge entities of different types, and move multiple objects at once.


We started using R-Trees for performance tuning iD’s fast clientside labeling and are now using them for much more. In alpha3, all entities are stored in an R-Tree so finding them is super fast.

One-way markers now use a technique by Mike Bostock that improves their appearance and performance.


maki Point features now use icons from Maki.

iD - Beach iD - Farmland

Some land use and natural features now have a patterned fill to help identify them.


Thanks to all the translators, iD is now available in Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese!

Thanks to Yohan and Porjo for code contributions.

Try editing OpenStreetMap width iD alpha3!

Devlogging work on the OpenStreetMap project by the MapBox team.

Much of this work is currently focused on improvements to OpenStreetMap funded by the Knight Foundation

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