What is OpenStreetMap?

Answer
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free, open geographic database updated and maintained by a community of volunteers via open collaboration. It was created in 2004 by Steve Coast in the UK, initially in response to the Ordnance Survey's failure to release its data under free licenses. The project has since grown to include data about roads, buildings, addresses, shops and businesses, points of interest, railways, trails, transit, land use, and natural features. Key aspects of OpenStreetMap include:
  • Volunteer-driven: The map is created and maintained by nearly 5 million registered users and more than 1 million map contributors.
  • Local knowledge: Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date.
  • Open data: OSM is freely licensed under the Open Database License, allowing it to be used for various purposes, including turn-by-turn navigation, humanitarian aid, and data visualization.
  • Community-driven: The diverse and passionate OSM community includes enthusiast mappers, GIS professionals, engineers running the OSM servers, and humanitarians mapping disaster-affected areas.
OpenStreetMap is used by local people, volunteer groups, companies, governments, and software developers, and provides map data for thousands of websites, mobile apps, and hardware devices.
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