OpenStreetMap Editor Designed by MapBox Goes Live

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A new easy-to-use editor for OpenStreetMap has gone live.  Called iD, the development of in-browser data editor was coordinated by MapBox and funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation.  The Alpha version of iD was released in January of this year, but was only recently added as an option to the edit drop down menu on

From the announcement on the OpenStreetMap blog:

The new editor, codenamed ‘iD’, boasts an intuitive interface and clear walk-throughs that make editing much easier for new mappers. By lowering the barrier to contributions, we believe that more people can contribute their local knowledge to the map – the crucial factor that sets OSM apart from closed-source commercial maps.

The inspiration and vision for iD came from a need to provide a straightforward tool to enable anybody to start editing OpenStreetMap data without needing to first learn how to use some of the more complicated OSM editing tools.  Richard Fairhurst outlined the vision in his October 2012 post:

OSM is at its best when we harvest local knowledge. The principle for admittance to OSM should be “I know stuff that can go on this map”, not “I’m good at using an OSM editor”. The more local knowledge that can be added to OSM, the better the map is.

iD was initially started as a community development project in July of 2012 before the $575,000 grant from the Knight Foundation enabled a more coordinated effort by MapBox to bring the editor live.

The new OpenStreetMap editor provides a very simply and intuitive interface for users to add spatial data.  Users simply click on type of vector GIS data they want to create: point, line, or area.  After digitizing the line onto the base aerial, the user can then select from a list of data types to attribute the data.  The animated GIF below showcases the iD editor.

Demonstration of iD, the new easy-to-use OpenStreetMap editor.
Demonstration of iD, the new easy-to-use OpenStreetMap editor.

The editor was developed as open source and the code is available on GitHub.

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