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Contribute Points Of Interest (POIs) To The OpenStreetMap Project With Mapzen POI Collector



Application Name: Mapzen POI Collector

Description: Collect data about local points of interest, and add it to the OpenStreetMap project.

Publisher’s website: CloudMade

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.0.5.1  /  12-12-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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Android Market link (mobile app only)
Android Market link (browser)


The OpenStreetMap Project is a collective, crowdsourcing effort to create a worldwide free map dataset, with both natural and man-made features. It relies mainly on volunteer user contributions of data, although some commercial companies (e.g. Microsoft, ESRI) are also getting involved in contributing data and resources. After registering on the OpenStreetMap site, you can contribute the project using their online editor Potlatch. But CloudMade, the quasi-commercial relative of the OpenStreetMap project, has released Mapzen POI Collector, an Android app that lets you add point-of-interest (POI) data to the OpenStreetMap database directly from your phone. Note: You’ll need to be registered on the OpenStreetMap site to contribute data, as the app will ask for your registration ID and password.

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Figure 1: The app will load in OpenStreetMap map imagery for your general location, or your exact location if you choose “My location” from the menu. The symbols you see on the map are previously-recorded POIs;; to see all of them, zoom in closer, as some of them will only appear at higher zoom levels. You may have to give the app a few seconds to load in all the POIs as you change the zoom level, as it can be a bit slow.

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Figure 2: Zooming in, several additional POIs become visible; these are two that I added recently, a library and a city hall. To identify a POI, tap on it …

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Figure 3: … to bring up an ID tag; tap on the blue arrow to bring up more info …

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Figure 4: … like the name and type. If you want to add more info to this POI listing, you can choose Edit POI from the menu …

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Figure 5: … and add additional info like the address, phone number, hours, etc..

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Figure 6: If I want to add a POI, I need to scroll the map to the desired location, then choose Add POI from the menu.

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Figure 7: An icon appears, which I can press and drag to move to the correct location. A long press on the blue arrow brings up the info screen …

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Figure 8: … where I can add data. This particular location is a post office …

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Figure 9: … and I select the correct PO Type from the Services sublisting, Post office here; there are hundreds of Types grouped by categories like Auto, Education, Entertainment, Government, etc.

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Figure 10: After entering all the data I have, I need to select Save from the menu to submit the data. As I kept learning, pressing the Back button will lose all the data I’ve submitted (d’oh!).

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Figure 11: If the data submission is successful, the POI entry becomes live in the OpenStreetMap database right away, and can be seen in the map view on your app, like the Post Office icon now visible at left.
Other issues: Apart from the slowness of POI display, and occasional slowness in loading OpenStreetMap imagery tiles, seemed to work fine.

Final thoughts: OpenStreetMap data is only as complete as the efforts of volunteers can make it. If you want to join in on the process, this app is a simple and easy way to start.


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