My first OSM edit

I was looking at Google Maps to plan my next run and spotted that a road which is currently showing as a dead end on OSM is actually a full road that loops round and joins another road. So I’m proud to say I’ve managed to extend the road to its full length to match what’s showing on the ground and on satelite images. Pretty chuffed! I’m sure it won’t be the last time either.


Great work @itsafrogslife, always great to see new people contribute to OSM.

I’d just like to add a warning for everyone to confirm (on ground survey or aerial imagery) what you add to OSM and not to rely on Google saying a road exists.

Google has an automatically applied algorithm that extends roads and joins up roads, but it often gets it really wrong. In my part of the world, Google has roads extended into private property just because there is a driveway at the end of the street. Google also has joined up some roads but physically you can’t drive between them even though they are close. In OSM it is best to map a footway/cycleway, a turning circle, barrier or noexit=yes; or a combination of the above. OSM represents the physical world, so a road reserve isn’t a built road.

If you start contributing more to OSM, you’ll likely find it becomes addictive, and you’ll realise quickly how little detail Google Maps has. CityStrides is very closely aligned with exploring your area, so why not improve OSM in your area at the same time. Pick a running pace you can take in your surroundings and test what you can remember.


My favorite Google Maps oops is a road that doesn’t exist in the real world. However, there is a path there, and the owner of the land has not put up a No Trespassing signs, so I’ve run the path several times. It cuts down the length of the run necessary to get to roads I haven’t run yet. (I haven’t added it to OSM because it is private property.)

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There is no problem adding it, just tag it with access=private.

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Thanks for the advice. I checked the road existed using satelite images and Google Street View just to be on the safe side. If it’s any different when I actually run it tomorrow I’l go back and make any necessary changes.

The edit hasn’t fed through to CityStrides yet.

For your info: the changes made to OSM are not reflected in CS at the moment. Up untill now it’s a one time upload of the cities and the streets from around oktober 2019. As we speak James has importing updates from OSM into CS somwhere on his to do list. (I hope fairly high)

I know, but with zero satellite imagery - trail in heavily wooden area - I have no idea how accurate it would be. It’s bad enough finding roads here. Just imagine finding a trail.

Having run the additional street I’m happy that I’ve added it correctly. The only change I’ve made is to mark it as private access - there’s a sign at one end of the road stating this, although curiously there’s no sign at the other end!


@fredrik.coulter I haven’t tried it yet, but I think OSM lets you upload a GPS trace if you want to get that trail into OSM accurately.

Depending on what you stride with, getting the GPS data out is another question altogether.

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I have also entered the OSM editing world. How often does CityStrides update from OSM? My first edits (changing a some roads on a military base to private) have not been pushed to CityStrides after ~3 weeks. No rush, just curious. Doe the city in question have to be manually added to the queue?

Edit : never mind, saw other threads that James is working on code to pull the updates, and fix the other issue I have run into (nodes that continue on roads for miles outside the city boundary). Will wait patiently for the fix.

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I have resorted to running these roads, as they are needed for the city I am working on now. I am hopeful that when this issue is resolved, it’s a head start on another city.

I just figured out how to actually view my gpx traces in OSM when I’m editing. You’re right; this will make life much easier for future edits.

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I don’t think that’s how OSM would like access=private to be used. (Unless you have some special permission from the property owner.)

access=* docs:

Note that it notes access, not ownership. Many privately owned roads are freely accessible for the general public without prior permission- in such case access=private would be wrong and it may be access=permissive if the owner can revoke this permission at his own discretion . Privately owned roads can even be -depending on the legislation- public roads in the sense that the owner has a legal duty to allow the general public access and is not free to revoke this permission (access=yes).

You can mark the “road” as closed access to cars, but yes/permissive to foot traffic.

Obviously I don’t know this path and that requires local knowledge to know what is the expectation of that area, I assumed that @fredrik.coulter didn’t think he was allowed to use it on foot even though the landowner hasn’t put up any access signs.

Here are the descriptions of those values further down on that OSM page:

Value Description
private Only with individual permission
permissive Open to general traffic until such time as the owner revokes the permission which they are legally allowed to do at any time in the future.

Where I live my driveway would be access=private, you may not use my driveway by car, bike, on foot, etc to access my property or a neighbouring property, even though I haven’t put up a sign on my front fence saying private property no access. The same applies to say a swimming pool, tennis court or kids playground on my property. I allow postal delivery and guests to my front door, so maybe access=delivery or access=destination but since that permission only applies if you have a parcel addressed here I’d just call that “Only with individual permission” and that isn’t the general public.

Yes, it could be access=permissive, but you’d have to know that is the landowner’s intention or there is a legal right of way in your country.

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When I said path, I didn’t mean private road. It’s a path, a dirt trail. There is no evidence that it’s meant to be there at all. Walkers have just created it because it’s very inconvenient to get from one side of the property to the other in any other way.

A homeless encampment has slowly developed on this trail. A few months ago a tent showed up. A month or so later, a second tent appeared near by. I ran it again on Saturday and now there’s a third tent. No sign of life when I ran through it in mid-morning, but that could be for a variety of reasons.