OpenStreetMap book out – Be Your Own Cartographer

I had the pleasure of thumbing (virtually) through Jonathan Bennett’s book on OpenStreetMap recently. The paperback edition must be nice and hefty at over 230 pages, but it was thoroughly readable.

He does a good job introducing background material needed for understanding what OSM is all about, but also gently eases you into the tools and services you’ll need to know. Here are a few of my observations while reviewing it.
I particularly appreciated the chapter on Gathering Data Using GPS. This would have helped me the first time I ever used GPS. It’s a good primer in general GPS use along with a few tips – the remainder of the chapter focused on GPS’ing with OSM tools in mind.

Many of us GIS folks might still be asking “What’s a way” anyway? He breaks down the internal structure of OSM XML features as well, so you can get your hands as dirty as you’d like.

Naturally the various editors and renderer options are described well – Potlach, JOSM, Merkaartor, etc. Super in-depth data cleaning and troubleshooting is discussed.

The only thing I felt that was missing from the discussion were other non-OSM apps that provide support for OSM in some way (thinking here of OSM plugins for QGIS for example). But that’s balanced by a brief introduction to using PostGIS as part of the toolchain, so I won’t complain 🙂

I wish I had this when I first started OpenStreetMapping! It’s great that another open source mapping title is now available and that it’s well written is a nice bonus! Thanks Jonathan and Packt Publishing.

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Tyler Mitchell

Product and marketing leader, author and technology writer in NoSQL, big data, graph analytics, and geospatial. Follow me @1tylermitchell or get my book from

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