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Open Source Technology Gets Routing 77

An anonymous reader writes "Good news for OpenStreetMap: the main website now has A-to-B routing (directions) built in to the homepage! The OSM website offers directions which are powered by third-parties using OSM data, providing car, bike, and foot routing. OpenStreetMap has a saying: 'What gets rendered, gets mapped' – meaning that often you don't notice a bit of data that needs tweaking unless it actually shows up on the map image. It will make OpenStreetMap's data better by creating a virtuous feedback loop."
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  • I've used Navit for phone routing, but it has no way to submit corrections. And the official osm app doesn't do offline routing.
    • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @10:31AM (#49073363)

      I'm happy with osmand []

    • I'm not aware of an official OSM app, however, there's Osmand~ from F-Droid, and it does offline routing just fine; I used to work as a field service engineer for a Unisys contractor and it was my primary means of navigation in a three-state area, mostly because Google Maps is horribly out of date anywhere but the 10 biggest metros and actually works offline.
    • And the official osm app doesn't do offline routing.

      Just use OSMAnd (the Android Open Street Maps app), which has a GREAT offline routing feature. PLUS it uses ector and not bitmap maps (Google Maps data is transferred as bitmap) so you can set the street font size to what you prefer. This is NOT possible with Google Maps, and likely it never will be. Just read the Google Discussion threads about inaccessibility of Google Maps for visually impaired people.

  • So OpenStreetMaps is only now adding a basic mapping feature that's been available in other sites for over 10 years now, and somehow we're supposed to get excited about it? To me this is only highlighting how far behind a lot of the open source software is compared to commercially available applications.
    • by Nicopa ( 87617 ) <`nico.lichtmaier' `at' `'> on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @10:12AM (#49073225)

      No. OpenStreetMap is more a data backend and its website is more oriented toward mappers than to regular users (although that is slowly changing). Routing services using OSM have been available for quite some time. OpenStreetMap is already ahead Google in many places where Google has broken and partial information.

      • by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @03:09PM (#49074427)

        I added streets to osm and google maps had the data a few weeks later. I know it my osm data because I didn't know one street name, left it as the initial unique identifier, and that's what showed up.

        I assume google has a priority list, and uses navteq or the other atlas whatever before osm data, if present. If not, use osm.

        • Theft by Google seems to be a growing concern []; many users have been suspecting this for some time now. You might want to contact or post to if you can prove it, since Google clearly isn't falling within OSM's license right now if that's the case.
          • Do you have a specific link? Because the ones I saw basically said that Google is taking legal advantage of the Open part of Open Street Map.

            Again, I submit data to an Open platform, and some asshole decides to Open the platform.

            Is this not allowed? If not, could you post something more relevant?

    • You're still allowed to get excited at the fact that it isn't google, so your travel plans remain in a silo separate from that whole thing... that's actually quite a good thing.
    • by fisted ( 2295862 )
      Who said you were supposed to get excited about it? It's nice to finally have it in OSM, is all. If you do want to get excited, compare the level of detail in OSM to that of "commercially available applications", especially in more populated areas.
      • Hell, if you go by Google Maps in the midwest, you'd have no idea things have changed and in some cases some entire interstates have moved since the 2000 Census before you encounter it in person. Google Maps is often in worse shape today than OSM was in 2006 outside the 10 biggest metros in the US.
    • When Linux was first introduced, your response was probably: sigh, another operating system. I've been using Windows for over 10 years now.

    • by seyyah ( 986027 )

      It's not about the software (Dykstra's algorithm has been around for a long time), but about the data. What's impressive is that OSM has built a good enough network through community contributions that it can do routing.

      PS Naturally routing isn't as simple as just Dykstra, but it'll still be the basis.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        It's not about the software but about the data.

        That's odd. I've used OSM, converted and downloaded to a Garmin handheld and done routing with it for several years. Yes, there are a lot of data holes to be filled. But once people start doing routing on the web site, they can more easily contribute updates. At least that's what I took away from TFS.

    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      No it certainly doesn't highlight that. As others have mention you seem to fundamentally misunderstand what openstreetmap is. Openstreetmap can enable things that other map providers simply can't, such as quick, crowd-sourced updating of maps in disaster areas, which enables apps to be built quickly for the purposes disaster assistance, emergency planning, as well as routing. In short, OpenStreetMap is a platform, not an app, though they do host apps as well, such as a map viewer and now a route system.

      • As others have mention you seem to fundamentally misunderstand what openstreetmap is. Openstreetmap can enable things that other map providers simply can't, such as quick, crowd-sourced updating of maps in disaster areas

        It's rare I actually get to highlight a US example of this, since the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team seems to find it uninteresting, but I managed to source aerial imagery through the OK GIS community and get to mapping tornado damage after the Moore tornado within hours, and OSM was already putting out data to get traffic moving around it rather than through when I 35 went local traffic only for months after the storm.

    • No, the new thing is that they're integrating it with the main site. Sites like OSRM and OpenRouteService have provided routing from OSM data for years, but now OSM is deploying their code in a central place. They have, for example, two implementations of route finding for cyclists. One gives about as good as Google Maps (i.e. crap), the other gives good routes. Because the database is open, a number of other groups have written routing applications and libraries (including some that run on mobile devic
  • OSM did progress (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @10:02AM (#49073175)
    Comparing OSM with Google Maps [], OSM did progress a lot, compared to a couple of years ago. I find more readability in Google maps, but that's maybe only a matter of taste.
  • I'm a happy user of OsmAnd. It can do offline routing, shows which lanes to take, shows POIs and did I mention it is offline? There is a free and a paid version, the difference being the number of maps you can download.
    • There is a free and a paid version, the difference being the number of maps you can download.

      And, if I understand correctly, the F-Droid repository has a free version (named OsmAnd~) with the limitations removed so that it's equivalent to Google Play's paid version.

      • Yup. The free version in F-Droid is so nice that I donated to the project. I didn't want to pay to fund a crippled open source version, but after seeing how good the open source version is when built without the limitations, I was very happy to donate (more than the Google Play price) to the project.
    • And the paid Osmand+ is the same as the free Osmand~ on F-Droid, with the exception of a single character in the name.
  • I modified a road in OSM to be one-way, because it is an exit only road from a gated community. Will this change be reflected in the OSM routing?

    For the moment, the change is reflected on the map but not in the routing.

    • The different routers update on different schedules, but they generally take at least a day to do so. Redrawing the map to show an update only modifies the local area, whereas updating the routing graph can have large changes. I know work is being done to support incremental updates but I am not sure when this will be supported (and again each routing engine would do it on their own since they all work differently, they just pull down the same data from OSM). I know for OSRM they update once a day by reb

    • If you did it right. If you did it wrong, it probably broke routing further. Routing engines often snapshot the data every 10-30 days (which is still more frequent than the 1-10 year snapshots commercial sources tend to do).
      • Thanks. The editing tool is pretty sophisticated, so I think I did it right, but if not I'll fix it. :-)

        I also added a "no left turn" restriction at the intersection, so that it matches the existing signage, and I modified all of the roads in the gated residential area to be private access roads.

        • Awesome work. This kind of feedback is exactly what OSM needs to become the best map. Right now there are places where it is better than other maps and places where it is worse, but it does not take very many people deciding to do what you just did to make it the best everywhere.


        • Awesome. I take it you went with the iD editor that loads by default when you hit Edit on the website? Also if you let me know your OSM ID, I can go take a look later when I get off work and doublecheck it.

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