OpenStreetMap API - Comments

OpenStreetMap is the free wiki world map, an open volunteer-driven initiative to collaboratively create a map of the world, and release the map data under a free and open license. There are actually many different APIs in and around the OpenStreetMap ecosystem. Many developers searching for an API, may actually be looking for an JavaScript web mapping library. There are a few of these to choose from including free and open source options such as These work by fetching map "tiles" from a tile server, and there are several of these to choose from too (the main OpenStreetMap server is not the only option) Some developers may be looking for data downloads. You can download the entire planet's worth of map data from and keep in syc with community map updates, using the "diff" downloads. Or you can download smaller more manageable country-sized, or city-size "extracts" of OpenStreetMap data. We do have a thing called the "OpenStreetMap API". This provides read and write operations on the raw map data of the OpenStreetMap database. It is actually primarily for OpenStreetMap editing software, and although any developers can create a new editor tool, this is not a small undertaking, and should be carried out with careful consultation with the OpenStreetMap community. In other words... this thing called the "OpenStreetMap API" is probably not what you're looking for! You can use the OpenStreetMap API to download small chunks of map data, but for this purpose it's also worth checking out some other options. In particular the OverpassAPI offers some flexible querying by tags etc, which may be useful for your app. Whether you're wrangling raw geo-data or presenting a web-map mashup, the possibilities provided by OpenStreetMap, and by third parties within the OpenStreetMap ecosystem, offer endless potential for geo map hacking fun! If you need help with development, join the osm-dev mailing list, or other OpenStreetMap contact channels: