Book Review: OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World

A review of OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World by Ramm, Topf and Chilton

This book is a great introduction to, and overview of, the OpenStreetMap project, with plenty of detail and pointers to further information, all of which is sure to get the reader hooked in the realm of open geodata.

As an open source community-oriented project, there is a lot of information already available on the OpenStreetMap wiki website, but it can be disjointed at times, and difficult to get a good overview of the project. This book provides a good alternative, condensing all the information you need to start updating the map, using the map data on GPS devices, and also gives plenty of examples to developers keen on using the wealth of map data in their own projects.

The chapters of the book are broken up into small enough chunks that readers can easily dip in and out, while also providing plenty of information to refer back to during mapping.

The first half of the book is geared towards those readers who want to get started mapping their surroundings and contributing geographic information to the OpenStreetMap project. The second half goes into more detail about the technical aspects of OpenStreetMap, introducing the data API and other ways of accessing and modifying the data for use in third party projects.

Throughout the book, readers are given links to the OpenStreetMap wiki for further information about topics, should they be interested in finding out more.

This book would be of interest to a range of different audiences, from walkers and geocaching enthusiasts keen to explore and document their surroundings, to GIS users wanting to know more about emerging sources of geodata, and web developers who are looking for maps or a new source of information to use in their projects... or anyone else who has an interest in geography and how emerging technologies are helping develop the subject.


Yes I full agree, even if I just know the german books. This is a must have especialy for users that want to go into the deep internals of the OSM toolchain.

Thanks so much for this posting. I am fairly confused with the format of the OSM wiki (I'm only half a techie). I am hoping this book will do as you say and add a little more linearity to the process.

Thanks again for the info.

Alan Loren
Alliterative Poems