OpenStreetMap is a free, interactive map that allows anyone to view, edit, and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth. The project was started because many maps available online have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways.
Contributors to OpenStreetMap carry out detailed surveys or quick observations. They record map details right down to shops, restaurants and even residential addresses. This surveying can make use of smartphones, digital cameras, voice-recorders, or just a pen and paper. Back at the computer, contributors make edits to OpenStreetMap's collaborative database. That data is then processed to produce detailed street-level maps, which can be published freely to websites, mobile apps, handheld or in-car navigation devices, or printed and copied without restriction.
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