Tech Learning Collective

Technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities.

Our Streets, Our Maps: Introduction to OpenStreetMap

Poster for Our Streets, Our Maps: Introduction to OpenStreetMap

OpenStreetMap is a free and open-source, worldwide mapping project that was started in 2004. Since then, it has become a powerful, community-driven resource for people to share information about their immediate vicinity.

Much more than simply a “Google Maps alternative,” OpenStreetMap (OSM) is also a freely-available dataset of geographic information that is collectively owned. It powers a huge assortment of public (and commercial!) services from weather monitoring stations, civic infrastructure maps, and even the map views from sites like Craigslist. An ever-evolving community of humanitarians, hobby cartographers, and neighborhood residents add, edit, and maintain the information in the OpenStreetMap database and, much like Wikipedia, anyone can contribute the things that are important to them simply by creating a free OpenStreetMap account.

In this workshop, learn the basics of how to use this free tool to create and improve publicly available, communally editable maps of the things that matter to you. Learn about initiatives such as the Tech Autonomist’s Gender-Neutral Restrooms map which helps non-binary, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people find safe restrooms to use, along with other ways to find accessible venues, queer friendly spaces, and other necessary resources.