OpenStreetMap is a map of the world, created and maintained by a community of people including us here at Mappa Mercia. But with so many maps available online, why is OpenStreetMap important and why should you join the community? The reason we contribute to OpenStreetMap is that it is the only truly free map available built by local people who are passionate about their neighbourhood.
Most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways. By providing access to all of it’s map data as open data, OpenStreetMap has changed this for everyone. Its now possible to use OpenStreetMap’s data to create maps just the way you like. For some simple examples, take a look at our maps page.
It’s not just about open data though. OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge and its community is diverse, passionate, and growing every day. This all comes together to create the best map, full of local knowledge and detail.
What Mappa Mercia tries to do for the West Midlands OpenStreetMap does for the whole world: create and provide free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. Mappa Mercia is one small step in this enormous endeavour. You can find more information about the OpenStreetMap project on the OpenStreetMap About page.