OsmAnd as an efficient tool for contributing to OpenStreetMaps

I will like to demonstrate how OsmAnd has turned into a fantastically useful tool for capturing and contributing data to OpenStreetMaps. The version I’m using is the paid version so there may be a difference between my features and what you’re using.

Why OsmAnd?

According to the wiki, “OsmAnd is an open source, global mobile map viewing & navigation app for offline and online maps (for Android and some other operating systems)” and has been in active development since 2010. It also sports a simple but usable and polished mobile user interface with functionality that caters to the basic user as well as a power user. This is why I was pleasantly surprised that I could also use this tool for capturing data which I can then use to add data to OpenStreetMaps.

1. Enable Widgets

The widgets make it useful to start and stop GPX track logging and take photos of your surrounding for photo mapping.

First go to Menu → Configure Screens then select GPX Recording and Audio/Video Notes to bring up the GPX widget and the camera widgets on the screen.

Then go to Settings → Audio/Video Settings → Default widget action →  Take a Photo so it doesn’t ask you every time what you want to do.

You should get something like this:

010 - GPX and Photo Buttons

2. Enable Overlay

Those options put the tools on the screen in a convenient location. The GPX record tool allows one to start and stop recording and the camera button allows you to take photos of points of interest and other features. Then go to Menu –> Define View –> Overlay Map and select Microsoft Earth.


Adjust the blue slider at the bottom slider as you feel appropriate so that you get to see existing OSM maps as well as a satellite view. This gives you a guide on what you’re surveying as well as provide you with an opportunity to label objects from ground level.

3. Capture specific features


If you see a particular feature that you would like to take a picture of, press and hold on the map the location of which you would like the photo to be taken,  press the on the “location” dialogue that comes up then press take photo of POI

4. See where you’ve been


If you go to the Menu –> Define View –> GPS Track –> Show current track you can see the track that you’ve logged (the screenshot isn’t as good as I was having data problems and the satellite imagery didn’t load properly) this is useful for keeping track of progress and seeing what you’ve missed along the way.

When you’re done, you can use a tool such as ES File Explorer to zip up the GPX and JPG files and send it to your computer for importing into JOSM.

In conclusion, these features and others such as offline POI editing and OpenStreetBugs filing make OsmAnd my favorite tool for data capture on my S3.


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