uMap Instance for Switzerland

It has been a long time in the making, but at last, we are happy to announce that a SOSM hosted uMap instance is available: .

uMap allows you to create hosted map configurations that contain base maps, data sources and manual annotations.

An example of what can be done with very little effort: the “Swiss style” map with car sharing locations queried from the Overpass API.

See full screen

While the data displayed in the example is static, the same can be done with a direct query of the OverPass API or similar sources. Data that is limited to Switzerland can be retrieved from the SOSM Overpass service, and to make that a bit easier we now have a local Overpass Turbo instance.

To create your own map on you simply need an account on and allow access to it.

A special thank you to Sarah for setting up the system for us and to Yohan Boniface for developing uMap.

Schwiizerdütschi Näme / num romontsch / nome italiano / nom français

[ Deutsch weiter unten ]
[ français en bas ]
[ italiano v.s. ]

—– romontsch ————————————–

Hallo cars mappers

Per il 10avel anniversari digl OSM vuless Sosm presentar ina carta per romontsch (e per tudestg svizzer, talian e franzos). Per far gliez supplichein nus vus da notar las translaziuns egl OSM. La carta che suonda presenta las translaziuns gia notadas (ella vegn actualisada mintg’ura): El cantun sura dretg ha ei ina funcziun d’eleger il lungatg. Translaziuns saveis vus aschuntar als place nodes sco tags suandonts:

name:gsw per Schweizerdeutsch
name:rm per Rumantsch
name:it per Italiano
name:fr per Français


—– Deutsch ————————————–

Hallo liebe Mapper

Sosm würde gerne zum 10. Geburtstag von OSM eine schweizerdeutsche (und
romanisch, italienisch und französische) Karte präsentieren. Dafür
möchten wir euch bitten, entsprechende Übersetzungen in OSM einzutragen.

Auf folgender Karte werden die bereits eingetragenen Übersetzungen
dargestellt (stündlich aktualisiert): In der
rechten oberen Ecke hat es Schalter, um die Sprache auszuwählen.

Übersetzungen könnt ihr an den place nodes anfügen als folgende tags:

name:gsw für Schweizerdeutsch
name:rm für Rumantsch
name:it für Italiano
name:fr für Français


—– Français ————————————–


A l’occasion du 10ème anniversaire de l’OSM, SOSM aimerait constituer une carte en français mais aussi en suisse-allemand, romanche et en italien. A cet effet nous avons besoin de votre aide pour completer les traductions dans l’OSM.

Vous trouverez les traductions déjà enregistrées sur le site (actualisé toutes les heures): A droite, dans le coin supérieur, vous pouvez selectionner la langue.

Pour inscrire vos traductions, ajoutez aux noeuds ‘place’ les tags suivantes:

name:gsw pour Schwiizerdütsch
name:rm pour Rumantsch
name:it pour Italiano
nom: fr pour Français


—– Italiano ————————————–

Ciao mapper

Per il 10 anniversario del OSM il SOSM vuol presentare una carta italiana (romanica, svizzero tedesca e francese).
Per questo Vi preghiamo di inserire le traduzioni correspondenti in OSM.

Sulla mappa sequente vengono mostrati le traduzioni già inseriti (attualizzati ogni ora): Nell’angolo destro in alto della pagina potete scegliere la lingua.

Le traduzioni potete allegare ai place nodes con i seguenti tags:

name:gsw per Schweizerdeutsch
name:rm per Rumantsch
name:it per Italiano
name:fr per Français



sotmbannerFive members of SOSM are currently in Karlsruhe, where this years State of the Map EU takes place. It is at the University of Applied Sciences, located in a very nice green area.

On Friday, rendering was a topic, with alternatives to mapnik, alternative style sheet languages, rendering from vector tiles, and also 3D with OpenGL, WebGL and Blender. There were also a few presentations on quality assurance.

sotmeu-grillIn the evening there was a nice grill at the social event and we all had delicious food and good conversations.

On the second day there were a few talks about data maintenance. The state of the license was topic to another talk, with Mapbox presenting the problems they encountered with the current license.

There was also a group photo taken that day.groupfoto-sotmeu14

Mapping party and SOSM AGM

Burgdorf Oberdorf

We held our annual general meeting at the restaurant Schützenhaus in Burgdorf this year. The associations activities of the last year were presented,  mainly the new SOSM server and the services provided with it.

After (a good) lunch as announced we held a mapping party. Simon distributed printouts of the surrounding municipalities and their missing roads and off we went. After successfully collecting data many of the mappers met again at the Schützenhaus and added it to OSM after which we had dinner (participating in SOSM events is not good for your waistline :-)).

While we didn’t manage to get everything “green”, the situation around Burgdorf is substantially better now; with only a handful of street names missing in some of the municipalities.namestats_post_mapping


Mapping Party Burgdorf April 5th 13:30

burgdorfAs already announced we will be going out and mapping after the SOSM AGM on Saturday and after we have had lunch (please feel free to join us for that too).

Meeting location: Restaurant Schützenhaus, Wynigenstrasse 13, Burgdorf

Burgdorf itself is fairly well mapped with only a few roads missing and a handful of name spellings that need to be verified . However the surroundings, in particular Kirchberg are fairly undermapped. Kirchberg can easily be reached by Bus, the rest of the villages likely will require a bicycle or other means of transport.

Rough schedule:

  • Meetup 13:30
  • Mapping starts 14:00
  • Back at Restaurant 16:00
  • Data entry etc.
  • Dinner roughly 18:00 (for those that choose to stay)


Answer to the “Vernehmlassung” for the new Geo-Information Law of the Canton of Berne

One of the lesser known aspects of the Swiss democratic system is the instrument of the “Vernehmlassung”, a formalized call for comments by interested and affected parties on draft laws before they go in to the parliamentary process and debate. The Canton of Berne is implementing new regulations on geo-information and related sovereign duties to be compatible with the equivalent legislation at a federal level and issued such a call for comments late last year.

The tl;dr gist of our answer is that the law should as a principle allow free access to the cantonal geo-data and do so on terms defined in a suitable well-known licence (CC0, PDDL or similar) reversing what is suggested in the current draft legislation. Further we have suggested that any fees for access to the data be based on marginal costs for the distribution.

Our full answer can be found here Kanton Bern geoinf Vernehmlassung., the Swiss OpenData Association, supports our position.

SOSM 2014 Annual General Meeting

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Swiss OpenStreetMap Association which will take place on Saturday, April 5th 2014, 11am in the Restaurant Schützenhaus, Wynigenstrasse 13, Burgdorf

Restaurant Schützenhaus

loading map - please wait...

Restaurant Schützenhaus 47.058096, 7.630010

You will find the full agenda here.

After the meeting there will be an informal lunch and a mapping party. If you already know that you will be attending, could you please indicate so for planning purposes by e-mail to

We hope to see many of you in Burgdorf.

2014 SOSM AGM (Preliminary Announcement)

At its last meeting the SOSM board decided to hold the upcoming annual general meeting on April the 5th 2014. Planned location for the meeting and associated mapping party is the region Burgdorf / Kirchberg in the canton Bern.

Unluckily the 5th collides with the 2nd day of SOTM-FR, however we had decided on this Saturday as one of the small number of free days left in the first half year before SOTM-FR was announced.

How many mappers are there in Switzerland?

At the last SOSM board meeting we had a short discussion about membership levels and what kind of numbers that we should expect. The discussion led to two actions, on the one hand we decided that we would, as an experiment, mail all new contributors with a short welcome mail, and on the other hand it piqued my curiosity how many contributors we have historically had and what the current growth rates are (having the numbers handy tends to help when talking to the media too).

The last time I generated overall contributor numbers for Switzerland was a good two years ago and was then at over 6’000, the current number is just over 9’000. The value was generated from a full history extract of Switzerland from November 2013,  further inspection of the extract shows that the oldest node in Switzerland was added on August the 15th, 2005. There may have been older anonymous contributions or contributions that were removed during the licence change, but this is the best date we have. This would indicate a growth rate of over 1’000 contributors per year, this number seems to be further supported by the 104 welcome mails we have sent to new mappers over the last 4 weeks.

Naturally Switzerland has a certain influx of non-domestic mappers, on the one hand due to neighbouring countries with strong OSM communities, on the other hand due to its popularity as a tourist destination. But as we know from a pure count point of view, larger, mobile mappers are a small minority and shouldn’t effect the above numbers significantly.

Updated Street Name Completeness Statistics

Just over a year ago I started running daily street name completeness checks for Switzerland based on a list of street names by municipality generated out of the federal “Gebäude und Wohnungsregister” (GWR), see my original article for more information and for the daily updates.

For technical reasons I decided to move the contents to a new server late December and during the process I’ve made a couple of updates and changes that need some explaining. On the one hand I’ve updated the GWR list to the December 2013 one on the other hand I’ve somewhat changed the logic of the road (contrary to other object types with names) statistic generation. One of the more annoying trends in the GWR list is that more and more municipalities are no longer correctly filing the object type in their submissions and are either using “unknown” or leaving the field empty (which I map to “none” in my statistics”), despite the large amount of building going on, the number has actually gone down in absolute terms by roughly 500 over the year 2013. This naturally makes the data substantially less useful for us, and I would go as far as saying it makes the data less useful for its primary purpose too.

However it is clearly not our job to discipline such behaviour, we just want as good as possible estimates of how many named streets there actually are. To achieve that I’ve now added some heuristics to take this undesirable behaviour in to account:

  • assume that if a GWR object has either no geometry type or “unknown” and the corresponding OSM object is a road, it should have been a road in the GWR too.
  • if there are no roads at all for the municipality in question in the GWR and OSM has roads as described above, add all the relevant GWR objects to the GWR road count.

The GWR numbers reported are corrected correspondingly. As of today this reduced the object count for “unknown” by 8’374 and for no object type by 4’438, adding a total of 12’812 to the GWR road count. For continuity and documentation purposes the old statistics are still calculated daily and are still available.

More interesting than the above changes is how much progress we have made over the past year. In the following table non-road objects are summarised in one number.

GWR 2012-06-01 OSM 2012-11-01 % GWR 2013-12-01 OSM 2013-12-27 %
Roads (old) 104’150 62’258 60% 103’606 74’969 72%
Roads (new) 117’598 87’759 75%
Other (old) 77’316 14’101 18% 78’284 21’414 27%
Other (new) 64’292 8’598 13%

As can be seen from the above we managed to add 20’024 names in just over a year, confirming that we should have as good as possible coverage of street names latest in two years.

To conclude, and most impressive, a map from early 2013, and current versions using the old and new logic

January 2013

December 2013 Old

December 2013 New