MapProxy Service Update

We’ve updated the imagery available via the SOSM mapproxy service to include more recent imagery for Solothurn and the recently releast imagery for the city of Berne. The imagery for the canton Solothurn is a mosaic of imagery between 2011 and 2014 provided by the cantonal GIS office SOGIS, replacing the old 2007 and 2011 orthophotos.

Together with the new AGIS imagery, the above has been added to the central OSM imagery index and should be available in iD, P2 and vespucci soon.

If you can’t wait, the imagery is available via the following pseudo URLs:




Updated Aerial Imagery for the Canton Aargau


As already indicated on the Swiss OSM mailing list SOSM has obtained the most recent imagery from the cantonal GIS office of the canton Aargau (AGIS). The imagery was recorded in July 2014 which on the one hand makes it very current, on the other implies that there is more foliage visible than on the 2011 imagery.

The imagery is available with the following pseudo URL for entry in OSM editors{z}/{x}/{y}.png?origin=nw

I’ll be adding the configuration to the central imagery repositories as soon as possible.

The tiles from this imagery were produced slightly differently than the previous ones with not quite satisfactory results from a visual point of view. It is possible that I might rerun the tiling later once we have some feedback.

SOSM will be running a donation drive soon to cover the costs of the imagery and a build out of our services, however please feel free to donate now (account details, please indicate if mentioning your name is allowed), your support if very much appreciated.

A thank you to the Hochschule Rapperswil and Stefan Keller for helping us with actually uploading the 190GB of data to the SOSM server.

uMap Tips and Tricks – 1 – Hide the “Edit”-Pencil

This is the start of a likely infrequent and irregular series of posts on stuff that I found out using uMap.

Hide the “Edit”-Pencil

One of the more annoying things about uMap is that there is no obvious way to hide the edit pencil on a full screen map. While only users that you have allowed can actually change  your map configuration, it just isn’t good design to have a control element that just frustrates your users.

The solution: add “allowEdit=0” to the URL as for example below:


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.

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


23’000 Km of New Ways in 12 Months

Mid October 2012 I produced updated statistics on road lengths in OSM for Switzerland, a year later it is time for an update.

The statistics show an increase of a total of at least 23’000 km from 152’000 km a year ago to 175’000 km now. As already seen in the last update the length of all roads with higher classification does not show much movement, a clear indication that the major road network is very complete.

Growth is mainly due to the increase in minor roads, tracks and paths mapped, which in turn is likely to have been driven by improved coverage with aerial imagery in 2013.

Detailed Numbers

OSM classification length (km) length (km)
motorway 1’508 50% of the length of one-way segments 3’009 one-way segments counted fully
motorway_link 343 684
trunk 365 515
trunk_link 54 106
motorway + trunk 2’270 4’314
primary 4’973 includes _link
secondary 5’382
tertiary 10’978
unclassified 18’326
residential 25’858
service 8’750 service=alley and unspecified
driveway 1’052 service=driveway
parking aisle 1’002 service=parking_aisle
track 16’313 tracktype unspecified, neither foot or bicycle = designated
track grade 1 11’454 neither foot or bicycle = designated
track grade 2 20’176
track grade 3 11’688
track grade 4 3’390
track grade 5 2’129
track total 65’150
path 22’180 neither foot or bicycle = designated
pedstrian 365
footway 7’354 plus path and track with foot=designated
cycleway 1’196 plus path and track with bicyle=designated
combined cycleway / footway 578 track, path, cycleway and footway either with explicit or implicit designated values for foot and bicycle
Total 175’404


Skiing Vacation, Street Names and all that

Since the beginning of November 2012 I have been running statistics on how OSM data compares to “official” sources. The results can be seen  a wiki page with some more information is available here.

The official numbers as of December 2012 contain 108’271 road names, 2’684 named nodes, 27’339 areas and a total of 52’211 of objects that were not classified by the muncipality collecting the data. Overall this amounts to 190’000 named features.

The Swiss OSM extract as of January the 10th 2013 contained 115’940 named streets, 5’053 areas and  9’674 nodes tagged with “place” and a name. The comparision just on a number base looks quite good, however actual matches are only 84’162  in total as of today, which is less than 50%. Just considering the streets we find 67’125 matches which is  61%.

The good news is that in the roughly 10 weeks the statistics have been running, we increased  the street matches by 3’556 and the total by 5’783. This indicates that we should have all roads covered in latest two years. I actually suspect that the coverage increase will be far larger in the summer months and that we will be able to acheive very good coverage far earlier.

Achieving rapid progress on non-road objects is however going to be difficult. Most of these are not sign posted and publicly available information for verification or a possible import seems to be limited to a proprietary dataset owned by the Swiss Post and the GWR address data. Both can be purchased at considerable expense, the later however has very restrictive usage terms. Essentially Swiss Topo has been granted a monopoly on all non-internal use. It is strange that in the age of the OpenData movement that this would still be possible (the legislation is quite recent), but I suspect that it will be very hard to change.

A good example of the difficulties is the small mountain village Ftan where we customarily spend our annual skiing vacation.

Essentially none of the roads have road signs, nor do they actually have names. The full addresses use a “quarter” name in place of a street name. As can be seen from the list produced by my statistics (original file: current version: switch to the Mapquest Open map on the OSM site to see what was actually added) nearly all the missing features are not roads, that dosen’t stop Google showing street names (google maps) where there aren’t any.

Surveying such data is going to take time, it implies using local knowledge and other clues available on the ground. It will be interesting to see how much can be gathered in the week I will be on site and how we progress with the multitude of similar settlements over the next months. moved

The virtual machine ( running the SOSM web site, mail server and the mapproxy service has moved to a different host machine. If there are any issues please send mail to