OpenStreetMap gets a new map editor
The OpenStreetMap editor is used to update existing map features or enter new roads, buildings and landmarks, based either on a user's recorded GPS traces or by hand through tracing aerial imagery provided to the OpenStreetMap project for this purpose. The easier the project's editor is to use, the easier it will be for the project to attract new contributors, which in turn will improve the data set. MapBox, which sells a commercial mapping service based on OpenStreetMap, set out to create a user interface for the new editor which is intuitive and easy to use for new contributors to the project.
The new user interface is minimal by design and overlays editing controls on the map view that change depending on what is currently being edited. To this end, the development team wrote a new labelling engine that handles multipolygon objects and relations and was designed with performance in mind. Planned features for later versions of the software include a new preset system that allows users to more easily add and modify map features from a set of predefined settings and a translation system that allows for internationalisation of mapping data. Better documentation of the tool is also being worked on.
Interested users can try the new editor at a demonstration instance. The source code for iD is available from GitHub under the WTFPL, a licence that allows users to do whatever they wish with the code. WTFPL is currently not classified as open source by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), but the Free Software Foundation (FSF) regards it as a GPL-compliant free software licence.