In-car navigation with OpenStreetMap data

In-car, on-bike and on-foot navigation is the goal of a few different OpenStreetMap projects at the moment. By offering free downloads of routable data formats from our downloads site we’re aiming to support routing in OSM.

The idea of the downloads site is to provide easy to access OSM geodata for all of the countries of the world to give a helping hand to people who want to use OSM data and hopefully lower the barriers to entry for people who want to do cool things with OSM. Last week we added a new file format to the downloads area – Navit format data. Navit is an open source (GPL) in-car navigation system that does lots of the things other in-car navigation software does – routing you from place to place calculating time and distance, with a rich set of map data that comes from OSM. Navit is very much a work in progress – its not ready for general use yet, but if you an intrepid mapper of hacker it could be just what you’ve been looking for.

Calling Mappers and Hackers

If open source in-car navigation, powered by OSM’s open geodata sounds like your sort of thing, there are a few different ways you can try out Navit. The project’s wiki has details of the program running on various Linux based devices like the Nokia n800, the Asus eee PC or the OpenMoko Neo. We tried it out on an Ubuntu laptop which lacked the ability to make the most of Navit’s OpenGL powered 3D rendering. Even in 2D, being able to route through the streets of Munich whilst sitting at a desk on a Friday afternoon was a lot of fun.

Mappers – grab a Navit file for your country from downloads.cloudmade.com and head over to the Navit wiki for help getting Navit setup. Try routing through an area you know well and see what the result is. Maybe there are few one-way streets you’ve missed out ;-)

Hackers – Take a look at the Navit mailing list or jump on their IRC channel to see how you can help.

Downloads from CloudMade

Our downloads service includes the following files, by country:

  • OSM XML – Raw OpenStreetMap data
  • Garmin error files – special edition files for Garmin GPS units that highlight errors in OSM data, such as un-named roads.
  • Shapefiles – OpenStreetMap data in one of the most widespread geodata formats

If there’s a geodata format you’d like us to support, please get in touch

September 20th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in openstreetmap

CloudMade’s Andy Allan wins Cartography Award

Great news from the British Cartographic Society, who have awarded CloudMade Tech Lead, Andy Allan an award for his work on the OpenCycleMap. OpenCycleMap.org was awarded a Commended Award in the Avenza Eelectronic Mapping category of the British Cartographic Society’s annual awards which were held in the UK last week.


OpenCycleMap.org is a specialist map created for cyclists. It uses data from OpenStreetMap.org to highlight cyclepaths, bike parks, cycle shops and other features that are relevant to cyclists

Unfortunately Andy couldn’t make it to the awards ceremony to pick up his prize as he was en-route from Aberdeen, having represented OpenCycleMap and CloudMade at the Society of Cartographers Summer School. The award was collected by long-term cartographer, Steve Chilton, who helped Andy put together the application for the award. Speaking on the OpenStreetMap mailing list, Steve wrote:

[Andy and I] were in a category against some heavyweight commercial entries, as you may see when the full results are available. This is fantastic recognition from peer cartographers of the excellence of this particular use of OSM data. So, congratulations to Andy, and all others who have had input to this particular development.

OpenCycleMap’s award is testimony not only to the hard work of Andy, but also to the dedication of the 61,000 OpenStreetMap volunteers who collected the data that allows such a unique cartographic achievement as OpenCycleMap, as well as the work of Steve Chilton, who lead the creation of the OSM cartographic style that the cycle map is based on. Because OpenStreetMap lets people get access to underlying vector data it is possible to create custom mapping sites like OpenCycleMap.org.

Andy will be at FOSS4G 2008 in Cape Town at the end of September, so if you are heading to South Africa for the event make sure you drop Andy a line.

Note: CloudMade are pleased to be sponsoring Andy’s work on the cycle map by providing web hosting and tile serving for the project. If you go to OpenCycleMap.org and start to dig into Andy’s code, you’ll see that tile requests are being made to *.andy.sandbox.cloudmade.com. Sandboxes are testing grounds for personal development projects of people at CloudMade and are not our production servers. We don’t make any promises about uptime, speed or reliability or Sandbox services, but if you want to see the cool stuff first, its the place to look.

September 8th, 2008 - Posted by Nick Black in cartography