New stuff on OpenStreetmap.org and Global Mapper

In the past I’ve been quite unsuccesful trying to get data from OpenStreetmap.org into another geo-application. Any other geo-application for that matter. There was some documentation on how to get it into a PostgreSQL database, including an executable that would take data directly from the main OSM database and put it into a local one, but that was lacking some important information (like, the passwords and table structure it was expecting…). The good people at Safe got a long way in supporting the xml-format that JOSM exports to, somebody wrote a Manifold script to download the data and load it into Manifold and there was somebody in Germany kind enough to make regular exports of various European countries and offer them online as shapefiles. None of those options were really “complete”.

For something that’s supposed to be ‘open’, it sure is hard to get data out of it…

Then two things happened in a short amount of time:

  • The OpenStreetmap website was changed so that exports to xml could now be made directly from the site. No need to install and run JOSM anymore.
  • Global Mapper 9.03 came out, with native OpenStreetmap support.

Just tried that combination and it works like a charm. It loads all information from OSM, including more point features than the shapefiles provided. Exporting from Global Mapper to shapefiles is a breeze too, so this is a very big step in opening up OpenStreetmap.

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