Tracking the edits on OpenStreetMap in real time

What is even better than analyzing and visualizing interesting data ? Doing that on open data … from OpenStreetMap … and in real time !

Somewhat inspired by this view of data uploads to OpenWeatherMap, Christian Quest and I created the service.

It displays in near-real-time (with data from 2 minutes ago) all edits made on OpenStreetMap, with live activity graphs and zooms on the edition zones.

It is very exciting for an existing contributor to see its work being displayed and broadcasted so quickly. But before all, this tool is intended as a communication tool, as a very visual demonstration of the activity and energy of the OSM project. Initial tests showed very positive reactions from sample audiences.

The tool also works as a very visual attractor for a booth at an exhibition, for example.

We now intend to leverage the backend side to get more insightful data, that, beyond the communication aspect, can render true services for OSM contributors and users. The main idea is to have an “interest feed”, where you could subscribe to a bounding box, or some tags on the OSM data, and get notified when some changes are made.

For example:

  • Discover who works in your area
  • If you are a transportation operator for example, it can be interesting to get notified when some changes are made to OSM about transportation data, within the context of an open data initiative.

Stay tuned for more announcements related to this service !