How to edit the maps

Now you've got the basics, let's learn how to use a relatively simple editor called Potlatch 2. We have customised this tool to focus specifically on the features this map uses.

Introductory video

If you like, this video will take you through the basics. It might help to watch the video first, then read through this page and have a go yourself.

Creating an OpenStreetMap account

First things first, you need to create an OpenStreetMap account. Head over to the new account form and set yourself up. When you're done, come back here.

The customised editor

Open the editor using this link in a new window, then come back here. You should see something like this:

Main screen of the customised Potlatch 2 editor

The main section shows the map with all of the features drawn on top of the aerial imagery. In this customised editor, all the sustainability features show up as the icons you'll see on the normal map, or as more prominently drawn areas - shops, veggie cafes and the like drawn as buildings are given a bold green outline, trees are drawn, and so on.

At the top you have general controls that let you save your work to OpenStreetMap; read the help pages; change the background (you can choose between aerial photography, the OpenEcoMaps map style, or an Ordnance Survey map we are allowed to copy); change the map style (e.g. away from our custom style to the OpenStreetMap default or a simple wireframe view); show up any GPS data you might have gathered; and change your options.

On the left you have the features that you can add and edit. If you've not got anything selected it shows "points of interest" you can drag and drop onto the map (but not areas, since you can't just drag and drop them on - you need to draw their shape). If you select a feature, it will show that feature's properties.

Getting around the map

These are some basic controls for Potlatch 2...

Basic working with the map

Have a go! Until you try to save your changes, you can't do any damage.

If you select a feature you can view and edit its properties using the left panel.

Viewing and editing a feature's properties

Adding a feature

If you've gone out and surveyed your local area and found (let's say) there's a geothermal heat pump nearby, then fire up the editor. Do not copy from other maps unless they definitely aren't copyrighted! So no to Google maps, council maps, etc.

To add a point of interest simply drag the icon from the left panel onto the map, and drop it in the right location. Then add in the relevant properties and you're done!

Viewing and editing a feature's properties

To add an area such as some allotments or a building, zoom right in so you can easily draw the shape then just start clicking! Make sure you draw the shape as one continuous line from the first node to the final click that closes the area.

Adding an area

Once you've drawn the shape, click on the 'unknown' drop down in the left panel and choose the type of feature, then add in extra information like name, etc.

Adding an area's properties

If you are drawing a complicated shape it's sometimes easier to start with something very simple, then drag the nodes into their right positions. You can also add new nodes in the middle of a line by holding down the 'shift' key and clicking on the line.

If you want to practice without worrying about mistakes, launch this practice editor that connects to a test server instead of the main OpenStreetMap server. You can mess about to your heart's delight without a worry!

When you're all done, save your changes

Click on the 'save' button at the top right to save your changes. If it's the first time you've used the editor, you will need to follow the instructions to authorise yourself with the OpenStreetMap web site.

You will save your information to the live OpenStreetMap database, a global community project. The information you add will now be available to anyone in the world as open data. Exciting!

Some more hints and tips

Watch this video for some more tips, covering many of the points described in this page and a few more. Sometimes it's easier to watch someone else doing it...