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Edit OSM Data and Upload to OSM

Here we will first describe how to edit the data downloaded from OpenStreetMap in your ArcGIS Desktop environment, and then how to upload the edits back to OpenStreetMap.

Edit data downloaded from OSM

Once data has been downloaded from OSM and translated into an ArcGIS feature dataset, you can edit the data using any of the provided ArcGIS editing tools. New features can be added; feature attributes can be changed, and/or refined.

Note: If you downloaded data to an sde database, you will need to disable versioning of your edits; if you don't, you'll receive an error when you start editing the data.

To begin an editing session, enable the “Editor” toolbar in ArcMap and click the “Start Editing” button. You will be prompted to accept the OpenStreetMap data licensing terms. This is important: Remember that if you derive OpenStreetMap edits from an existing data source, you are responsible for checking that licenses and property rights allow for the derivation and/or submission to OpenStreetMap. For example, if you are using data downloaded from your county's online data server to digitize your house, you are responsible for checking the license for that county data.

Once you accept the licensing terms, you will see a Create Features window to the right of the interface. It  lists all of the available feature templates for editing OSM data. The choice of templates can be filtered down by geometry type, by layer, and by frequency. If you select one of the feature templates and start to edit, features with the default OSM attributes will be created. The ArcGIS Desktop Editing help topic describes tools you can use to make edits to downloaded data from OpenStreetMap. In general, any editing tools you can use on data in ArcMap you can use for the downloaded OSM data.


If you'd like to update the OSM tag attributes for features you're creating, open the attribute window by clicking the tools21.png button. The attribute window for OpenStreetMap is a little different from the default ArcGIS attribute dialog and it aims to guide you in collecting the appropriate tags for each feature. The attribute window has three columns containing the name of the tag in the left most column, the value of the tag in the middle column and potentially a link to the OSM wiki page for further information about the type and the collection rules for each attribute. If the cell value has a combo box it means that a list of suggested values and tag names does exists. The list of values is merely a list of suggestions and user defined entries can be added at any time.

Advanced Configuration: You can modify the list of suggestions that appear in the attributes' dropdown such that a custom data model - fore example, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team model - could be used. For more information on how to represent a different data model see Change the Data Model.


You can stop editing at any time and then later on resume in another edit session. On each save for an edit session, the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap components track the edit changes and store the respective OSM action in a standalone table. This table (typically named <name_of_featuredataset>_osm_revision) is also used to upload changes back to the OpenStreetMap server.

Upload Edits to OpenStreetMap

After you have made an edit to the downloaded features, you can post the edit back to OpenStreetMap.
  1. Doubleclick the Upload OSM Data model from the OpenStreetMap Toolbox, and enter the following information:
    • OpenStreetMap base upload URL: This should be automatically populated with the URL to OpenStreetMap.
    • OSM Revision Table: Browse to the <name_of_feature_dataset>_osm_revision table in your geodatabase. This table will be autogenerated when you download the data from OSM or run the Load OSM File tool, and autopopulated as you edit the OSM dataset in ArcMap. Do not edit this table manually - all changes will be done automatically by the software.
    • Comment describing the upload content: Enter a comment that describes the changes you made.
    • OSM login credentials: Provide the user name and password of the OSM editing account. Note: if you do not already have an OpenStreetMap account, you will need to create one.
  2. Click OK.
Your edits should be posted to the OpenStreetMap data within the hour, unless another user's edits in the OpenStreetMap community supersedes yours. In that case, you will need to resolve conflicts.

Back to: Documentation

Last edited Sep 7, 2012 at 5:06 PM by eggwhites, version 6


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