Mapbox OpenStreetMap

OpenStreetMap is the free and editable map of the world, created and maintained by a huge international community. Mapbox Streets, our customizable map layer of streets, buildings, and places from all around the world, is powered by open data from OpenStreetMap. Anybody can create an account and start editing on within minutes.

Our data team updates OpenStreetMap based on quality analysis and customer feedback. Our principle is to work in the open, these mapping guides are primarily consolidated and maintained by our data team for various mapping projects and on-boarding new team members.

You are welcome to join one of our open mapping projects over on the issue queue and use these best practice mapping guides. These guides are licensed under Public Domain (CC0), if you would like to contribute or have an feedback on these, please feel free to raise an issue in this repository.

Advanced mapping guide

Mapping guides

Advanced mapping guide


Neighborhood grid

Residential buildings are usually located on a residential or living_street and has access to a road only on one side, and optionally on the backside via a service alleyway. A building with residential roads on multiple sides is a sign of mistaking building shadows for streets. The street grid in an an area will have repeating patterns that make it easy to guess how the roads are laid even if they are obscured by trees. untitled

Using Fast draw plugin

  • Install and use Fast draw plugin (shift + F).
  • Press down arrow to simplify way, up arrow to add more complexity and then Enter.
  • Q to simplify straight segments of roads.
  • Shortcuts to tag each type of road classification Preferences > Customize the icons in the toolbar > Presets > highways/ features that require shortcut > highways/streets > select the road you want to add as shortcut > right click on the shortcut and add a shortcut.

Video Faster draw in JOSM


  • Parallel buildings can be traced using the building tools plugin (B). Select a building and using the tool align subsequent buildings to the first one in one step. untitled

  • You can use the Area extrude tool (x), to quickly add details to the outlines by creating new nodes (double click) and then dragging the faces. untitled

  • Compound buildings To combine overlapping buildings, select both building and click Join overlapping Areas (Shift + J). For several intersecting buildings, use I > Shift+J. Or, use the Auto Tools > Combine LA buildings.


  • In Extrusion mode (X), do Ctrl + Cmd to redraw/reshape buildings for irregularly shaped buildings.

x-ctrl cmd

  • In Extrusion mode (X), add four nodes in a segment, hold the Ctrl + Cmd key, and drag the middle segment to create pyramidal extrusions.

pyramidal buildings

  • Double tap A to draw buildings with irregular sized extrusions. Or create several smaller buildings

double tap a

  • For buildings sharing the same wall, draw buildings (B) and, select intersecting node and click Join Node to a Way (J) or Move Node unto Way (N).

join j

  • To split a single building into two, select two nodes and select Split Object (Alt + X)

alt x_split_buildings1

  • Use Terracer plugin for multiple same shaped buildings sharing the same wall (Shift + T)


  • For circular features, draw the diameter, select the way, and click Tools > Create Circle (Shift + O).

  • Use Resize tool (Ctrl + Alt) to re-size shape.



Individual parking spaces

Draw a box enclosing the parking spaces and use the terracer plugin to create a grid. Replace the default building=yes tag with amenity=parking_space. If you created adjacent grids, you would want to use the validator to automatically merge the overlapping nodes. untitled

Tagging driveway through a building

screen shot 2015-05-28 at 12 40 31 pm

Relevant tagging option for building would be

building=roof and layer=1

Highway road under the roof tagging options


Tagging stadium tracks


Relevant tagging option for Stadium would be

  • trace centerline of track as line (leisure=track;area=no)
  • connect centerlines with surrounding foot paths or streets where possible