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RAD APPS: Open Street Map Project


Open Street Map screenshot
Bear with me because this time around, I’m not talking about just one app—I’m talking about a whole project!

Ever hear of Open Street Maps (OSM)? OSM is a crowd-sourced free maps project that aims to map the world from a human perspective. Unlike Google Maps, Apple Maps, or *Shudder* Bing Maps, which are all proprietary (run and distributed by a sole operative such as a corporation), OSM “is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.” (Source:

Calling OSM a map can be misleading, yet technically correct. On it’s own, OSM is a vast data set that can be used to produce what most of us understand to be ‘maps’; in fact, the OSM project encourages this even for commercial ventures such as the likes of Craigslist and Foursquare, which both use it. What makes OSM so unique however, besides it’s freedom of information, is it’s Wikipedia-styled contribution tools; every point in OSM is editable and able to be fact-checked by anyone.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to add to the project to use OSM. You can simply download one of the variety of apps that display it, such as and OSMAnd+. Where these apps really shine is custom use-cases such as biking or hiking, to which enthusiasts have contributed greatly!

You can learn more about OSM at and

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