A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

Birmingham now completely mapped with the free mapping service Open Street map


Birmingham is one of the first cities to be fully and completely mapped with Open Street Map. Open Street Map is a map build by volunteers and aim to map everything in the whole world, right down to you local shop on the corner of your street.

There are a ton mapping services on the market today which you can use in various forms, but they are not as free as you might think. The one thing that Open Street Map does, is that it makes everything completely free without any restrictions or claims of ownership. Andy Robinson who is involved in the project explains why this is important, and different from Google Maps and the Ordnance Survey map.

It allows people to do innovative and interesting things with raw data. If you g to Google or the Ordnance Survey map, you are looking at the format in which those companies wants to give it to you in. You can’t say, well I would like all the roads to be black or yellow or green or you can’t bring something to the focus.

Mappe Mercia: West Midland in an open format

The Open Street Map is part of a world wide project, a more local extension of that projects is Mappa Mercia. Essentially the same principles applies, but it’s just a little more manageable for people from and around the West Midlands.

Contributing to the map

If you want to contribute to the map, you can add it via the website OpenStreetMap.org, you can simply zoom in to where you want to add something, click the edit button and start adding points and labels.

If you want to be more precise or map large areas, Andy Recommends getting/using a GPS device. But this is more advanced and the one Andy shows in the video below costs around £150.

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