In this module we will learn step-by-step how to download and install JOSM, the Java OpenStreetMap editor. We will change some of the settings in JOSM to make it easier to use. Then we will open a sample map and learn some of the basic operations of the software. Remember in Module 1 when we asked you to draw a map of your town or village? We will conclude this module by drawing your map again, this time digitally. After this you should have a good understanding of how to draw maps in JOSM.
There is a copy of JOSM in the software/ folder of the package that accompanies this course. If you don’t have this or would like the most up-to-date version, follow the instructions here. Otherwise skip ahead to 2. Installing JOSM.
The website should look something like this:
When JOSM starts, it will look something like this:
Before we begin using JOSM, it’s a good idea to change some of the settings so that it will be easier to use. To change the settings, go to Edit ‣ Preferences.
This may be unnecessary if Bing Imagery is already activated in your copy of JOSM.
In order to use satellite imagery while making our maps, we must make sure that it is enabled in the JOSM settings.
We will be using presets so that we can add special data to OSM. Don’t worry if this is unclear right now - we will learn more about presets as we go along.
Plugins provide extra functionality for specific purposes. JOSM has many plugins that can be downloaded. To install a plugin follow these steps:
Skim through the list to see what sort of additional features are available through plugins.
JOSM has been translated into many languages. If it has been translated into your language, you can change it in the Preferences.
Now let’s open up a sample OSM file which we will use to learn the basic ways to draw maps with JOSM. Note that this map is not real, in that it is not a real map of a real place, so we will not save it on OSM.
As you click different objects on the sample map, notice that there are three different types of objects on the map. There are points, lines, and shapes. In mapping, shapes are usually called polygons.
Points are a single location, represented by symbols. On this sample map, there are two points, a clothing shop and a market. The clothing shop is represented by a shirt symbol, and the market is represented by a shopping cart.
There are several lines on the map as well, which represent roads. If you look closely you will see that within the lines, there are points as well. These points don’t have any symbols or other information associated with them, but they help to define where the line is located.
Lastly, there are numerous shapes on the sample map, representing different places - a forest, a river, and buildings. A shape generally represents an area, like a field or a building. A shape is exactly like a line - the only difference is that the line begins at the same point where it ends.
Notice that when you select an object, a list appears to the right of the map in a window called Properties. These are known as tags. Tags are information that is tied to a point, line or shape that describes what it is. For now all you need to know is that this information helps describe whether our object is a forest, a river, a building or something else.
Now, let’s practise drawing an object (point, line and shape).
On the left side of JOSM is a column of buttons. Many of these buttons open new panels on the right side that provide more information about the map. The most important buttons are at the top of the column. These buttons change what you can do with your mouse. The top four buttons in this column are the most important. They allow you to: Select, Draw, Zoom in and Delete
Until now, you have been using the Select tool, which looks like this:
Now we know how to draw points, lines and shapes, but we still haven’t defined what they represent. We want to be able to say that our points are shops, schools or something else, and whether our shapes are fields, buildings or something else.
Now let’s draw a map in order to practise the techniques we’ve learned. You may wish to redraw the map that you drew on paper in Module 1.