Understanding the map - OSM-Carto map reading Q&A
2021-07-11, 12:15–13:15 (UTC), Track 2 - Panels and Workshops

Everyone knows the "standard" map style on openstreetmap.org and most also know at least a bit how to read it. But hardly anyone is familiar with everything the map shows. Based on examples from the map submitted by community members this session is going to explain the design of the map and what those things you can see in it mean.


This is going to be an interactive session where participants can submit case examples (in the form of links to specific examples on the map - on the wiki or on a pad) to be discussed. The focus of the discussion will be on explaining the design of the map and what cartographic and technical considerations stand behind it.

The aim is for participants - both newcomers and experienced mappers - to better learn how to read the map, to better understand the cartographic and social challenges of designing a rich, global, real time updated map based on OpenStreetMap data for a truly diverse international and multi-cultural audience and hopefully to get some participants more interested in community map design and to encourage them to either contribute to OSM-Carto or to contribute to or start their own regional or thematic map design projects.

Secondary goal of the session is for OSM-Carto developers to better understand where the map is difficult to read intuitively for the OSM community.

Links for further background information:


Talk keywords

OSMCarto, map, style, community, cartography

Workshop requirements

Anyone can contribute to this session by submitting links to places on the map to be discussed. A wiki page and a pad have been set up to do so. A computer with internet connection to be able to look at the examples will be helpful during the session. No other qualifications or needs to participate.

Christoph Hormann works as a freelance geovisualization designer and engineer and is one of the maintainers of the OSM-Carto project.