Chances are you’ve already got a favorite street mapping site; and most of those work just fine for common needs, like directions and so forth. But what if you have a mapping project that needs raw map data? Then things get a little more complicated…and expensive. OpenStreetMap has come to life in the style and spirit of the open-source Wiki community. The goal: enable a community of empowered users to build a comprehensive street map database, with the resulting source data also freely available. How does it work? Well, if you just need to grab a quick map simply use the search bar just as you would on any other site. To contribute street data, grab a GPS device and hit the road. After doing a little exploring out in the real world return to OpenStreetMap and upload your ‘GPS trace.’ It’s pretty neat to check in and see the street data steadily expanding, and a fun way to contribute – especially if you’re already tooling around with GPS anyway.
As of this writing, supportable export formats include XML, Mapnik, Osmarender Image, and Embeddable HTML.