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OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative open-source project, which involves hundreds of thousands of volunteers in mapping the world. It was founded by Steve Coast in 2004 and is now managed by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation supported by donations.OpenStreetMap is an online digital map of the world, which is available to view online in many different formats and also to download. Rather than relying on one company to provide data, anyone and everyone can contribute to the OpenStreetMap project. The data is collected from various sources, such as survey results, aerial photographs, and GPS traces and is continually updated with new information.
The basic idea behind OpenStreetMap is to have a shared free map, which provides open access to geographical data. The data is updated by members of the community to ensure accuracy and completeness and it is free for everyone to use for any purpose. OpenStreetMap is used for routing, scientific mapping, gaming and much more.
The project began with volunteers mapping the United Kingdom, and has since grown to include many countries in Europe and North America. It has now been applied to other parts of the world, including the Middle East, Latin America and some parts of Africa.
The project has grown significantly over the years, enabling people to map their local areas, plan trips and to create navigable maps of cities, regions and countries. It is also used by businesses as a data source to improve their services and by governments to improve disaster response. OpenStreetMap has had a major impact on the world of geographic mapping. In addition to being used by world governments, companies, and individuals, it has become popular amongst app developers, who use it to build navigation applications and online maps.