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OpenStreetMap: Find Your Way In The Foreign City Like a Local

Have you ever found yourself struggling with hand gestures when asking for directions? At least once, but that has happened to all of us. 

As fun as it might be, getting lost all the time could get really frustrating. When you always take the wrong street, the wrong metro line or cannot make a reservation on time. 

Before the concept of digital maps came along, it was a struggle to commute with ease in a foreign city. Yes, there were the good old paper maps that conveniently folded into a small square. But let’s all agree, it wasn’t of much use, all it got you was a headache after squinting your eyes too long.

After frantically finishing all your college assignments, the last thing you want is to stress over your travel plans. Technology comes as a savior here also. The emergence of smartphones, GPS, and maps have transformed the way we travel. Now, it’s easier to plan a trip and move across destinations than ever.

There is no more hesitation in choosing a location, or finding how far your hotel is going to be. Forget about the awkward conversations with locals on where to find a cheeseburger. As 85% of travelers use their phones to make travel plans, it is only convenient to switch to your device for figuring out a direction too. 

With OpenStreetMap, you can now enjoy a foreign city with the confidence of a local.

OpenStreetMap can Guide you, Both Online and Offline

Many a time, users are concerned about internet availability while traveling abroad. You are most likely to get a local sim or rely on the public wifi available. Even then, there would be times when the internet stops functioning randomly. Using OpenStreetMap, you can now access the map of any area you want, regardless of poor internet service. It even works underground.

You can minimize your roaming and internet fees while traveling abroad this way. All you have to do is download the area you want beforehand. For the old-school map lovers, you can even export the area you want and print it out. 

Use Map Overlay to Explore

Want to know the best places to visit or the best restaurants in a particular location? Now OpenStreetMap comes with the map overlay feature. You can choose what points of interest you want to see. Filter through the accommodations, sightseeing, stores, transport, emergency and many more. 

You can turn this on and off whenever you need it. You can also select which ones you want to hide and which ones should appear.

Use Map in Your Local Language in Any Foreign City

With the map internationalization feature, OpenStreetMap opens out to a default local or official language in every part of the world. However, the names of places and other elements can be translated into the user’s language. The map tiles would overlay with the transparent image tiles with text in different languages. This way, multilingual names of different places are also available.

Apart from localization, there are other software applications and frameworks that are based on OpenStreetMap. They enable users to experience the map in their preferred language. 

Tag Your Favorite Locations

Many travelers find it easy to plan travel itineraries using OpenStreetMaps. Search the places you want to go, and then mark them. This way, you can easily set directions even when you are offline. These map markers prove extremely useful, especially if you want to save the location to come back later. You can also use the “search nearby” option to find out places near any point of interest. 

Customize it How You Want 

Out of the hundreds of features this map allows, users are also given the control to decide how they want the map to appear. You can choose between half a dozen map styles, map modes, magnifiers, and other details to tailor to your preferences. 

Why Choose OpenStreetMap

In simple words, OpenStreetMap is a free and modifiable map. It has many similarities and differences compared to other popular maps, the biggest being the term “open approach” in how the data is collected and used. Users are not bound by any terms of service while using the OpenStreetMap.

The thought behind OpenStreetMap comes from the ideology behind it, rather than the convenience. That said, there is no less convenience, only a more significant advantage in using open-source maps. Commercial maps include data that comes with infringement policies preventing copying and usage by others. While this may sound justified, it is not as simple as defying copyright policies.

This geodata is not accessible in free forms in many parts of the world. The task of mapping is handed over to governmental agencies, who would sell it back to the citizens and make money. If you belong to one of those countries, you will have to pay taxes and pay again whenever you want to download it. 

This practice is what OpenStreetMap intends to change. The building of this editable map is a continuous process, performed by volunteers across the world from scratch and issued with an open-content license. 

The team at OpenStreetMap is continually working to make travel experiences the most leisurely for all its users. Though in beta mode, OpenStreetMap is also planning to include downloadable travel guides for users to access quickly while using the map itself.

More upgrades are to follow and, in the meantime, enjoy fantastic vacations without the worry of losing your way.

Phil Collins is a professional writer with more than five years of experience working at His primary specialization is English and History, but he writes on a great number of other topics. His texts are always of the best quality and meet all the citation (APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago) and customer requirements. In his free time, he loves writing occasional pieces on topics he finds interesting and exciting for online publishers.

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