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7.07.2009 | Jochen Topf

The OpenStreetMap community has collected an awesome amount of data. There are many places around the world where the map shows incredible detail and we come back again and again to those places when we are showing people what OSM has accomplished. But we always had to remember where all those great places are. So we created the new web site where we have put markers on the map showing all those great places. You can click on any of those markers and see a popup with information about the place. If you click on the thumbnail in those popups, the map will zoom to the place and even switch the base map to the one showing the best view of this feature.

We hope that this map can work as a sort of showcase for OSM. A place you can send your grandma to if you want to show her the power of OSM.  We intend to keep adding to this map and we’d love to hear what your favourite places are.

We have four kinds of entries: Places mapped with details above and beyond the call of duty are shown with a yellow star. A magnifying glass is shown for places that have played some role in OSM history (like the Isle of Wight where the first mapping party took place). Importing data from other data sources becomes more and more important for OSM. So we show some of those places with an arrow symbol. And finally there are just some interesting places around the world that OSM has good maps for which we show with an “earth” icon.

The slippy map was created with OpenLayers, you are familiar with it from other OSM sites. The base maps are the standard OSM base maps (Mapnik, Tiles@Home), the ever popular OpenCycleMap, plus the Public Transport map from ö (the last currently only has data for Europe). The data for the four icon overlays comes from four KML files (they are linked at the bottom of the page). Its pretty easy to tell OpenLayers to load KML files and make the content into icons and popups. We added some special XML elements to the KML files. They tell the application which base map and which zoom to switch to when you click on the thumbnail images. Other applications reading the KML files will just ignore those special elements.

As OSM itself, the KML overlays come under CC-BY-SA, you are welcome to take them, add them to your own website, or do other things with it. You are also welcome to take ideas and code from our Javascript files. For faster access all Javascript is minified, but if you remove the “-minified” from the names of the Javascript files, you’ll get the non-minified versions.

The site currently doesn’t work in Internet Explorer, but we didn’t want to delay the release until we have the time to debug it. If you have any idea how to fix the OpenLayers KML support for IE, please shout.