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Dropping User Information From Our Public Download Server

16.03.2018 | Frederik Ramm

On May 1st this year, we’ll make the following changes to the standard server:

  • all .osm.bz2, .osm.pbf, and .osc.gz files (regional extracts and diffs) will be without user information (no username, uid and changeset fields), and might* have their timestamp fields diluted
  • .osh.pbf files (full history extracts) will cease to be available

The general functioning of the server and all URLs will remain unchanged. We believe that the majority of users of our download server, who use the extracts to populate rendering, routing, or geocoding engines, will not be affected by the changes.

In case you want to double-check if your software supports the files with missing fields, here are sample files for the UK county of Rutland with user data removed: osm.pbf, osm.bz2, osc.gz

If you need more test data, you can generate these files on your own using the latest (unreleased) Osmium Tool and the latest (unreleased) Libosmium library. The following Osmium Tool command removes all metadata except version and timestamp fields from a file:

osmium cat -o without-user-data.osm.pbf --output-format pbf,add_metadata=version+timestamp input.osm.pbf
(and similar for .osm.bz2 or .osc.gz)

At the same time, we will introduce a new service,, which will be like the “old” download service, offering full history files, regional extracts, and diffs with full user information and un-diluted time stamps. This service will be 100% free of charge like the main download server, but will require an OAuth login with the web site and might* also require a click-through user agreement in order to safeguard personal data.

*) Some details are still being worked out.