Building a good webmap isn’t just about simply applying colours and typefaces to an off-the-shelf data source. When you truly understand the data, its potential and limitations, you can rethink your source material from the point of view of the map user – resulting in clearer, simpler, and more appealing maps.
As a data source, OpenStreetMap has transformed webmapping – but generally through its cost-free nature and global coverage. Most webmaps built on OSM data only use a small fraction of the data contained therein. Even those maps which select a wider range of features rarely apply much filtering or other processing to the raw OSM data, too often resulting in inconsistent and (frankly) ugly maps.
As one of OpenStreetMap’s first contributors in 2004, author/maintainer of its online editing software for many years, and an OpenStreetMap Foundation board member on two occasions, I’m fully conversant with the opportunities and challenges of OSM data. (I was honoured to be given the Ulf Möller Award in 2018 for contributions to OpenStreetMap.) These maps showcase what you can do by applying a more imaginative take to the core OSM dataset.