How to Map Trails In Four Easy Steps

You can map a trail in less than five minutes in four steps:

  1. Sign Up for an OpenStreetMap account.
  2. Trace a line representing a trail using satellite imagery, Strava Heat Map, or GPS traces.
  3. Tag the trail with a name and for the types activities permitted.
  4. Save your edits to OpenStreetMap.

First, sign up for an OpenStreetMap account

Sign up for an OpenStreetMap account here. It's easy and pain-free.

OpenStreetMap Signup

Second, trace a trail line

The first mapping step is to draw a line representating a trail.

  1. Go to our Traildock iD editor.
  2. Browse to an area of the map you'd like to map a trail and select the line tool.
  3. Use satellite imagery and/or or Strava Heat Map and/or GPS traces to trace your trail.
  4. Use the Slide Tool to align the trail to the Strava Heat map.

Third, tag the trail

Tags tell computer servers how to style trails on a map. They consist of a key and value pair that describe the trail line. The iD editor automatically tags trails for you behind the scenes as you mash buttons, but it is helpful know what's happening. For a trail to appear in a map, it only only needs one tag: highway = path. But while you're at it, you might as well give it a name, if known.

Check out this document for more info on how to tag for trails specifically.

Follow the links below for detailed instructions about how to map trails.

Fourth, save your edits to OpenStreetmap

Make your edits visible on all maps that use OpenStreetMap data by saving your edits.

  1. Click white Save button.
  2. Write a Changeset comment that describes your contribution so other mappers will know your intention.
  3. Click the blue Save button to upload your contributions so that your changes will be visible on all maps that use OpenStreetMap data.