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  • Noah Rogers, Pennsylvania State University

MapRoulette: What It Is And How To Use

MapRoulette is an application for OpenStreetMap(OSM) that provides microtasks to users to complete in a short amount of time, mostly under 5 minutes. Tasks are grouped into larger challenges that are completed by the community. After signing in with your OSM account, you can select a task from a large number of available listings, such as

“Missing roads in Niagara, Ontario,” “Utility Poles in Makali,” or “Reservoir Nodes in

US Mid Atlantic.” Once selected, you are given instructions that explain the task in

more detail as well as options to choose which editor to map in, such as RapiD, iD Editor,

or JOSM.

World map with green bar around the top and left side. Green bar reflects the task options.
MapRoulette Dashboard

Once started, MapRoulette takes you directly into your editor of choice where

you can edit directly onto OSM, where it will register and save your changes as normal.

MapRoulette also incorporates a leaderboard functionality to incentivize users to earn

points and see how they stack up against friends and the rest of the community.

MapRoulette can be used to get new users quickly and easily familiar with mapping

with OSM. It covers all the basic functions of OSM as well as being great practice for

distinguishing different features. The multitude of challenges in different locations also

keeps things interesting, and the size of the tasks does not require a great time

commitment. MapRoulette can be used by chapters to incentivize members, keep them

mapping, and keep things fun. It bridges the gap between serious mapping and total

gamification, making completing challenges and providing GIS data entertaining and


To understand more about MapRoulette, techniques for mapping, challenges, and how it is integrated within the larger OSM community, check out They have plenty of documentation and in-depth tutorials on different topics that are extremely useful.

Noah Rogers is a rising senior at Penn State studying Geography with focuses in Landscape Ecology and Global Environmental Systems as well as an Information Sciences minor. From Manahawkin, NJ, Noah enjoys spending time on the beach and in the water, surfing, swimming, and enjoying the weather. In the future, he plans to graduate in the spring of 2022 and hopes to pursue research in marine conservation, where he can utilize GIS to protect and preserve the beautiful coastlines of our world. Read his other blog about revitalizing his local chapter here.


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