openstreetmap gps coverage

OpenStreetMap recently made a bulk dump of GPS points available as a massive 55Gb csv file.


This heatmap shows a random sample of 1% of the points and their distribution, to show where GPS is used to upload data to the map. There are just short of 2.8 billion points, so the sample is nearly 28 million points. Red cells have the most points, blue cells have the fewest.


Points were given a geohash, and the first 3 characters of the geohash were used to bin the points into a regular grid.


Using a couple of python scripts, and tidied up the SVG in Inkscape. Geohashing code here.


You can see some interesting patterns:

- some europe-carribean flights/boat journeys

- flights from US west coast to NZ

- a hotspot over Germany, UK and central/eastern Europe

- an odd delineated band between 30N and 30S in the oceans - this may be a result of the sampling


Data copyright OpenStreetMap and its contributors, CC-BY-SA.



  • Steven Lee 3y

    Fascinating. Excellent work!
  • abstractartangel77 3y

    Wow - this is clever!
  • JamesRoseUK 3y

    Nice... love the tech side and the finished visual.
  • TheVRChris 3y

    Very interesting...Central Europe always gets a hotspot in similar visualizations...Kind of looks like the centre of the world.
  • Steven Kay 3y

    TheVRChris yeah, last time I saw something similar - a couple of years ago - Germany was the clear leader, at least in terms of map detail - but as this analysis shows Russia has overtaken it to first place.

    I'm intrigued by the band of noise(?) around the equator, visible in the ocean areas. I originally thought it was 30N to 30S, but I think it's the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn instead, Can anyone explain this?
  • TheVRChris 3y

    I didn't notice that until you mentioned it. It seems something worth looking into...maybe it has to do with the GPS signal, noise or errors produced in a global scale...
  • Steven Kay 3y

    Update: Have produced a version which adjusts for population
    OpenStreetMap GPS points adjusted for population by stevefaeembra
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Taken on April 6, 2012
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