Thunderforest and OpenStreetMap

Thunderforest uses OpenStreetMap for almost all of our map data. We take the raw OSM data, and process it into our spatial databases, which we then use for creating our maps.

The processing involves selecting features we are interested in (many of them!) and also converting some OpenStreetMap concepts like route relations into geometries that we can then show.

We also continuously process all the updates to OpenStreetMap. Our maps show all the new updates within a few hours of the mappers adding them to OSM.

Why do we use OpenStreetMap?

We use OpenStreetMap because it has global coverage, it has incredible amounts of detail, and because it’s being constantly updated by tens of thousands of volunteers.

Any other data source would be either outdated, or only for one region, or contain only a subset of the data of OpenStreetMap.

Company founder Andy Allan was also a volunteer mapper for OpenStreetMap before he started creating maps, so it’s also important to him to create maps for contributors that show all of their efforts in the best light.

Read more about Thunderforest and our open source work.

What value do we add to OpenStreetMap?

We provide careful curation of the data, to highlight the useful information added by mappers that might otherwise be overlooked.

The Thunderforest Transport Dark map, based on OpenStreetMap data

There’s a lot of detail that seems simple at first glance, for example “show all the roads”. However, there are many different road types in OpenStreetMap. Some are rarely used, but missing one out from your map would leave it incomplete.

We also take data from OpenStreetMap to create specialised activity maps, which are ideal for hiking, skiing, travelling or urban adventuring.

We have the experience to know how to take the raw data, pick out what is important, and make sure our maps are thoughtful, helpful and approachable for end users.

Integrate our maps with your apps and website for free.

Upgrade to a paid account when you have tested them out.