OSM, or OpenStreetMap, is a collaborative mapping project that aims to create a free and editable map of the world. Unlike traditional map providers that rely on proprietary data, OSM relies on contributions from a global community of volunteers who collect and update geographic information. OSM provides a platform for individuals and organizations to contribute, access, and use map data for various purposes.

The data in OSM is collected through various methods, including GPS devices, aerial imagery, and local knowledge. Contributors can add and edit information such as roads, buildings, landmarks, and points of interest. The data is stored in a structured format, allowing for easy querying and analysis. OSM supports a wide range of tags that describe different features, enabling detailed and accurate mapping.

OSM data can be accessed and used in different ways. The raw data can be downloaded and processed by individuals or organizations to create customized maps or perform spatial analysis. OSM data is also used by developers to build applications that utilize map information, such as navigation systems, location-based services, and geospatial analysis tools. OSM data is available under an open license, allowing for widespread use and sharing.

OSM has become a valuable resource for many industries, including transportation, urban planning, disaster response, and tourism. It provides an alternative to proprietary mapping services, empowering communities and organizations to have access to up-to-date and detailed map data that can be freely used and contributed to.