OpenStreetMap Books: A comparative review

Two instructional OpenStreetMap books
There are two English-language books about OpenStreetMap. Jonathan Bennett’s OpenStreetMap: Be your own Cartographer
from Packt Publishing holds 226 pages of guidance for the someone interested in OpenStreetMap. What bad fortune for author, Jonathan Bennett that his book was released at almost precisely the same time as the 300-plus page behemoth OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World from UIT Cambridge by Frederik Ramm, Jochen Topf and Steve Chilton. At first glance, one might be tempted to dismiss the smaller book out of hand.

Not so fast. The RTC book does cover more material, in greater depth in general, but there are some gems in the Bennett book that are not to be missed. Chapters five and six in the Bennett book are a comprehensive tour through a mapping session for the new OpenStreetMap contributor. The RTC book has a sample mapping session in their chapter five as well. Bennett covers additional material on photo mapping, as well as using sources like Map Features and OSMdoc to aid a new mapper with their task. These key items may help smooth the trip up the OpenStreetmap learning curve for new contributors.

Which OpenStreetMap book is right for you?
Subject Summary Bennett RTC
Learning to map: Bennett introduces key tools for new mappers. 49pp 11pp Bennett++
Pages: RTC is encyclopaedic. 226pp 306pp RTC++
Illustrations: Both books are amply illustrated. RTC includes colour plates 32pp colour RTC++
Recommendation: Very Good! Very Good! Get both!

The RTC book covers more ground. If you are a new OSM contributor, or if you plan to lend your book to new mappers, you need the Bennett book as well. Top notch books for any fan of OpenStreetMap. I recommend them both.

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