OpenStreetMap is continually being created by a band of worldwide citizen cartographers that have been mapping the world since 2004. Billing itself as "The Free Wiki World Map," the open mapping platform has mapped data on more than 78 million buildings and 21 million miles of roadway. To put it in perspective, driving all those roads at 60 miles an hour would take a person 40 years to complete.
According to the OpenStreetMap 2013 Data Report, more than a million people have contributed to the effort. In a true sign egalitarian creation, 83.6 percent of changes throughout the entire database have been made by 99.9 percent of contributors.
"Now we are no longer just focusing on the map, we add the User Interface," she explained. "Each time we design an interactive map, we are not only educating the audience on the topic of the map, but also how to navigate that map -- how to use the tools to discover new information," said Tanya Buckingham, assistant director of University of Wisconsin's Cartography Lab, says today's maps tell a more complex story.
"What's amazing about mapping today is not artistry and craftsmanship like we admire from past eras -- although there are plenty of examples of beautiful and all-around high quality modern maps out there -- but rather the accessibility of mapping," Woodruff said. "Not only are maps of almost everything literally in the pockets of millions of people all the time on smart phones, but also making maps and contributing to map data is now something that almost anyone can do, thanks to more user-friendly technology and undertakings like OpenStreetMap."
Included in the 2013 report are stunning visuals, of cities across the globe that illustrate the growth of OpenStreetMap, shown through a progression of updated roads. In the map of London above, the earliest mapped streets are shown in green and blue, while the most recent ones are light pink.