OpenSnowMap donation drive winter 2020/2021 ! is around for a few years now. The map tiles are viewed by tens of thousand of visitors each month.

Although not bleeding edge technology, I think it’s a good thing to have it around in the Openstreetmap ecosystem, along with others like Thunderforest outdoors,, and others.

The server has cost of around 1300Euros per year. The budget balance depends from donations for one part, the rest coming from my pocket.

Details on this page shows outstanding donation in 2016, 2017 (sharing work done on the map contours and hillshading were granted by generous gift from mapping companies) and 2019 (sharing the complete map with a heavy user behind a cache). Yet, throughout the years, only a very small amount is also collected from individuals.

I want to help !

For this 2020/2021 winter season, I decided to explicitly ask here for recurring donations in order to sustain the website without relying on an occasional windfall, and also to give you the occasion to show your support.

You can do this with paypal via the donation page or contact me via email found there to do a wire transfer.

You won’t avoid Paypal or your bank fees, nor have a tax refund: we are talking about ski here, OpenSnowMap certainly don’t claims to be an NGO or charity organization of some kind.

What you get ?

Now what do you get that is not already available? First, all my love, the satisfaction to show your support to a map you like, and assist its goal to propose a nice rendering of ski pistes in order to attract new contributors completing the map. But with a new year starting, here are a few resolutions I consider:

  • Discuss with the OSMF the trademark licence for “opensnowmap” name and domain (long overdue)
  • Add a few README and CONTRIBUTING to the github repositories to help people willing to help.
  • If the recurring donation allows it, add a fallback mirror 4TB SSD for the database.
  • And of course voluntarily maintain the service for the years to come.

A word on resources sharing

OpenSnowMap server is rented at Hetzner for 113.88 euros per month.

It serves the map can be seen at, of course, but also on a few other websites.

The piste-only tile overlay is open to all websites and Apps. On the contrary the topo ‘base snow map’ use is restricted to ensure a good quality of service. Its use is granted to a few websites dedicated to winter sports and run by enthusiasts. The only heavy user is, they manage a good exposition to our map while heavily caching the tiles themselves, and supported the server upgrade in 2019.

Discussion is always open to grant access if your project can helps ski mapping in OpenStreetMap awareness from potential contributors and/or technical or financial help to support load beyond 50’000 tiles per day.

Sincerely yours, Yves

New server is being deployed – URL change

Dear users, A generous donation accelerated the deployment of on a more powerful server. No big changes, except a faster rendering and the possibility to serve more tiles. This will help in following the increasing number of requests for ski maps.

Many thanks to the team at !

Part of the map requests are already handled by this new server, so you may experience a longer load time while the tile cache is building up.

If you are using the ski map tiles on your own website, please use the url, tile servingfrom will soon be deprecated. Also, heavy users (> 50’000 tiles per day) are requested to access the tiles via their own cache.

Keep an eye on map changes

Some of you may already use the daily and weekly change view of to check for changes on the ski pistes they mapped.
Today, this view have been improved and now gives more information about the actual change. Is this a way, a relation deleted, a simple node moved? A new processing associated with a detailed legend will help to better understand thechanges and maybe spot errors.

See, yesterday apparently someone seems to have refined a nicely mapped skating ring.

This view coupled with the  button will allow you to find more information about the modified element. It is still a bit frustrating not to be able to check on deleted elements, I will try to add daily and weekly .html change list to allow this.

In practice, each night, the pistes of the OpenStreetMap database at 00:00GMT are compared to the pistes that were there the day and the week before. Geometries are simplified in order not to display to much information.

Pistes de fond dans le jura: ce qui reste à mapper

L’Espace NordiqueJurassien partage le tracé des pistes de ski de fond depuis l’espace pro de sa carte interactive (carte dispo ici ).

Ces tracés sont d’origines diverses, et il ne fait pas sens de les copier dans OpenStreetMap. Cependant,cela permet une comparaison, et on peut voir ainsi que près de la moitié des pistes de ski de fond du Jura français ne sont pas mappés dans OSM ! Sans surprise, les coins les plus courus et les plus enneigés sont mieux cartographiés que les autres.

J’en ai fait une carte qui permet de savoir ou poser vos skis cet hiver pour compléter, c’est ici: et EspaceNordique Jurassien: Pistes de ski nordiques manquantes dans le Jura

Parmi les sites les plus mal servis, on trouve:

  • Belleydoux
  • Bolandoz
  • Chaux des Prés
  • Frasne
  • Le Haut Saugeais Blanc – Hauterive La Fresse
  • La Malmaison
  • La Combe Saint Pierre
  • Le Lac des Rouges Truites
  • Les Combes Dernier
  • Les Crozets
  • Les Granges Dessus
  • Longchaumois
  • Le Meix Mussy
  • Menthières
  • Nods
  • Saint Laurent en Grandvaux
  • Val de Vennes

Je vous souhaite bien du plaisir à découvrir ces sites lorsque la neige seraen quantité suffisante !

New piste preset for iD

I made some modification in the ski piste presets for the iD editor. This is mainly intended to differentiate the meaning of piste:grooming and piste:difficulty tags depending on the type of piste(downhill, nordic, hike, etc …).

Descriptions are according to the wiki, which is rather stable for years.

Maybe some want to give it a try here to see if everything looks fine: iD master preview.

Comparison of and OpenStreetMap data

I have ask myself for some time now how I could have an estimation of the completeness of OpenStreetMap when it comes to ski pistes. I’m certain that with our more than 100’000 km ofpistes, downhill and cross-country combined, we are the biggest global skipistes database of this type, but what exactly remains to map? I needed something to compare to.

There is this great site called where contributors can upload scans and photos of ski maps from their favorite ski area. They have more than 3000 skiareas listed. These ski areas location are crowd-sourced by their contributors, and offers an open API. So I can certainly find a way to compare this with OpenStreetMap data, no ? Yes, so I did. And many thanks to Russel for making !

The comparison goes both ways, first there is a long list called Pistes missing from

Then we have a map showing Ski areasmissing in

It’s not perfect, because there are OSM ways on one side that are not really(or rarely) grouped as ‘ski resorts’ and single points on the other side. So of course in some case the distance threshold chosen (5km) is maybe not the best, and in some case ski area localization could be improved.

OpenStreetMap ‘ski areas’

No, they are not built-in in the OSM database. There is the tag ‘landuse=wintersports’ to tag ski resorts, but it is seldom used. The rejected relation proposal ‘site=piste’ attracts even less contributions.

So for this comparison they are build in a database like this :

The pistes from OSM are buffered by 500m, then glued in big polygons. Very big polygons (>30km) are split in equal size rectangular chunks ranging from 20km to 40km. This is a bit arbitrary but allows to more or less efficiently separate interconnected ski areas.

In the end, this gives >3500 downhill ski areas, and the same number ofnordic skiing areas.

What have I found ?

First a really good news : both projects contributors can still have alot of fun contributing for a while. excels in the USA, and is better in Europe.

At first glance around 800 ski areas can be found in but not in OpenStreetMap. For, a lot of small and micro downhill resorts are missing (apparently > 1500). For nordic skiing, it’s really worse, but it’s not really the target audience I guess.

Also, OSM seems more complete when it comes to lifts (aerialways) than for ski pistes themselves. I would risk an explanation here. There is a lot of gondolas enthusiasts (,,, …), and I suspect people are mapping lifts systematically. Armchair mapping is also possible for aerialways on the contrary to ski pistes.

How does it helps ?

Both project’s data have open license, but not compatible (CC-BY-SA vsOdBL). So each can be used for the other as an inspiration, but not as a direct data source. Needless to say ski maps uploaded at are for the vast majority copyrighted and not to be used for mapping at OSM.

For contributors, they can use the map produced to spot a ski area in OSM, investigate on the web and find documentation of interest for the project. For OSM contributors, well, as usual : find a place with ski pistes to map, take a train ticket, your gear and GPS, and go !

More also have some more information about its ski areas, for example if they are closed. This could be used to spot places in OSM where some map curating is needed. Also, I spotted on the maps some isolated pistes in OSM that looks strange. In short, some idea for ski-related QA in OSM.

Copyright notice

OpenStreetMap® is open data, licensed under the Open Data Commons OpenDatabase License (ODbL) by the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF). by is licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.