OHM & social media - what could/should we be doing & anyone want to help?

Hi all -

Not sure of what your thoughts are about social media, but it’s definitely a way to spread the word about what we’re up to. And… I’m doing a pretty poor job of it.

So, do any of you have any interest in helping out or spreading the word about OHM when you’re not busy mapping?

Our primary platform of choice is Mastodon, but our followership there is much lower than it was on Twitter. Still building up.

We have some limited, loose guidelines about what to post, but the right person would be able to define strategy and help define our presence through online communications.

So, let us know what you think, how we could improve, and especially - who might be good at helping out!

Kind regards,


Hi Jeff,
I just made a comment on the github issue around start dates that is relevant - Change the default start date in the time slider to something farther back in time! · Issue #647 · OpenHistoricalMap/issues · GitHub

This doesn’t address your question of how/who to spread the word on social media, more to do with why I don’t.

In summary the time slider could be made simpler so as not to scare off casual users, but also, as most social media is done via phones, the usability of the OHM interface is not very friendly on a phone. The time slider control takes up way too much of the screen. I am reluctant to share my work this way because I know it won’t be a great experience.


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Some ideas for promotion of OHM on the Internet:




  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? (FAQ)
  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects


  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects


  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? How can it be used fo Digital Humanities? (FAQ)


  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? (FAQ)
  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects


  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? How could it be used fo Archaeology? (FAQ)

Facebook Groups:

Historical Maps

  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? (FAQ)
  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects



  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? (FAQ)
  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects

History Stack Exchange

  • Introduction Post: What is OpenHistoricalMap?, How Can You Get Involved? (FAQ)
  • Historical Map Showcase Post: Screenshots or links to interesting historical mapping projects

OpenStreetMap Forums (https://www.openstreetmap.org/communities)

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@Benjamin_K - first of all - welcome to the Forum & thanks both for your comment here as well as in the chat.

I love these ideas. I’ve been limiting myself to a few posts here and there, typically responding with a) a preemptive apology for spamming about a personal project, and then b) showing how whatever map is in the original post can be depicted on OHM. Examples on Facebook, Twitter… wait… I’m embarrassed to say that I couldn’t find any good examples there. I did find this post, which reminds me that I have to finish a doc, but I digress…

While we could do what I suggest above, I think your approach is more direct and would be more helpful.

Any interest in taking a lead on these, or know anyone else who might be?

I think your post on Twitter is good and interesting. I just wanted to emphasize that we could use more different platforms to target a broader audience. Like specificaly map related or history related communties.

@jeffmeyer For a start i thought of we could make a post to r/Digital History? A rather niche subreddit. However the interests might be the same? I started drafting something like:

":mag: Are you fascinated by history and eager to explore free online resources? OpenHistoricalMap (OHM) might just be the perfect discovery for you!

OHM is a collaborative open-source project built upon OpenStreetMap (OSM), featuring a unique time slider tool. This feature allows users to seamlessly explore the evolution of history over time in an interactive manner.

:earth_africa:Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a researcher, or simply curious about the past, OHM is an opportunity to digitize your findings, contributing to the preservation and accessibility of history​:scroll:.

Visit our Wiki Site to discover how you can contribute to the project, regardless of your expertise level!

[Explore OHM Now!] (Link to OHM Wiki)

:arrow_right: Not sure where to begin? Explore our ongoing projects and start historical mapping!

:question:Questions? Learn more about OHM on our FAQ page.

Eager to connect with fellow history buffs or you want to contribute to the community?

:arrow_right:Join our Discord and Forum and engage in discussions!:speech_balloon:

If you find OpenHistoricalMap fascinating and valuable, don’t hesitate to share it with others who might also be interested in exploring and contributing to the project!:globe_with_meridians:

Please be aware OpenHistoricalMap is under development, with ongoing improvements and updates being made to enhance the project. We are sending this message to support and strengthen the growing OpenHistoricalMap community. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s support and valuable contributions!:seedling:"

Please let me know of improvements and if this is usable in any form?

@jeffmeyer I made some memes!


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OHM doesn’t exactly have its own Discord community. Only a channel in OSM World.
@admins Is Discourse Chat Integration - plugin - Discourse Meta enabled? It can send messages over to Discord and Slack. (Oh fine, I misunderstood it. Doesn’t work in Discourse chat.)

I suppose the official website is still more or less similar to OSM, mainly for user debugging. End products can be visualized from the data, or simply make your own “timelapse” animation by screenshot or screencap.

That’s how I personally think of the site, but mainly because it’s early days and users have no choice but to tolerate rough edges. Others understandably desire more user-friendliness, since there’s currently no alternative frontend to point a layperson to. In time, who knows whether there will be a vibrant ecosystem of data consumers like with OSM, or whether the main OHM website will become more of a destination site, similar to Wikipedia. Either way, we have a lot of room for improvement even just to meet the day-to-day needs of mappers.

In the much ignored “share” button on the right, I noticed there is the same “Only the standard layer can be exported as an image” indication as in OSM. While it might be broken or underused in OSM, I hope it can become a start for a simple SVG export in OHM. It’s something that can’t be done by a user screenshot. In turns, built-in screenshot and screencap functionality can be built up there.

Actually, it’s worse than that, since the Standard layer requires a custom OSM service that isn’t part of the Rails port and therefore isn’t available on openhistoricalmap.org:

I think an animated GIF or APNG export would be quite feasible:

And I agree, this functionality would be quite relevant to any social media strategy for the project.

Mapping example for Hotel Esplanade in Berlin.
Could we post similiar microhistory content to Social Media?

I used the so called Straubeplan (TMS) (CC0) to trace the first geometry. For the second geometry I used a Floor Plan from the Architekturmuseum of the TU Berlin (CC0). Through the PicLayer Extension i was able to lay the floor plan over the Straubeplan. Getting the time infos for the Building extension here. After that i added the start_date and end_date tags and added both relations to a chronology relation.

Hotel Esplanade (1908 - 1912)

Link to Hotel Esplanade in 1909, 1912

Following some context to Hotel Esplanade:

The hotel was built from 1907 to 1908 after the plans of the architect Otto Rehnig. The hotel was one of the famoust in Berlin during the roaring 20s. During World War II it became a bombed-out ruin. Some ruins where later transferred/incorporated into the so called Sony Center. See here.


Hey there, I’m Alex; brand new to OpenHistoricalMaps but have found the learning curve fairly gentle. I’ll save my gripes about the web editor UI and wiki usability. ; )

I don’t have strong opinions on what should be done, being so new, but I am testing OHM as a platform for the fans of a particular show on Mexican history. There is a podcast in Spanish: “La Verdadera Historia de Mexico”, which has now a rich library of podcasts and is an amazing resource of knowledge, I sent an email showing them a prototype map to see if they like the idea / and if they know fans that want / do some thing similar.

I meandered into uMap yesterday as a quick and dirty place to show the key events in one of the episodes and was largely impressed by its simplicity and intuitiveness. Then I found this Library of Congress which was sort of what I wanted to do, but still wanted more richness
Tragic Ten Days Interactive Map - The Mexican Revolution and the United States | Exhibitions - Library of Congress with captions, archival image popups! Never satisfied, alas!

Today I managed to use Map Warper to take a Lib of Congress map and make a baselayer of it to put on uMap.

There on my uMap:

I stored various events as points with labels, popups, tags, and explanatory icons about the building or movement of people.
Layers can help separate the days e.g. that comprise the 10 days of political maneuvering, violence and chaos, called the “Decena Trágica”, a pivotal turning point in the Mexican Revolution, precipitated by people who wanted (more) money and power.

Today I added a building called “La ciudadela” in OHM where lots of stuff went down. Not yet done!

My question after all this is: should I plug my source data from the podcast info into OHM to continue building on it with the show fans, ideally?

Publishing clear workflows and prescriptions for the use case / historical themes, and demo visualization options would be great!. Then, that takes pressure off OHM being the one stop shop for data and visualization.

My pending question as newb user: With all the data I might have in this podcast, how can I programmatically prep all of it for easy entry / verification? How can I organize this data by themes and allow others to check it? These are some of my questions, I think you gurus have some tips on or might be good material for socials! Hope to meet some of you at OSM conf in a week! Also, check out Viz for Social Good ~I like their format of soliciting ideas from NGOs and having the masses take a hack at visualization ideas for the statistical data they offer.


Very cool, thanks for considering OHM and sharing your experiment with us!

uMap would be a great option for helping users create storymaps about history, as an alternative to proprietary platforms like ArcGIS StoryMaps or Google My Maps. Maybe they’d be open to adding OHM as an alternative basemap, for maps that need to synthesize multiple sources rather than a specific scanned historical map:

When you don’t need to bring in external data sources beyond what’s in OHM, Overpass Ultra can be a useful tool for one-off visualizations. We’re currently at the stage where people might need to build their own experiences to some extent. Hopefully the need to do that will diminish over time, as we see more OHM-powered sites crop up that we can point to as examples.

Certainly, anything geographically relevant would be wonderful to have in OHM. Since you have lots of other information about people and events, Wikipedia and Wikidata could also be useful. Our site integrates with both sites to some extent, but since you need to annotate places with more specific contextual information, a site like uMap would be especially helpful.

If you have data in a machine-readable format like GeoJSON, then JOSM should be able to convert it to OSM format. However, you’d still need to massage the data quite a bit to match OHM’s standard tags. It might be easier to map the information by hand. If you need to coordinate this effort with the podcast’s listeners, for example to have them review your dates and locations for accuracy, you could use the notes feature or share a spreadsheet with them. In the future, we hope to set up MapRoulette as an alternative to spreadsheets for reviewing imported data.

I look forward to chatting more with you about these topics at State of the Map U.S.!


First of all, welcome to OHM, @alexhisto and thank you for such a creative and thought-provoking post. Following up on @Minh_Nguyen’s great and helpful answers, I’d like to add my enthusiastic and emotional responses! : )

Yes! (Yes, please!!)

Yes, this would be a huge help. There are things we would love to do with the data - and that OHM data enables - that our container (the OSM-based website) currently just isn’t good at and probably will not be good at without a lot of very heavy lifting. So… having other sites in the ecosystem for visualization is fantastic! Thank you for your illustration with uMap.

In addition to Minh’s comments and questions above, I’m wondering what the definition of “easy” is for entry or verification? We could certainly set up a Tasking Manager project like this for validation, but even that might be more difficult than you had in mind.

That might be a matter of editorial discretion and creative tagging. What are some themes you have in mind? I bet the OHM community might have some ideas for how to best organize it. To me, everything like this looks like a nail and my hammer is “make up a tag,” but there are limits and caveats to that approach. (or, so I’m told! :wink: )

See you in Salt Lake City!!

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There have been a few Reddit posts about OHM so far, but I think they’ve all been in mapping-related subreddits, such as r/OpenStreetMap, r/MapPorn, and of course r/OpenHistoricalMap. What if we start tooting our horn in more history-centric subreddits as we start having things to show them? People really get into many aspects of history, some obscure, that can be enriched through historical GIS:

And not only these thematic subreddits but also local geographical ones too:

City-Subreddits with related mapping on OHM:

I made this a wiki post so we can make a list of relevant subreddits and eye-popping mapping that we have to share with them.

What about Facebook Groups as an example: