How to add fun to your weekend adventures (and contribute to Open Street Map)

Benoit Lamouche
3 min readDec 8, 2023


This article is based on a talk I made for Michelin teams in India, in the context of 15 minutes speech about a non-project-related topic.

Generated with DALL-E AI

Since I have been living in Pune (India), I always heard a lot of great things about the famous Lonavala’s waterfalls during the monsoon.

A few weeks back, we decided (my family and me) to visit one of them (Kataldhar) which is considered one of the best.

After some research on Internet, I only found some light descriptions about the trek to go there, but no official maps and no GPS file to download.

As a mapping nerd, I ended up looking for this trail on Google maps and on Open Street Map.

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Nothing on OSM
Nothing on Google Maps
No visible trail on satelite images

How is it possible? Hundreds of people are going there every year but there is absolutely nothing on different available maps.

It could be so great to add this missing data to the main mapping solutions.

I will show you how to proceed with some easy-to-understand steps.

Step 1 — Record a GPX track of the missing trail

It’s very important because this is the only way to get precise geo-coded data.

No need to have expensive devices, any smartphone with a free application will make it.

An example of recording a GPX file

Few examples : OSMAnd, Strava… will help you to record a GPX track while you walk.

Step 2 — Upload this GPX track on Open Street Map

Once you are done with your activity, upload this file on OSM website. Most of the time it will be processed under a minute.

Step 3 — Update Open Street Map

This is maybe the most technical part, but the web app is very simple to use. It will take few minutes to edit the map and submit your contribution.

Step 4 — Be a local hero

Feel the satisfaction of being a local legend next time you will open your favorite mapping application and see the update live and available to everyone!

The updated map on OSM !!!

After a few hours/weeks your update will be available for most of the famous mapping applications. Starting from now, anyone who wants to visit the waterfall will find the exact route in his application.

If you want a more detailed step-by-step tutorial, you can refer to this article I published on The Indian Cyclist website a few months back.