Drinking Fountains in California

FAQ below: click a question to expand the answer.
This is a map of all the places in California that someone has tagged in the OpenStreetMap database as being a location of a source of drinking water.
There are four control icons at the top left. Two zoom in and out. The square is fullscreen mode. The button with the "map pin" icon will ask your browser for your location and then zoom there. The water icons on the map show where there are drinking water sources (usually drinking fountains) in the OpenStreetMap database.
Probably; use this as a guide but don't rely on it for critical siutations; there's no warranties to its accuracy. OpenStreetMap is sort of like the Wikipedia of geographical information. Since it is edited by individual users, there may be errors. Like with any geographical database, information may go stale, like if a drinking fountain goes out of service. The water sources may also have access issues that are not labeled, like being in a building or behind a gate.
There are three steps to add a fountain: (1) Take a geo-located picture of the water fountain; (2) create a OSM account, and (3) upload it to the OSM database with the JOSM application. Taking those one at a time:
  1. Take a geo-located picture of the drinking fountain. This is a photo that has GPS position data in it. Most mobile phones can do this, although you may have to change the settings in the camera to enable it. You also want to make sure that you have a good GPS fix on your location. You can do this in Google Maps or another mapping location that shows the error in your GPS fix, uually by showing a larger circle that gets smaller as the phone locates you. Some camera applications, such as Open Camera for Android devices, will show you whether you have a good GPS fix in the application itself.
  2. Create an OSM Account. Follow this link, and it's pretty much like creating an account anywhere else.
  3. Add the location to JOSM. This is a little more complicated, but not that complicated. Download and open the JOSM applicaton, instructions here. Then, in JOSM: (a) Open the picture, or drag-and-drop it onto the application, and you will see a little camera icon on a blank field; (b) in the upper-left, click the "download" button and then confirm "download", and you download the map information in the surrounding area; (c) confirm that the location of the camera/fountain location is correct and that no drinking fountain icon shows up there; (d) hit the "a" key to switch to "add" mode; (e) double-click on the camera icon location, and you will see a "node" show up to the right; (f) to the right under "tags/memberships" click "Add"; (g) under "Please select a key" enter "amenity" and under value enter "drinking_water"; (h) optionally also add key "description" with a value of a description of the water fountain or its location;(i) click the "upload" button in the top left, which will give you an upload dialog, make sure there are no errors and it shows only one "node" to upload, then click "Upload Changes". Voila! You should now be able to see it as a water source on openstreetmap.org, although you may have to flush your browser cache. Showing up here on waterfill.me may take a week since its database is refreshed less often. Here is a one-minute video showing the steps above:

If you want to learn more you might check out the OpenStreetMap wiki, especially the pages about JOSM Photomapping, photomapping generally, and the amenity=drinking_water tag.

My name is Joe Morris, and I'm an attorney, bicyclist, and programer in Oakland, California. The data is all open-source OpenStreetMaps data, and the software is also open-source (see "How Did You Make This?" below), so I don't own and haven't verified any of the data. I made this site because I wanted to be able to easily see where I could get water when biking, although I could imagine it would be useful for anyone who is thirsty! If you want to contact me about the site or other aspects of it, send me an email at joe at morris dot cloud.
I built an open street map tile server on Amazon EC2 following these instructions, and then made some changes to the map stylesheet so that it shows "amenity=drinking fountain" features at low zoom levels. It's not rocket science, but it look a little while. You can see all the same drinking fountains on the main OpenStreetMap map, but there the drinking fountains are only available when you are very zoomed-in, plus there is a lot of other stuff on the map that makes it hard to see where the drinking water is.
Having a "tile server", which is a web server that runs a special program to create and display maps, takes up a sizable amount of data and computing power. I'd like to make this display available for a larger geographical area, but doing so would require a more sizable server than I can afford for what is, at the moment, just a hobby. If you have information on grants or other funding sources that might provide for developement of this map, either in features or geographic scope, please be in touch (see "Who made this?" above).
I'm not. I mean, not in the sense of selling ads or subscriptions or something. All the data is open source, so I couldn't really. Right now it's just a hobby, something I did to learn more about mapping and hopefully make something useful. If there is grant or government money or something to develop it further, I think it would be super-cool to do this for the whole planet. That's what I wanted to do to start with, but the server requirements mean it would be a fairly expensive hobby. I'd also like to integrate it better with OSM for additions/edits, and it seems like it would also be useful to have bathrooms too, although that might be a separate website.
All the tiles (images that make up the map) are pre-generated when you are zoomed out. As you zoom in, the server has to generate the images if no one has requested them before, so it may take a few seconds for the map detail to "resolve" as you zoom in.
I hope so. My next plan is to make an add-on to collect geo-located pictures of drinking fountains, so that people that don't want to have to deal with uploading with JOSM don't have to. OSM doesn't keep images of locations, but it seems like having pictures of the water sources would help so you know what you're looking for.
Yes. The most likely updates will be when I've made the part to collect geolocated drinking fountain images, and then perhaps an expansion of geographic scope.