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A generic web-app for finding the nearest locations of a single type of utility (e.g. toilets, recycling stations) on OpenStreetmap. The current customization uses playgrounds as an example.

Development Setup

FinderApp is originally based on the Web Starter Kit provided by Google. It uses the tools and the build processes of the kit. It's a pure JavaScript webapp without any Backend and can therefore be deployed on any server.

You need the following tools installed on your system:

  • NodeJS and NPM. You can check if you have NodeJS by running node -v in your terminal. Otherwise go to to install the newest version. NPM is part of the NodeJS installation
  • Ruby and Sass. You can also check for ruby with ruby -v. In addition to ruby you need Sass which you can install via gem install sass in your terminal.

If you have installed those dependencies go to the project folder and run npm install to install all dependencies of the app. Sometimes you have to install some of the packages manually.

The Gulp taskrunner is used for creating compiling sass, concatenating js and creating a deployable version. After all dependencies are installed you can run gulp serve to run the app locally. The Gulp taskrunner automatically starts up a local server. When compiling Gulp automatically checks for compliance with the included JSHint and JSCS rules.

FinderApp uses Browserify for dependency management and bundling the JavaScript. This enables us to use the same syntax for dependency management as known from NodeJS.

The following tutorial can also help you understand the purpose and uses of Gulp and Browserify:


Currently we use GitHub Pages for deploying an online version of the app. Our current progress is accessible here.

To get a deployable version of the app run gulp while on the master branch. The contents of the /dist folder are then ready for deployment. This version can theoretically be hosted on any webserver.

GitHub Pages uses the gh-pages branch as a source for the files that are hosted. This means to update the version running on GitHub Pages just replace the contents of the gh-pages branch with the contents of the /dist folder.

Code Architecture

Our code uses the MV* framework Ampersand.js for structuring. Our general structure is derived from the short book Human Javascript and the Ampersand documentation. app.js is the main entry point of our application and initializes required objects. app-controller.js manages the state changes in the app. The user-state.js is instantiated as a singleton that saves all properties of the user. map-node-model.js and map-node-collection.js define the classes that handle the results from Nominatim/Overpass.

We use leaflet.js for showing and interacting with the map. Only our map-view.js and the leaflet-config.js interact with this library.


In order to change the target utility of the FinderApp you just have to a few small things.

Title and search query can be changed in the config object in the app.js file. We use the Nominatim API of OpenStreetMap. Nominatim is able to understand special keywords for search in OSM. A list of available keywords can be found here.

Additionally, you probably need to change the logo and maybe colours to suit your target utility. The logo url can be found in the index.html file and colours can be changed in the *.scss files.

If you also want to host your version on GitHub Pages you can fork the project. Make sure you have a gh-pages branch with the updated contents of the /dist folder. An explanation of GitHub Pages can also be found here.

Software Used


A generic web-app for finding the nearest locations of a single type of utility (e.g. toilets, recycling stations) on OpenStreetmap







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