--- --- Mapping for Equitable Access to Swimming with Rising Tide Effect | OpenStreetMap US

Rising Tide Effect is a 501c3 nonprofit that seeks to bring positive change to underserved communities through the aquatic experience. OpenStreetMap US is partnering with Rising Tide Effect as part of Mapping for Impact. Mapping for Impact is a program of OpenStreetMap US that partners with civic, social and environmental organizations in the US to leverage OpenStreetMap data for their mission. Do you know a local organization we should partner with? Email staff@openstreetmap.us


Swimming is a critical life-saving skill that is essential to water safety and has the potential to save lives, yet nearly 80 percent of children from low-income families have little or no swimming ability. Rising Tide Effect (RTE) aims to empower underserved communities, especially underrepresented youth, reduce social inequity, and make our communities safer for all people by sharing the aquatic experience. By expanding access to swim lessons, RTE is able to provide frameworks for safety and education, and inspire young people facing economic hardship to thrive in new avenues of opportunity.

Besides being a fun and healthy activity, swimming promotes physical, social, emotional and neurological development. Numerous studies have shown that swimming has a tremendous effect on physical and neurological development in children who start at a young age. These skills translate to improved academic ability and increased self-confidence. RTE’s mission is to transform young lives by challenging their bodies, stimulating their minds, and uplifting their spirits.

To support Rising Tide Effect, OpenStreetMap US is launching a new Mapping for Impact campaign to map swimming pools as well as collect critical attributes of each feature. This data will directly help Rising Tide Effect determine which pools are in underserved at-risk communities and suitable for programming so that Rising Tide Effect can provide free swimming lessons and water safety education or find local partners to do so. In addition, all information will be presented to the relevant government agencies for future development and planning so that the currently inoperable pools can be repaired and put to good use.

For this initial campaign, we plan to map all indoor and outdoor swimming pools in New York City. Once this is complete, we plan to expand to the rest of New York state and support Rising Tide Effect’s initiatives on a global scale.

How You Can Help

You can help locally or remotely! Get started by contributing to the organized tasking project(s) below:

We’ll add more to map indoor swimming pools soon. Follow us on social media or check back here for additional projects as we expand efforts.

Do you know local information about a specific pool in NYC? Please contribute using our MapComplete task here:


Share this map with others using this link!

Mapping Guidance

Help us keep track of edits - be sure to add #mapping-for-impact #risingtideeffect-nyc to your changesets. For a full guide on this mapping campaign, check out our Activity Page on the OSM Wiki.

Mapping Outdoor Pools

For each task, please make sure to map all swimming pools visible on imagery. If you’re new to identifying pools on imagery, look for parks and residential areas for potential swimming pools. Outdoor pools may also occur in commercial centers, such as on hotel property. All pools visible should be mapped! When you locate a swimming pool, create an area outlining the pool and tag with leisure=swimming_pool. For pools at apartment buildings and residential/backyard pools, also add the tag access=private. Access information will be critical for Rising Tide Effect’s data needs.

If additional information is known, please add the attribute data listed in the Data Needs table.

For water parks, please instead use the leisure=water_park tag.

Mapping Indoor Pools

Hotels & Other Amenities

If you have knowledge of an indoor pool with attribute data, please map as a point within the building footprint of the structure and tag with leisure=swimming_pool and location=indoor. Then, please add the attribute data listed in the Data Needs table on the wiki page.

If you are aware that an amenity or facility has an indoor pool, such as a hotel, but unsure of additional attribute information, please add the tag swimming_pool=yes to the feature.

Sports & Fitness Facilities

Bring the cause to your neighborhood!

Do you want to support Rising Tide Effect by mapping in your community? Reach out! We would love to see this campaign expanded and replicated locally by OSM communities in the United States and beyond.

Stay connected and spread the word

As we map together in support of swimming access, join the #swimming-pools & #local-nyc channels on the OSM US Slack. Ask questions about mapping tasks or share ideas on how we can be mapping swimming pools in your local area.


Header drone imagery credit: Steven Brennan

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Photos © Justin Miller unless otherwise noted