Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Wikimania 2018, happening in Cape Town, South Africa

Posted by jinalfoflia on 20 March 2018 in English (English)

Wikimania 2018 is happening in Cape Town, South Africa on July 18-22, 2018, it's the annual international conference that celebrates Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects.

The previous year, Montréal, Canada, was the host of this conference. The OSM community in Montréal had set up a booth and did an amazing work of introducing people to the OSM project. It also became a great place for answering questions related to OSM as well as explore more ways to collaborate with different Wiki projects.

group photoGroup photo - Wikimania 2017

There were some interesting sessions related to OpenStreetMap in the previous Wikimania:

The last date for submitting proposals for talks/sessions/workshops was 18th March but the community can still attend and give a lightning talk and/or organise a Birds of the Feather (BoF) session.

It’ll be great if the South Africa/Cape Town OSM communities would want to do something along these lines. OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia communities have a lot in common, let's meet, collaborate and make the most of this opportunity!✨

Location: Defence Colony, Indiranagar, East Zone, Bengaluru, Bangalore Urban, Karnataka, 570008, India

Entertainment Agency

Posted by International Circus Stardust Entertainment on 19 March 2018 in English (English)

Specialising in providing the best circus-themed entertainment for almost any event imaginable, from corporate events and company fun days to gala dinner shows and parties our expert knowledge enables you to select circus acts that are choreographed to your exact requirements.

Location: Saint Luke's, London Borough of Islington, London, Greater London, England, EC1V 3RQ, United Kingdom

The Subway Validator evolves

Posted by Zverik on 19 March 2018 in English (English)

First, thank you all for improving the mapping of subway networks all around the world! In just half a year, we made more than 150 networks routable, of 180 total. That is very impressive. Today, OpenStreetMap has more data on subways than any other source, open or proprietary.

Last week, I have made a few improvements to the validator. The major one is a change to how stations are counted. We had an issue of transfer stations: for some cities they were counted once, for other — twice, depending on how they are mapped. This simplified calculating a projected total number of stations (just copy it from wikipedia), but affected mapping.

Now, thanks to disc12, it sums up numbers of stations for each line. This is more predictable and allows for different interchange mapping styles. In the spreadsheet, counts of stations have been mostly updated in form of a formula: =line1+line2+...+lineN. You can clearly see how many stations it expects for each subway line. If you find an error there, add a comment and I'll update the number.

Having trouble with missing or extra stations? Click on "Y" near the city name, and you'll get a YAML file with all stations, transfers and lines. What's new is a number of stations for each line (calculated as a number of unique stations for all its itineraries), along with a list of stations. Comparing it to wikipedia is much easier.

There are some improvements planned still. For example, handling of stations under construction: you cannot add these to routes at the moment, or you'll get an error. And there is a "nowhere near the tracks" error that is hard to track — I really should do something with it. And the preprocessor calls for a GTFS output.

Thanks for mapping, now let's finish the last cities and then monitor the world for new subway and light rail stations. If you are an app developer, please consider using the validator output for your app. Contact me if you have any questions.

Switch2osm "Manually building a tile server" page updated

Posted by SomeoneElse on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

I've added a new page to the switch2osm guide: "Manually building a tile server (18.04 LTS)".

Although Ubuntu 18.04 ("Bionic Beaver") isn't released yet, it's due out fairly soon and daily builds can be downloaded from here. There are actually very few changes from the 16.04 version - mostly just updated versions of software (including some Mapnik fixes). Following these instructions shouldn't take more than a couple of hours for small areas - the longest period of the setup is waiting for the shapefiles used by the style to download.

As before, the page is designed to be "the least you need to do" to get a rendering server working. As before I also wrote a wiki page which goes into a bit more detail, including other things that you might want to do.

It's also worth mentioning than there are many more resources available now than there were a couple of years ago - see for example Ircama's tutorials, and also this guide that covers the setup of an OSM Carto renderer within Docker.

North West London edits

Posted by Gerard Butler on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

Visited Grahame Park estate in Colindale on Saturday 17 March for an in-depth survey of the revised road and building layout. Further research of the development plan for the area indicates that there will be a lot more substantial changes in the coming months, however, the following has been done.

New road added: Bristol Avenue

Changes to following roads: Lanacre Avenue; Hazel Close, Five Acre; Hundred Acre; Cherry Close; Lower Strand; Percival Avenue; Valentina Avenue

Removal of following roads: Belvedere Strand; Further Acre, which no longer exist. Removal of associated footpaths and meadows which have changed too.

Addition of new Points: Barnet Southgate College, Colindale Library and adjustment of former Grahame Park library to a Hindu temple.

New residential buildings added and a small number of buildings removed.

Movement of bus stops from previous locations and alignment of bus routes to the new layout.

Other small-scale editing took place in the Golders Green, Edgware, Hendon and Borehamwood areas, mainly changes to building names

Whats in the next (10.2) Vespucci update?

Posted by SimonPoole on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

First a note, it seems as if I never blogged about the 10.1 update, information on those changes can be found in the release notes on the Vespucci website.

The beta release of 10.2 that is now available in the beta channel on the google play store, or from the releases on github does not change an awful lot that is end user visible outside of a new upload UI, however there are two core changes that I want to touch on quickly.

Support for "network" location providers

Historically Vespucci has only supported using the on-device GPS location provider, or nothing at all. That meant that you were unable to get a rough location approximation on devices that didn't have onboard GPS, or that had GPS disabled for example to reduce power requirements. The main reason for this is that on the one hand we wanted to avoid location information potentially tainted by your devices Android provider and avoid our users position being tracked by them.

We now support using so-called "network" location providers, that is location sources that derive your position from the mobile network, WLAN and other signals your device is receiving. If you've enabled such providers on your phone, more on that later, Vespucci will use all available providers for centering the map display on your position and for auto-downloads, tracks will still exclusively be generated from GPS data.

The change in opinion is mainly due to less and less people caring about such matters and at least google tracking in any case (see for example, further allowing such providers enables better indoor positioning which is a clear advantage.

If Vespucci detects that network positions can at least potentially be used, it will display this icon instead of the classic GPS icon on the screen and will alert you to which provider it is currently using via toasts (the short on-screen messages).

Modern devices running a google variant of Android have three location mode setting (besides turning location services completely off):

  • Device only - use only the on device GPS location information, does not require sharing your location data with google
  • Battery saving - doesn't use GPS, instead uses mobile network, WLAN and other signals to determine your location, requires sharing of your location data with google
  • High accuracy - uses GPS and other signals to determine your location, requires sharing of your location data with google, this is typically only more "accurate" than Device only if receiving GPS signals is seriously impaired

Vespucci does not use the Google play servers "fused" location service and remains usable independent of if you are running it in a Google sanctioned environment or not.

Better https support

Given the push for more and more services on the Internet to be accessible only via encrypted transport (https) Android apps are faced with two challenges:

  • the standard Java API for accessing http services does not support protocol level redirects, that is http to https or the other way around this is not difficult to work around but would still require codes changes at every impacted place in the code
  • more and more sites are turning off TLS 1.0 support for security reasons, unluckily TLS 1.1 and 1.2 are only supported from Android 4.1 on and are only enabled by default since 4.4, again addressing this requires touching all the same code as above

In the end I decided to address these issues by migrating all the networking code to OkHttp that we've already been using for some things, for example for map tile retrieval since 10.1. As OkHttp exposes a different programming model and it didn't require massive changes, it wasn't a drop in replacement and we appreciate all feedback on the changes as some aspects of the networking code are difficult to test automatically.

Two notes:

  • yes this means that users with devices running Android 4.0 and older are not able to access any services that have turned off TLS 1.0, for example you will not be able to update the imagery configuration on the fly from github.
  • modern Android versions actually use OkHttp under the hood wrapped in code that emulates the standard Java API, so we are not doing anything particularly exotic.

Statues in Ylham Park

Posted by apm-wa on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

I finally got around to adding statues in Ylham Park between Gorogly and Azady streets. The Mapillary imagery is available for those interested in seeing what the statues look like.


Location: Köpetdag etraby, Ashgabat, Ahal Region, Turkmenistan

Bagyr and Yanbash

Posted by apm-wa on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

Ann and I spent a chunk of this weekend collecting street names and GPS traces of unmapped streets in Bagyr and Yanbash, former villages (and before that, Soviet collective farm villages) that are now formally neighborhoods of the city of Ashgabat since being annexed. It had rained, and some of the streets were muddy enough we had to use four-wheel-drive! Over the two days we shot over 3,000 Mapillary images while searching for street signs and marking mosques, schools, and other POIs on the GPS. The GPS traces are public so anybody has access to them.

With these two neighborhoods largely done, we have completed base mapping of all neighborhoods of the greater Ashgabat metropolitan area, i.e., everything inside the new city limits. Much remains to be done--more POIs, new buildings soon to be under construction in central Ashgabat, and a number of streets with no names (and we missed a few in Bagyr this weekend), but we are in a better place now than before.

Location: Bagyr, Büzmeýin etraby, Ashgabat, Ahal Region, Turkmenistan

Mapping my Mapping

Posted by mmahmud on 18 March 2018 in English (English)


Chinese proverb says "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step". Well, I did not know it was my first step towards a long journey when I walked into the "Map your community" workshop arranged by Save the Children International in Bangladesh. The workshop was arranged for the "Kolorob" project, aiming to completely map two slum areas where the Kolorob app will be launched. The purpose of the app was to provide slum dwellers with necessary information so they can make informed decision. The chosen map was OpenStreetMap. In the two days workshop, I was first introduced to mapping and I got hooked.

I had no idea how maps were made, no idea about GPS, no idea about anything related to mapping. As a completely new area, it was able to grab my attention pretty tight and I started learning more about it. I was hired by "Save the Children" as a volunteer mapper in Kolorob project and I started doing field mapping using different tools. I also assisted in OSM traning and lead field mapping team for the "Data4Action" project by American Red Cross in association with Bangladesh Red Crescent and Red Cross Society.

My interest stretched out to GIS and I started learning the basics by myself. Along with my learning, I continued mapping and became an active member of the OpenStreetMap Bangladesh (OSMBD) team, which is the OSM community in Bangladesh who were actively working with OSM as it's contributor, advocate and as a learning sharing platform.

I joined Save the Children as a Project Officer in OpenStreetMapping and as a graphic designer in the "Kolorob" project, the same project that started my OSM journey. Here I lead my team to map, collect data, take GPS track to map road network etc. Through work in professional area, my knowledge and expertise level grew a lot. I became more interested in GIS and started learning QGIS and ArcGIS. I took courses in advanced ArcGIS which helped clarifying a lot of concepts and made me aware of the numerous possibilities that GIS give access to. I also started volunteering for Tanzania Development Trust as a mapper and also as a member of the mapping group. These interactions helped me learn more and more and gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of OpenStreetMap.

We (me and some other members of OSM community) did not want to limit ourselves to mapping only. We wanted to use mapping and merge our other ideas together to form a group that will work for humanitarian and development purposes which ultimately will contribute to the wellbeing of our environment, society, country and our planet. So we formed Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab (BOIL) and Bangladesh Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Operational Team (BHOOT which means Ghost in Bengali, indicating the mappers behind the map whose actions are so visible, but they themselves are not) to expand our scope of work.

Data is nothing if it is not used by people. You may have thousands of data on how to improve wellbeing of your society, but if that data is not open and not used, that data amounts to nothing. That is where OSM is making the difference. The data is open here, open for anyone to use, analyze and share. This presents myriads of opportunities to create different platforms to utilize this data in sectors such as humanitarian, disaster risk reduction, environment and conservation, road and transport network etc. and even to day to day life for navigation or finding your nearest shop.

My journey continues. My mapping continues and with each step I am learning more, and realizing more of the potential that is around us. All we need to do is take the first step and the path will stretch out before us.

A few new firsts

Posted by contrapunctus on 18 March 2018 in English (English)

In the last few days -

I discovered that with this month's [1] update of OsmAnd's PT data, all my work on bus route relations was finally visible in the app. Suddenly, so many bus stops on the map of Delhi (in OsmAnd) now show bus routes - it is a wonderful feeling! :D It also means that I can now begin using OsmAnd to aid my own commuting.

I took my first two bus trips exclusively for the purpose of mapping them. (I recorded a GPS trace, and tried to add as many bus stops on the way using OsmAnd as I could. If I could spot benches or tactile paving, I'd tag that, too; if I saw another bus, I'd add a local OsmAnd note for it.) [2]

This also led to what is perhaps the first bus route relation in Delhi approaching completion - Bus 680 is (as far as I know) the first route relation in Delhi to have both the first and the last stop_position added. It still has some stops to be added, and some sections need to be surveyed, to be on the safe side.

Lastly, my faithful Moto G 5s Plus, which I had hoped to keep for at least ten years, was stolen - ironically as I was boarding a bus, guitar in hand. Most of my data was synced to my laptops via Syncthing and NextCloud...but not the ~500 local OsmAnd notes in it - of which ~300 were bus sightings. Oh well. The last few days I've been working off a borrowed Moto G with a cracked screen, waiting for the Moto G6 series to be launched.

[1] See issue #5078

[2] I added 28 stops this way on this trip; the total number of bus stops I've added in Delhi is now 388, accounting for 65% of the stops mapped in Delhi 😲

Thanks 4 open source reality

Posted by casspass on 17 March 2018 in English (English)

I have been on the internet from its early beginning. The internet as we usally call it, has become our worst enemy. in relation to culture, emvirpment, human tradegies. Misunderstandings, selfhate and trolling. Its all negative, like criminals that only think about their own power and money. The cultural revolution in china 4 many years ago, igs like Spotify. Most musicians never even get tje chance, if you think that it is you that selects what you will hear or see on the internet... then think again.

Location: Bekkelaget, Nordstrand, Oslo, 1177, Norway

OSM rank table changes 2018-03-15

Posted by bdiscoe on 16 March 2018 in English (English)

I won't always refresh the table with the weekly planet file update, but I did today with a delta to 2 weeks ago. (The previous table is at table_planet_180301

Some observations, in nodes:

  • Despite another round of my vigorous cleanup in Ontario, the 'CanvecImports' account only dropped by 600k from 39.5 to 38.9 Mnodes. Still so much Canvec to clean up!
  • Import accounts that were active include: 'StefanB_import' +14, 'Svein Olav' +119, 'osmviborg' +132, and 'Rúdisicyon' (+434!) which is doing a giant import of buildings in Portugal.
  • Other accounts that moved up in rank, which are probably due to good active mapping and not imports, included 'indigomc' +14, 'santamariense' +11, 'Kohki Hiraga' +15, 'Hernan' +18, 'yunita sari' +28, 'Ben97' +40, 'hpduwe' +13, 'yuantouniaoren' +65, 'jpgon' +14, 'ajithkarunaratne' +25, 'dubf' +48, 'Hendrikklaas' +23, 'baradam' +12, 'chachafish' +19, 'Sander H' +17, 'DaCor' +10.
  • HOT/MissingMaps active users 'asmi84' +59, 'ASHIQ MAHAMUD' +31, 'Raven Nahid' +77, 'anisa berliana' +13, 'Nodia' +567, 'Abou kachongo jr' +52, 'dianawa_22' +11

In ways, I notice some of the same activity, and also:

  • 'kiaraSh-Q' who maps mostly Iran, somehow moved down in nodes (-59) but up on ways (+41).
  • Mysterious drops 'Canyonsrcool' -52 and 'alester' -36.
  • 'Matthew Darwin' (+22/+23) seems to be impressively fixing/aligning every road and address of Ottawa, Canada.
  • Some Japan-import-account drops are probably due to the cleanup work that myself and other Japanese users have been doing there, hence 'chnkshm' -7/-17, 'KSJ2_adm_bnd_imprt' -16/-283, 'nyampire' -14/-21, 'watao' -5/-105.
  • User 'PierZen' (+4/+539) seems to be doing a bunch of cleanup in Quebec, including boundaries and removing superfluous tags.
  • Other active global users who moved up in ways include 'vichada', 'de vries', 'Seandebasti', 'JFK73', 'edvac', 'danbjoseph', 'Alan Bragg' and 'gscholz' (+3/+57).

Lost in Translation

Posted by imagico on 16 March 2018 in English (English)

Yesterday's OSMF board meeting contained a discussion about the idea of translating OSMF wiki pages, in particular the board meeting minutes, into languages other than English.

There was no definite decision on the matter, the topic was essentially bounced back to the Communication Working Group. But there was an interesting discussion on the topic of translations i want to comment on here.

For context: The OSM community is a multilingual community in the sense that there is no majority of native speakers of any language in the community. But OSM community communication has always been centered on the English language - partly because OpenStreetMap originated in the UK, partly because English is the most widespread smallest common denominator language, i.e. it is the language most community members speak and understand at least rudimentarily - though this is also kind of a self fulfilling prophecy since people with no capability of communicating in English at all have it much more difficult to become a member of the OSM community.

The OSMF in particular is practically an organization with English as the only working language. The OSMF in terms of members also almost has a majority of native English speakers, on the OSMF board 4 of 7 members are native English speakers. None of this is codified in OSMF policy though and i would wish we had more variety of language in OSMF communication - like for example people posting on osmf-talk in other languages (which is rare - but it does happen).

Based on this background it is of course highly desirable if the OSMF board looks into making the OSMF less focussed on English language communication. But the problem is that translating OSMF documents is potentially destined to be more of a political alibi initiative (the kind of thing you can point to and claim you have done something). To make this clear the OSMF board clearly does have good intentions in this matter but the problem is - as usual with diversity topics - a lack of awareness of the nature of the problem.

One part of the discussion that stuck with me in particular was when a board member (a native English speaker) mentioned that translations are tricky because a translation is always subjective and inevitably transports an opinion, an interpretation of the content. While this is absolutely correct it does not even touch the real issue here - namely that the original English language text already inevitably transports cultural and social values connected to the language. It is not the translation that introduces opinion and interpretation to a policy document (and i would include board meeting minutes in that because they frequently contain statements regarding policy), it is the original English language text that does. This is what you need to be aware of regarding language diversity - there is no neutral ground here. And having translations that are subordinate to an English language original can further aggrevate the problem instead of solving it.

So what can you productively do for language diversity in the OSMF? Here a few ideas:

  • Minimize the amount of codified policy. This is traditionally the OpenStreetMap way and it has served the project quite well in the past. OSM is well known to have very few firm rules. The written rules and conventions we have are often just attempts to write down what is the way things are done practically to support newcomers in learning things - meaning they are documentation of established habits rather than being policy themselves.
  • Where codified policy is developed it should not be universally done in English. Deliberation on policy measures can and should involve different languages. Take the directed/organized editing policy which is currently in development for example. The first draft for such a document was written in German by the German mapper community. It contains ideas and transports values that are in parts specific to the German culture - just like an English language policy draft will often transport British or American cultural values. I think having the German draft probably helped creating a more balanced policy in this case and having for example a French, Spanish or Russian draft or sketch could equally help in other cases.
  • Different language versions of policy documents should have equal authority. To some this might seem a strange idea incompatible with the very idea of having a policy - which is usually considered to imply the policy is the same for everyone. But in the end - if there is a substantial difference in meaning of different language versions of a policy document that is usually an indication the policy was not very well defined and precise in the first place.

Regarding translation of non-policy documents - i think this is something that might be better addressed by supporting communication of the ideas in these documents and commenting on them in different languages than by creating and maintaining formal translations. WeeklyOSM routinely communicates OSMF activities in different languages which has much more reach and is of much more value than a translation of a wiki page slumbering somewhere deep in the depth of the OSMF wiki. The CWG also tries to communicate on the official OSMF blog in multiple languages. In short: Communicating about what is happening in the OSMF in different languages is in my opinion more valuable than translating what is happening. Supporting such activities by giving people who do this appreciation and support and by trying to attract more people with skills and passion in this domain to contribute to such is the way to go here.

First day with OSM-Chisom Christabel:LetGirlsMap-UniqueMappersTeam-Port Harcourt

Posted by chisom christabel on 16 March 2018 in English (English)
   Today I joined Unique Mappers Team and I am grateful that I was given this opportunity.I am a 100 level student of the department of Geography and Environmental Management University of Port Harcourt.I participated in the Let Girls Map held on International Womens Day 2018 and today is a make up practical mapathon training. I  am also grateful to our team coordinator /mentor and our team leaders.I do hope to participate actively in #Let GirlsMap#UniqueMappersTeam#YouthMappers   activities. 
Location: Senate Road, Alakahia, Obio/Akpor, Rivers, Nigeria


Posted by Marcos Dione on 15 March 2018 in English (English)

Ever since reCAPTCHA become mainstream we knew that Google was using us as mechanical turks. At the beginning it seemed OK because we were reading books and newspapers, but then the system started asking questions like which of these squares had cars or traffic signs or store fronts in it, and you had to be kinda dumb not to realize you were training an Street View AI[1]. Since then, I've been trying to avoid sites that ask me to work for free for Google.

On the other hand, I'm kinda sick and tired of the SPAM that comes through the RSS feeds of . I think this is mostly due to the fact that opening an account does not involve proving you're not a robot.

So, what about creating a captcha system that at the same time helps building the OSM database? What is not clear to me is what exactly the system would be helping to do. I think the simplest and more impacting would be to recognize simple features that would help mappers to find things to maps, more than trying trying to train an AI to map automatically.

I wonder what would the suppliers, like Bing, Mapbox, etc, think of such use of the imagery they license to OSM for mapping, specially if the system starts to be used by third party sites to block bots/spammers.

[1] If you want to know a little more, please read

Lewisham Town Centre

Posted by Gerard Butler on 15 March 2018 in English (English)

A small number of edits have been made to shops, buildings and road layouts in response to map notes and what was seen on a site visit there on Tuesday 13 March.

Arizona Eastern Railway

Posted by Richard Hufford on 11 March 2018 in English (English)

I am considering correcting the name of the railroad going from Bowie to Globe, AZ. It is named Arizona Eastern Railway, but on OpenStreetMap it is identified as Union Pacific. The railroad has had a number of names since it was built, so I'm trying to figure out what to put under the old_name tag. Looking at Wikipedia entries for Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railway, Arizona Eastern Railway and Southern Pacific Railroad, I've come up with these values:

old_name:1885-1898=Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railway

old_name:1899-1923=Arizona Eastern Railroad

old_name:1924-1987=Southern Pacific Railroad

I do remember seeing some Union Pacific locomotives, but the Wikipedia entry for Arizona Eastern Railway says that the line was sold to Kyle in 1988, and Southern Pacific was sold to Union Pacific in 1998. I think this shows that the railroad was never part of UP.

Are my old_name entries a reasonably correct improvement to OpenStreetMap?

The line from Lordsburg, NM to Clifton, AZ is also part of Arizona Eastern Railway, now, but it has a different history.

Location: Solomon, Graham County, Arizona, 85551, United States of America

QGIS 3 on Linux Mint

Posted by Polyglot on 10 March 2018 in English (English)

I finally managed to install QGIS 3 on my favourite linux distro. The magic incantation was found here:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-key 073D307A618E5811

echo "deb xenial main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qgis.list

echo "deb-src xenial main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qgis.list

echo "deb xenial main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntugis-unstable.list

echo "deb-src xenial main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntugis-unstable.list

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install qgis python-qgis qgis-plugin-grass

#for some plugins QtWebKit is needed:

sudo apt-get install libqtwebkit-dev python3-pip python3-setuptools

pip install jupyter==1.0.0 qtconsole

London OpenStreetMap Q&A

Posted by Harry Wood on 9 March 2018 in English (English)

I don't think anyone blogged about London OpenStreetMap Q&A events yet, but we should! We've been experimenting with this new event format in London. Well I haven't. I'm still setting up occasional pub meet-ups, but thanks mostly to Firefishy's organisational efforts, we've been escaping the pub, and doing something a bit different.

These are presentations evenings, and also (trying to be) an opportunity for discussions and questions, and getting help with mapping or using OSM. We've had a few now. They've been pretty successful, with increasing attendance each time. On Wednesday night we had maybe 30 people attending.

I've been forgetting about the FOSS4G UK conference, which was taking place Thursday and Friday. We missed an opportunity to advertise our thing as a warm-up event to that. Some people figured it out though. Janet Chapman was going on to give a similar talk at the conference, and there was at least one other person who was visiting the UK for FOSS4G UK, and taking in our event beforehand.


Janet Chapman gave the first talk "Crowdmapping rural Tanzania to help end Female Genital Mutilation and aid development" (Crowd2Map Tanzania). Janet has been well meshed into the London Missing Maps humantarian mapping crowd, and her talk was describing all the various tools (tasking manager, field papers, mapswipe, etc) which she has adopted to good effect for this ongoing Tanzania project. You can join in with this work via 'Tanzania' on the Tasking Manager. But this is a great example, not just of humanitarian mapping from afar, but of tight collaboration with the locals. The local activists who are tackling the FGM in Tanzania, seem to be seeing the mapping feedback loop. They're joining in with contributing data, (on-the-ground gathered data. The good stuff!) because it makes the maps more useful in the areas they are operating in.


Nick Whitelegg talked about a topic a bit closer to home, "Using OSM for countryside mapping". The rendering on his website, is designed for country footpath users. It colour-codes the paths by their legal classifications. In particular the designation tag is important, or at least it is important in the UK if you want to understand the legal status of footpaths. Nick has been involved in OpenStreetMap since pre-historic times, and in his talk (which went into some technical detail) he described how was intially displaying maps built upon the OSM API before OSM offered planet dumps!. He was in this game early! Certainly I remember as a feature of the early OpenStreetMap landscape. Nick himself joined the project in 2005!

After those talks we had a little bit of time for a group discussion. I wasn't sure if this was going to work well, and I had been writing down some ideas for discussion points, worrying that discussion flow might not be forthcoming. No need to worry though...

We had one question/observation from a chap called Will who said he was new to OpenStreetMap and found contributing via mobile apps wasn't as easy and approachable as he would have liked (although techy himself he was looking for an easy experience to recommend to less techy friends). That was all we needed to trigger a lively group discussion with ideas for app recommendations, ideas for making things easeir, ideas about whether mobile apps are a good way to start, all of which burned through the time quite easily, and we had to continue discussions in the pub.

Additionally we had a good long period before the talks started, to chat amongst ourselves. I was trying to advise someone on options and software choices to solve a particular map usage problem. Trying to help people with their map-based projects is one of the main ideas of the event, and the reason for calling it "OpenStreetMap Q&A". I'm not sure we've figured out the idea format for making that happen yet, but it does happen just with getting people in a room together (with pizza)

Huge thanks to Firefishy for organising and to WeAreFriday for hosting this event! The next one is already being pencilled in. It may happen on the 2nd of May. Join the meet-up group to keep track

Location: St Clement Danes, Covent Garden, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, WC2B 4AX, United Kingdom

Iron Acton

Posted by NorthIsland on 9 March 2018 in English (English)

Had a visit to this charming village. Don't want to tread on any local mappers toes... but did add some landuse and houses - up to usual standards, I hope. A few thoughts: - always a problem with farmland/meadow: I tend to look for ploughing lines on farmland and worn paths + trees on meadows. - there are a lot of 'little manors' here: at what point does the 'residential area' end and the 'private park' begin??? - if a major road has wide verges each side, I would map a 'grass' area hedge-to-hedge and this should render OK with the rendered highway on top of the grass. - should take someone a day to review all the buildings as 'houses', or not, and possibly add some addresses ;-)