Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Processing GPS traces from a Garmin GLO.

Posted by TheSwavu on 5 July 2015 in English (English)

Having purchased a Garmin GLO to "fix" the GPS problem I was having with my Nexus 5 I discovered:

  • OSMtracker doesn't log fractions of a second, causing problems with points having the same time stamp and having tracks plot strangely in JOSM
  • 10 Hz updating makes for really big files

I tried both GpsPrune and the simply way tool in JOSM but neither were entirely satisfactory. GpsPrune requires you to enter a "span factor" that is specified as a fraction of the total span of the trace (so you can't just enter a distance, you have to figure out what magic factor gives you the desired result for each trace), using JOSM you loose all of the elevation and HDOP data, and both of them have no way of specifying a maximum segment length.

The solution:

  1. Log data in NMEA format using the Ultra GPS Logger app.
  2. Simplify the track using GPS Babel:

    gpsbabel -i nmea -f input.txt -x simplify,crosstrack,error=0.0005k -x interpolate,distance=0.195k -o gpx -F output.gpx
  3. Using GpsPrune cut off the bits of the track you don't want and export to GPX.

  4. Gzip the GPX file and upload it to OpenStreetMap.

The simplifying filter uses a cross track error of 0.5m which I've found to be a good compromise between the trace smoothness and the number of data points. The interpolation is needed because JOSM by default won't draw segments longer than 200 m. I originally used distance=0.2k but this gives you a dashed line effect as each alternative segment is just a little under and a little over 200 m and 0.195k ensures that every segment will be drawn.

Here is an example from a trip from Apollo Bay to Colac with 1900 points in just over an hour of travel.

DeepDream maps in OSM

Posted by chippy on 3 July 2015 in English (English)

Recently Google Research labs published details about "Deep Dream"

Its useful for visualizing how a neural net works - the neural net is asked to find images within other images. (usually its used to classify what's in an image) The result is hallucinatory, or dream like.

So I thought about how about what if we give it a map or two? here we go:

Liverpool Liverpool DeepDream

Leeds #1 leeds DeepDream

Leeds #2 leeds DeepDream Made using

Playing around with 3D buildings

Posted by renesigma on 3 July 2015 in English (English)

OSM is 3D capable, is sad that still the main page doesn't support 3D rendering with WebGL. Fortunately there are 3rth partners that do it like f4map. Kendzi plugin of JOSM is good but not enough and it only works in JOSM. After several reads the wiki of 3D buildings and trying to figure it out how the stuff works, and a lot of tries and errors, finally get some decent renders.

This is Torre Kuadra, a nice building of Quisqueya:

torre kuadra example

First OpenStreetMap Workshop, Ghana

Posted by Enock4seth on 3 July 2015 in English (English)


I was glad to lead an OpenStreetMap Workshop in Madina, Ghana. It was an introduction session and also building upon local community.

Published summary here

Location: Madina, Adenta, Greater Accra Region, Ghana

GPS Traces for Regina

Posted by gecho111 on 3 July 2015 in English (English)

I uploaded all the GPS traces I collected while systematically biking every road in Regina last year. It should be useful for newer areas until the satellite imagery gets a refresh.

Roads added after mid-July 2014 won't have traces uploaded. I have traces for most of the new ones as I periodically bike through the areas under construction. But its a matter of figuring out which day I biked those roads. Its usually easier to just go back and ride them again.

After the release is before the release :-)

Posted by SimonPoole on 2 July 2015 in English (English)

Now that 0.9.6 is out, my focus is, naturally, on the next version. Hopefully 0.9.7 wont take quite as long to be ready, I'm fairly optimistic that we will be able to hit the planned release time frame of end of September. The larger operations on the guts of the app have already happened and should have enough time to stabilize till then.

If you are interested in what is planned see Two of the items have already progressed pretty far: putting the code in place for translating the presets and the integration of notification support.

The later was mainly written as a proof of concept early this year at the Karlsruhe hack weekend but needed some work to be really useful. Some images from Karlsruhe:

Alert on a watch (naturally works on phone too) from an error detected in the nearby OSM data

the same for a Note

and navigating to the location with OSMand

A test build with the inital (still needs a bit or work for production) alert support is available here: . You will need to turn on alert support in the advanced preferences and have "auto download" enabled in the GPS menu (if auto-download doesn't initially work try toggling the setting).

While I have your attention: one of the work items is redoing the Notes code to work more like the rest of Vespucci and allow offline use. Are there any specific wishes for how it should behave (I will likely leave a way to immediately save and close a note in the app, but the normal mode will be a bulk upload at the end of your surveying/editing session). If you have some suggestions please add them to:

ساختمان جديد شهرداري مركزي تبريز

Posted by apourata on 2 July 2015 in English (English)

ساختمان جديد شهرداري مركزي تبريز

Location: Azadi Boulevard, Tabriz, East Azerbaijan, 5174653373, Iran

Creating .obf files for OsmAnd using Overpass Turbo API and OsmMapCreator

Posted by ccalista on 1 July 2015 in English (English)

This is probably a tutorial you want to look at when you have just created a changeset somewhere and you want to view it in OsmAnd on your phone offline. There is another tutorial but I tried to follow the instructions and I just didn't get it. So, apologies to the authors of that tutorial if I am basically repeating them, but here we go.

Getting the Data

  1. Go to
  2. Zoom to your area of interest (if need be do a search in the search toolbar)
  3. Push "Load", which is one of the options on the top bar; go to Examples, and hit Map Call. A query will appear in the left window pane
  4. In the map window, choose "manually select bbox" (there is a little box icon under the magnifying glass and random round "locate me" thing that does this)
  5. Move the bounding box with your mouse to reflect the area you want 5a. (optional) If you want to see what this will do in your browser, hit "Run". This will, however, take time, download more data (bad if you have a poor internet connection) and possibly complain about downloading too much data
  6. Hit "Export raw data directly from Overpass API"

Converting the Data

  1. A file will download, probably called "interpreter". Move that file to wherever you are working, and rename it (we suggest using the date of download and name of the area of interest as a file name). Remember to add the extension .osm to the end of your filename (example "2015-09-21 mytown.osm"). This is important is OsmMapCreator will not recognize it otherwise.
  2. Open OsmMapCreator - instructions for this can be found in the tutorial I mentioned before. If you are having problems with it, just download the file, unzip it and run the "batch" file in that folder. (You will have to see which of those items type=batch)
  3. In OsmMapCreator, choose File > Create .obf from .osm file
  4. Choose the .osm file that you just downloaded
  5. Wait
  6. Wait more
  7. It will eventually show you a dialogue saying that it's created a file in a folder (probably something like c:/users/Yourname/osmand. You will need to locate this folder, and go find the .obf file, which will have the same name as your osm download, but with the .obf extension. Use cut and paste to get them into your working directory.

Putting it on your Phone

1.Close Osmand on your phone, put the .obf file on your phone in the osmand folder, and restart Osmand.

Hope this works for you :) Feedback appreciated!

Unknown Pleasures

Posted by dekstop on 1 July 2015 in English (English)

Unknown pleasures preview (Sneak preview of new data visualisation work. While playing with HOT-related time series data I realised that Harold D. Craft's classic visualisation technique was a very suitable means of illustrating certain temporal patterns...)

Outreachy - Week Five

Posted by Arushi Vashist on 29 June 2015 in English (English)

Dear all,

Here is my weekly report on my Outreachy project.

#Week No: Five

##Target Milestone: Setting up repositories, choosing technologies and studying the code-base, revising the mockup of Export Tool

###Summary: Some touchups were done in the mockup, visual tag chooser option was removed and the preset tags were given a tree structure etc. My mentor Mhairi and me were in touch with Brian to ask him about the Export Tool API and how we could help. We also discussed the Tasking Manager repository and planned to use its existing framework for the Export Tool.

First Major Edits

Posted by KoHoSo on 28 June 2015 in English (English)

Today is the first time I've done what I consider to be "major" updates to OSM. This was mostly adding "new" and/or previously unmarked roads in the eastern section of Lake Arrowhead, California. That whole portion of the map near Papoose Lake was a bit of a mess so I'm glad to contribute that along with two relatively new park areas...if they stay put.

I haven't added to OSM much for a while. This is because I added an area in my home town of Crestline that was removed with no reason or explanation. That made me angry because I took great care to learn how to properly add an area and included a source for what I added.

At least all of the "points" I have added still seem to be there as well as a minor road correction I specifically remember. With what I mentioned above, I'm also putting more points (businesses and such). The western side of the San Bernardino Mountains communities are nowhere near as well filled in as the Big Bear area to the east so I sort of hate to not continue to contribute as I can in filling in points and a few roads here and there that aren't exactly correct. I'm just hoping they stay there or I can at least find an explanation as to why somebody deletes something I put in.

Location: Springy Path, Crestline, San Bernardino County, California, 92407, United States of America

State of the Map Scotland

Posted by Hawkeye on 28 June 2015 in English (English)


OpenStreetMap Scotland welcomes you,

Join us in Edinburgh between 30 Sep-4 Oct, to explore how people are using OpenStreetMap across the country and beyond.

We have a number of events aimed at different interests groups including community mapping, map developers, international development and map makers:

Please register for Friday, Saturday and Sunday events here (you can select which days you wish to attend):

Sign up now to avoid disappointment. Can't make it? - worry not, the conference will be streamed. Although, you'll have to be there in person to experience the flying drones or guided tour of the national map library!

Thank you from

OpenStreetMap Scotland

hashtag #sotms15


Location: Calton, Canongate, City of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Losing faith in OpenStreetMap

Posted by Andy Street on 27 June 2015 in English (English)

As a member of the OSM community for over nine years it is hard for me to admit but I've lost interest in contributing data to the project. I regularly spot stuff that needs mapping and I'm still subscribed to the mailing lists but I've not made an edit in months.

When I first joined OSM the map around me was a blank slate and all of my efforts were focused on collecting the bare minimum to create a functioning map (highway type, street names, basic points of interest, etc.). Getting out and about surveying streets was enjoyable and the OSM tagging system handled these basic details rather well. Over time as the number of missing features decreased and my attention shifted to improving the level of detail collected.

All was well for some time but as the level of detail increased so did the number of conflicts with other mappers and I have been increasingly aware of the limitations of the current tagging system. Some of the things I have learnt during this time include:

  • "Breaking" the the standard rendering is unacceptable and valid data will be removed to "fix" it.
  • Tagging uses a system of implied defaults that can change based on context, location and contributor understanding.
  • Explicitly stating implied tags (or even measurement units) for the avoidance of doubt is considered wasteful and will be removed.
  • Generic tags such as "name" or "ref" can be ambiguous when a single element describes multiple things (e.g. highway and bridge or shop and building).
  • Once a tag is adopted it is virtually impossible to change as data consumers will require a critical mass of mappers before adopting the change and vice versa.
  • There is no definitive tag owner to settle disputes. The community is supposed to reach a consensus but this doesn't always happen.

As a result I am no longer convinced that OSM - in its current form - is capable of becoming the high quality data set that I aspired to help build. I've got a basic idea of how tagging might be improved but given the levels of inertia I am loathed to pursue it.

OpenStreetMap Workshop at FEU Institute of Technology, Manila, Philippines

Posted by GOwin on 27 June 2015 in English (English)

Note: The original, and unabridged version of this message is a G+ post [0].

If you are monitoring #OpenStreetMap changesets from the #Philippines , you may have noticed a common changeset comment from week 25 of 2015 (15th-19th June or so)

The ResultMaps from report the following outcomes for the hashtag #osmfeu2015 [1] Information for #osmfeu2015 Number of OSM Contributors: 43 Number of Map Changes: 30,218 Total number of Changesets: 1,376

The FEU Institute of Technology [1] and the the Map the Philippines initiative of Ms. Celina Agaton [2] recently concluded a training workshop for FEU Tech affiliates (I.T. and engineering students and faculty) . Also with +Celina Agaton are some of AidData Summer Fellows who are in the Philippines to work along with Celina's number of mapping initiatives. Amy, Daniella, Emily, Lu and Prabesh [4]. Some OSM-PH mappers participated as facilitators: +Feye Andal (@ feyeandal) +Julius Bañgate (@ jmbangate), +Dianne Bencito (@dichapabe), +Rally de Leon (@rally) and myself,@GOwin.

At the end of the event, we asked for voluntary participants for an anonymous survey and over-all, the participants reported to have had very positive learning experience from the workshop. More than half of the respondents expressed their interesting in doing more field mapping activities. So, if you guys are planning any mapping parties soon, you know where to find them.

And if you find new edits in your area, and they happen to be from the #osmfeu2015 guys, please be gentle with them. For now. :D

The small group discussions had been interesting for me, especially with those who are now considering #OpenSource data from #OpenStreetMap for their own academic or personal projects. I collected baseline contributor data from this workshop and hope to evaluate the effectiveness of the engagement a few months down the road. If any of you are interested in this kind of thing, let me know how we can work together.

We were told that almost a hundred people signed up for the activity. Personally, I am happy to know that there are that many people who find the topic interesting. However, I'm also glad that we didn't get as much participants because we would have had a rough time managing the class because there weren't enough experienced mappers who can help facilitate and direct small group discussions.

For the closing activities, we came up with a few interesting awards based on contributor metrics: The Map-chine (for the participant who made the most number of edits during the workshop), The Beast Mapper (for the participant who contributed the most varied type of features, and the JOSM Padawan (for the participant who made the most number of edits using JOSM).

I took a few snaps [5] but expect the workshop organizers to release their official photos soon. :)

Many thanks to the organizers, the host, and to fellow participants who made this possible.

[0] [1] [2] [3] [4]

Location: San Miguel, Sixth District, Manila, Metro Manila, 1005, Philippines

Who sunk Ireland??

Posted by Govanus on 25 June 2015 in English (English)

Somone or something seems to have flooded all Ireland today in the standard rendering.

Location: Rossdorragha, Kyle ED, Rossdorragha, County Laois, Leinster, Ireland

Points of interests in Bundaberg CBD

Posted by TuanIfan on 25 June 2015 in English (English)

On my third day in Bundaberg, I spent a couple of hours mapping in Bundaberg CBD. Most edits are Points of interests ie cafes, clothing stores and bookstores. The weather is perfect : hot and warm at 3pm and cool breeze at 4.30pm after sunset.

Bourbong St is the main commercial road in the City and it has everything to offer. I mapped two dozens of Clothes nodes and 3-4 newsagents and 6 restaurants. I find it hard to add the 'hotel' pubs, whether they should be tagged as pubs or bars.


How it looks like when all points are shown in the map. Results

personal link

Posted by Govanus on 24 June 2015 in English (English)

Vespucci 0.9.6 released

Posted by SimonPoole on 23 June 2015 in English (English)

In case you didn't notice we have pushed 0.9.6 to the regular google play store. Release notes can be found on device and in the repository. There is likely to be a small maintenance release soon that will address a handful of minor issues.

If you do experience an issue or even a crash, please submit the crash dump if any and check our issue tracker for known issues and if appropriate open a new one. Vespucci supports a large number of different devices over a wide range of Android versions (2..2 to 5.1.1) and the issue you are expierencing maybe not be repeatable on other devices or circumstances. A post on the google play store does not get problems resolved.

Mieng Gio <a href="">Mieng gio</a>

Posted by MiengGio on 23 June 2015 in English (English)

Mieng Gio Mieng gio

HOT Office Hours

Posted by dkunce on 23 June 2015 in English (English)

Today I had the first of three "office hours" on HOT's Mumble channel. I was glad that a few people stopped by and I was able to answer a some questions. Very happy to hear voices and connect them with names. I even had a chance to talk with Russ about the activation curriculum. Below are a couple of the highlights from that discussion.

What is the role of regional/local HOT, ie. HOT South America?

I do believe that HOT should be doing everything it can to empower and assist local OSM groups. OSM is great in that the local mapper always supersedes the remote mapper. I think building local communities should follow this same parallel. OSM communities should be driven by local needs and desires but can be supported from remote partners or HOT.

Thinking about this a little more I would add that I don't think we should have a HOT South America, or a HOT Africa. OSM is the larger project that binds us together. Our goal of HOTties is not to setup local HOT organizations but to empower locals to map their communities and engage and collaborate on the map of the world. HOT should work closely with OSMF to fund grants community grants for equipment and other resources. This will allow HOT to train and mentor mappers to map features for humanitarian use while the larger OSM community goes about its normal business as it does in most of the world.

What is the most important thing for HOTs future?

The most important thing for HOT is to secure long term unrestricted funding. Unrestricted funding will allow HOT to employ more and better staff, engage in projects on its own, and have more control of its own strategic vision. Unrestricted funds for HOT will allow it the financial stability to focus on key growth areas and areas in need of a little love. The Hewlett Grant is amazing in that it allowed HOT to pick its own priorities. This type of grant does not happen very often. HOT was wise to choose the activation curriculum as one these priorities and the benefits are already being seen in the great work the Activation Working Group is doing. This type of work allows HOT to codify and set its standards for handling the next big disaster. There should be more of these efforts.

Do you see HOT participating more in economic development projects.

HOT should participate in more economic development projects. HOT does great work right now in several resilience projects. Partnering with GFDRR and the World Bank in Africa and Asia. While these projects were not explicitly about economic development they have created local economies around OSM. For example GFDRR's work in Kathmandu a couple years ago lead to the creation of Kathmandu Living Labs creating jobs and establishing a local OSM community for HOT to work with during the recent Nepal Earthquake activation.

I'll be online again Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am eastern to noon. I look forward to hearing from more of you. As always feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.

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