Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

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.

Initial activity and retention of first-time HOT contributors

Posted by dekstop on 22 June 2015 in English (English)

(Hallo! I'm Martin Dittus, a PhD student at UCL. You can read more about my research in an earlier post.)

The volunteers of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and its affiliated projects have spent many thousands of labour hours on the creation of new maps for humanitarian purposes. Yet mapping all the undocumented and crisis-stricken regions of the world is a formidable task. The 2014 response to the Ebola epidemic illustrated this well: even after months of work by thousands of volunteers, the new maps of Central and West Africa are still nowhere near complete.

Many people within HOT now believe that this can best be addressed by growing the community by a few orders of magnitude. An MSF article about Missing Maps articulates this ambition:

To reach our goal, we need the Missing Maps Project to be the biggest instance of digital volunteerism the world has ever seen.

So let's say we'd want to grow HOT to a million volunteer contributors. How can we train new contributors at that scale? What are our barriers to entry? How can we retain contributors once they’ve had first experiences? Etc... many open questions.

As a first step let’s learn from existing experience. How does engagement compare across the different mapping initiatives right now? Let's start with a simple comparative study.

Comparing three large HOT initiatives

I'm particularly interested in the engagement profile of first-time contributors: people who may have OSM experience, but who have never before contributed to HOT. How much work do they provide in the first couple of days? How long do they stick around?

In this post I'll compare the first-time contributor engagement profiles of three initiatives. Each has a different purpose, and a different mode of organisation:

  • Typhoon Haiyan (TH) in Nov 2013: A high-profile and urgent initiative. A first "CNN moment" which brought many newcomers to HOT. Accompanied by a larger number of one-off mapathons around the world.
  • Ebola Response (ER) throughout 2014: A high-profile, multi-month sustained effort. A large amount of media coverage. Coincided with an initial wave of monthly mapathons in several cities.
  • Missing Maps (MM) from Nov 2014 onwards: A larger initiative across a range of humanitarian causes. Proactive, low in urgency, with less media attention: the focus is on community-building. Monthly mapathons, heavy use of social media for promotion.

I'm using the OSM edit history as the basis for my analysis, focusing on an 18-month period from from 16th of June 2013 to 15th of December 2014. During this time, 1,582 first-time contributors joined HOT to participate in one of these three initiatives, joining one of about 100 projects. (There were many thousands more contributing, but for now we're just interested in first-timers.)

Here’s a timeline of when these contributors first joined, with a bubble for each new contributor: Timeline of first-time contributors Each new contributor is visualised with a bubble. Bubble sizes represent the amount of labour hours the person contributed in the first 2 days. Contributors are ordered vertically by their OSM ID: older user accounts at the top, new accounts at the bottom.

For each of these contributors we'll build an engagement profile. For the purpose of this analysis I’m using quantitative measures of engagement, these are easy for me to produce across a wide range of projects:

  • Short-term activity: labour hours, contribution rate in the first two days.
  • Short-term retention: the share of contributors who remain active in HOT on day 2.
  • Long-term retention: the share of contributors who remain active in HOT in month 2 and 3.

Findings: initial activity and retention of first-time contributors

When we model first-time contributor engagement in this way we can see some similarities across the three initiatives, but also some striking differences. I'll discuss five key observations.

1. Baseline activity in the first 48h is surprisingly high! Many first-time contributors participate for multiple days in a row. The median contribution activity is ~70 mins in the first 48h. This may sound small for a typical volunteer organisation, but for an online project it's massive! We further find that between the three initiatives, MM contributors map at the slowest pace. We'll come back to that in a second. Median contribution activity in the first 48 hours Median contribution activity in the first 48 hours: labour hours (left) and contribution rate (right, in edits per hour).

2. Prior experience affects performance. More experienced users tended to contribute faster and work for more hours, and come back the next day. This effect can be observed globally, and for each of the project groups we observed. This either suggests that there is a training effect for OSM users which is transferrable to HOT, or a self-selection bias: contributors who enjoy mapping may simply be more engaged in general, be it in HOT or other OSM activities. Distribution of initial activity by prior OSM experience Distribution of initial activity by prior OSM experience: the amount of labour hours l48h (left) and the rate of contributions c48h (right). In each plot, contributors are segmented by their degree of prior OSM experience. Median values are marked with a red line.

3. MM contributors tend to be OSM newcomers. How much experience does a typical first-time HOT contributor have? It turns out that this can vary wildly based on the initiative. The TH and ER groups have a mix of both OSM experts and OSM newcomers, whereas by far the most first-time MM contributors have virtually no prior OSM experience. Share of participants with a given amount of prior OSM experience Share of participants with a given amount of prior OSM experience, measured in the number of days on which they contributed to OSM.

4. These newbies are catching up quickly. Contributors to MM start slowly, however they catch up with others: many increase their pace of contributions in the first 48h. Compared to that, TH and ER contributors tend to maintain their initial pace. Change in contribution pace between the first and second day Share of participants based on their change in contribution pace between the first and second day.

5. Project purposes or modes of organisation likely have an impact on contributor retention. How many contributors to each of the initiatives are retained as HOT contributors? This is maybe the most important aspect if we care about growing an active volunteer community. For each first-time contributor we determine if they return on the second day, and whether they remain active contributors to any HOT project during the second and third month after their initial contribution. Comparing HOT initiatives in this manner uncovers some remarkable differences in retention.

Contributors to TH engaged in much short-term activity in the first few days, however in the longer term none of the contributors remained active! In comparison, about 8% ER contributors are retained as HOT contributors in the second month, and 1% in the third: they slowly fade away. In contrast to this MM has the lowest short-term retention, yet the highest long-term retention: contributors do not tend to come back on the second day, however they are more likely to remain active a month or two later. A remarkable accomplishment. Median retention for day 2, and months 2 and 3. Median retention for day 2, and months 2 and 3.


I would argue that the HOT community is highly engaged already. Most volunteers contribute for more than an hour within the first two days of their initial contribution, and a significant percentage of contributors is retained for longer periods.

The data suggests that the capacity-building strategies of ER and MM initiatives work particularly well: in these two initiatives, a good share of contributors kept coming back. No doubt this is because both were longer-term initiatives, so first-time contributors may have felt a responsibility to keep contributing. However I suspect there may be additional reasons. Maybe most importantly, monthly mapathons in a growing number of cities provide welcoming social spaces with expert guidance, peer learning, and all kinds of enjoyable experiences. In addition to that MM appears to foster a more well-connected community, with the means of notifying interested contributors of new causes via Facebook, Twitter, email alerts, ...

I believe that given a choice, newcomers are best placed in projects where they have a higher likelihood of being retained. In our case this would be the ER and particularly MM initiatives: projects that are specifically set up as long-term initiatives. Additionally there are indications that particularly MM was successful at retaining and training absolute newcomers with no prior OSM experience.

Another key observation is that as HOT grows and starts new initiatives we're gradually reaching outside the existing OSM community. Most first-time contributors now have no prior OSM experience, this was quite different in the beginning. This certainly affects how we should approach and support HOT newcomers.

By Martin Dittus (@dekstop) in 2015. This was produced as part of my academic research together with Licia Capra and Giovanni Quattrone. A paper which includes this work and more is now under review.

Outreachy - Week Four

Posted by Arushi Vashist on 22 June 2015 in English (English)

Dear all,

Here is my weekly report on my Outreachy project.

#Week No: Four

##Target Milestone: Studying the existing repository of Visual Tag Chooser & Providing survey details

###Summary: Helped Mhairi with the technical details required for the HOT Export Tool survey. Understood the workflow of the Visual Tag Chooser repository, about how we could integrate it into the new export tool. Thanks to Brian for guiding me in this.

HOT Board 2015 Special Election : My view on the organization

Posted by PierZen on 21 June 2015 in English (English)

HOT successful growth over the last five years is recognized by the various medias and humanitarian organizations. HOT was successful to develop projects in partnership with various organizations and to mobilize developpers and mappers volunteering or contracting in supporting different programs and actions. There were Projects in Indonesia, Haiti, Africa, and Local community development actions. To support these activities, Tutorials, Software development were other dimensions of this action. The Tasking Manager is the example of a tool developped with the support of volunteers and contractors, experimenting with various partners. The Activations and other Programs have contributed to develop workflows to better respond to various problematics in the humanitarian sector. This was possible with both the support of skilled volunteers, staff and the synergy with the partner organizations. As we progress to develop projects with the partners, it is essential to assure to maintain a good coordination with the HOT community, A great part of the dynamism and success of HOT comes from this ecosystem with these highly skilled mappers and developpers that develop tools, orient projects, interface with humanitarian organizations to adapt to their needs and find ways to collaborate.

OSM is now the DeFacto map for international humanitarian responses. But for HOT to grow successfully, we should surely not count only on dedicated Activation leaders, Developpers or Staff. The same with the Board of directors or the Partners. We need to work together. The Board of directors represents the membership and assures the management of the organization with the support of the staff. They cannot surely report all actions or detail of contracts and staff management. And they have to delegate some responsabilities to the staff.

But the Board cannot drive such an humanitarian organization like a private company not accounting to anyone. But Accountability is an essential element of the Governance of such humanitarian NGO. It is essential to report to our shareholders, the membership, to discuss the major orientations, to use the internal ressources to better define our projects and orientations. The Governance is an important aspect of this election. We have to assure that the Board of directors is accountable to the membership and operates with openess and respect.

In the technological and very dynamic sector where we operate, Partnership is an important aspect. Partners are playing a great role collaborating at the design of projects. sometimes involved in conjoint FundRaising actions.

But we need to reinforce this member-based organization, assure that the membership can play his role and that the major orientations and FundRaising are not controlled by partners that could have conflicted interests.

I am retired after a carreer working for government agencies in Canada. My contributions over the last years clearly show my support and expertise for the development of HOT, my engagement for this organization, my support of the local communities, my volunty to progress with field work in the context of various projects and the various humanitarian emergencies. My previous diary ( shows how as a leader of Activations I contributed to professionnalize our responses and play a major role contributing with the UN Agencies and international organizations. OSM is now the DeFacto Basemap for such responses. I have lead activations for DR Congo, Mali, Haiyan/Philippines, West Africa Ebola, Vanuatu and Nepal. The West Africa Ebola OSM Response was the opportunity to develop with MSF-Switzerland and CartONG an innovative approach for interventions in the context of epidemies, collaborating with their field teams to adapt constantly to this epidemy.

Thanks for your support and involvment in HOT.

On Mapping Golf Courses

Posted by James Tait on 20 June 2015 in English (English)

I'm not a golfer. When I grew up, golf was a rich person's game. Average Joes like me couldn't afford to play golf. Things have changed. My boys are golfers. I'm just their geek dad, a Free Software nerd and OpenStreetMap obsessive who takes them places. Golf can still be a rich person's game, but it doesn't have to be. The rich kids just have more equipment.

One such piece of equipment is GPS assistance. A little custom-made gadget that knows about golf courses and the features and layout of each hole and assists with things like choosing your club and your line based on where you are and where you need to get to. This, to someone like me, sounds like a challenge. We have this data (or where we don't, we can create it). So, ahead of the first round of the 2015 Derbyshire Futures Tour, I set about mapping the course.

Actually mapping the course, the holes and their features from the Bing imagery was a breeze. But when I got to thinking about how the software would work, I came up short. My idea was something like this:

  1. The golf club is represented by an area (leisure=golf_course; name=Name of Club)
  2. Each course at a club is represented by a relation (type=golf_course; name=Name of Club, Name of Course).
  3. The relation groups all the ways tagged golf=hole, and the ref tag on each way represents the hole number.
  4. The tee boxes (golf=tee) and greens (golf=green) are also tagged using ref for the hole number.
  5. Bunkers are tagged (golf=bunker, natural=sand); water hazards (golf=water_hazard; natural=water); lateral water hazards (golf=lateral_water_hazard; natural=water); fairways (golf=fairway); and woods (natural=wood) and individual trees (natural=tree).
  6. Search for a course. This would search Nominatim or similar for relations of type=golf_course that closely match what the user searched for. This could even be automated as a first step, so the user just has to select the course from a list.
  7. Download the data for the course, render it, show distance to the hole, recommended club, etc. Record strokes and distances. The sky's the limit here.

But there's a problem: tee boxes, fairways and greens are associated with a hole on a course, which is part of a club - but that's not represented in the data. We only have a link from the course relation to its holes - there's nothing linking a tee box to a hole or a green to a hole, and there's nothing linking bunkers and trees to the course. Now for downloading the data, this is not necessarily a problem, as we can figure out the bounding box. But when it comes to "show me an overview of the first hole" then it becomes:

  1. Select the first item of role=hole in the relation.
  2. Look at its ref tag.
  3. Select all ways in our bounding box with the same ref tag (and probably golf=tee, etc.)
  4. Figure out the hole's bounding box.
  5. Select anything else in that bounding box.
  6. Render.

If instead we had a hierarchy of relations, we could do:

  1. Select the first item of role=hole in the relation.
  2. Select the child relations for role=tee, role=fairway, role=green, etc.
  3. Figure out the hole's bounding box.
  4. Select anything else in that bounding box.
  5. Render.

It's only one step less, but by iterating over the child relations, all the related ways are selected explicitly, rather than having to iterate over every way we've downloaded and discard most of them. I think this would make for more coherent data and more performant applications.

Location: Shirland and Higham CP, North East Derbyshire, Derbyshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

GSoC'15 Project update

Posted by sbagroy986 on 20 June 2015 in English (English)

Hey everyone!

I'm working on the Moderation Queue project as a part of GSoC'15 along with Serge Wroclawski (emacsen), my mentor.

The official starting date of this project was 25th May, about three and a half weeks back but we have been working on it for almost two months now. You can see all our work on github here.

So, over the last two months, we've made some pretty great progress!

Currently, reporting a problem on is a cumbersome. One needs to actually email an administrator with the concerned issue ( malicious edit, offensive user profiles, offensive note comments etc). Our project involves simplifying this process and allowing users to seamlessly report such problems without any hassle.

Our solution to this problem is the creation of a simple "Report" button, as can be seen in the pictures.

As we can see, users can now simply click on Report to create a complaint against the instance - in this case a Diary Entry or a Changeset.

This leads to a page where the user provides a little detail about the problem. This here is the page for reporting a Diary Entry:

All one needs to do is fill in the form, and that's it! Considerably less work than the current procedure.

We've also made a dashboard for the administrators and moderators to sort out the incoming reports and deal with them more easily than right now.

So basically, we're trying to reduce the amount of effort at both ends - to allow for faster, more efficient and less cumbersome creation and monitoring of reports against problems. We're hoping it helps everyone out.

That's it for this update!

HOT Board Special Election Statement

Posted by dkunce on 19 June 2015 in English (English)

HOT is still at a pivotal time in its growth. We haven't fully put the events the past few board elections behind us. The old debates of what a 'HOT project' is versus what is HOT, the role and responsibilities of the board, and silly conflicts, still go on. HOT must grow out of this current adolescent phase if it is to become truly successful and sustainable. HOT is and will always be a mapping NGO. However, to get HOT to where it needs to be, it needs to be about more than skilled mappers and dedicated activators. HOT needs to improves its fundraising, administration, and visioning to become an accountable organization. I know that there has been some resistance to HOT growing as an organization and that there are those members that see HOT the NGO as being different from the HOT community. I understand the resistance but disagree, HOT the NGO and HOT the community should be the same thing for a variety of reasons, most importantly fundraising. More partners are counting on our work both during activations and normal times.

In my day-to-day professional life as the GIS lead for the American Red Cross, I work a lot with HOT, local OSM communities, governments, other NGOs, and private corporations to strengthen and build OSM communities. I've lead Red Cross GIS teams during several responses over the last couple of years including, Typhoon Haiyan, West Africa Ebola Outbreak, Malawi Floods, Typhoon Pam, and the recent Nepal Earthquake. When I asked the British Red Cross, HOT, and Medicine Sans Frontiers to come together to create the Missing Maps project, all jumped at the chance because of how much they like and support HOT. Missing Maps is a huge accomplishment for HOT. It allows HOT to engage with new stakeholders, local communities, and donors to accomplish HOT's work. I've worked hard since joining the non-profit sector to lend my hand at strengthening HOT: founding Missing Maps, building technology to enable our work (Tasking Manager v2, OpenMapKit, OSM-Meta-API), fundraising for various projects, helping host and plan the first ever HOT Summit, representing HOT and Missing Maps to the media and at conferences, and working behind the scenes in the humanitarian sector to lead the adoption and use of OSM by humanitarian organizations.

My vision for HOT is a continuation and evolution of its current path. I want HOT to have a solid financial foundation that supports both technology and field projects, HOT helps guide other humanitarian organizations to adopt and use OSM, and the old animosities are replaced with a renewed passion and dedication to help HOT grow.

The key areas that I will focus on if elected to the board include:

  • Governance: Build upon the momentum created by existing HOT staff and working groups to manage and maintain the governance structures within HOT. This especially includes strengthening the rules around conflicts of interests and holding members and board members accountable or their actions.
  • Overhaul Board Terms of Reference: The existing HOT Board is required to oversee the daily management of HOT and does not have enough time to focus on creating and implementing a longer term vision. I will work to empower HOT staff to take a more active part in the daily decision-making process in line with how other NGOs function.
  • Partnerships: It is imperative that HOT build better partnerships before disasters. One of the main reasons the American Red Cross uses OpenStreetMap is due to the relationship built prior to, rather than during, a disaster. Pre-established relationships can strengthen the broader applications of HOT to other actors. I will develop and strengthen partnerships with humanitarian relief organizations so that OSM and HOT are embedded into their business operations.
  • Fundraising: HOT needs to secure unrestricted funding to support long term projects, technical infrastructure, and increased staff. Many organizations depend on HOT during times of crisis and even during normal operations.
  • OSMF: HOT should work to strengthen OSM Foundation to support the underlying infrastructure that it relies on. This includes helping OSMF establish more OSM chapters around the world.

During the normal election last year it was pointed out that I will have some Conflicts of Interest in my role as the GIS Lead for American Red Cross and as a potential board member. First let me state that I will be the first one to acknowledge those conflicts and excuse myself from those conversations. Yes my work overlaps a lot with HOT's day to day. That is a good thing. It shows that partners such as the Red Cross value and care for the HOT community. While ARC has given HOT money in the past for a few small projects the real value of our contribution to HOT is in staff time. I have given tons of personal and work time to supporting HOT. The folks at ARC are very proud to be HOTties, we enjoy making things possible that would otherwise been very difficult such as the HOT Summit. As I have stated before I will recuse myself from any discussions concerning financial matters with HOT and ARC or Missing Maps. This follows not only good board practices but existing ARC and HOT rules.

I will be available on Mumble Monday (7/22 11am-12pm), Wednesday (7/24 10am-12pm), and Thursday (7/25 10am-12pm) USA Eastern Time Zone if you would like to stop by and ask me any questions. I encourage Pierre to be available during the same time so you can ask us both any questions you might have.

This election asks you to make a difficult choice. HOT could remain a small volunteer organization, run by individuals whose work with donors and international agencies—while well meaning—will be around small projects. It could remain mired in the politics of similar small NGOs, where debates over small issues keep the organization from focusing on growing. Or HOT could blossom into its full potential, with a board composed of professional mappers, humanitarians, fund-raisers, and leaders. HOT could scale to offer far more communities a wider range of services than we can now perform with our small base of trainers. I want to help HOT grow. I have the background, network, and management skills to contribute to that vision. It’s your choice. More debates or more impact.

Suburbs or villages?

Posted by TuanIfan on 19 June 2015 in English (English)

I've added admin boundaries and titles for eastern suburbs of Bundaberg. That's fairly easy for urban suburbs since they're usually smaller in size. However, country suburbs like Rubyanna and Qunaba require more consideration.

I was wondering if i should tag them as place=suburb or place=village, as they have less than 500 in population.

Bundaberg eastern suburbs

Don't know what to think of it of this research

Posted by escada on 18 June 2015 in English (English)

Somewhere in April, I bought a smartphone and installed OsmAnd on it. During my first ride with it, I discovered that someone tagged a stretch of an highway with maxspeed=50. I noticed it, because OsmAnd suddenly warned my that I was speeding.

The same day I changed it back to the normal 120 and I left a changeset comment. Today I got a reply to that comment (in Dutch):

"Deze werd in OSM geplaatst voor een onderzoek naar de temporele kwaliteit van OpenStreetMap. Alle gemaakte fouten, die nog niet verbeterd werden door de gemeenschap, worden vandaag verbeterd."

The translation is something like

"Those errors were placed into OSM for a research in the temporal quality of OpenStreetMap. All deliberately made mistakes, that are not yet corrected by the community, will be corrected today"

Any thoughts ?

MapBox and MapQuest ... the bit the tech pundits are missing

Posted by SimonPoole on 18 June 2015 in English (English)

In all the noise about MapBox's Series B offering and their successful bid to replace MapQuest's in house map rendering capability, it seems that our dear trade rags missed something.

Likely the most important medium term aspect of the successful bid is that it removed funding and support for a competing vector tile rendering stack that MQ was developing internally.

Anybody that has been following the developments knows that while open source and in principle freely available, the MapBox vector tile stack doesn't work "out of the box" in any reasonable meaning of the words. It follows the trend of the bits and pieces of MapBox's technology becoming increasingly more difficult to use in practice by the community. The other well known example is MapBox studio, the follow up to the widely independently used TileMill.

A recent article actually points to parts that are closed source, a not completly unexpected change of direction.

Now I think we all realize that it is just a matter of time till the open source community catches up on the vector tile front. This will address some of the issues the OSM community has been having with its map rendering and even the playing field a bit. But MapBox has clearly bought themselves some more breathing space for now.

Mapathon 16th June Epworth Field Papers

Posted by rupertmaesglas on 17 June 2015 in English (English)

What an interesting Mapathon. A real brainstorm for policy on how to deal with how Neighbourhoods which cross wards will be mapped. Rob Scott showed us how to share 'ways/relations/boundaries' by using Overpass Turbo to export the admin levels into JOSM. Sarah Wise and Tom Hills took up the batten, which was not easy. Rob insisted that we work out these ways of tagging 'Parcels' of land with shared boundaries, and it was true that although little was inputted, we now have clear strategy. Below is a summary from email correspondence:

Hey Tom and Sarah.

Hope the following fits with what Sarah has down from last night here:

I will double-check once my emails are answered, but please feed back.

Great that you're getting time to do stuff, Tom. This is indeed the issue that we came up against, and which led to that slightly esoteric venture into Ways, Relations and Boundaries. I am adjusting the levels a bit from yesterday. Also, I think it may be good to let those who want to just tag the houses and leave the boundaries. Better for the newbies like me. I'll ask for feedback on this, tooo, from the community.

Sometimes, the away to find and address consists in upper levels, sometimes in lower.

In these cases, indeed the whole case of Epworth, we need to 'live with' gaps in the Address Chain at certain levels. Sometimes occupied by qualifiers, sometimes blank, because admin levels are not consistent in the addressing system. So let them be pushed and let's create the space. Rule of thumb is to 'shunt' the values up or down to line-up and leave gaps in the value fields which become empty. This would be a true rendering. I think my team-mate Kieran would concur. (I will post and hope for confirmation.) So yes, option 3. Create a new level: 'subdistrict'.

So the address chain is: Ward=2, Neighbourhood=Makomo(to be tagged in 'ways/relations' as 'Metropole' level 0), Area=Makomo Extension (to be tagged at 'Metropole' Level 1), Subdistrict/Cell= for example 'M' - a qualifier for the part of the neighbourhood, which is present on some field papers (to be tagged Met. Level 2) Street/Hamlet (to be tagged at Met.Level 3) - for example '=Chinamo', 'Parcel' or Block which is the Proper Name/Number/Identity of the parcel of land. If there is a name, consent has been sought and given, and this is the equivalent of a 'community head', to be included in the 'name'. I will try to link you up with the trello page. Also I will try to post this on there and the HOT mailing list.

Hope this helps.


On 17/06/2015 12:56, Thomas Hills wrote:

Hi Rupert, I hope you're well. Sorry to pester you so soon after yesterday with questions about Missing Maps! I don't have anyone else's email addresses so if you could pass this around everyone else that would be brilliant. I've had a look at my field papers and there seems to be an overlap between Neighbourhood and Area. Roughly half my papers use Makomo Extension as a neighbourhood (i.e. addr:neighbourhood) and half as an area (i.e. addr:hamlet). This wouldn't be such a problem but it then pushes the other designations out of defined categories. An example: Our categories are area\neighbourhood\name. In some papers, I have Makomo\Makomo Ext\name. (e.g. NW M6) In others, I have Makomo Ext\neighbourhood\name. (e.g. NW M9) So we need to determine how to work this out. I think there are three options: 1) Makomo Ext, etc are neighbourhoods. The extra info can be put in as, e.g. "addr:neighbourhood = Makomo Extension/Chinamano." 2) Makomo Ext etc are areas. The extra info can be put in as, e.g. "addr:hamlet = Makomo/Makomo Ext" 3) We create a new level (addr:subdistrict perhaps). Any 'extensions' go in here, and this way all info has a category. I don't mind which method we use - I don't use the maps and I'm not an experiences OSMmer so I'd be reticent to give an opinion, Cheers, Tom


Posted by etu on 16 June 2015 in English (English)

Finalized. Additionally, missing areas finalized around Järvenpääntie down to Hyrylä traffic circle. No obvious missing areas in Rantatie, Kirkonkylä or Hyökkälä any more.

Location: Tuusulan pappila, Kirkonkylä, Tuusula, Helsingin seutukunta, Uusimaa, Southern Finland, 04310, Finland

Czech LPIS landuse import finished

Posted by xkomczax on 15 June 2015 in English (English)

As Pavel Kwiecien informed, the import of landuse from LPIS, czech farmland registry, is finished. It means whole (except for small gapes) country have now landuse with corresponding value on it. Many thanks to everyone involved! :-)

This is not the first import in the country's history: there was import of forests, waterways (and other water-related objects), not very long ago the import of addresses was finished (updated by bot) and the buildings import is work-in-progress as we are waiting for cadastral office to digitize the rest of data).

The question is: "What next?". As the summer is calling, there will be a lot of outside mapping during next few months but it is always handy to have plan B for forthcoming fall. What are the ideas from abroad?

Tasking manager for field data

Posted by pedrito1414 on 15 June 2015 in English (English)

Just a musing on a tasking manager software, but for field data instead of tracing.

With the amount of data we are expecting to come back from the Soputh Kivu mapping, we need better tools and processes for getting it into OSM

If this rings bells with anyone, please feel free to get in touch...

Field data tasking manager concept

The need:

So far Missing Maps field data editing and uploading is fairly randomly done, using a combination of wiki pages, data in dropbox folders, scanned field papers.

On a small scale, this can be effective (and has been). However, as we start to get more and more data back from the field, and as field data becomes a normal part of mapathons / armchair mapping, this model doesn’t scale well.

It relies far too much on the person managing the project being present to explain the data and the system for uploading it. It also relies on individuals to carefully document how much of the data they took responsibility for they actually edited / uploaded.

The / One solution:

The HOT tasking manager is a great example of how software can solve problems in a crowdsourcing / microtasking environment. Whilst there is always room for improvement, its fundamental raison d’etre means that large tasks can be worked on collaboratively by many individuals at the same time.

One solution to the scaling of editing of field data is a task manager for field data that chunks up geographical areas and then presents data relevant to that area, whilst providing instructions on purpose and process.

What would this look like?

The user signs in and elects a task. The task displays with instructions and purpose. The user chooses a square from a grid. The TM displays the types of data availabkle in that square. The user then confirms their choice and locks it or chooses an alternative square.

One the square is confirmed the current OSM data for that area is displayed on the screen.

Also displayed are the types of data that are available for that square (this could be gpx, odk shapes, field papers, OpenMapKit). The user chooses the data type and it displays as a layer. The user then begins to add the data that he/she has been instructed to add.

If the user finds the object to be added (ie a building) is already in the OSM data set, he/she adds the relevant tags and saves. If the building does not exist already, the user uses imagery to try to locate it. If successful he/she adds the object and tags and saves. If the object still cannot be found, the user flags the object for further investigation, filling out a short comment. This comment is then communicated to the manager of that task.

If the user finds/creates the object but has problems tagging, s/he flags the object for further investigation, filling out a short comment. This comment is then communicated to the manager of that task.

Possible workflow for a field data tasking manager

If the user finishes editing / uploading a particular data set (eg gpx), then s/he can mark this as done. Then, the user can either move on to a different set of data or unlock the square. If s/he finishes all the data for the square, then s/he marks the square done. If the user finishes their session without completing a data set, they unlock and add a comment.

Soviet road's significations.

Posted by Poprawiacz on 15 June 2015 in English (English)

Unterregionia (Ukraine), Russia and Kazakhstan MOTORWAY'S on map network is signed present good.

Outreachy - Week Three

Posted by Arushi Vashist on 15 June 2015 in English (English)

Dear all,

Here is my weekly report on my Outreacy project.

#Week No: Three

##Target Milestone: Prepare final template for the HOT Export Tool website.

###Summary: Existing web pages of osm and HOT have a lot of features in common. Keeping in mind the deliverables and present design, a new template for the Export Tool was designed and presented to the mentors. Special thanks to Katja for assisting me in selection of layouts, colors, logos, fonts etc.


Posted by etu on 15 June 2015 in English (English)

Coninued finalizing Rantatie from Halosenniemi down to Onnela.

Location: Tuomala, Tuusula, Helsingin seutukunta, Uusimaa, Southern Finland, Finland

Humanitarian mapping and local communities

Posted by Jorieke V on 14 June 2015 in English (English)

In the light of two very interesting blog posts, one of Erica Hagen from Ground Truth and one of Gwilym Eades lecturer geography in the Royal Holloway University of London, in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake; I would like to share with you some of my thoughts.

Types of mapping activities

First of all I would like to share with you a table which I created and showed last year during GeOng in France, at the Missing Maps launch in London and at the HOT summit in Washington. Every time this table lead to interesting discussions afterwards.

The table shows the existence of four different ways of OpenStreetMap-mapping:

four different ways of mapping

The first way of mapping is remote mapping without any local knowledge. Remote mappers will be able to map geometrics of buildings, roads and land use with the help of aerial imagery. This, but nothing more. A next way of OpenStreetMap-mapping is field mapping by ‘outsiders’. ‘Outsiders’, like for example tourists, development workers or humanitarians going outside to collect geographical data. This is ground truthing, but in a limited way. As outsider you can after all only collect the best known points of interest or visible things like for example the condition of roads. Field mapping done by locals is much more interesting. Locals know their environment! So they move faster, they know for example how the address system is working, they can easily ask street names in the local language, they know where to go for information on the borders of neighbourhoods, etc. But imagine what can happen when it comes to a real local OpenStreetMap-community. A maintained database of local knowledge will appear on the OpenStreetMap website and a permanent base of mappers will be present and keeps the map up to date. Isn’t it this, which is in particular interesting in prevention and preparation of crises?

Looking through the eyes of a humanitarian

Of course humanitarian organisations do what they want to do, that’s the freedom and openness the OpenStreetMap platform offers. And yes if I look through the eyes of a humanitarian organisation, I sometimes would take this freedom to map and take control of the situation as soon as possible. Because do we want to let Ebola spread in West Africa if we can help stop it? Or what do we do when a typhoon is coming towards Vietnam?

In this way you indeed can see the mapping we are doing with HOT out of a very colonial viewpoint: we connect maps with power and control again. Although me myself I’m convinced we should intervene and map from a distance in some cases, I’m also convinced we should not stop there... We should always connect crisis mapping with building and supporting local OpenStreetMap communities, and even better: if we want to do good, humanitarian mapping we should help develop and support them even before a crisis starts!

Can everybody map?

But who are the mappers of a local OpenStreetMap community exactly? Is this community a collection of the more technology-oriented people of a country? Are they youngsters out of one particular neighbourhood? Are they volunteers who are getting a per diem to collect data around the town? …

In OpenStreetMap there is one thing we cannot ignore; it will always be a project that depends on some level of technology. By this I don’t mean you need a degree in IT, but just the fact that for uploading data you need to have basic computer skills and the opportunity to use a computer with internet connection. Where this is not a problem in Europe, in a lot of other parts in the world it is. How should people in the heart of Africa discover OpenStreetMap by themselves when there is no phone network, an internet connection of 384Kbit/s costs more than an avarage monthly salary and when even the idea of mapping is strange for a lot of people.

But does this mean we only have to support and build OpenStreetMap communities with people who can handle a computer and can pay an internet connection? I think we shouldn't: every person in the world can contribute to OpenStreetMap, with his or her very local knowledge (places and people) even if he or she never touched a computer before and doesn’t speak a word of English.

In January I was for example two weeks in Bangladesh to map Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar, two neigbourhoods in the capital Dhaka. Besides our more technical mapping heroes, we worked together with some local people who never had anything to do with mapping before, but who saw the advantage for their own neighbourhood. Mister Babul, Robin, Sharmeen and our Kam-boys; they learned about satellites in the sky, how to use Field Papers a smartphone and most of them edited in the end OpenStreetMap by themselves. Some of them are now even teaching others to map.

Same same, but different

A mapper in Bangladesh, in Mali or in Kenya is in fact not that different from a regular OpenStreetMap-mapper in Europe or somewhere else in the world. The mapper with whom he differs the most, is maybe even the humanitarian mapper… Why is somebody in Europe putting all the cycle ways on OpenStreetMap? Because he and his fellow bikers can make use of it! Why is a geography student in Cameroon mapping roads in Cameroon? Because in this way he doesn’t have to use some old geographical dataset from France anymore. Why will a slum dweller start to map his living environment? Only because he can get advantages out of it: maybe he sees possibilities in finally having an address for his business, or he sees possible improvements in the sanitation situation for him and his family.

In general, if people don’t see a direct personal advantage, it will be more difficult to motivate them to map in a voluntary way. And it might even be that people see a threat in all this mapmaking: some slum dwellers of small slums maybe prefer to stay of the map, because then it will be less likely to be discovered and evicted by the government. And it are these decisions I think we definitely should respect within our Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Especially with vulnerable communities, like slum communities, or people in very remote places we have to be careful. In a perfect world, we should work together with existing communities in villages, neighbourhoods … at the smallest level possible, we should explain what mapping is, what OpenStreetMap is, what the possibilities are and let them discuss, discover and decide.

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