Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Tasks 720 and 721

Posted by Sinitra on 16 March 2017 in English (English)

Tasks 720 and 721 are almost completed

A sensitive mapping of public space, #CallesVioletas (VioletStreets)

Posted by mapeadora on 16 March 2017 in English (English)

The exercises of mapping from the citizenship, which are the basis of the present introspection, take origin in the work group of #Repubikla. This group, through several projects articulated among themselves, encourages citizens and organized civil society to be empowered by generating robust data for public policies, and forms a framework where all the urban stakeholder are interrelated and aware from their different and complementary perspectives, in an inclusive way. These two objectives serve the central objective that is the construction of an egalitarian and inclusive city, with high participation in its processes, of the whole of the society.

Through the initiatives of #Mapeaton (Mapathon for and by pedestrians) and then #CrucesNegros (BlackCrosses), we have been approaching methods that sharpen our reading of public space, in a fine level of detail, and in its less visible and tangible dimensions, but more practical and perceptive.

Approaches to qualitative and inclusive methods of auditing the public space

Users of the streets that do not have any motor problem, are the majority of the people in charge of directing the walks during which the audits are carried out. What elements of the transit space can a person who walks without difficulty, easily notice? The tip of the iceberg, the most obvious tangible elements, that even a robot could interpret with banks of images of the city. And for this, we can soon leave the task to artificial intelligence systems (#Mapillary and #OpenStreetCam advance in this sense and will be a reality achievable in a few years).

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If the recognition of the most obvious problems of the infrastructure is not the main added value, how to reach a more acute level of perception of our environment? And how to express it? To move towards greater sensitivity, the #Mapeaton methodology quickly included models within the exercise. The models are people with any difficulty to move, compared to the user omnipresent in the social representations and also the most attended by public policies: the young man, with good physical conditions, middle class, without any accompanying person. When performing the exercises with a population made invisible, we pretend to have a correct representation of the citizenship that moves in our cities.

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By integrating to the Mapeaton methodology the fine observation of how the models move, with the timely and sequential documentation using #Mapillary, of each rise of the sidewalk, crossing, sidewalk in variable conditions, invaded by infinity of obstacles, it helped with no doubt to see imperceptible dimensions of our space, by having different physical conditions.

Alt text Alt text (

Evaluate the infrastructure, or perceive the experience of the others?

The visual observation is here the vector to be able to try to transmit the experience of the subject-model. But what happens at the level of experience and interaction between the participants? Other types of mapping projects have helped to understand several things: something not only occurs at the visual level; the physical infrastructure problems, as well as their classification to give a digested result of the direct exercise to the urban designer, are not the only interesting dimension, nor the most important, to be treated as urban public space.

When performing participatory audit exercises, which have a precise practical function, we still loose the most hidden part of the iceberg.

This is how #Mapeaton and its variants have become a window of experimentation towards modes of more sensitive representations of space, where the result is not the only purpose, but also the process. Interaction with subjects who are aware of the problem, not only through observation but through dialogue and testimonies, helps to perceive otherness, to try a different experience from the others' shoes, and to capture an environment from which we do not have the keys to understand it.

Deconstruction of cartographic practice

Following the Mapeaton methodology, two specific experiences have led us to a more sensitive understanding of the mapping exercise, an exercise at an exploratory level, which we now consider fundamental and * prior * to recognition exercises of physical elements of the infrastructure and their classification for design and public policies.

The first experience was with the project Performance of the Walk by Fabiola Rayas, which represents, with photographic sequences, the last known routes of missing people (a massive phenomenon) in Michoacán, Mexico.

The use of photomapping as a memory support, collective and performative homage with families, and claiming, represents a powerful use of cartography, where the boundary between instrument, support, and message, is much more abstract, as well as the function of the map.

Alt text Mapillary sequence Alt text

The second is a perceptive mapping of an area of La Merced (popular shopping area of Mexico city downtown) accompanying sex workers, aiming to identify conditions and characteristics of the infrastructure that generate insecurity.

This mapping is the accidental result of a #Mapeaton exercise focused on the vision of women working in public space all day, to help identify the hot spots of these streets, as a participation in the art project Carpa orgánica de La Soledad by Santiago Robles. The uncontrolled conditions of this practice transformed the experience, from an audit of the infrastructure with the eyes of a type of user of the space, to another very perceptive experience of a latent and little tangible violence and balance of power.

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Again, the streetview is a medium of expression of an ambient, rather than a medium of identification and classification of physical elements. The streetview "narrates" an itinerary made through streets of La Merced with permanent fear to the eyes of those who control the area, to be seen with strangers, to be seen recording with a cell phone.

Alt text Mapillary sequence

#CallesVioletas, a participatory mapping of the hostility of space for women

Since the beginning of the Repubikla project, working methods have been experimented to document the violence suffered by women in the public space, with feminist groups and public institutes such as the Institute of Women (InMujeres) of Mexico City, based on web mapping of the hot spots of the city for cyclists, and in photomapping. In the framework of the UN #SafeCities program, the Institute of Women of Mexico City has organized walks in violent areas of almost all the delegations of Mexico City, with inhabitants, officials, and experts, by day and at night. In the process of conceptualization, we have provided methodological advice to systematize the exercise with photomapping.

In this same context, we will carry out other exercises in March and April 2017, with groups of the Peatonal League, integrating the learning described above to achieve an exploratory and sensitive mapping of public spaces according to the perception and experience of women.

The #CallesVioletas exercise is a sensitive reading, with violet glasses, of anxiety, hostility, fear that can generate the space to the women. It is a previous and independent exercise, to the recognition and classification of tangible elements of the infrastructure.

The method is based on the following points:

  • Organization of a walk with one or more groups, exclusive of women, of approximately 10 people, with a majority of inhabitants and users of the place, as well as local officials from different agencies, experts on gender violence, urban planners, mobility experts, etc.
  • Guide: a person guides the walk in a slow pace, making frequent stops where she invites the group of inhabitants to express their feelings in this place, day and night, to relate events, to dialogue.
  • A person records the stories (audio or text note)
  • A person performs a photomapping sequence with the dedicated Mapillary account #CallesVioletas * in front of the group * avoiding to record the group in the photos
  • Another person with the same account makes shots of physical elements in case they are mentioned by the group, but without conditioning people to do so (do not give the instruction)

Alt text

NB: (If the context needs it, other people can take specific pictures with #Mapillary of physical elements of the infrastructure using a pre-built typology, must be separated from the exploratory group dynamics)

The results of the exercise are visible and can be downloaded on the web platform. Like #Mapeaton, it is important to use the same dedicated account for these exercises, to be able to build a repository of images that can be viewed, analyzed and compared together anywhere in the country or the world. The greater number of projects carried out with the same methodology and visible together on a map, the stronger the message and the impact we can have, documenting the issue and building a debate.

With an open images repository, we also allow analysts, urban designers, researchers, to have a consistent material to analyze and construct proposals that improve cities, with an inclusive approach.

The exercise itself provides a framework for interaction and collaboration between local governments, public safety, planning institutes, local, national and regional level organizations, inhabitants, experts, which can lead to other inclusive participatory experiences.

Spanish version 

Related Projects: Repubikla, Mapeaton, CrucesNegros, @_atropellado, MoreliaSeMueve, Performance of walking

Location: Esperanza, Mexico City, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, 06820, Mexico

Spring Shows It’s Face Early in Nottingham

Posted by alexkemp on 15 March 2017 in English (English)

We are fast approaching the Equinox (Lord Google tells me that it will be on Monday, 20 March at 10:28 UTC this year). Here is a splendid photo taken a week early of some St Anns’ municipal grass with Spring flowers, taken from St Anns Well Road looking North-Eastwards on Monday 13 March (and yes, England really is as green as that in Spring):–

English Spring in Nottingham

St Anns used to be known as The Clay Fields before it's enclosure & development in the 1860s, 70s & 80s. Under the road pictured is a culvert carrying spring-water from the St Anns Well. That well was a medieval place of pilgrimage for Kings & others, but was destroyed in 1889 when the Nottingham Suburban Railway (NSR) was built. A photo from last year, showing the remains of the bridge pillar that killed the Well (together with some of the story of the NSR) is at the bottom of my 3rd Diary post.

In the 1960s the same road was the busiest shopping street in Nottingham. A very large part of the St Anns’ housing was shoddy and was due for demolition & renewal (enacted in the 1970s). The council wanted to create a new shopping centre within the centre of town at the same time, so took the opportunity to destroy, but not replace, all of those St Anns’ shops as to remove all competition for their new baby. In this way, Nottingham councillors destroyed the livelihood of hundreds of local traders in order to enrich a handful of national companies and — in my view — maintain their own prestige. You are actually looking at a scene of historic carnage.

Location: Lace Market, St Ann's, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Seminar at HFT Stuttgart, 29th March 2017: Rendering of OSM Data

Posted by fjbehr on 15 March 2017 in English (English)

A seminar/workshop in German language will be held Friday next week afternoon at our University, Laboratory for interoperable, and open-source Geospatial Software, Data and Standards [1] by Sven Geggus [3], a very experienced German OpenStreetMap contributer:

  • 15:00 - 16:0 Uhr: Rendering for Beginners (presentation)
  • 15:30 - 17:45 Uhr: Rendering of OSM Data (hands-on workshop)

Location: Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences, Schellingstr. 24, 70174 Stuttgart, building 2, room 140 [2]

The seminar will be conducted in German. It will not be available as webinar, sorry .

Thanks in advance to Michael Paulmann!

Regards - Franz-Josef




Location: Universität, Stuttgart-Mitte, Stuttgart, Regierungsbezirk Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, 70174, Germany

OpenStreetMap(OSM): A tool Providing cost effective ways for disaster response teams suffering from low institutional capacity...

Posted by tasauf1980 on 14 March 2017 in English (English)

Collection, visualization, and sharing of information on disasters and disaster risk provide a basis for strengthening disaster resilience and supporting timely post-disaster response, recovery, and reconstruction efforts. For example, base maps (identifying the location of key infrastructure, and critical assets), hazard risk maps, and evacuation maps are necessary for planning interventions related to disaster risk reduction, including activities related to disaster preparedness. Similarly, information from post-disaster damage assessment is important for guiding activities in response, recovery, and rehabilitation phases, such as rescuing affected communities, providing relief, and developing required recovery and reconstruction plans.

OpenStreetMap (OSM), a method of community-based mapping using satellite imagery and ICT tools, used to develop base maps necessary for planning and prioritizing DRM-related interventions. ICT tools such as mobile phone applications developed to support this mapping approach. OSM provides simple access to its entire database under open license, which is useful for community-based mapping and data sharing in the event of a disaster, as well as in humanitarian and international development work. Since OSM relies on the local community to develop and update detailed base maps, it has become an effective mechanism to strengthen community-based DRM.

Satellite-based damage assessment is becoming a conventional procedure in post-disaster situations to collect rapid and objective damage information cost-effectively. By combining satellite-based damage maps with baseline OSM data, quick and remote identification of disaster locations and the extent of damage, such as the number of damaged buildings categorized by type can be obtained for early emergency response planning of humanitarian rescue, delivery of goods, and effective budget mobilization.

International cooperation mechanisms to share free satellite imagery and analyze maps in the event of disasters have already been established, with many DMCs as members of the community. However, these data remained underutilized at the local level because of issues such as lack of awareness on the availability of such data, difficulties in data access with no internet connection after a disaster, and lack of coordination among government agencies to share baseline GIS data necessary for effective analysis.

Assistance is needed to improve capacity to collect and share reliable and timely disaster related data at the local NGO’s, local government and community levels to strengthen their disaster resilience and support timely post-disaster response, recovery, and reconstruction efforts in a more cost-effective manner. These will provide cost-effective ways for disaster response team that suffer from low institutional capacity to collect and share information on disasters and disaster risk.

Location: Vangari Patti, Lalmatia, Dhaka, Dhaka Division, 1207, Bangladesh

Potential contribution from ICT perspective

Posted by slayer@GeoThings on 14 March 2017 in English (English)

Hi Community,

It's Kuo-Yu slayer Chuang from GeoThings, Taiwan. I am now working with a group of ICT specialist/developer. As a team, we sit in the middle of voluntary communities, government agencies, and NGOs (humanitarian organization or standardization organization), for the development of something called "Humanitarian ICT".

We worked with OSM/HOT Mappers, where we see the power of volunteered geographic information. We worked with Crisis Mappers, where we see the energy of crowdsourcing. We worked as the assistant staff of central/local government, where we learned the work flow in response to disaster in different countries. We worked as the voluntary member of NGO, where we saw the needs of ICT tools to ease the complexity of handling paper works during emergency.

We also co-work with Asian Development Bank on OSM mapping, environment survey, and crisis mapping with the ICT tools for the capacity building to disaster resilience in some Asian countries. We found most of those stakeholders, responsible to disaster preparedness/response/relief, need the detailed basemap plus crowdsourced information for knowing the situation and response. With the detail tagged OSM data by community that including level, material, even the visual condition, warning and evacuation can be performed earlier, and that is just critical for emergency response. That's the reason why we think HOT is essential, is important. This also made us feel like to contribute to HOT, even we are just some random ICT Geeks :-p

In this diary, I kept saying "we", cause I'm not alone. There's a great team who have got my back, and the lovely HOT community members to support the global humanitarian activities. However, it also about me and my personal commitment to HOT, for the further involvement/engagement with HOT, for my contribution to HOT. As a leader working between Humanitarian ICT, governments and communities, I have demonstrated the ability to negotiate change and support strategic planning. In this time, I have learned how to bridge the traditional humanitarian needs with those of the communities. I believe we definitely can deliver the further impact, together with the team and HOT. This is why I would like to run for the board :-)


Mapping activity in Lagos, Nigeria

Posted by roikay on 14 March 2017 in English (English)

On the last few weeks, mapping activity around Lagos City, where I map a lot, from POI's, street names, and buildings, have been increasing. And while I added many POI's and street names (mostly the very familiar ones) withing the city, there is a lot still missing, that locals are working on. One of the active local user and contributor in Lagos that started mapping activity withing Lagos city is:


Looking at the edit history, almost all are mapping withing Lagos City, and they are local edits. The increased mapping activity in Lagos is good news that locals there are inspired to map, thanks to all the efforts to put Nigeria on the map. Looking at the mapping activity Project at Ibadan City, the active response from the last weekend mapping party facilitated by "lagosmapper" is a great one. Obviously, the number of OSM contributors mapping Nigeria may increase from this update.

Location: Makoko, Omoniwa Court Residence, Eti Osa, Lagos, Nigeria

Lion of Nottingham Bendigo Finally met The Opponent He Could Not Defeat

Posted by alexkemp on 14 March 2017 in English (English)

This is the Grade II listed statue & memorial placed above the grave for Bendigo In St Mary's Rest Garden, Nottingham:–


“In life always brave, fighting like a lion…
In death like a lamb, tranquil in Zion”

Nottingham loves lions ([1] [2] [3] [4] [5]) and they so loved William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson that his funeral in 1880 had a procession a mile long with thousands in attendance. He was buried in St Mary's Cemetery (now called the Rest Garden) and, a hundred years later, all gravestones except his were transferred to the back wall. Unfortunately his monument was carved in soft stone, and acid air from thousands of coal fires has not been kind to it across the last century.

This is said to be the only photo of Bendigo (possibly sourced from–

Bendigo photo

William Thomson was born on 11 October 1811 in New Yard, Nottingham (now known as Trinity Walk, off Parliament Street) and grew up in poverty as the youngest of 21 children. Today, he is almost unknown in the town.

The (possibly apocryphal) story is that he was the youngest of triplets, and that the three of them were named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When Abednego was 15 his father died, and he & his mother found themselves in the workhouse. His situation was dire:– Nottingham's population soared to be 5 times greater than before; the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 led to mass unemployment; Nottingham's population was unable to expand out of the old town boundary and a national cholera epidemic in 1832 was acute in Nottingham and led to the establishment of St Mary's Cemetery (funded by the Quaker grocer Samuel Fox) in order to be able to handle the flood of dead bodies which was overwhelming the other graveyards.

Abednego was good with his fists and, in spite of the fact that prize-fighting was illegal, by 18 he was able to become the family bread-winner. He became astonishingly popular — one fight in a field in Leicestershire drew a crowd of 15,000 — and that popularity & success seems to have been based on these factors:–

  1. He was a southpaw
  2. He would bend ‘n’ duck ‘n’ weave whilst fighting
    (this led to him acquiring the nickname ‘Bendy’)
    (“bendy Abednego” appears to have led to “Bendigo”)
  3. He was fit, fast, strong & devoid of fear
  4. Like Muhammad Ali he was lippy, and both funny & insulting with it
  5. He never lost a fight

After winning 21 fights he retired aged 39.

The next years were bad for Bendigo. His mother died (in her 80s) and he went to pieces. The records show him to have been sent to The House of Correction for Drunk and Disorderly on 28 occasions. Getting him there must have been interesting for the constables. In the 1870s he began to take an interest in religion & discovered a vocation as a Methodist preacher. Thousands of people would attend his open-air sermons throughout the country.

He fell down the stairs at his home in Beeston and, after many weeks, died on 23 August 1880 aged 69 & was buried within his mother's grave. He had finally met the opponent that he could not defeat:– Time, ably abetted by her handmaiden, Death.

There is currently an effort to fundraise to have a bronze statue of Bendigo erected in the town centre. They would welcome your donations.

Location: Lace Market, St Ann's, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

This Is How To Create Your Own Nest In Pokemon GO With A Free Tool Called “Open Street Map”

Posted by -karlos- on 13 March 2017 in English (English)

Increasing mapping activity in Batangas City

Posted by TagaSanPedroAko on 13 March 2017 in English (English)

On the last few days, mapping activity around Batangas City, where I map a lot, from POI's, power networks (NGCP and Meralco), and buildings, have been increasing. And while I added many POI's and street names (mostly the very familiar ones) in that city, there is a lot still missing, that locals are working on. Some local users in Batangas City that started mapping their city includes:

  • imeeperezveedor
  • jonadelcrispin
  • Brad-M (from the Banaba area)
  • Angelique Tan
  • crops production
  • dunah
  • GMMM
  • Pranses
  • mgjeanleyesa
  • alain curt mazo
  • Heneral-Hulab
  • MjCat
  • gberts
  • EDGF
  • digmaan

Looking at their edit history, almost all are mapping within Batangas City, and are possibly local.

Yet, as they are still new, mapping mistakes may still occur, and they can be cleaned up once spotted. And increased mapping activity in Batangas City is good news that locals there are inspired to map, thanks to all my efforts to map there, and the mapping activity for Project NOAH-ISAIAH (now defunct from February 28, 2017, but validation work is still continuing). And looking at the Google Map Maker "graduation" at March 31, 2016, the number of OSM users mapping Batangas City may increase from this update.

Location: Park Spring, San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna, Calabarzon, 4023, Philippines

Mapping Isola Albarella

Posted by yerio on 13 March 2017 in English (English)

Started adding descriptions to buildings at Isola Albarella. Added Head Office location for now.

Location: Settima Est, Rosolina, RO, Veneto, Italy

TQL 8280788

Posted by LG V2 DISPATCH on 13 March 2017 in English (English)

Nogales AZ to Philadelphia PA

Fake foreign names

Posted by BushmanK on 10 March 2017 in English (English)

This discussion might be truly endless, at least - while OSM has the same level of order enforcement as it currently has. I'm not claiming that I can say something new on this topic, but I just want to keep some arguments in one place.

There is a set of keys intended for language-specific names - name:<language_code>, such as name:en=*, name:fr=* and so on. OSM Wiki documentation explains its purpose quite clear: these tags should contain the existing commonly used names in corresponding languages (see Names article). It is not just a rule that comes out of nowhere. It originates from a core principle: OSM database should contain real factual information and nothing else.

If we take a look at Berlin, Germany with Overpass query, we'll see that only about 750 nodes, lines, and areas have English names assigned. Usually, these are amenities, where name contains common nouns. Like:

  • Botschaft der Republik Indonesien in Berlin (German),
  • Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Berlin (English),
  • Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia di Berlin (Indonesian).

However, as it often happens in OSM, this key became an object of massive abuse. The most common way of abuse is to put made-up foreign names there. By "made-up" I mean everything that is not an existing commonly used name. That could be transliteration or transcription of the original one. Again, OSM Wiki documentation is clear. It says: avoid transliteration and explains pretty well, why. Obviously, there are people, who don't care. In addition to that, made-up names often can not be verified, while adding it could easily be qualified as tagging for a renderer/navigator (which is another violation of a core principle). Another negative aspect of these made-up names is that in many cases local communities are unable to support them properly. For example, Germans, Britons or Dutch mappers can not easily tell if Russian name is correct or not (knowledge of Russian is relatively rare and it is completely understandable). Therefore, it is impossible to clearly tell, if a certain name should be deleted, corrected or kept intact.

I think it is crucial to understand their motivation for breaking this rule to get an idea of how it could be fixed and how to avoid ineffective solutions. First of all, they do it intentionally, not by accident. Therefore, pointing at the documentation and improving it can not help. They simply made a choice to sacrifice data consistency for some "more important" thing. Reading numerous discussions of similar situations, I've been able to find several main types of motivation:

  • To help foreigners who can not read in a certain language when they travel to a mapper's country (like, Russians adding "English" names to everything in Russia to help English-speakers - see similar name:en Overpass query for Krasnodar - four times smaller city than Berlin),
  • To help people of mapper's nation who can't read in foreign languages whey they travel abroad (like, Russians adding "Russian" names to everything outside Russia to help other Russians),
  • OCD-like irrational behavior, expressed in a form of making everything uniformly tagged with a certain key. Here, I'm not claiming that these people have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (obviously, I'm not a mental health professional), but they do have certain visible traits, making their behavior very similar to one, specific for OCD: overvalued ideas, obsession with uniformity, lack of practical motivation in favor of compulsive actions, elaborate systems of "ritual" behavior.

Somehow, there are quite a lot of people with the first two types of motivation among the Russian mappers. It is a kind of ironical: statistically, only about 6% of Russians (according to their self-assessment) know a foreign language. It makes an ability of Russian mappers to transcribe, say, Dutch names, quite questionable. Awful transcription from Russian to English (the most commonly known language) often seen in name:en in Moscow, where a level of foreign language skills is supposedly up to three times better, only supports this doubt.

These people often see their actions as a "mission" and it makes almost impossible to convince them to stop. Basically, only a proper enforcement of rules (requirement of a factual information, verifiability, prohibition to map for a renderer/navigator) can help. My personal vision of how to distinguish made-up names from commonly used ones is that it is enough to require a statement of a source in every edit of this type. An indirect indication of potentially improper edits of this type is an ability of a mapper to communicate with a local community: if someone adds Russian names in Germany without mentioning a verifiable source for it while being unable to reply on changeset comments in German, it is very suspicious.

I have to add, that I have used Russian mappers of this type as an example I'm personally very well familiar with. It doesn't mean that only Russians do that. So, I kindly ask anyone who would like to "restore a justice" by giving another example here in comments of someone else doing it, to abstain from it and avoid being a fool.

It is about (not) following the rules in general, not about blaming someone in particular.

MapRoulette newsletter

Posted by mvexel on 9 March 2017 in English (English)

Here's the latest from the MapRoulette world!

New version released

If you head to, you will see that we have a new release out, 2.0.3. This release addresses some annoyances with the keyboard shortcuts, adds a German translation (das freut mich! Thanks nebulon42!) and cleans up the interface in a few places.


A new section displaying keyboard hints

Mapping Activity

In the past 30 days, we fixed almost 18000 tasks in MapRoulette.


Metrics for the last 30 days. You can see these for yourself on

The most popular challenges were:

  1. Self-Intersecting building outlines - all done!
  2. Crossing Ways: Highway-Railway, US - 55% done, still more than 17000 tasks available
  3. CHN_BuildingRoadIntersectionCheck, 34% done, still 2800 tasks available
  4. Self-Intersecting landuse outlines (World-wide), all done!
  5. Open Rings, all done!

Looking for something to do?

Some interesting Challenges that still need help:

By the way: I created the abbreviated road name challenges using an Overpass query. Did you know that you can turn any Overpass query into a MapRoulette challenge? Read this to learn more.

And also...

  • Do you want to see your own challenge featured in this newsletter? Need help creating your challenge? Contact us at!
  • Do you want to receive this newsletter in your inbox in the future? Sign up here!
  • The MapRoulette Questionnaire is still open if you want to share your opinions on MapRoulette! One lucky participant will receive a mappy prize at SOTM or SOTM US.

MapRoulette newsletter

Posted by mvexel on 9 March 2017 in English (English)

Here's the latest from the MapRoulette world!

New version released

If you head to, you will see that we have a new release out, 2.0.3. This release addresses some annoyances with the keyboard shortcuts, adds a German translation (das freut mich! Thanks nebulon42!) and cleans up the interface in a few places.


A new section displaying keyboard hints

Mapping Activity

In the past 30 days, we fixed almost 18000 tasks in MapRoulette.


Metrics for the last 30 days. You can see these for yourself on

The most popular challenges were:

  1. Self-Intersecting building outlines - all done!
  2. Crossing Ways: Highway-Railway, US - 55% done, still more than 17000 tasks available
  3. CHN_BuildingRoadIntersectionCheck, 34% done, still 2800 tasks available
  4. Self-Intersecting landuse outlines (World-wide), all done!
  5. Open Rings, all done!

Looking for something to do?

Some interesting Challenges that still need help:

By the way: I created the abbreviated road name challenges using an Overpass query. Did you know that you can turn any Overpass query into a MapRoulette challenge? Read this to learn more.

Do you want to see your own challenge featured in this list? Need help creating your challenge? Contact us at!

Radburn Design Housing in St Anns, Nottingham: 1860 + 1970

Posted by alexkemp on 9 March 2017 in English (English)

Radburn Design Housing is houses arranged so that each house (often terraces of houses) present their backs to everyone else, whilst the fronts of each house face each other. It is named after a Radburn, New Jersey estate built in 1929 and has become a byword for bad practice (an Australian architect said of his own housing estate designed on Radburn principles:– “Everything that could go wrong in a society went wrong … It became the centre of drugs, it became the centre of violence and, eventually, the police refused to go into it”). It seems that Nottingham got there first in c1860, but also in 1970 with the St Anns redevelopments.

Nottingham was one of the last places in England to enclose Common Land (Laxton village still has “Open Fields”) and, until the 1845 Enclosure Act (not fully enacted until the 1880s), most all of the land around the old city walls were open fields & Common Land, meaning that the main part of the population was restricted within the town walls. At this time the population was soaring. The practical combination of those two factors was foul living conditions & mass death, largely from water-borne diseases such as cholera (see St. Mary's Rest Garden) (a poignant tombstone from that former churchyard, commemorating the deaths of Henry Davis (died June 21, 1846 aged 8) and sister Elizabeth Davis (died December 9, 1851 aged 16) is below). It therefore seems reasonable to call the expansion of the town-folk out into 1,068 acres (432 ha) of the Clay Fields (the former name for St Anns) an “explosion”.

tombstone from St. Mary's Rest Garden

It seems that the local constabulary refused to enter this early St Anns. We are going to meet this again in the 1970s! The largest part of the 1860+ houses were quickly & cheaply built 2-up/2-down houses in a courtyard-arrangement (Radburn Design once again) that rapidly reproduced the insanitary conditions of Nottingham town. That latter became a national scandal and was one of the factors which led to the 1875 Public Health Act, which itself finally led to control over shoddy building practices. Neither helped with the already-built worst parts of St Anns.

Most of the buildings from the 1860s-1880s were demolished in the 1970 clearances. However, there is a small collection of terraces near Robin Hood Street/Campbell Street, close to the town centre — and thus to the Nottingham town walls — that are now Grade II listed. These are dated at c1860 & clearly follow the Radburn Design principle, as you can see here with 2 sets of Campbell Grove terraces:–

Campbell Grove terraces on Campbell Street

Walking down Campbell Street is eerie, as it is quite long and yet not a single building is mapped onto it (excluding the modern Oaks Residential Home) whilst on the other side of Campbell Street are Foljambe Terrace and Harcourt Terrace, yet more c1860s terraces showing their gable-ends to the street. Facing Campbell Grove are the similar Grade II and c1860 Robin Hood Terrace & the splendid Promenade (all walks, and not a street in sight):–

Robin Hood Terrace


Nottingham councillors seem to find it very hard to learn from past mistakes. Their forefathers had made a mess of much of St Anns, and in the 1960s they decided that a simple repetition of past mistakes would be an excellent idea. So, they commissioned Wimpeys to build rat-runs of Radburn Design Housing which the police did not want to enter. The 1960s City Architect declared to Ruth Johns (“St Ann's NOTTINGHAM: inner-city voices”; ISBN 0 9543127 1 6 2nd Edition Plowright Press 2006) that kick-backs to council members from Wimpey were involved within the commissioning. John Paulson & T Dan Smith became notorious for council corruption in the same period in Newcastle, but I've never heard any other mention of similar corruption in Nottingham apart from that one mention in Ruth Johns's book.

Here is a small example of some 1970s, recently-refurbished apartments at Wasnidge Walk (not the worst, just the only photos that I've currently got of new St Anns):–

Wasnidge Walk

Location: Lace Market, St Ann's, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Bot idea: Fixing invalid capitalization of primary tags

Posted by bkowshik on 9 March 2017 in English (English)

Listed on the Map Features Wiki are 26 primary features that include highway, natural, building, etc. I ran a tile-reduce script looking for invalid capitalization in the 26 primary feature tags. Examples of invalid capitalization are:

  • Highway instead of highway
  • LANDUSE instead of landuse

I got back 3,186 features on OpenStreetMap with invalid capitalization in the primary feature tag. Ex: way/476771384

Such features are usually reported on QA tools like keepright and fixed by the community after some time, but a more constructive approach would be to automatically correct the issue and give the mapper feedback on what was fixed. This positive feedback cycle can help new mappers learn as well as reduce the burden of fixing trivial map issues on others.

Can we build a simple build a bot to do this:

  1. Continuously monitor feature changes on OpenStreetMap for invalid capitalization in the primary tag
  2. Automatically correct the invalid capitalization in a new changeset using the chageset create API Ex: Modify Building to building
  3. Let the user know about the modification by posting a changeset discussion on the user's changeset with a description and the ID of the automatically corrected changeset.

The OSM policy on automated edits does not seem as detailed as the one on Wikipedia which has a well documented system of proposing and operating bots. Are there well documented examples of active bots that can be used as a guideline for proposing a new one?

Please let me know what you feel about this idea and what is the best way to move forward.

MAP Cartagena - A pilot project to map informal settlements

Posted by Natalia Arruda on 8 March 2017 in English (English)

I would like to post on OSM's blog today, March 8, International Women's Day, a work coordinated by me using the OSM mapping methodology and tools.

The project was a pilot project was born in 2015 through the initiative of a group of volunteers of the NGO TECHO, in order to respond to the demand made by some of the people of León Island (a community that is in a situation of informality and subnormality. Due to the characteristics of informality and subnormality presented by the settlement, they were identified as the underlying problem entails the lack of all public services. Due to its informality, León Island does not appear in any urban planning system in the city of Cartagena, neither in the IGAC cadastre system nor in the MIDAS platform. Based on this previous analysis, it was decided to cover the issue that the community of León Island is not in any cartographic system. The pilot project thus emerges with the main objective of identifying, locating and geo-referencing; Not only the informal settlement of Leon Island as a whole, but also every street and housing present, conforming this component as an input to the phase of community development. Other objectives of the project were to involve community settlers as a participatory mechanism; Integrate housing (as spatial elements) with data from the Household Characterization Survey (ECH) within a Geographic Information System (GIS); Raise the profile of the community, including its history, describing access to public services and its infrastructure; And finally share the map, data and results generated with the same community and the general public through an online platform.

More about the pilot project you can find here:

Location: El Chagualo, Medellín, Antioquia, 0500, Colombia

What happened to Potlatch 2 ?

Posted by Geofalke on 8 March 2017 in English (English)

ID or JOSM may be useful Map editor software, but I still prefer Potlatch 2 for "landscape painting". For me finding out and correcting the differences between aerial picture and state of the map is really great fun, as Potlatch 2 makes it possible to do the corrections with just a few mouse clicks.

For correcting the edge of a forest or a highway I used to highlight the way and the Shift + Click for a new waypoint at the correct place. Since a few days this no longer is possible, what a pity!

Is there a possibility to restore this feature?

In the current version the Shift + Click can lead to a marked rectangle, and then you cannot avoid zooming in, and later manually zooming out. Very annoying! "Mach's weg!" please!

Best whishes! Geofalke

Mapping coastal villages and wetlands in the Southern Caribbean (Turbo, Colombia) for resilience

Posted by MangleBlanco on 8 March 2017 in English (English)

Turbo is the Southern-most municipality in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, yet poorly known nation- and world-wide. Such invisibility contrasts with the beauty of tall mangroves in wild areas and with the numerous fishermen settled in small villages along a ca. 200km-coastline. In addition, the urban area of Turbo, with nearly 50,000 inhabitants, is sustained by both the services provided by mangroves in the proximity and afar, and most importantly by the small-scale fishery providing over 50 species of fish and shellfish. Turbo is a vibrant small city populated by african-descendants coming from the Pacific (Chocó) region of Colombia, amerindians from the Panamian Darién and the northern Andes, and mestizos from the european arrival. Fishermen and their families by far may account for a 1% of Turbo's population in both rural and urban area.

Despite the foundation nearly two centuries centuries ago, the urban area has sprawled since the 1970's as a consequence of peri-urban settlements promoted by migration from rural areas as a consequence of the armed conflict in Colombia (1,2). Such settlements occurred in lowlands, usually in the intertidal fringe, at expense of the native coastal wetlands (1, 2). Therefore, mangroves and freshwater grasslands and forests were decimated in the vicinity of Turbo. In contrasts, these types of wetlands remain as fringes or large patches in the rural areas, and coexist with small fishing villages.

Despite of this landscape mosaic, both urban and rural inhabitants in the coastal plain are subjected to natural hazards such as erosion, sea surges and flash floods, and are therefore vulnerable to climate variability (1). Indeed, in 2010-2011 this area was severely impacted by La Niña-triggered flooding in the coastal plain of Turbo river and numerous villagers, mostly fishermen and peasants were relocated in provisional shelters (3). After one year, they returned to their homes because permanent relocation plans did not translate into reality. Six years have passed by and both fishermen and city administration forgot about such event, particularly because the region experience a very strong and long drought related with El Niño 2014-2016. Nowadays, the return of La Niña is forecasted but little has been improved in terms of adaptation plans to cope with flooding hazard. Moreover, little has been discussed about the longterm consequences of sea level rise in the area, despite most people live between 0 and 2 m above sea level.

It is urgent to conduct high-resolution mapping with humanitarian objectives in this municipality. It is urgent to map flood-prone areas in both urban and rural settings. It is also urgent to map and assess the role of bioshields provided by mangroves and freshwater wetlands. It is also urgent to map mangroves to halt their destruction. Mangroves in the proximity of Turbo to the North (Bahía El Uno) are strongly impacted by illegal logging (4, 5), and although they have not been reduced in area, they stand as thin trees and their roles as bio-barriers, habitat for wildlife, and nursery for fishes could be compromised (6).

In conclusion, mangroves are key ecosystems for the entire Urabá region, and should be boldly placed on open-source maps. Mangroves should be highlighted as cornerstone to support coastal livelihoods by providing goods and services. Ultimately, coastal wetlands are key elements for the resilience of coupled social-ecological systems, and need to be included in adaptation plans to face climatic variability and climate change, particularly sea level rise (7).


  1. Blanco-Libreros, Juan F. Cambios globales en los manglares del golfo de Urabá (Colombia): entre la cambiante línea costera y la frontera agropecuaria en expansión. Actu Biol [online]. 2016, vol.38, n.104, pp.53-70.

  2. Blanco-Libreros, J.F.; Estrada-Urrea, E.A. Mangroves on the Edge: Anthrome-Dependent Fragmentation Influences Ecological Condition (Turbo, Colombia, Southern Caribbean). Diversity 2015, 7, 206-228. doi:10.3390/d7030206 (






See also popular articles about this region: Visión Total Caribe:

Location: El Chagualo, Medellín, Antioquia, 0500, Colombia
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