Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Broadening the Base and Sharing the Enthusiasm

Posted by eireidium on 27 March 2015 in English (English)

As I work away at the #MapLesotho initiative (there's a 48 marathon happening as I write) I am also rather proud/gratified/thrilled to have finished grading about 60 assignments submitted by my BA and MA classes in Digital Arts in Humanities at University College Cork.

OSM Mapping

The second assignment for both this year was to participate in a choice of OpenStreetMap initiatives. The first was simply to get their feet wet working with their own neighbourhood. For the more adventuresome I introduced the #MapLesotho option. For those looking for a real challenge I set a couple of them working in the Irish Townlands Mapping Project which extended OpenStreetMap editing to use of MapWarper and a few intermediary tools adding a temporal challenge to their work.

Following some lectures to attempt to impart not just skills but an appreciation of the implication of the tasks that were being undertaken I was hugely gratified by the unique, creative and simply outstanding reflections that they submitted. They got it! and ran with the challenge.

I am not trying to figure out how I might share some of these exemplary projects. They currently exist on a variety of class blogs that I hope I might point to and reward the superb efforts and spread the word. It's a great experience to be a part of the realisations, discoveries and community engagement that took place and I have to say great pride in the passionate efforts of the students.

Location: Galroostown Road, Drumshallon, County Louth, Leinster, Ireland

Edits Malawi completed

Posted by Jan van Bekkum on 26 March 2015 in English (English)

Added road, campsite etc. information in Malawi that we collected during our drive to South Africa from the Netherlands.

Edits Tanzania completed

Posted by Jan van Bekkum on 25 March 2015 in English (English)

Added road, campsite etc. information in Tanzania that we collected during our drive to South Africa from the Netherlands.

Germanwings Flight 9525 response

Posted by Amaroussi on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

Vlad and I have quickly rushed to the location of the crash. We are adding in, with available compatible sources, new details to the crash zone in order to help people who use OpenStreetMap know more about the area, and to advise of any features and landforms that may affect the search and rescue in the next few days.

Please join in to help us.

Our thoughts are for the friends and family of all those on board Germanwings flight 9525.

Location: La Combe, Prads-Haute-Bléone, Digne-les-Bains, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Metropolitan France, 04420, France

Tumuc-Humac, the mountains range that does not exist

Posted by Pieren on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

I found this interesting article (in French) from a famous online newspaper ( about a high mountains range, called "Tumuc-Humac", which was supposed to be found between south of the French Guiana and north of Brazil. The article explains that the high mountains do not exist. It's a myth, beginning in 1758 when a Spanish expedition mentionned a mountain called "Tumunucuraque" for the first time... in the today's Venezuela ! But any way, many other expedition went to this region, between French Guiana and Brazil, searching the high mountains, unknown by the local tribes, but possibly to find the famous Eldorado city. This region was a blank map for a long time, being difficult to access (no navigable rivers). At the end of the 19th c., two French explorers separatly validated the mountains range but we know today that their reports were over-exaggerating the high mountains which are in reality only small hills or "inselbergs" (or "monadnock") (btw, one of the explorer was killed by a local tribe, so the mapping party wasn't easy anyway). But the myth of the "Tumuc-Humac" mountains has continued and the name of the mountains range can be found in many maps. And today, Brazil has named a national park "Tumucumaque". But in the last half century, historians and geographers shattered the myth of a high mountains range and their discovery story.
And what about OSM ? When we search the name "Tumuc-Humac", we find one street in the French Guiana capital. No mountains between French Guiana and Brazil in OSM. Not a surprise since the area is almost blank, the region is still very wild and difficult to access, a funny location for a mapping party.
But OSM "search" returns also geonames with one "Tumuc-Humac Mountains" ! Surprisingly, wikipedia provides an article about the Tumuk Humak Mountains but doesn't say anything about the story and the myth about the high mountains range :

"The Tumuk Humak Mountains (Dutch: Toemoek-Hoemakgebergte, Portuguese: Serra do Tumucumaque, French: Monts Tumuc Humac) are a mountain range in South America, stretching about 120 kilometers (75 mi) east–west in the border area between Brazil in the south and Suriname and French Guiana in the north. In the language of the Apalam and Wayana peoples, Tumucumaque means "the mountain rock symbolizing the struggle between the shaman and the spirits".[1] The range is very remote and almost inaccessible."

True, it is so inaccessible that even after 50 years of shattering the myth, the name is still official and designates today an area of small hills (500 to 600 meters), far away from the original story of high mountains range possibly hiding a mysterious & ancient civilization.

Mapillary | Bangalore | 22nd March 2015

Posted by shravan91 on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

A whole lot of roads around Bangalore were mapped using Mapillary's new app! and Mapillary's Mount

Check out the sequences here! Check out the sequences here! Bangalore Hassan Highway

Location: Old Thippasandra, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, Bangalore Urban, Karnataka, 560001, India

Error message

Posted by Purplemaze on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

I can't share any of the maps, I click on the share - choose SVG for example and get this error message:


The load average on the server is too high at the moment. Please wait a few minutes before trying again.

I've had this since yesterday...

Declaration of Conflicts

Posted by Amaroussi on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

Quite recently I've noticed blog entries titled "Declaration of Conflicts" on my RSS feed. I hope that OpenStreetMap mappers aren't going into war with each other – that would be terrible, especially as we have done so much to date!

site=piste tag

Posted by jremillard on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

This winter I have been doing some mapping of ski areas in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

For many situations landuse=winter_sports works when mapping the larger ski area. However, some ski areas are run by third party organizations that are not the land owners, they basically just have permission to maintain the trails during the winter. Also, the land use during the summer/fall/spring is often better tagged as something other than winter_sports. Lastly, sometimes they are spread out.

In these situations, the site relation is a better fit. The parking lots, ticket counters, etc can be included. So far so good, there is even a site=piste tag/value, but it was voted on and rejected last year.

I am using it anyway. Hopefully, the site=piste will be used enough that a re-vote can be happen again in the future.

Interesting OSM Find of the Day

Posted by FTA on 22 March 2015 in English (English)

The label node on the People's Republic of China relation was strangely tagged as a shop for a few days.

It has since been fixed.

Location: Tongwei County, Dingxi, Gansu, People's Republic of China

Elections for the HOT US Board 2015: Conflict of Interest Statement

Posted by sev_hotosm on 21 March 2015 in English (English)

Since February 2011, I had worked as a contractor for HOT US in a series of short term assignments in Haiti and Africa as a Project Manager (I can provide the whole list if anyone interested or feel necessary). The last one before March 2014 was as Senior Field Coordinator during 6 weeks in a training and field collection project for ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia between October and November 2013 + 56 hours of remote support (14 have been completed).

Between March 2014 and March 2015,

  • I have been a contractor for HOT as the Team Leader for a training and community mapping project in Lower Shire, Malawi for GFDRR (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery) during 8 weeks + 120 hours of remote support. The contractual time is over now, I volunteer to follow up with the local interns that will finish their work by April
  • I worked as a freelancer on OSM and GIS projects in documentation (first version of an Opendata GIS handbook), event facilitation (OSM booth in Casablanca Summerlab) and short term (1 to 3 weeks each) training and community building projects in French Speaking Countries in Western and Central Africa (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Chad, Mali) for OIF (International Organization of Francophonie) or OIF contractors ((Association Malienne pour l’Eveil au Développement Durable - AMEDD and Association pour le Développement de l'Informatique Libre - ADIL). Those actions have been part of the OIF support to the Projet Espace OSM Francophone (ProjetEOF) in compliance with HOT US conflict of interests (COI) policy and practises.
  • I also lectured around OSM and GIS in two French Universities (one paid, one volunteered) and one Senegalese Engineering School (volunteered)

In 2015, the HOT internship in Mongolia, that had been delayed due to the internal reorganization of the local partnering University, should eventually start in April and I may there complete the remaining 42 remaining hours as part of my contract.

If elected, as a board member, I will be acting in 2015 in compliance with HOT US conflict of interests (COI) policy and practises: informing the Board and excusing myself from the discussion and/or vote in case of COI.

Koorachundu OpenStreetMap Mapping Party

Posted by primej on 21 March 2015 in English (English)

Mapping efforts in an unsurveyed land - Koorachundu Village Panchayat Experience :

Posted by Shanon_bManganelli on 21 March 2015 in English (English)


This Travel Writer’s Blog by Damon M. Banks strives to entertain and educate the ways to keep it affordable while always traveling in your own personal style.

Proposed talk at both SOTUM and HOTOSM conferences!!

Posted by jonwit on 21 March 2015 in English (English)


Hello community,

I joined your group six months and am having a great time. I got involved through attending the Missing Maps group helping to trace satellite imagery.

While vacationing in the Balkans last year I kept running into minefield hazards signs being put up and from my time helping build OSM I haven't encountered that layer yet. In some parts of the world I can imagine that being a hidden but important part of the landscape.

Being as I am new to this community I figured I could ask what there is out there.

There are a few discussions out there on it. 1.Road Barrier 2.Hazard

As well as a few nodes and areas already tagged tag 1

My abstract. A discussion on the threat and awareness of minefields worldwide and how HOT/OSM can help. Between 1999 and 2008 in 119 countries 73,576 casualties have been reported (Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World ). In many countries daily life along with tourism is affected as areas are to hazardous to venture into. The general public has a short term memory with regards to hazards (i.e. warning signs get taken down, the international community loses interest). Building a open source database could be a great asset to the world. Currently there are no OSM attributes for minefields or hazards however there are proposals for them.

A quick search on minefield maps Balkan Bosnia Afganistan Iraq Cambodia

HOT US Board 2015: Conflict Of Interests (COI) declaration

Posted by Nicolas Chavent on 20 March 2015 in English (English)

From March 2010 until Novembre 2013, I had worked as a contractor for HOT US in a series of short term assignments in Haiti and Africa as a Project Manager and Acting Project Director. This happened in parallel of my continued volunteering work as one of the core coordinator of the organization around negotiation/design/implementation of field work, remote activations, networking, training and outreach.

In November and December 2013, I had worked as a freelancer for two short term assignments (2 weeks long missions) with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) assisting in a translation sprint (French version of LearnOSM) and a training in Chad around OSM and the development of mobile application.

During March 2014 to March 2015:

  • I had no work relation with HOT US.
  • I worked as a freelancer in a series of short term assignments on OSM and GIS projects in development aid in French Speaking Countries (Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast) with OIF as well as French (Aquinétic, Club des Hommes d’Affaires Africains), African (Association Malienne pour l’Eveil au Développement Durable - AMEDD) and Haitian associations (Haiti Communitere - HC). This entailed documentation (producing the first versions of two guides Opendata GIS handbook and organizational support), software development project (OSMstata) as well as field training and community building projects in the above-mentioned countries. Those actions have been part of the OIF support to the Projet Espace OSM Francophone (ProjetEOF). This happened in parallel with my continued voluntary engagement with the HOT project.
  • I lectured around OSM and GIS in French Universities and Engineering Schools; some of the work was paid, some compensated, some volunteered.

If elected, as a board member, I will be acting in 2015 in compliance with HOT US conflict of interests (COI) policy and practises: informing the Board and excusing myself from the discussion and/or vote in case of COI.

Edits Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi completed

Posted by Jan van Bekkum on 20 March 2015 in English (English)

Added road, campsite etc. information in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi that we collected during our drive to South Africa from the Netherlands.

Declaration of Conflicts

Posted by Heather Leson on 19 March 2015 in English (English)

As a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Board Member Candidate, I wish to state my potential conflicts of interest:

Employer is Qatar Computing Research Institute:

My full time job is in research on Humanitarian and social innovation software. Our open source software often uses HOT-driven OSM data. (e.g. MicroMappers and hopefully UAviators via OAM) As a research institute, we do not receive remuneration for HOT nor do we receive profit from these projects.

Professional Affiliations:

Boards and Advisories:

*Board: PeaceGeeks (member of Digital Humanitarian Network) *Advisor: School of Data *Advisor: Jump2Spot *Organizer: International Conference of CrisisMappers *More advisory roles:

If there are any situations of conflict of interest, I will respectfully step out of the discussion and/or vote.

Thank you,


A mad dash to Haarlem and back

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

SOSM operates a fair number of services mainly for the Swiss community that up to now have been hosted on a single small server leased from Hetzner. While this is a very cost worthy solution, it doesn't have any redundancy built in and further requires cross border Internet traffic to access, which raises privacy concerns at least with parts of our community. SInce we started operating the server a bit over a year ago it was clear that a local solution would be preferable.

Due to the good relations between SOSM and Wikimedia Switzerland late last year we were pointed to the fact that Wikimedia Germany was throwing away their old hardware which used to host the "toolserver" and that while most of it was clearly not worth continuing to use, there was three couple of years old Dell R520 servers that might still be useful. While we needed to find an affordable hosting location to go with the machines (more on that soon), it was clear, if at all possible, we would like to secure the machines for SOSM.

Wikimedia operates a larger site in the Netherlands in a commercial hosting facility just outside of Amsterdam in Haarlem (yes Haarlem and nearby Breuklen gave the names to the Harlem and Brooklyn in NYC). They don't have direct on site staff and it was clear that we would have to arrange pickup when somebody was there dismantling the hardware. This turned out to be bit of a challenge and in the end, after determining that we wouldn't have to commercially import the hardware (no financial difference, just a procedural one), we decided that the easiest and most efficient, perhaps not most ecological, solution would be simply to drive up to Amsterdam short term when Wikimedia was ready and pick up the servers in person.

Last Friday was the day, Michael (user datendelphin) and myself started on our mad dash to Haarlem and back, a total of over 1'700km. To at least get some more out of it we decided to record as much as possible of the drive with Mapillary and naturally navigate with OSM only.

An old S2 for Mapillary with two empty 32 GB and OsmAnd for navigation.

I initially tried to run RTKGPS+ on the S2 with an external GPS device with the antenna beneath the sun roof (GPS signal reception is really lousy in that car), which however proved to be a bit much for the phone together with Mapillary and from Freiburg im Breisgau on we switched to using a normal bluetooth connected GPS device.

The set-up worked very well fillng a 32GB card for each direction, our longest continuous segment had something over 6200 images. Currently there are still roughly 8000 images from the drive back uploading (of a total of roughly 23'000), in any case we did cover a lot of new territory.

Routing with OsmAnd was quite painless too, and while it did take a couple of minutes to calculate the 850+ km routes that didn't really cause an issue. Very noticeable was the quite new support of destination, lanes and turn:lanes, lots of the intersections and on/off ramps were already completely tagged and only a handful had some errors. Matter of fact the only serious routing error we had along the way was due to a typo

Here exactly the same issue in OSRM:

which was caused by a short stretch of road with a wrong speed limit. OsmAnd does have an annoying tendency to try and short cut over off/on-ramps now and then, this may however be indicative of simply not penalizing these enough compared to continuing straight on. In summary the actual driving was uneventful and quite relaxing.

In the end, as we have already blogged about on, we picked up the servers (at 23:00 on Friday!) and had a quick and uneventful trip back on a different route on Saturday.

Special thanks to Wikimedia Germany and Switzerland and to everybody that helped getting this done. Michael is now working on getting the servers ready for deployment which we expect in a couple of weeks time.

Please consider our SOSM 2015 donation drive which should cover the initial costs we incurred acquiring the servers and any replacement and additional hardware we will need to purchase to get everything up and running.

First mapping. Higham, Lancs, UK

Posted by burtdakarax on 18 March 2015 in English (English)

Added some footpaths south of Higham, Lancashire. Part of my normal walks, but not easy ones to follow. Used Memory Maps to check positions of Ordnance survey marked footpaths.

OS Street View Copyright Easter Egg

Posted by James Derrick on 15 March 2015 in English (English)

Over the past few years, I've been a regular user of ITO World's very useful map analysis and comparison tools. One tool (not unique, but well done) compares OS Street View data with OSM highway names and produces both a completeness report, and also a set of map tiles which show differences.

This diff layer is very useful in JOSM to spot errors in both map databases, be it simple typos or show areas for physical survey. In my area North of Newcastle, this has typically shown up schools being closed and turned into small development plots for housing which I've worked into my cycle training runs to make a physical survey.

As I know my local patch well, these areas are often already tracked as landuse=brownfield, of highway=construction so it's just a case of adding in the street names once the developer has bothered to actually put the name plates up!

One such diff intrigued me - close to where my old University digs used to be (Ethel Williams Halls were demolished years ago!), a very small stub off a residential close started changing name.

Penfold Close became Whitby Crescent which ITO dutifully reported on. I though this to be a plausible omission, so added the name change and gave the credit to OS using the source:name=OS_OpenData_Locator tag. As this is about 12 miles away, and the road section in question about 20m long, I didn't undertake a physical survey - slapped wrists all round!

Recently, it changed again to Whitbay Crescent, which seemed strange - had a mapper in OS Towers lost a key from their keyboard? Well, as this seemed so strange and my Winter fitness improving, I cycled out from Cramlington to find out.

Off a small residential road, a t-shaped stub is surrounded by 5 blocks of semi-detached homes. Only one has a name plate showing Penfold Close, but the door numbers show odd and even consistently showing they are in the same street.

So, what is going on with OS Street View changing names of a cul-de-sac all of 20m long? Well, I suspect it could be a Copyright Easter Egg!

The suspicious mind in me wonders if OS has been making small but insignificant changes in OSSV open data to track if and how fast they appear in OSM and other databases? I don't believe this raises any copyright issues (I added the source tag to credit their information, as requested by the licence interpretation), but the feeling of possibly being tracked is both creepy, and reassuring.

Creepy - no one likes being instrumented and put in an experiment.

Reassuring - If my paranoia is correct, could it be that OS take OSM seriously to the point that our Open Street Maps are being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than our own*?

With apologies to HG Wells!

Location: Benton, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, North East England, England, United Kingdom
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