Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Forest Service Road notes

Posted by Jack the Ripper on 26 July 2017 in English (English)

ref = FS xx

highway = unclassified

  • maintained as a through road connecting other roads OR lenghty and provides access to a significant point of interest
  • generally maintained to a level usable by a standard passenger car without AWD/4WD (smoothness = bad, or better)
  • paved or unpaved
  • Example: Cooper Creek Road (FS 33) and Blue Ridge Road (FS 42), in Georgia

highway = track

  • not a through road
  • unpaved
  • generally unmaintained, AWD/4WD is recommended or necessary (smoothness = very_bad, or worse)

highway = service

  • not a through road
  • paved or unpaved
  • short or medium length
  • provides access to a point of interest

Adding vector tiles to the components diagram

Posted by Harry Wood on 25 July 2017 in English (English)

A few weeks back I gave a talk in London which was a sneak preview of my "Diagrams Of OpenStreetMap" SoTM talk Yes! I'm heading to Japan for the conference soon! I'm the only one from the London crowd going, so this wasn't a spoiler for anyone in the audience, but this diary entry is a small spoiler. I thought I'd give some details of just one diagram from the talk. This one:


You may recognise it although I think its "Component Overview" home on the wiki is a bit hidden away these days. But anyway you wouldn't recognise the right hand side because this is newly redrawn as of last night! In fact I've done a few iterations which I am unveiling as part of the talk. The left hand side editors were given an update, but last night I was tackling the more tricky right hand side where we try to show different rendering stacks and map display approaches available and used in the wider ecosystem.


Up until last night this simply described one possible "TileMill" set-up. That technology is a bit obsoleted by Mapbox Studio these days, but more importantly it's only one of a range of new tools. So to iterate on this, redrawing a little bit, I've aimed for a more high level summary of tech concepts on the right.

A key new technology concept which is very much part of this landscape now is "vector tiles". Been around for a long time of course, but these days lots of folks are making very practical use of OSM vector tiles within commoditised rendering stacks and other tools. Time to bring it into the diagram. Hopefully I've connected things up reasonably correctly. Vector tiles can be used as a data source fed into good old raster tile rendering, but they can also be fed direct to the browser to be displayed there instead of raster tiles. That happens usually still with the use of LeafletJS via tools which I've collectively called "Vector plugins"

That's my understanding. But I'm a little unsure of the details. The level of abstract summarisation here is avoiding the details, but I would like to see a diagram which shows more specific technologies. Probably a different diagram, rather than trying to add it all on here. Something with boxes for: Mapbox studio, Mapbox GL, Tangram, Tangram Play, ThunderForest's stack, OpenMapTiles stack, and the different vector tile formats, schema formats, style sheet formats, etc, etc. A layered diagram summarising all things vector tiles. That's a difficult diagram for me to draw, because I am shaky on the details and generally finding some of the linkages unclear, but maybe that's a clue that this will be a useful diagram!

Maybe I'll create something myself in time for the conference, but maybe not. Do let me know if you know of any existing diagrammatic efforts in this area. In fact let me know if there's any diagrams you think deserve a mention, whether on similar tech topics or something completely different. I'm ruling out auto-generated "visualisations" from my definition of "diagrams", but other than that it's wide open to all sorts, and I'm hoping to give a bit of a tour of a wide variety of "diagrams of OpenStreetMap".

The Future of Geographic Data

Posted by roikay on 25 July 2017 in English (English)

image Technology and innovation have opened up tremendous amounts of opportunity for surveyors, map users and the GIS industry. but there is a lot of incorrect info about what is changing and how it’s changing. Nonetheless, there is a huge opportunity for surveyors that recognize the advantages associated with being early-movers. That’s just part of what’s so exhilarating about the future of the industry.

I’m most excited about how open streetmap is using technology in a way that enables the next generation of youths to use maps and change the environment. The GIS industry faces a growing age divide — there are not enough young enthusiast to take over for those who are approaching retirement. When we work with the younger generation of mappers, I love to encourage youth mappers to start capitalizing on web-based open geospatial technologies, together we can cultivate a generation of young leaders to create resilient communities and to define our world by mapping it. There is no better time than now.

Bangalore Trails : Exploring my new neighbourhood

Posted by muziriana on 24 July 2017 in English (English)


I wanted to get to know my new neighbourhood better and try some new tools . So this weekend I tested Opencamera to take photos and good old OSMTracker for GPS traces. I took a peek on to the map, set camera to burst mode to click every 10s and set out to the direction of Bellandur lake. After passing HAL airport, the terrain seemed to change quickly. I went from paved roads to dirt roads and tracks (later I realised I cut right through the dried part of the lake). I wasn’t checking maps and ended up on the outer ring road, took a U-turn and managed to reach to the other side of the lake.

Spent some time enjoying the view and started back. It was nice to see calm and green place not far from the city, but felt sad that construction and pollution is eating it up.

Foamy Lake and dried up parts

After 4 hours of cycling I reached home loaded GPX on JOSM, and I was more sad. My phone didn't let osmtracker update location information in the background and most of the tracks were just straight lines. First I thought it was a bug (like one which causes osmand to crash on this) but later figured out that it was a power saving feature 😑 . But was lucky that I had geo-tagged photos, and recreated the track from them :)

cricket with other mappers

After a small break I set off to Indiranagar to play cricket with friends. I was happy to know that I covered around 37 kms on cycle that day. 🚴


So learning from yesterday’s mistake, I turned off power saver for OsmTracker and locked the app from being closed automatically. It took around 1 hour for me to cycle to Cubbon park. As roads through the park are not open to motor-vehicles on Sundays, you can explore 300 acres on foot or cycle in peace. The place felt very calm and relaxing, you can engage in various activities there, rent a cycle and go around see kids play at the playground, watch flocks of pigeons feeding or sit and listen to the creaking bamboos. There’s even a fenced area for dogs and owners meet going on, so went in to spent some time with those fuzzballs.

I roamed the park for some more time and left for the day. I loaded the GPX on JOSM as soon as got home and found that they are all well mapped thanks to mappers like PlaneMad ,Praveen, Nagesh_Blr

Total mileage for two days was around 70 kms but usable data collected was low, I am currently adding details from my memory and photos I clicked. Will try to improve next expedition with Mapillary and OpenStreetCam.

Location: Green Glen Layout, Bellanduru, Belure Ambedkar Nagar, Bangalore Urban, Karnataka, 560103, India

Tagondaing Village

Posted by kaungmay on 24 July 2017 in English (English)
Location: Tagondaing New Quarter, Kyainseikgyi Township, Kawkareik District, Kayin, 17031, Myanmar

Creating a Map for a Garmin Edge 520

Posted by robbieonsea on 22 July 2017 in English (English)

If you are an owner of a Garmin 520 device, you may have discovered the device has the capability to use custom maps in the standard Garmin .img format. Unfortunately the device has quite limited internal storage (up to around 100MB) and no external SD card capability.

Storage space can be increased by removing the default Basemap and maps of your choice (e.g. your local area) can be acquired via the excellent OSM Garmin Maps website.

Further information about doing this can be found via these blog posts:

However consider the needs of the long distance cyclist - such as a participant in London Edinburgh London, the premier Audax UK event - in this scenario the above available maps needed to cover the area being travelled will be too big to fit on this device.

One can use OSM data directly and process the data yourself using Open Source tools to generate a gmapsupp.img file that covers your area of interest. My operating system is Debian Linux so the tools needed are available, of a modern enough version and easy to install via the standard operating system 'apt-get' manner:

Those using Windows or Mac OS's can run these tools but installation is normally more intricate and one will need to refer to the individual websites for specific instructions.


My method for generating a suitable gmapsupp.img is thus:

  1. Download a OSM data extract in PBF format - Geofabrik
  2. Run osmosis to remove and contain only the relevant data wanted for the map.
  3. Create the map using mkgmap, using the default style.
  4. Transfer to your Garmin device and enjoy.

All these steps can be easily scripted to be able to run with different parameters, such as adjusting the data being used or for a newer dataset.

Note if you run mkgmap directly on an Great Britain extract, the resultant map is 220MB and thus too big to fit on a 520 device. Hence the osmosis commands are used.

Detailed Process

Here are my osmosis and mgkmap commands in shell script with approximate timings of the operations on my desktop PC (1.4GHz).

export myPBF="great-britain-latest.osm.pbf"
export poi_tags="amenity=toilets,fast_food,cafe,pub,shelter shop=convenience,supermarket,bicycle"

osmosis \
    --read-pbf "$myPBF" \
    --tf accept-ways \
        highway=* \
        waterway=river,canal \
        railway=rail,preserved \
        natural=water landuse=reservoir \
        $poi_tags \
    --tf reject-ways highway=path,footway,track,bridleway,service \
    --tf reject-relations \
    --used-node \
    --write-xml ways.osm
# ~15 mins

osmosis \
    --read-pbf "$myPBF" \
    --tag-filter accept-nodes place=* natural=peak $poi_tags \
    --tf reject-nodes place=isolated_dwelling,farm \
    --tf reject-ways \
    --tf reject-relations \
    --write-xml nodes.osm
# ~2 mins

osmosis --read-xml ways.osm \
        --rx nodes.osm \
        --merge \
        --write-pbf \
# ~3 mins

mkgmap-splitter reduced.pbf
# ~1 minute

mkgmap --index --gmapsupp 63240*pbf
# ~4 minutes

The resultant gmapsupp.img file is 77MB big, so fits easily on a Garmin Edge 520 device and can be transferred to the device by a file copy to the usual "Garmin" folder location on the device.

A copy of this specific gmapsupp.img is on Dropbox


Alternative strategies for creating a smaller map file could be to define a smaller data area via a simple bounding box or a more complex polygon or trying to customize the mkgmap style rules but I haven't tried these.

I will be participating in LEL next week - wish me luck :), but I will be using my trusty Garmin eTrex 20 - which having 2Gb internal storage - with the free standard map provided by - as per my normal outdoor cycling and walking (and on the side OSM surveying) activities.

I generated this mainly for a good friend who has a 520 device, but hopefully the above example will be useful for others to use directly or tailor this process for their needs.

Location: Southsea, Portsmouth, South East, England, United Kingdom

Mapping new developments

Posted by apm-wa on 22 July 2017 in English (English)

Today I spent about 4 hours cruising the Täze Köşi, Parahat 7, and Gaža neighborhoods of Ashgabat to collect GPS traces of new streets and to identify new schools, kindergartens, and other public buildings. As the onset of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games looms (due to begin September 17) a final big push is underway to commission new construction, so there are large numbers of changes in the city every week. In addition to GPS traces on my Garmin Nuvi, I collected imagery using Mapillary and am presently uploading it. There is also a new headquarters building for Rysgal Bank, plus two buildings flanking that building that include a shopping center and supermarket. I mapped them, too, along with the alleys and parking lot serving them.

After a short break I put in another couple of hours driving. I buzzed up to Choganly to collect house numbers in the new development that was commissioned last week, plus finished off the search for street names in Gämi, at least for now--there are a few streets with no signs at all on them, so they will have to wait. I also checked out the new apartment buildings in Anew and added the alleys behind them, now that they have been occupied. I finished with a run down Kulyyew to collect GPS traces on the newly opened frontage roads between Bitarap and Baba Annanow. All in all it was a productive Saturday. The Mapillary upload will take a while.

The mystery building in the middle of Täze Köşi now has a sign, Saglyk Öýi, which identifies it as a clinic (what in Russian is called a поликлиника or in English an outpatient clinic). One more puzzle solved!

Upcoming research on participation biases in OSM

Posted by Geospa_gal on 21 July 2017 in English (English)

I thought I would use the user diary as a means of introducing myself and my research activities. I am a Research Fellow in the Nottingham Geospatial Institute at the University of Nottingham interested in participation biases in geospatial crowdsourced projects such as OSM and other Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI) projects. I am also interested more broadly in biases in citizen science. My current research project is concerned with the way in which participation biases in OSM may potentially affect the usability of the data that is collected and subsequently what is available to location based service providers which use OSM as their primary geographical database.

It is my belief that a better understanding of participation biases in VGI can give us improved potential to contribute to the future sustainable planning of our urban environments and improve services in rural communities.

Having said this, my diary entry here is also an opportunity to set the scene for those of you who may be interested in getting involved in this work through participating in a survey which I will soon be publishing online.

My proposed survey will be aimed at collecting some brief demographic information about the OSM contributors who respond. I then intend to perform an analysis of the OSM database to try to identify differences between the activities and contributing behaviours of male and female contributors to OSM. This is of major interest to me. I hope that the results will enable me to make some important conclusions and observations about current VGI contribution practices and make useful and meaningful recommendations back to the OSM community and other crowdsourced data stakeholders around gender issues in participation. A key part of the dissemination of my research results will be making the outcomes of the work available to the OSM community via my OSM diary, the mailing list and hopefully an open-access journal paper.

I am hoping that many of you will be interested in the study, sufficiently so to take part! I am interested in the activities and behaviours of both male and female contributors and would encourage as many users as possible to participate. Identifying patterns of activity in the OSM database, based on which type of users contribute which type of information, could work to consider how to improve gender specific participation.

As soon as the survey is available I will publish it here as well as disseminate it through the OSM mailing system.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the OSM messaging system if you wish to learn more about the survey or research project in general. Thank you for reading this far and I will post again with a link to the survey when it is open.

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

A new roundabout

Posted by Sam Wilson on 21 July 2017 in English (English)

I can't believe I've been walking past this construction site and now new roundabout for about two months, and it only just occurred to me this morning that I should update the map!

New roundabout on Watkins Street, White Gum Valley

Anyway, done now.

(Photo on Flickr.)

Location: White Gum Valley, Fremantle, Western Australia, 6162, Australia

My ongoing relationship with OSM

Posted by silver mapper on 20 July 2017 in English (English)

I began working with OSM in 2007 following my retirement from a life-long career in cartography, which I loved. I purchased a Garmin eTrex Legend and loaded it with an .img file from I proceeded to walk and record the streets of Henley-on-Thames and its neighbouring villages for several years - they were poorly represented in OSM, then - and learnt how to digitise and upload subsequential data. I turned my attention to countryside walking, a long-standing love. I focused on the Chiltern Way and its extensions for two years, covering it all south of the M40. I was able to create worthwhile relations in JOSM.
An extremely fortunate occurrence led to my discovery of Locus Map a couple of years ago that, with its faithful rendering of maps and wealth of features, was a transformation. Installed on my Android 'phone with OSM mapping from OpenAndroMaps and Elevate themes from Tobias, then Voluntary UK from John Percy raised my involvement and enjoyment to a whole new level. It is a brilliant combination for working in the field. I felt encouraged to walk the countryside much more, using and with a great deal of pleasure. I came to recognise, however, there were paths in my immediate area I had not walked in my thirty-odd years here. My interest turned to them, which ignited my interest in Public Rights of Way (PRoW). I tasked myself with walking every PRoW, parish by parish, in my area of South Oxfordshire. The County Council offers a download of all of its PRoWs in MapInfo .tab format. I have used MapInfo Professional for many years and was able to create a table of PRoWs for my area by parish with the help of Ordnance Survey's parish-level boundaries in Boundary-Line, adding PRoW references as recommended in Robert Whittaker's, plus Chiltern Society references, courtesy of Nick Moon. I find QGIS very difficult to master, but it has proved an excellent means of converting .tab files to .kml. I have discovered .kml files are better than .gpx files in Locus Map because the column entries of the table can be seen fully. Robert Whittaker has created a reference,, that, fortunately for me, contains my area. This has proved immensely valuable in highlighting errors in and omissions of PRoWs and their tags, using Overpass Turbo. Armed with this information, I can walk and check the parishes fully. I add/amend information and upload data using the offline editor, JOSM, which goes from strength to strength in my opinion. I have come to Vespucci a second time and respect it now as a very good reference source in the field. The benefits are twofold: my walks bring me a sense of purpose and newfound satisfaction and OSM finds itself with better and more complete information.

Location: Binfield Heath, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom

Translating OpenStreetMap for the Maldives

Posted by mapmeld on 20 July 2017 in English (English)

Since I’m on a right-to-left-languages-and-mapping kick, I recently asked a language school in Malé to translate into Divehi, the local language of the Maldives. After a promising start and an initial quoted price, we had a month without communication. After determining it wasn’t just a Ramadan break, I texted a phone numbers on an ad on Ewity, a Maldivian Craigslist. Almost immediately I had the first translations:

OSM About Screenshot

OpenStreetMap About page — green text is a possible transliteration of “OpenStreetMap”

Font issues aside, bringing OSM Divehi coverage from zero to a few hundred words was a milestone. I’ve decided to pay for another 1,101 words to be translated — this covers most of what you’d see browsing OpenStreetMap, signing up, logging in, leaving a note on the map, and making your first edit.

Why translate Divehi?

This is a good question — even in the right-to-left languages theme, there are more speakers of Arabic, Persian, and Urdu who could use a completed translation of OpenStreetMap and the iD Editor.

Disappearing Islands

The Maldives are sinking. Long before they disappear, storms will damage crops, buildings, and local landmarks, and drive people to more protected cities or even out of the country. I believe that there’s value in mapping and documenting the Maldives and Maldivian way of life as it exists today, especially on more remote islands, and using community reports to monitor areas that are changing.

photo map

Malé, Maldives, by Shahee Ilyas, via Wikipedia

Don’t Ignore Existing Volunteers

When I started working on Arabic i18n I felt out of place, as I had limited knowledge and OpenStreetMap clearly has volunteer mappers who speak Arabic fluently. Eventually I realized that fixing these issues in the source code required knowledge of CSS, Unicode, and git, too. A mapper from the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, or Pakistan might not be available to fix these issues, but translations are much more accessible.

Volunteer translators are already doing great work — for iD Editor, Persian is 79% complete, and Arabic 60% complete.

Considering how few people speak Divehi, and how little the language is visible on OpenStreetMap today, it would be less likely that native speakers would be editing, and then that one of these editors would volunteer to translate the site from scratch. Providing the first chunk of translations for the site gives us a starting point to recruit mappers, translators, and organizing NGOs.

Local Language Content

Places in the Maldives ought to have a local-language name tag, combined Divehi-English name tag, or some other system, as seen in other countries. If the map is going to include local people, places, and knowledge, English-speaking tourists can’t be the only mapmakers.

person speaking

A participant in the annual Divehi Oratory competition

Comparable Open Source Translation Efforts

Arabic, Persian, and Urdu have open content on the web. They also appear on Google Translate, though translation on this level requires a human touch.

I have seen precious few websites with open source translations into Divehi. Clearly there was work on Wikimedia and Wordpress, but opening OpenStreetMap translations with a Creative Commons Zero license could be useful to new developers.

How’s it going?

Up until I got an invoice from the translator, I was pessimistic. Now that translation is happening, I feel much better about it.

The OpenStreetMap website project uses TranslateWiki and the iD Editor uses Transifex. Neither site allows me to import translations directly.

  • TranslateWiki tested me with random translations before I could join an OSM team. After some confusion, I decided to ‘translate’ five statements in Spanish to their existing translations, with little or no modification. About 24 hours later a mod approved my account, and I was able to add the first Divehi translations for the About page.

  • Transifex made me request to add Divehi to the iD project, which was approved. There are separate repos for the ‘presets’ and the main editor. I submitted a few translations which are not yet reviewed, so I’m not sure if they will be added or if I need to nudge them through the process.

Context and Legalese

I made a spreadsheet on Google Drive with one column of translations and one column of ‘context’, explaining when I need Edit (verb) and Edits (noun, a list of changes). Or explaining map-editing terms like “circularize” and “shape is not square-ish”.

Another example is finding a translation for ‘Agree’, for the OpenStreetMap Contributor Terms. OpenStreetMap asserts that the English version of the agreement has the final legal standing, and I can’t be sure that a translation would represent that accurately. I decided not to include the Contributor Terms in my translation, though I do plan to include the title of the page, the option buttons, and the public domain checkbox.

Template Content

I had many options on how to represent template phrases such as “{user}’s Profile” or “{user} posted about {topic} at {date}”. Should I include them in my word count? I asked the translator to do 50–100 words and then report back. He translated “number” in “{number} km” yesterday, so I tried to explain this better.

Quality Control and new NPM module

When I received my first translations, the translator asked how I would check the results. I didn’t really think about it until I was confronted with text.

  • Words such as ސިނަމާ and ބޭންކު I can Google and/or Image Search and see that movie theaters and banks come up. I also check if ‘homepage’, ‘next’, ‘previous’ appear in similar places on other websites.

  • I compared similar sentences for structure and subject-object-verb order.

  • I found a GPL transliteration library in PHP, converted it to JS/Node, and published it on NPM with a command-line interface. Source code. This allowed me to find proper names such as ‘OpenStreetMap’ and loan words such as ‘GPS’.

To be continued…

I’m going to continue to work on both translation pages to make sure that it starts appearing on the map, then show it to the USDP office and other NGOs in the Maldives.

I know some Arabic, so I’m hopeful that I could read. Each letter contains a consonant and vowel sign. ބޭންކު is beynku. Going from right to left, ބ is b, ޭ _ is ey, ނ is n, ް_ is no-vowel, and so on.

In October I’ll be discussing right-to-left support in OpenStreetMap at the Unicode Conference. I hope to visit the Maldives sometime this year!

Location: Rah Dhebai Magu, Malé, Maldives

That blade of grass is coming back to haunt us.

Posted by Little Brother on 19 July 2017 in English (English)

Remember that comment about the map being first finished when every blade of grass has been documented. Of course it was only meant to be figurative but some contributors do go to extraordinary extremes to map useless data.

Using OSMI I found this:,self_intersection_points

When downloaded these ways are are tagged as barrier=line

They are the ground white lines of a tennis court: An entry from a contributor which has over 4,000 changesets to his/her credit. I know that there are no fixed set of attributes so what this contributor has done is within OSM rules but I think such data is redundant as they will never be rendered. But maybe this contributor is writing his own renderer.

So what's my problem: Well, it is that the data is not being entered without mistakes which the validation applications find. If not corrected then the users who try to clean-up the data base will be continually linked to these errors which is of course a waste of resources.

Basically it comes down to the fact that many POIs can be well enough documented with a single node or area with the applicable attributes. It would then be easier for everybody.

I don't like to delete the work of others but it give little pleasure to see redundant data like detailed water slides, etc where a single node would do the job better.

Summer 2017 - notes

Posted by g246020 on 19 July 2017 in English (English)

I discovered a new source of data to be added to OSM: notes.

Presumably notes are mostly created out on the field by busy bees with smartphone applications. I created a few notes to highlight areas that need a lot of work.

Helpfully, there is a way to get RSS for all notes in a given area, I will be trying that with RSS reader.

Notes, here I come. Time to go to bed.

GSoC Diary: Backend and the Live Preview

Posted by n42k on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

With the front end design of the repository complete, I’ve been working on the backend. So far, most of the pages have been implemented, namely the homepage and the model information and search results pages.

Screenshot of the search results page The search page. Note that there's a single result per page, for testing.

The user page has also begun to be implemented.

Screenshot of the user page The current state of the user page. Notice the presence of my avatar.

It was decided to use the PostgreSQL database, and the Django framework for quickly implementing all these pages. The database schema has also been agreed upon since the last diary entry.

A diagram of the conceptual model for the database The conceptual model that was decided on.

In terms of implementation of this schema into Django models, it was almost a direct conversion, except the tags: we used a HStore field for them, as suggested by pnorman on IRC. The banned_by and banned_date fields were also removed from the user, and a Ban Table was made instead.

Furthermore, since no major issues have come up, I’ve managed to add a commenting feature, so that users can comment on models, and model revisions, to serve as a beginning for editing models. Hopefully this feature will be present at the end of GSoC. I’ve also implemented the live preview, one of the most interesting parts of the project, using THREE.js so that users can see a preview of the model right in the repository, in their browsers, without explicitely downloading a file and opening it themselves. Starting off, it will just support the Wavefront OBJ format.

Screenshot of the model information page The current state of the model information page, showcasing the commenting feature and a model of the Eiffel Tower being displayed in the live preview.

The REST API is also progressing fairly well, most of the endpoints have been implemented, namely the info get and model get endpoints, search by latitude and longitude and the author, category and tag lookups. In the next couple weeks, I will be working on the upload model page, and the administration of the repository.

Copyright note: the Eiffel Tower model was taken from, in OpenCOLLADA format, then converted with Blender to Wavefront OBJ.

Mapper of the Month: Jamie Nadeau (Canada)

Posted by escada on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

Who are you ?

I'm Jamie Nadeau. In OSM some people might know me more as LogicalViolinist and on the wiki as james2432. I grew up a bit here and there as we moved a lot when I was younger, some notable places being Kingston, North Bay, Ottawa and Gatineau. My back ground is computer science and am currently working in my field in the Ottawa Valley. I love exploring the world and taking on new challenges. James has been my nickname since primary school. I came up with LogicalViolinist by combining Logic(programming) and Violinist(I enjoy playing the violin)

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I first started seeking a better alternative to Google Maps as back then "off grid" locations were impossible to route to due to either no map data or the requirement for mobile data to navigate it(mobile data in Canada probably costs more than gold and is mostly covered near the US border, where most of the population is anyways). I came across OSMAnd and really enjoyed that you could load maps offline. My first edit was a correction to highway 417 (not exactly sure what I modified) and from that I was wondering what else could possibly be mapped and I went down the rabbit hole.

What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

Initially I would map error on the map, missing roads. Then I moved on to buildings(manually via imagery), then addresses. Now I map anything and everything. I've done CANVEC imports, address and building imports, mapping indigenous villages in northern Canada and city admin limits. I'm not restricted to only Canada.


How do you map ? Do you make surveys ? Are you an armchair mapper ?

Both. When I scouted indoor mapping for malls, I would go in pen and paper and start taking notes. I drive a lot for OpenStreetCam and also upload to Mapillary. I've done a few HOT tasks as a local mapping party, but some parts in Canada are actually worse than some 3rd world countries. Northern Canada is not really surveyable, unless you plan on going by Canoe with camping gear and couple months supply of food. Myself and Rps333 have a friendly rivalery on who can cover more in OSC/Mapillary, it's benificial as we've done most of Ottawa by ourselves. Surveys are usually done with my phone or pen and paper. My favorite apps to do surveys in are OSMAnd(custom tag control), for POI) and keypad mapper 3(quick address collection)

Mall Mapping

How do you conduct your surveys ? (in case you do them of course)

If it's by pen and paper, I usually have printed off what I'm surveying and take notes/draw on it. If it's via the my phone I'm usually recording a GPX track and logging data in. I also collect data passively via imagery (OSC/Mapillary)

Where do you map ? Locally, HOT ?

Everywhere and anywhere. Mostly in Canada right now. It doesn't stop me from collecting data on my phone when I take a trip out of the country, something that my wife has grown accustomed to.


What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

Finally getting the buildings and addresses into OSM for the Ottawa/Gatineau region and cleaning up the data. As well as mapping Fort McMurray during the forest fire.


Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

Not relying on Google for geo-data as well as not having an empty map.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

I might not be popular for saying this but: dealing with the community. Sometimes it can be hard to get your point across when dealing internationally/other cultures via email/text instead of face to face. Sometimes people can come off a little harsh, especially to new commers.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Fully qualify buildings in Ottawa/Gatineau (residential/detached/commercial, etc) and finish mapping all Native villages in Canada.


Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Yes multiple in Ottawa, we meet every month or so to discuss future mapping projects(I think this month is bike lanes/paths in the Capital region)

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

Mostly for navigation via OSMAnd.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

I've been collection a lot of OSC/Mapillary imagery so others can contribute. I've also created a GUI uploader for OSC: to make it easier than uploading via scripts.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

OSM is an awesome project! Especially in times of crisis ( Fort McMurray, Napal, Haiti, etc). The community is very powerful and willing to contribute so much time to this project. Sadly we only get what we put into it, so we need to keep motivated to make the map even better, which may inspire new mappers to join an already booming project.

Testing edit...

Posted by AsgerFrank on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

Just testing edit. Posts here can be edited - but not deleted. Confirmed via

Iraq village cleanup

Posted by Øukasz on 17 July 2017 in English (English)

Many cities, towns and villages across Iraq have been placed on the map not by people who know them, but by an automatic import from older data sources. Because of that, they are often wrong, misplaced, misspelt, out of date, or otherwise of bad quality. All the names should be verified by people with local knowledge of the villages.

CATEGORY Cities are large settlements, with no or little agriculture. Towns are smaller, with some agriculture. Villages are primarilly agricultural. There are many abandoned or old villages across the country. These should be tagged as abandoned:place=village.

NAMES Currently used name should be placed in the name= tag, in original Arabic spelling. Old names (for example used before renaming in 2003) can be placed in old_name= tag in order to allow cross reference with historical docuemnts. Places that do not have specific English names, but can have their Arabic names transcribed into Latin alphabet should use name:en-Latn= tag. English and other (French, German, Spanish...) translations may be placed in name:en=, name:fr= and so on tags.

ROADS All villages should be connected with minor roads to the main network - usually highway=tertiary or highway=unknown tags are adequate.

Location: Saladin, Iraq

OSM: Why can't contributors check/correct their own work!

Posted by Little Brother on 17 July 2017 in English (English)

Just take a look at this:,self_intersection_points

and ask yourself: Do I check my own work?

OSMI is just one of the many very good tools available: Why don't more contributors use these tools?

Here is another view:,duplicate_node_in_way

and this one shows unconnected ways which lead to routing errors:

and there are plenty more views. Have a look and do some cleaning, please!

Old quarry-mapping in the summer rain

Posted by ChristianA on 16 July 2017 in English (English)

So, it's vacation time. Lots of time to do some mapping. Well, not really when one has a house that needs attention, and 4 kids that can't be left alone for too long.

Today I had some time, but it was raining. But the two oldest kids wanted to come along for some evening mapping of old quarries. The areas surrounding our village has plenty of old quarries. Some are marble, while the older ones are most often iron or copper. Over the years it has sort of became a separate hobby to find and map them all.

I had seen the quarries on an old orienteering map, so I knew were to go. Lots of fallen trees over the quarry

The second hole was a little scary since it was quite far to the bottom in one end. Deeper hole

The last three holes were quite small and also quite shallow Kids in a quarry

Afterwards, we went to a nearby location to look for two more small quarries. All in all, 7 quarries in about an hour. Still there are probably at least 20 more quarries left to find. I need a long vacation...

Location: Gamla Holmtorp, Gruvstugan, Norrköping, Landskapet Östergötland, Östergötlands län, Götaland, Sweden

Pokemon GO cleanup continues.

Posted by Yoshinion on 16 July 2017 in English (English)

Pokemon GO cheating, caught red handed. Just removed earlier today.

And it is still around in places. Removed this earlier today.

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