Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

What am I doing wrong, re: using the embed feature (its not working)

Posted by DaCor on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

when I copy the html and paste it into a page, I only get a zoom 1 view, not the view I was looking at when I opened the Share sidebar

Surely this should be as simple as copy the code and paste it in

This is not an issue on my side either as I embedded both mapbox & stamen maps to make sure and they work fine

Anyone know the github for this sort of stuff, I'd like to raise an issue

GPS track "eye" effect in trees

Posted by adaviel on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

On a couple of occasions I've noticed what I call an "eye" effect when plotting a GPS track through trees. The first time, I walked back and forth along an east-west trail and when I passed a certain spot the traces opened up, then closed again so they were superimposed, leaving a kind of eye shape in the middle. I thought it might make sense if the trees were particularly dense, but they were not - in fact, there was a small open area over a pond to the south.

Recently I noticed a similar effect in another area, this time on a north-south section of trail. Actually walking the trail, it was quite obvious that the tracks were superimposed and then opened up for a distance then became superimposed again. I made several passes and then plotted the tracks to show the direction of travel - it seems that the position of the tracks depends which way I was going. Again, there was a slightly open area to the north - the main track in along the centre of a wooded area running SE-NW, with two small paths leading north and south. The northerly one is through a less densely wooded area. The trees are deciduous, silver birch or similar, about 80ft tall with few lower branches, spaced on average maybe 15ft apart. It's not a particulary dense wood - not at all dark and you can easily see sky between the tree tops. I tried recording more tracks later in the day, and the next day at a different time. The tracks don't align perfectly between each group, but the eye effect is there on each occasion. These tracks are from a Garmin GLO on my hat (taking Dieterdreist's advice). The earlier one (not shown) was with the builtin GPS in my N810 tablet)

I wondered if anyone else had seen this effect, or knew what caused it. I'm a bit perplexed by the effect of direction of travel - surely I'm not seeing a doppler effect at walking speed, and anyway GPS sets are designed to be used when moving.


Location: Burkeville, Richmond, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada

Langley Imagery

Posted by pnorman on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

Note: Repost of

I just got the recent Langley 2014 imagery from their Open Data program loaded onto my server, and I’m impressed. The new imagery has at least as good spatial accuracy, while having better resolution, colours, and being more recent.

Comparison between old and new imagery

In the next few days, I want to release the new layers.

Unfortunately, while Langley is using the PDDL license, other cities in the region are using custom licenses, meaning I have to enquire with each one individually, taking significant time. If they were all using standard licenses, I would have rebuilt my BC Mosaic layer by now and this post would be about updating it to include new sources.

Location: Salmon River Uplands, Township of Langley, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada

Alert notice

Posted by သိန်း​အောင် on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

Can someone guides me how to place an alert notice to my email address for a place of my interest, so that entries to that areas are remotely monitored ?


Diary November 2014!

Posted by DenisJu on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

Area of work for november:

  • velipojë - berdicë
  • muriqan (pika kufitare) - ura e bunës
  • zogaj - ura e bunës
  • laç i vau dejës - kuç
  • bushat - bahçallek
  • hani i hotit - rus shkodër

Great Wester Park

Posted by Akademy on 2 November 2014 in English (English)

It's great living on a brand new residential estate because it's all virgin territory! And is very interesting wondering the new streets collecting GPS data, makes a good excuse to be somewhat nosey ;)

Location: Didcot, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom

Mapping Botswana report for October 2014

Posted by Mapping Botswana on 31 October 2014 in English (English)

The area between Gaborone and Mochudi is now very well covered with roads thanks to remote mapping using imagery, now we are missing more locals to add shops, schools and more.

The Peace Corps continue their fine work and are now using HOT to fight against malaria.

Edits in Botswana in October 2014

Nearly exhaustive list

  • Bokaa
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • D'kar
  • Damochojena
  • Kachikau
  • Kavimba
  • Kazungula
  • Kgari
  • Kuke
  • Lenyetse
  • Lesoma
  • Mabele
  • Majwaneng
  • Malotwana Siding
  • Maposa
  • Matebeleng
  • Maun
  • Mmadinare
  • Mochudi
  • Moremi Game Reserve
  • Morwa
  • Mosetse
  • Nata
  • Oodi
  • Palapye
  • Parakarungu
  • Pilane
  • Rasesa
  • Satau
  • Selebi Pikwe
  • Tutume

Updated zoom level 12 rendering

Posted by Amaroussi on 30 October 2014 in English (English)

New Zoom 12 rendering

Accroding to the dev mailing list, the main change to the standard stylesheet shall involve the showing of tertiary roads at zoom level 12.

It may be a while for your location to receive the new zoom level 12 style.

Location: Borough, London Borough of Southwark, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom


Posted by tregeagle on 30 October 2014 in English (English)

I recently finished my 2nd year of Uni (Nursing) and am now having a break. It's hard to stop being busy so I have been out walking a fair bit and recording traces to stick into OSM. I was inspired by volunteering for The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team - creating maps for aide workers around the world.

It's kind of addictive, mapping stuff. I would like to encourage others to contribute it's easy once you know what to do. Maybe I'll arrange a meet-up over the summer....

Location: Bayldon, Toormina, New South Wales, 2452, Australia

Rendering Oddness for Runway Refs

Posted by Vid the Kid on 30 October 2014 in English (English)

It seems rendering of ref tags on aeroway=runway is slightly broken. Runways always have two identifiers (one for each direction) and these are typically written together in the ref tag separated by a semicolon. It appears this semicolon is being replaced by a linefeed character, which makes sense for the current highway shield rendering style. But on runways, the value of the ref tag is still drawn along the way, and multiline text along a path doesn't seem to work, so instead we get a placeholder glyph that looks like a tiny "LF" in a box.

I think if we could get that semicolon replaced by an em dash ("—") instead (only for aeroway=runway of course) we'd have a satisfactory resolution.

IndoorOSM and Wheelchair-Navigation

Posted by babalone on 29 October 2014 in English (English)

I'm currently working on a project at my university where we try to build a proof-of-concept-app (android) for indoor navigation with focus on wheelchair-users and their needs. Wheelchair-users have special needs as the width of a door might be to small for the wheelchair, stairs are not usable, ramps might be too steep, find an alternative route if an elevator is 'out of order'. We are still in the planning phase and currently evaluating what technologies we will use. To create maps of the buildings we will most likely use IndoorOSM-features [0]. The plan is to create the building-maps from emergency-maps (German Wikipedia [1]) if we don't get better ones. We will use those maps as background in JOSM [2] and draw the buildings with it. As those maps are created by following an official norm I hope, that there is no licensing problem with it as they are not a product of creativity or invention.

There is already a similar app for outdoor-wheelchair-navigation built at our university, but it is not officially published. We are adding this feature of indoor-navigation and both project will be merged. There are already industry-partners, who are interested in this app. This app will very likely be published some time and not just stay a research-project.


Today's stats

Posted by AndrewSnow on 29 October 2014 in English (English)

In my stats today on Pascal Neis' site, I reached 911 in both nodes and ways. A fitting milestone for triage work done in the unkempt corners of the map, clearing Tiger debris.

Ethiopia, Sudan, Nicaragua...

Posted by bdiscoe on 29 October 2014 in English (English)

Some recent work i'm proud of:

  1. Fixed the tags (and in some cases the boundaries) of all of Ethiopia's national parks, including Gambella, Bale Mountains, Awash, etc. I even added the Alatish National Park which was entirely missing.

  2. Nearby on the Ethiopia/Sudan border, improved the area where they are building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

  3. In Ethiopia's Afar province, added the newly-built Tendaho Irrigation Dam with its huge reservoir.

  4. In Sudan, improved the massive Khashm el-Girba Reservoir and nearby city of Al-Qadarif which needed lots of work.

  5. A large number of waterways in the wild eastern parts of Nicaragua (like here) and Honduras (around here), although sadly most of the streams aren't visible until zoom level 13.

  6. Just now, a complex relation for the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, near San Ramon, CA, USA

Unofficial Bus station/bus stop

Posted by sylverhawk on 28 October 2014 in English (English)

Most Buses start their journey from here though they come from other places and may be going through that point as a bus stop. so it's both a bus stop and bus station

Location: Tabora, Ga West, Greater Accra Region, Ghana

Can anyone explain this?

Posted by dcp on 28 October 2014 in English (English)

How about: "A school for OSM newbies"

The trouble with the ODbL - summarized

Posted by lxbarth on 28 October 2014 in English (English)

Kevin Pomfret from the Centre of Spatial Law just published The ODbL and OpenStreetMap: Analysis and Use Cases a white paper reviewing pain points in the ODbL - OpenStreetMap's current license.

2.5 billion OpenStreetMap nodes!

The paper provides a comprehensive review of issues broached in talks at State of the Map US (More Open, OpenStreetMap Data in Production) and State of the Map EU (The State of the License) and discussions thereafter. It offers an assessment of legal risks and includes a series of case studies focusing on legitimate use cases of OpenStreetMap that are currently impeded or complicated by the ODbL. At both State of the Map conferences I have heard requests from the Licensing Working Group, the OpenStreetMap Foundation board and others for a more solid summary of problems and actual real world use cases that are impeded by the license. This is why over here at Mapbox we have supported the Centre of Spatial Law to compile this white paper.

Here's an overview of issues identified by the paper in order of appearance in the ODbL license:

  1. License does not cover contents - the ODbL covers the database, but not its contents. OpenStreetMap does not make clear under what conditions the actual contents of the OpenStreetMap database are available.
  2. Rights of contributors is uncertain - neither the ODbL nor the Contributor Terms protect a licensee from third party intellectual property claims. Note that a third party here is not limited to contributors, but would also include parties whose data has been imported to OpenStreetMap.
  3. Uncertain if and to what extent "share-alike" applies - the delineation between Produced Work and Derived Database is fuzzy and the crucial concept of Substantial is entirely undefined. This makes the extent to which share-alike applies to data that is combined with OpenStreetMap data guesswork.
  4. Uncertainty as to which jurisdiction's law applies - the ODbL states it will be governed by the laws of the relevant jurisdiction in which the License terms are sought to be enforced. - the global nature of OpenStreetMap together with (1) makes it unpredictable as to in which jurisdictions to expect claims.
  5. Lack of a cure period for a breach - there's no grace period to make amends. If you're in breach of the license you have to stop using it right away.
  6. Unclear governance - there is no authority to ask for definitive clarifications around the license. When posing questions on related mailing lists or the OpenStreetMap Foundation the standing practice is to defer to license interpretation and non-existing case law.

The paper's case studies illustrate how potential OpenStreetMap users don't use OpenStreetMap at all - or not to the extent they could - due to the problems outlined above. This is a crucial issue - we're not a community of givers on the one side and takers on the other, there's a large overlap between data users and data contributors and the more we can get OpenStreetMap used in the real world, the more exposure we have to potential contributors, the more contributors we'll have.

Here are some of the case studies:

Yale University does not use OpenStreetMap in research under HIPAA or similar privacy regimens because of concerns that ODbL's share alike provisions could force researchers to open sensitive data - for instance when geocoding research data with OpenStreetMap data. This example highlights the issues with share alike (3) but also with governance (6). Some of the concerns expressed by Yale may be based on a conservative reading of the ODbL, but the absence of license governance in OpenStreetMap (6) and the understandable desire to avoid any risk of violating federal law rule out OpenStreetMap as an option where it should be a prime candidate.

As the Wikimedia Foundation is exploring opportunities to integrate tighter with OpenStreetMap they are running into incompatibilities between Wikipedia's CC-BY-SA license, Wikidata's CC0 license and the OpenStreetMap's ODbL. It should be a no brainer that OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia should work as close as possible with each other for the benefit of both projects. Maybe a good real world use case we can get all moving on?

Foursquare is not using OpenStreetMap for reverse geocoding where they could due to concerns about share-alike extending to Foursquare data. Foursquare has been an awesome engine for driving people to become contributors and they show willingness to contribute data but can't commit if the extent of the commitment is not clear. This is a great example of where we're loosing out on contributions with a license that tries to take it all. To hear it directly from the source, listen to Dave Blackman's talk at State of the Map US.

The National Park Service is working on standing up their own OpenStreetMap like service where they could otherwise use OpenStreetMap directly to power Park Service maps. This is due to the fact that OpenStreetMap's share alike provisions are not compatible with the National Park Service's policy to keep their data in the public domain.

What next?

For a full read of the white paper, head over to the Centre for Spatial Law blog.


Posted by SimonPoole on 27 October 2014 in English (English)

One of Steves favourite sound bites is “we have the money, lets employ somebody” in a couple of variants, used again in his current manifesto to convince people in to electing him back to the OSMF board.

During my time I simply ignored them, not wanting to derail things more than they typically were, but the obvious response would have been “how on earth would you know?” (well that is actually the polite version).

The OSMF has limited financial reporting (it has improved over the last two years) and essentially no planning, also known as a budget. It is currently simply not possible to know what the financial status of the OSMF is or should be at point in time in the future. And while the OSMF has roughly £80'000 of cash available we shouldn't be eating too much in to that given that substantial amounts of it would be needed in case of larger hardware problems (imagine one of our hosting locations catching fire) or other shortfalls and unexpected costs. Not even mentioning any kind of planning for short term cash needs.

It is one of the things that I consider a personal fail that we didn't manage to get something resembling a conventional budget in place over the last two years. It is not difficult, but it would have required cooperation from multiple board members to be actually meaningful and that was not forthcoming and so I concentrated on other pressing issues.

One of the larger planning issues is the largest line item, SOTM. Right now a couple of days before this years event, the OSMF board has no idea what has been signed in its name (if anything has been signed that is), what the potential risks are, nothing. And this was the same the previous year, the year before, the year before that and so on ….

Last year the board faced a potential GAU (German expression for the largest conceivable accident) when the local organizers for Birmingham threatened to walk out, we patched that up, but till this day we don't quite know how much we would have been in the red had the worst case happened. [I would like to point out that the local team was doing the right thing. I was simply showing that, yes, even "safe" things go wrong, and without planning you can't even do "what if"s in such a situation]

Now there is quite a lot of potential sources of funding available for OSM, but we are kidding ourselves if we think it is going to rain manna if we don't get our act together, get our financials under control and actually have projects worth funding (a separate topic).

To be clear, from a legal point of view there is nothing wrong with the OSMF finances and the way we have financed hardware purchases in the past has been low risk, leaving SOTM and our G&A as the larger variables. But it has trapped us in a vicious circle.

Rebooting (with an emphasis on boot) the OSMF board might be a way of breaking out, installing a Junta with the person mainly responsible for the current state of affairs in charge, not.

Middelheim museum, Antwerp

Posted by escada on 27 October 2014 in English (English)

I have regularly visited the Middelheim museum in Antwerp. It is part of a park, free to visit, dogs are allowed (on the lead) and it's not too far away. Until 2 weeks ago I never bothered to map it. it was just of of those places that I visit.

Two weeks ago, we had a meetup in Antwerp. One of the topics we discussed was mapping the Antwerp Zoo. There I got the idea to map the museum in more detail.

So after 2 visits, I have mapped about 2/3 of the artwork (statues, sculptures, constructions). For each piece I recorded the name, the artist and the "construction" date as indicated on the information panels next to each item.

This is the map so far

I cannot add pictures of all items, as in Belgium we do not have freedom-of-panorama. I could have done it for older work, but I tend to forget the exact age.

I hope to add the last third with my next visit.

Location: Middelheim, Antwerpen, Antwerp, Flanders, 2020, Belgium


Posted by SimonPoole on 27 October 2014 in English (English)

In 2011 the then current board had a face to face meeting in Seattle and produced a set of "audacious goals" for OSM that were

  • The World’s Most Used Map
  • More Than Just Streets
  • Cultivating Leadership of Mappers
  • Easier Contribution for Non-Geeks

Now some of these would have been directly actionable, but the first two are really "visions" under a different name. And as visions goes they are quite good, far out goal posts that nobody expects to be achieved soon.

And we are still far away from reaching the first goal . There are lots of pieces missing before we can remotely hope to achieve it, but we are on the way.

Steve has long harped about adding more addresses to OSM, matter of fact I have too. From a pure usability point of view if you want to produce a competitive device or app with door to door navigation support you are going to need address data. To be more precise this boils down to adding hose/building numbers with their associated streets (intentional pun) to our dataset in some form.

Note on the side: there are lots of regions that don't have a conventional western way of describing locations, we don't have good support for that yet in OSM, solving the “address problem” tends to centred around 1st world countries.

The OSM community has lots of experience with adding addresses by both on the ground surveying and imports of suitable open data, matter of fact we've had a full country “complete” for half a decade now. What is however undeniable is that it is slow progress, even importing a couple of million addresses (we don't have good numbers, but it is likely that there is something between half and one billion address conventional house addresses out there) takes a lot of time if you want to provide some minimum quality and the preferable on the ground surveying tends to be even slower.

But we are making progress and looking at one of the larger countries, Germany, with 81 million population, we are now at roughly 1/3 coverage with a combination of on the ground survey supported by open data and smaller imports, completion likely in 2 years at the current rate.

There are some places where we don't have a good handle on the issue, for example in the “original OSM country”, the UK, due to the addressing system revolving mainly around non-surveyable proprietary schemes and house numbers playing a secondary role. But we are not the only group feeling the pain there and I'm optimistic that we will find a way out, and if it is simply by replacing such proprietary systems.

To summarize: addresses are important and yes it is something that the community is working on with dedication. There is really nothing visionary about it at all at this point in time, not more than “lets map all roads in Germany”.


Steve has a legitimate commercial itch that he wants scratched and he wants that fast. This is not unique, readers following the “imports” mailing list have seen similar requests from HOT, matter of fact one of the HOT requests had that other problematic attribute “non-editable”.

Luckily HOT hasn't tried to stage a coup d’état to get their way. But what it does tell us is that the OSM data format, its tool chains, its editors and other applications have become extremely popular and people prefer our tools over others. It is a great testimonial to OSM.

OSM was built around the notion of mappers collecting or curating data and then adding it to our central repository, iteratively improving the quality and completeness over time. “fast” and “non-editable” are the antithesis to what normal OSM is about.

Now I'm sure ESRI doesn't get many complaints about them not providing the ultimate multi-100 GB all free geo-data of the world shape file that includes everything, so why do we? I can only guess that it is because people are feeling left out and think that if their favourite dataset is not included that they are not part of this great community.

But, really, it is just a superficial marketing and packaging issue.

If Steve or better his employer want to create the


containing a quickly thrown together conversion of all the open data address sets in the US, great, the OSMF might even be convinced to distribute it in the same place as the planet dumps. And we have more than enough id space to support conflict free merging.

There is simply no need to compromise the normal OSM community process for a short term gain.

We don't only have hammers, please stop just seeing nails.

OSMF Board of Directors Election

Posted by FTA on 26 October 2014 in English (English)

I decided I wanted to take my OSM involvement to the next level and run in the next OSMF Board of Directors election. Please check out my OSM wiki page for information about my background, why I am running, and some of the things I would like to do.

Location: Maney Hill Road, Birmingham, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England, B72, United Kingdom
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