OpenStreetMap

Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason's diary

Recent diary entries

Reykjavík, Iceland to commission a cyclemap based on OpenStreetMap data + potential data donation

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 5 September 2010 in English (English)

Interesting things have been happening for OpenStreetMap in Iceland recently. The city of Reykjavík just approved that they'll be commissioning an interactive cycle and pedestrian map base on "open data" (aka. OpenStreetMap data). And there are upcoming talks between OpenStreetMap contributors on Iceland and the city's own GIS team, perhaps we'll get a data donation as well.

The background is that the minority Independence Party with Gísli Marteinn Baldursson (a member of Reykjavík city council and cycle enthusiast) made the news in Iceland recently with Gísli's suggestion that they city commission an interactive cycle map for the city. Gísli pointed out that Seattle already had such a map, linking to Ride The City, a cycle map based on OpenStreetMap data.

I, Björgvin Ragnarsson and others in the Icelandic OpenStreetMap community promptly responded (in Icelandic) that numerous such websites for Iceland already existed based on OpenStreetMap data. And that the city's resources would be best spent not by commissioning their own proprietary system (as they've done for their bus network routing), but instead that they should contribute to such open data efforts.

To reinforce the point we bought hjolavefsja.is (literally: cyclemap.is) and worked with the fantastic guys at Ride The City to make a cycle map for Reykjavík with an Icelandic interface in a hurry. They did all the work, we just contributed the translation.

Gísli and others in government liked the idea, and approved it formally at a recent meeting.

The relevant part is article 8 which states that the city will commission an online cyclemap and pedestrian routing application, and that its implementation shall use open source software and open geodata.

As if that wasn't good enough Björgvin and others will be having a meeting with the city's GIS department.

We have no idea what'll come out of it, but the city has an award-winning GIS database that includes basically every man-made object within the city limits (including streets, sidewalks, water pipes and contours every dozen centimeters or so) in vector format. We have no idea what if anything we'll get from them, but this could end up being one of the biggest (measured in sheer detail) data contributions in OpenStreetMap's history.

Oh, and for the meeting we want to show them the area on the OpenStreetMap planet with the best cycle coverage. I know about bestofosm.org, but I don't know what to pick. Suggestions?

Location: Miðbær, Reykjavik, Capital Region, Iceland

Hjólavefsjá.is komin í loftið

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 16 August 2010 in Icelandic (Íslenska)

hjólavefsjá.is er komin hálfa leiðina í loftið. Ëg fjallaði áður um þörfina á þessu verkefni í fyrri bloggpósti.

Hér er líka önnur grein um verkefnið, Gísli Marteinn tekur vel í þetta, vonandi kemur eitthvað haldbært út úr þessu.

Location: Austurbær, Reykjavík, Höfuðborgarsvæðið, Ísland

Hjólavefsjá fyrir Reykjavík er þegar til, en má bæta

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 12 August 2010 in Icelandic (Íslenska)

Í dag lögðu fulltrúar D-listans í Reykjavík fram tillögu þess efnis að gerð verði hjólavefsjá fyrir Reykjavík. Gísli Marteinn Baldursson - sem áður hefur beitt sér fyrir málefnum hjólreiðafólks - greinir frá þessu á blogginu sínu, og umfjöllun má einnig nálgast á mbl.is og visir.is.

Grunnhugmyndin er góð, Gísli Marteinn bendir á máli sínu til stuðnings viðlíka hjólavefsjá fyrir Seattle, og virðist leggja til (ég hef ekki lesið sjálfa greinagerðina) að Reykjavík búi til álíka vefviðmót fyrir sína sýn, og nefnir þar strætó.is máli sínu til stuðnings.

Slíkir vefir eru nothæfir, en það er hægt að gera mun betur með meiri áherslu á frjáls gögn en einstaka vefi.

Vefurinn fyrir Seattle er ekkert nema þunn sýn á OpenStreetMap kortagögnin, og er varla meira en dagsverk að búa svona sýn til. Seattle kortasýnin notar CloudMade forritunarviðmótið fyrir sína vegvísun, og er hægt að nálgast álíka sýn fyrir Reykjavík bæði á vef CloudMade, og á fjölmörgum öðrum vefum eins og OpenRouteService, YOURS og fleiri. Sjálfur viðheld ég t.d. hjólakorti af Íslandi fyrir Garmin tæki byggt á OpenStreetMap gögnunum.

Það eina sem borgin þarf að gera til að bæta þessar og aðrar hjólavefsjár er gefa út gögn sem eins og Gísli bendir á "[eru] til í tölvukerfum borgarinnar" undir frjálsu notkunarleyfi.

Sjálfboðaliðar eins og ég munu þá flytja gögnin inn á OpenStreetMap þar sem þau munu blandast saman við viðlíka gögn sem eru til fyrir allan heiminn. Þá munu gögnin ekki aðeins vera nothæf á einni kortasjá sem borgin heldur við, heldur á þúsundum kortasjám af ýmsum gerðum, bæði í prenti, á vefnum og farsímum o.s.f.

Reykjavík ætti ekki að vera gera aðra strætó.is, heldur gefa út grunngögnin sem þarf til að byggja slíka vefi. Ríkisstjórnir og bæjarfélög annars staðar í heiminum eru óðum að uppgötva verðmæti þess að deila gögnum á þennan hátt.

Reykjavík ætti að ganga þeim til liðs, og gæti verið í fararbroddi í þessum efnum. Frjáls gögn eru fjárfesting til framtíðar, og ágoðinn af þeim er mun meiri og varanlegri heldur en ein kortasjá

Gísla Marteini og öðrum er boðið að ræða þessi mál við OpenStreetMap samfélagið á Íslandi.

Location: Ásgarður, Reykjavík, Höfuðborgarsvæðið, Ísland

Proposed human readable contributor terms

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 14 May 2010 in English (English)

I've posted a message on the mailing list as a follow up to my diary entry about a non-legalese version of the new contributor terms.

You can check out the proposed summary on the wiki. Please improve it.

Non-legalese version of the contributor terms

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 12 May 2010 in English (English)

You can no longer sign up for a new account without agreeing to the new contributor terms. They're long and legalese, here's an attempt at shortening them to something human readable.

Suggestions welcome. I think we should offer something like this (but obviously better worded) to explain what the terms mean to people who don't feel like reading a wall of defensive legalise.


  • You promise only to submit content that you have permission to submit, e.g. stuff you made.

  • You grant the OpenStreetMap foundation an irrevocable license to do anything with your content, forever.

  • "Anything" is only licensing it under the ODbL 1.0, DbCL 1.0, CC-BY-SA 2.0 or another free license. Which free license is up to the OSMF members (those paying to be part of the foundation), and at least 2/3 of active contributors.

  • An active contributor is someone who's edited in at least 3 out of the last 12 months. And doesn't take longer than 3 weeks to reply to E-Mail.

The OpenStreetMap website now links to Key:* and Tag:* pages on the wiki

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 20 April 2010 in English (English)

A feature I wrote (ticket, commit) to link from /browse/* pages to the wiki just got deployed (thanks Tom). Here's an example of it working in the wild.

If you add new wiki pages to describe tags they won't appear right away. We'll periodically update our index for the website.

This also works for people that don't speak English. If you're using e.g. a German locale you'll get links to natural=volcano instead of natural=volcano. Note that the volcano link stays the same, that's because there's no German page for the natural=volcano tag yet.

ourFootPrints.de integration into OpenStreetMap all but finished

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 1 March 2010 in English (English)

The ourFootPrints.de import into OpenStreetMap which I ran on January 14-15 has been almost completely integrated into OpenStreetMap.

8,337 ways were imported and all but 239 have now been either deleted because they were redundant or given proper OpenStreetMap tags and been connected to the rest of our data.

Now only the capital area has ourFootPrints ways which haven't been integrated yet. This is the area around Reykjavík that still needs to be worked on:

OurFootPrints.de import into OpenStreetMap: 247 ways left to process

Integrating ways in built-up areas takes a bit longer since there are a lot of merge operations that have to be done compared to just adding a rural highway.

Overall this import turned out very well. We've added a lot of national highways and other rural data that we didn't have before and improved data we already had. Generally when some data was both on OpenStreetMap and ourFootPrints the OpenStreetMap data would be more accurate (as judged by GPX traces, local knowledge, node density etc.) but there were also a lot of cases where I deleted OpenStreetMap data and dropped in the ourFootPrints version because it was more accurate.

I'm also very happy with the method I used to import the data. Everything I imported I gave "shadow tags" such as ofp:highway=residential instead of highway=residential. This meant that this data wasn't visible to anyone using map renderings or other produced data like Garmin maps until someone had gone through it, integrated it and given it real tags.

This meant that we could collaboratively work on integrating the data using normal editing tools without affecting normal users.

Location: Háaleiti, Reykjavik, Capital Region, Iceland

Potlatch support for NearMap & more

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 19 November 2009 in English (English)

I added NearMap to the list of imagery presets in Potlatch 1.2f which'll hopefully be live soon. This makes mapping Australia slightly easier:

NearMap in Potlatch 1.2f

Unfortunately due to a Potlatch bug the full detail of NearMap isn't available in it. It's a bit harder to set up JOSM for NearMap but the resulting detail is insane, here are some people on the beach on Rottnest Island at zoom 23 in JOSM:

NearMap: beach visitors on Rottnest Island at at zoom 23 in JOSM

Location: McCallum Avenue, Rottnest, Western Australia, Australia

"Should I tag the street or draw a separate way?"

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 17 November 2009 in English (English)

Whether we should tag streets indicating whether it has an associated footway/cycleway is a discussion that comes up again and again on OpenStreetMap forums. Currently there's an ongoing discussion on the mailing list for Denmark discussing whether or not the cycleways in Copenhagen should be represented as cycleway=lane tags on the streets or as separate highway=cycleway ways alongside the street.

Rather than discuss that specific issue I think it's worth stepping back and thinking about it makes sense to represent the sort of complex map data we're likely to get in the future where we want to accurately represent highways, pedestrian areas, intersections and other things like that.

Right now most intersections in OSM look like this:

OpenStreetMap intersection without footways/cycleways

These ways may or may not have an associated pedestrian pavement.

Here's the same intersection with added pedestrian ways & crossings:

OpenStreetMap intersection with separate footways

No tags on the way (within reason) are going to intuitively represent where I should cross the street without making separate ways. It's also easy to add to the map where e.g. a button I can press to activate the pedestrian crossing is.

And this is what I think OSM should look like in The Future:

OpenStreetMap intersection with separate footways/cycleways and areas representing the ways

Here we have an intersection with pedestrian ways alongside the road & areas for both the road and the pedestrian areas (if this was accurate enough you could automatically drive an RC car with OSM data). There's a cycleway on the street that has been mapped separately, although not as an area because I was lazy when making this example.

Someone who doesn't want to do intelligent routing can just ignore all these fancy areas and just use highway=* ways which aren't areas. This is the case with rivers/riverbanks at the moment where we support both:

But would anyone be crazy enough to map everything as areas? Yes, this is how traditional GIS databases have been maintained for decades, here's an example of an intersection from Reykjavík, Iceland in LUKR:

How an intersection looks like in a non-free GIS system (for Reykjavík, Iceland)

Disassembling and drying a flooded Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 31 October 2009 in English (English)

This is on overdue follow-up to a previous blog posting where I managed to flood my GPS by swimming with it.

After I got out of the water the display briefly had color distortions before the unit turned off completely. I unwisely tried to power it on again with out success.

After I got home I pondered taking the unit in for warranty repair. I'd bought it in Iceland but was presently in Germany, after contacting my dealer I found that Garmin had global warranty which I could use in Germany, but I might have to provide a receipt which was in Iceland. Instead of dealing with all that I decided to try to repair it myself.

So here's the unit after disassembly:

My GPS disassembled

When I opened it a bit of water flooded out, probably equivalent to at least 1-2 tablespoons.

I dried off the water I could see with a cloth and then dried all the components for 12 days at room temperature. After that I assembled it again:

Clicking it together

Today the unit works perfectly. The only problem is that to disassemble it I had to take off the rubber cap at the top shielding the antenna which entailed ripping off the glue that held it in place. I could attach it again if I find some more glue like that.

I also don't consider the unit to be waterproof down to 1 meter as advertised.

Too see more pictures view my set on flickr.

The OpenStreetMap website is now translatable at Translatewiki

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 22 September 2009 in English (English)

The main OpenStreetMap website can now be translated on the web using Translatewiki. I originally floated the idea in July and after meeting up with the maintainers of Translatewiki at Wikimania 2009 we made it happen. Nikerabbit and Siebrand (Translatewiki guys) have done some great work on making this happen.

If you want to translate OpenStreetMap site you can now do so at the Translatewiki site.

Since it was imported yesterday from the OpenStreetMap SVN server we've had 1500 edits to the translations by 10 different users. 9 of those are to languages that didn't have translations already (although they're still small):

These translations aren't automatically being synced back to the OpenStreetMap SVN repository yet. Me and Nikerabbit have been fixing bugs in the import/export process required to make this happen. Those bugs don't affect translations on Translatewiki.net, but it might be a few days before we can start committing back so the translated strings will show up on the OpenStreetMap site.

So please go to Translatewiki and help make OpenStreetMap available in your language!

Garmin MapSource installer released

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 19 September 2009 in English (English)

I finally finished the Garmin MapSource installer I blogged about in June. It's a program aimed at distributors of Garmin maps who can easily zip it up along with their maps to support installation via MapSource on Windows.

Here's what it looks like currently:

And this is the installed map in MapSource:

It works for me but it could still use some work. So I'm asking people to test it out.

Please download this installer to install my map of Iceland into MapSource. I've done this in a virtual machine with Windows XP but I haven't used MapSource to install it to a Garmin device.

If you're a Garmin map distributor I'm interested to know if this program is sufficient to suit your purposes. If not then I want to know why. Maybe I can add whatever features you need to support.

More i18n support on the OpenStreetMap website

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 18 September 2009 in English (English)

I made a small change to the website yesterday so that when objects are being browsed the name tag corresponding to the user's language is used by default.

To see an example of this look at the node for Copenhagen, Berlin or anything else that has i18n name: tags in your language.

mkgmap now supports sea polygons

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 17 September 2009 in English (English)

mkgmap now has support for sea polygons. This means that when you view a map generated by it the ocean will actually be blue, as opposed to the same color as the land with a small coastline separating the two which was previously the case.

I've updated my daily map export of Iceland to use this feature. Here's a before & after picture taken using QLandKarte:
The new --generate-sea support in mkgmap

Location: Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður, Northwestern Region, Iceland

I've implemented search for JOSM's plugin preferences

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 15 September 2009 in English (English)

It happens that I get so frustrated at the lack of a feature in JOSM that I actually go and implement it. The last time that happened I added regex search support. Now I've added plugin search support:

Searching for plugins in JOSM

Now when I want to install some plugin it won't take me a minute just to find it.

Usually there are easier ways to implement features in JOSM. You just whine (kindly and specifically) on their bugtracker and the code fairies will take care of it.

Petition for being able to use Google Maps aerial imagery when mapping OpenStreetMap

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 11 September 2009 in English (English)

There's now a petition to Google requesting that they grant us permission to map with their aerial imagery as a backdrop, just like Yahoo! allows us to do.

Kudos to Richard Fairhurst for bringing this to the attention of legal-talk.

I've added Icelandic names for all the capitals in the world

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 8 September 2009 in English (English)

See e.g. this changeset. It's easy to translate once you've grabbed all the place=city nodes with capital=yes.

Unfortunately the capital=yes tag is somewhat confused since some people are adding regional capitals.

Videos of OpenStreetMap-related talks at Wikimania 2009

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 28 August 2009 in English (English)

The videos of my talk as well as Katie Filbert's and Christian Becker's talks are now up on the Wikimania 2009 website.

Here's a direct link to the video of my talk and my slides (PDF and ODF).

Location: Microcentro, San Nicolás, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Comuna 1, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, C1006ACF, Argentina

I just gave my "OpenStreetMap integration into Wikimania projects" talk at Wikimania 2009

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 27 August 2009 in English (English)

(As discussed in this diary entry)

Videos of it will probably be uploaded tomorrow (here) but the slides are already online.

Location: Microcentro, San Nicolás, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Comuna 1, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, C1006ACF, Argentina

I'll be talking about OpenStreetMap integration into Wikimedia projects tomorrow at Wikimania

Posted by Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason on 26 August 2009 in English (English)

I'm currently at Wikimania 2009 and I'll be giving a talk tomorrow on August 27 about the integration of OpenStreetMap into Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia.

The talk will be held at the Centro Cultural General San Martín.

Location: Microcentro, San Nicolás, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Comuna 1, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, C1006ACF, Argentina
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