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ElliottPlack's diary

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Ma&Pa Railroad

Posted by ElliottPlack on 2 July 2013 in English (English)

I made a relation for the former right of way of the Maryland & Pennsylvania railroad. Check it out here: http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/relation/3058279

Abandoned rail rights of way are one of OSM's strong suits. These old paths are often used for trails or roads in modern times, thus they are beneficial.

Making this relation was pretty easy because all the ways were already there. I just connected them. There are some spurs that I could still add, and as I was scanning along the route, I was suprised by how many populated areas are not mapped well. I'll add them as map notes!

Enjoy.

Location: Reservoir Hill, Druid Heights, Baltimore, Maryland, 21217, United States of America

State of the Map 2013

Posted by ElliottPlack on 18 June 2013 in English (English)

I attended State of the Map US in San Francisco from June 6 to June 10, 2013. Here is a summary of my thoughts on the events and the speakers. Firstly I want to thank OpenStreetMap US for the scholarship to attend this conference.

My first day at the conference consisted mostly of giving an hour long workshop on adding bus relations to OSM, one of my pet projects. Click the following links for the slides and the data. Please note that the data is no longer up to date. I have since added all the MTA 64 routes.

The workshop was an attempt to introduce folks to the basics of bus routes and their relations in OpenStreetMap. In effect, I was teaching the new public transport schema.

I think it went pretty well, though I have a few lessons learned. If I were to do this again, in the course of an hour, I’d do much less of a presentation at the beginning. Since people were paying to come to the talk, I thought I had to cram more info into the workshop. Instead, a lightning talk to start would have been good.

Some of the participants had never used JOSM, which is a pretty complex software at first glance. This meant that during my talk at SOTMUS, the whole group was slowed down by a few users that had trouble getting JOSM running. If I do this again, I’ll get there early and do at least 30 minutes of JOSM familiarization for folks. For instance, the right click and drag to scroll functionality isn’t intuitive to most.

The heart of the workshop was to make a bus route relation, but with the time setbacks, we didn’t end up accomplishing much. Still, I heard from folks afterwards and they said it helped them so they could know where to get started. My favorite feedback was this tweet from Ian V over at MapBox.

The next two days were jam packed with lots of interesting sessions and talks. I learned about two new ways to contribute to OSM, iD and Pushpin. I saw a radical new look to OSM, and much more.

Be sure to watch some of the talks at http://sotm.us and look at the pictures of the event on Flickr.

Location: Lake Walker, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
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