I didn't organise a London OpenStreetMap meet-up in a while. The last one was in ye olde cheshire cheese last month. As usual Alex got some great photos, and me... slightly less so (on flickr)
I really like this pub, but it is a bit loud and echoey when it's crowded like this. We shouted some interesting conversation at each other though:
Derick was thinking about how to build a tool for vandalism/mistake detection, i.e. a tool which analyses edits as they come in and flags up ones which seem a bit bogus. Some basic heuristics should be quite easy, but he was finding some limitations with the basic API calls for retrieving objects, areas, and changesets. In particular you can't easily identify an edit which moves a node, or get the location where the node has moved from. This information would be interesting to display for a particular changeset, it could even be added to the changeset displays on the website somehow, but at the moment the old location of a node requires a history call (for each node you're interested in). Obviously there's more intensive solutions involving syncing with diffs or crunching the history dump data, but perhaps seeing where a node has moved should be easier.
At work I've recently come to the end of a project to develop a native iPhone app, and weirdly I'm itching to develop something else, even though I don't really like apple's closed platform, and I had a lot of struggles learning iPhone development. Maybe it's because of those struggles. So we talked about ideas for simple OSM apps. At the moment there's quite a few ideas which would still fill a gap. It seems weird to me that MapZen POI collector remains the best OSM editor for iPhone... even though in many ways it's really not that good. Although the simplicity is awesome, and I actually think limiting to POIs rather than geometry is a good move, this kind of app could be extended to include OpenStreetBugs reporting / finding, and maybe offline operation, in terms of not needing an internet connection to load the background maps, and also storing changes for review and upload later. There's also "gaps in the market" for more simple non-editing apps using OSM data e.g. for local search. As usual I'm talking about these things, but probably won't get around to doing anything.
We talked about remapping needed in London. Derick's been heading out and knocking off a few priority areas. There's still a few tube line related problems, and most importantly we were noting that some pubs need to be re-mapped!
We also talked about London mapping in relation to Alex's proposal to armchair map more building outlines. I'm supportive of the idea provided it's done carefully. If this sounds horrific, and you despise all armchair mapping ideas, I have to tell you your opinions are not currently very well reflected in the comments there, or on the 'armchair mapping' wiki page discussions. As for the opinions in the pub, I think I actually missed this conversation (mainly because it was too loud, and I was shouting one-on-one with somebody else at the time). What was the conclusion? Anyway it's always good to have some map printouts spread over the table. Alex brought some along to discuss buildings coverage, including an interesting one highlighting those buildings which have not been touched, and are presumably of a low accuracy, since bing imagery superseded yahoo's.
Things did quieten down. In fact towards closing time we suddenly had the place to ourselves and had a good intense brainstorming session on the topic of OpenStreetMap events in London. How to attract new folks to our pub meet-ups? I think the overriding conclusion was that we need to try mix things up with some different event formats. We need to do presentations and mini-OSM-conferences. We need to do things at the weekends sometimes. We need to have training/workshop sessions for new editors, as well as more technical developer events. Or we need to just meet in cafes and libraries instead of pubs on occasions.
I've certainly pondered these things plenty, but I've rarely deviated from the tried and tested pub formula. I feel like other things would require at least two or three people to say "I'm in" much more positively. Other types of events tend to require some more complex logistics. The venue in particular. I always thought the easiest way to achieve the same thing, would be to piggy-back on other people's events. There's certainly enough generic tech meet-ups, hack events & presentation events etc in London that we can go along to and hijack for our own purposes. So I've tried to post some of these as listed OSMLondon events (the one's I'm thinking of going to myself) but generally with limited buy-in from everyone else.
But perhaps this summer we will experiment a little more. I've already broken the mould a little bit by setting up a wiki page called "London/Summer 2012 events". That's right! This summer it's not a "Mapping party marathon". It's a set of hopefully varying types of event.
Now obviously I should have set up a pub meet-up for the "end of the winter", but license change shenanigans and various other announcements have created a disturbance in the force and my powers have been weakened... and right now I'm on holiday in Brazil! I'm getting a good summery feeling right now (too hot!) but this means that the London summer events 2012 will have to be kicked off by somebody else. How about it OSMlondoners?