I've made a video. Check it out ...but be warned. It's kind of dull, until 6 minutes 22 second in, when the mapping goes TURBO!
The sped up mapping effect is quite fun. I might have to try that again some time. But the idea of the video was to show how (or at least give a rough idea of how) we go about adding in the data, because we did the usual mapping party thing with beginners, of only demonstrating collection of data. ...I'm talking about at the Marble Arch Mapping Party two weeks ago.
Contributing to OpenStreetMap (usually/always for me) comes in two very different stages: Collecting data, and Inputting data. This is a challenge when it comes to teaching new people, because you don't get a good understanding of what data to collect until you've delved into the OpenStreetMap data using an editor. Unfortunately the cart comes before the horse at a typical mapping party. In fact worse, the cart is left without a horse. We don't usually have the benefit of a computer room or somewhere sensible to bring out laptops and have a serious editing session, and in the event of having lots of new folks to teach, we're left only teaching them half the process. Obviously if no new folks turn up then this doesn't matter. But this was not the case two weeks ago...
As I described previously, I was making a conscious effort to do something a bit different and a bit more welcoming to newcomers for this event. Meeting under the arch of Marble Arch, I was worried I'd be there on my own, but no! Thanks to all the usual OSM faces who decided to make the effort to be there in case they could help (or maybe in case something really exciting was going to happen). Some unusual faces too. Wasn't expecting to see RichardF. ...And some new faces! which was the point of the exercise. We did OK at attracting new folks. If we include the new folks who were jet-lagged and went straight to the pub (disgraceful!) and other new folks who only caught up at the end... we had quite a few!
Our concerted effort to attract new folks was inspired by an academic paper which analysed OpenStreetMap London meet-ups and concluded that we were bad at attracting (and retaining) them. This paper popped up out of nowhere, written by some people we had never met, as I described previously. Happily this situation resolved itself! It was fantastic to meet the authors, especially Desi Hristova who joined us on our walking talking tour of Marble Arch. It was fun to show them the truth behind the stats of an OpenStreetMap mapping party. They said they will be giving some presentations about their work, so I'm imagining a slide deck full of serious stats followed by sudden digression into pub photos!
So the people who wrote about the mapping parties, and about attendance of new people at mapping parties, then attended the mapping parties. Self-referential! particularly as they significantly boosted the number of new people who were at the mapping party. The question is... will we retain these new people? Also how many new people will come to our next event.
Well as a matter of fact, our next event is TONIGHT! Although in the new scheme of alternating event formats, tonight's one is not a "beginner friendly mapping party", but a "social pub meet-up". We do have the next mapping party scheduled in for Thursday 14th June and I'd like to try to promote this to new people again (any help appreciated). but I'm afraid I didn't pick a location yet. We will discuss this in the pub tonight! New folks are also welcome at the pub of course, and there are in fact a few of them expected! See you in the Blue Posts from 7pm. Details on the wiki