OpenStreetMap

HOT congo event tomorrow + Olympic Park Mapping + Blue posts

Posted by Harry Wood on 2 May 2014 in English (English)

Tomorrow we've got a big thing happening in London. The London HOT congo mapathon is attracting a lot of sign-ups.

HOT logo

I've been meaning to organise a H.O.T. event in London for a while now. I had in mind something to bring together the increasing number of people who are interested in HOT, because I feel like there's lots of potential and opportunities here in the UK. Often they are opportunities which are being missed, and I feel like it's my fault. But really I need some help with these things. H.O.T. could forge better, more permanent relationships with London-based organisations such as MSF and the Red Cross, and nearby-london-based MapAction. We could go after UK funding for development projects, applying for grants, or proposing projects. Some of these opportunities involve quite interesting sums of money! But it will involve some organisation. Maybe forming an organisation. "HOT UK branch" or something. Is everyone looking at me to make this kind of thing happen? eek! I hope not. I'm not sure I'm very good at that sort of thing...

But I can organise a meet-up! However this meet-up is also due to some prodding from MSF, who wanted to run a "mapathon" style event (get lots of people involved in an armchair mapping activity) in order to round off a particular mapping project. To me it's quite exciting that an aid organisation would prompt me to run an event, in order to supply them with better maps. So that's why the event is described the way it is, and it's worked! We have lots of people signed up. I'm guessing a lot of them are not experienced OpenStreetMappers, so this is going to be a great chance to teach newbies how to edit, and get them hooked. You know... that thing we're basically trying to do at every OSMLondon event. And normally failing because we don't attract any newbies. I suspect at this event I may have a problem of too many newbies, not enough people teaching the editing process. OSMers wanted!

Not persuaded yet? Here are some additional selling points. Secret. Only for you diary readers:

  • There will be pizza! Just got the ODI to pay for them today. Thanks!
  • There will be a QuadCopter flying around! Don't tell the ODI people about this :-)
  • There will be BBC click journalists! or so I'm told at least. Not sure if they'll be filming.

I guess it's possible the event, or perhaps the post-event pub, will serve as a convening of folks who might be interested in building "HOT UK branch", but I'm not sure. Maybe I'll have to organise another more sedate event for that.

Back from the future... what about the past?

Green man & Fitzrovia mapping party ...was an OSMLondon even that took place without me. Thanks to Matt for keeping things rolling while I was away getting married. In fact he kicked off the London Summer events series with a little mapping. At least I assume he did. Photos or it didn't happen!

Olympic park mapping

Thanks to Ollie for organising this one, just in time for my return from honeymoon. It was fun, and very different from our usual central London events. We went to see the re-opened Olympic park (and to investigate exactly how much of the park was re-opened) For me it started off with a bit of a trudge some very big modern (soulless?) housing developments, but later on I had a look at the velodrome and I think I was the first OSMer to walk around these wastewater treatment bog-lands. Such an honour.

on flickr

Anyway I recorded my JOSM editing session, and made a fastwardy-JOSM-editing with-photos-video, so you can follow along my walk.

video iconWatch the video - Mapping the Olympic Park

...culminating in pub photos of course! (More pub photos here) Sitting by the canal drinking some interesting beers. Very enjoyable. And we talked about...

  • Mapnik 2.2. supporting composites, allowing you to do photoshop-style raster filtering on layers of your output. Is that what enabled this sketchy effect? I'm not sure.
  • Kuona micro-tasking tool , and the hidden back-end admin feature to see a matrix of counts of positive/negative responses.
  • Hackathon mentality - Came up in conversation again, because this time we had with us one of the organisers of the original RewiredState hackathons. Why do hackathon hacks so often use google maps, and why are developers not ashamed of themselves?
  • Pie charts with leaflet. I didn't talk about that, but I wrote it down for some reason.

Blue posts pub

On Monday this week we had an little pub meet-up at the blue posts. As it turned out to be a tube strike day, as well as a Monday, it was incredibly quiet in the pub. Rather pleasant actually!

We had a right good rant about the state of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. We were talking about server financing, and complaining that finances are mysterious and opaque. I think we could do with more organisers in the organisation. Then we were talking about working groups, and there are many more ideas for working groups than there are people willing to be in them, a conversation leading up to Matt's insightful comment: "For work to get done, somebody has to do it".

So mostly old boy ranting, but we had along a new guy who hasn't done much editing yet. He asked whether to use JOSM or iD. As you can imagine that set us off on another big conversation. Andy Allan said he likes iD compared to the old Potlatch, and compared to JOSM because they've stripped out keyboard shortcuts and made everything easy to do with just the click of a mouse using one hand. As he put it "You can drive it like a gangster".

We had Ollie there, so... ollie-topics:

  • de-brief from the Olympic Park mapping. He's keeping a keen eye on it still because they're opening new entrances over time.
  • de-brief from running the marathon... oh and is there an OpenStreetMap showing the London marathon route anywhere? (some people have started putting the route into OpenStreetMap. Not a good idea really. It belongs as an overlay... but who's done the overlay?)
  • boris bike map - Ollie was readying himself for reporting on the tube-strike effect.

We also had an interesting conversation about checklists. Check lists are well known tools used by pilots as they run through their pre-flight tests, and by surgeons as they check they didn't leave tools inside the body before sewing it up. How can we use checklists for Imports? and also for HOT Activations? ...I'll leave you with that discussion point.

on flickr

Oh and I'll leave you with a final plug for the big event tomorrow, and for ...quite a lot of other events over the summer actually! See them all listed in the usual place

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