OpenStreetMap

Building mapping. How did it go?

Posted by Harry Wood on 18 September 2009 in English (English)

On Wednesday we had our special edition of the London mapping party marathon focussed on building mapping. This was an experiment in a slightly different mapping approach. Sketch some building outlines from Yahoo! aerial imagery beforehand, then go check them on the ground.

So how did it go?

Well my experience was pretty good. While doing my sketching, I left a bunch of FIXME nodes dotted around my area in spots where I wasn't too sure what shape the building was. I printed this out as an inverted colour screenshot from JOSM with search seleciton on 'FIXME'. We only had a brief mapping session because darkness comes a bit earlier these days, so I went directly to those FIXME spots to check them out. This was a surprisingly satisfying kind of mapping. Recognising buildings which I had been sketching around, and areas which I had been puzzling over, and discovering the solution to the puzzle.

Mixed responses from everyone else. Some people had a go at it, some others didn't fancy it.

"homework" requires more forward planning, to set aside some time for sketching beforehand. Maybe it feels like too much of a commitment in advance (Similar psychology applies to signing up in advance for attending a mapping party. People can be quite averse to doing this, even when they fully intend to come along)

But there's also uncertainty around whether mapping every building in the central london is a worthwhile thing to try to do, how much detail to go into (each building according to what kind of roofs you can see, or just one building area for a city block?) Also casual Yahoo sketching is something people are uncomfortable with, or even philosophically opposed to. I've described my thinking behind the whole idea in previous diary entries (some initial explanation, and follow up thoughts) But basically the building mapping party wasn't exactly universally accepted as the awesomest thing ever, but not exactly rejected as a rubbish idea either, so maybe we'll try it again some time. In the meantime maybe people will look at the expanding building coverage, and chip in a little more here and there.

We were back in the Blue Posts pub in Oxford Street, which is one we've been to before. It's notable for being really nice and quiet on a week-day. No problem getting seats. No problem hearing ourselves talk. Good for the map chats.


We had a couple of new faces along, including Roger who drives a night bus! He was super-keen and looked like he was managing to gather some great detail, so hopefully we can get him mapping Buses too. OSM shall infiltrate the public transport organisations from the bottom-up! Oh yes!

We've got time for a few more mapping parties before it gets really dark and miserable. Location/pub suggestions welcome, although I guess we're looking at quick mapping sessions in the centre now (winter boo!)

Location: St. James's, Mayfair, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, WC2E, United Kingdom

Comment from RogerStenning on 19 September 2009 at 07:09

Hiya Harry :) Good meeting you all at the pub, and I've finally completed the major and minor edits to Slice 2, with one irritating exception - we need a POI for Internet Posts - phone boxes tags won't do, these things are Pay Per use Internet Access points in the form of a small kiosk post. They're copping up all over the place - there's a couple in Bromley, too, come to think of it!

Oh, and thanks for the hint on the road going *though* the Pillars of Hercules pub!

Can't make the 29th, though - unfortunately I'm working :(

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Comment from Harry Wood on 19 September 2009 at 10:15

Internet booths hey? Well you could certainly place a node with internet_access=terminal. Maybe just add another tag note=booth. I'm not aware of a "booth" tag (booth=yes/no has been used but only a few times. There may be a better tag to use)

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