Recent diary entries
OpenStreetMap now has a presence on Google+:
The content is likely to be the same as you'll find on Facebook and the OSMF blog, but some of the unique features of Google+ may get used over time.
My book on contributing to and using OpenStreetMap is now available to buy:
It's available in both printed and ebook formats, and there's a discount if you buy both together.
The book itself is intended to be an introduction to a wide range of OpenStreetMap tools and techniques for the less-technical user. It takes you through how to get started with the site and community tools, basic surveying and editing techniques (using Potlatch, JOSM and Merkaartor), spotting problems in the data, producing your own maps and customised data sets.
There's an article based on a chapter of the book here:
Sat nav fails again. In OpenStreetMap the service road used to access the Loseley Estate is mapped properly,
There is a new moderated announcements mailing list:
This is a low-volume list with no chatter. It will only carry notices of things like server down time, new versions of software and any other major events affecting the whole OpenStreetMap community.
UK law now allows for Community Interest Companies to be formed,
which are not quite charities, but are asset-locked in the same way as
charities. As the name suggests, the companies have to carry out
activities deemed to be "for the benefit of the community rather than
for the benefit of the owners of the company". This sounds exactly
like the sort of thing the OSMF does, so should we consider changing it
to a CIC?
The advantages would include a greater level of protection of the
foundation's aims. Although the regulations for CICs don't prevent board
stacking itself, they do make any action of the board which could be
seen as being of benefit to one particular company or group illegal.
This means we can still elect a board of skilled, experienced OSMers
safe in the knowledge they can't pull a fast one (or if they do, they
face a date in court).
One possible problem is that CICs cannot carry out "political"
activities, which campaigning for release of public data could be
seen as. I've tried wading through the legalese of the regulations to
see if this is the case, and there does seem to be a clause that says
such activities are allowed as long as they're "incidental", but IANAL.
On first impressions it would seem like CIC status was designed
specifically for organisations like OSMF, and that becoming one would be
a good thing. I'd be interested to hear what everyone else --
particularly those standing for election -- think.