A little less then a year ago, I received an email that was the ignition of one of the most exciting moments in my life: I won a scholarship to be able to attend State of the Map 2009! A couple of months earlier, I applied to this scholarship (as a few more other brazilian fellows such as Claudomiro), but he won the brazilian scholarship, so I kinda resigned but was happy that we would be very well represented internationally - he's the 1st brazilian registered on OSM and is very active. However, in less than a month to the conference, Mikel told me that one of the selected participants wouldn't be able to attend the event so they would have one for me! Yay!
I was very excited - it would be my first time traveling out of the country (almost 10,000 km away from home!), let alone the opportunity to meet mappers from all around the world. It was a wonderful experience, I've seen how the mappers around the world managed to make it so greatly.
I couldn't go on without mentioning the effort that Mikel and the Open Society Institute put into making this happen. Thank you so much.
Then the conference was over, but many ideas were growing on my mind. But let me tell about what steps we (as a community) took in those last 9 months:
- First of all, Claudomiro, Victor George and I kicked off with remaining funds from -the scholarships the GPS Brasil Project, our GPStogo spinoff with funds to buy dataloggers to map our huge country. 2 fellow OSM contributors (one from the north of the country, the other from the south) are already mapping their cities with GPS from the project and more are to come.
- Brasil 250 Cidades, inspired on TIGER fixup 250 cities, to connect the largest 250 brazilian cities. The 1st phase of the project, connecting the 90 largest cities has already finished, now we're on the 2nd phase with the next 160. Personally, I helped with this project by taking a bus to São Paulo and from there to Campinas and back to log the routes and create our first intermunicipal and interstate bus routes.
- we started Mapas Livres ("free maps"), a OSM.BR prototype using the same website as MapKibera, with a forum, a twitter user, a youtube channel with videotutorials and of course links to the wiki and the mailing list, and resources to the end user, such as Garmin-ready maps and so on. This one is still on it's beginning but I think that it has a good potential because "OpenStreetMap" can be difficult for non-english speakers.
- approached WikiMapa, a Google-Maps-powered slum mapping project run by a NGO based here in Rio. After a few meetings (Claudomiro even flew from São Paulo to talk to them personally) unfortunately they didn't show much interest in changing to OSM, but they authorized the data import from their website.
- translation - since language can be a barrier for many brazilians, we completed the brazilian portuguese translation of OpenStreetMap.org (the website itself) and Potlatch, and we're close of 75% on JOSM and Merkaartor. Vitor George publishes a weekly status on the talk-br mailing list with the percentage of completeness and how we advanced from last week.
And what I did personally:
- Given talks in universities and conferences - this wednesday there's another one on Evento de GeoTecnologia ("GeoTechonology Event") ;)
- Since the recent pacification of some slum's here in Rio, I started mapping the first brazilian slum on OSM: Morro Dona Marta. There's a lot of work to do, and my cellphone GPS's tracks are nearly useless there. I'm thinking of getting a dedicated unit with the GPS Brasil funds to see if it works better;
- Imported some data from WikiMapa to create a map of the Cidade de Deus slum ("City of God", the one from the movie). I couldn't advance further because many data from WikiMapa is actually Google's (such as the streetnames of the highways tagged as a road on this area) but what they effectively created is on OSM with a proper source tag.
- Working with Kay D from Würzburg, Germany with the proposal of a new tag to map the parking lanes of a street and it's rendering.
I think this is it. Personally, I don't think on OpenStreetMap as a hobby anymore, since I intent to do some OSM related research on university if I have the chance, and maybe work as a "OSM consultant" someday...
Arlindo "Nighto" Pereira