People are _too_ lazy, more willing to complain that to contribute

Posted by dardhal on 12 June 2011 in English (English)

Well, three full months since last update to my diary, my contribution rate to OSM has dropped sharply to almost zero (I don't have that much well known areas with below than average mapping left), and my attempts to make more people in the Spain MTB and outdoor/GPS afficionado groups be involved and contribute to OSM have expected, that is not saying a lot. At least, I haven't received much feedback from the people I have been addressing, and this usually means very little involvement and contributions took place.

The first wave of "join OSM propaganda" (just a joke ;-) ) I put on the Internet got some people interested in the project, but don't know so far the amount of direct contributions it caused in the first place. Anyways, OSM as a whole and the means of contributing back (as well as the "what can OSM do for me if I spent my time contributing" usual questions) should be well answered, and no one reading my messages in forums should have any problem getting involved. The biggest problem so far has been the availabity of an up to date, extreme quality and perfect coverage Garmin IMG vector map of Spain (TopoHispania 2.0x), free of cost, including contourlines, and made from official and high quality survey data, that makes a lot of people go along the easy route, and use pre-made maps, instead of contributing to OSM thinking long-term. But this was announced, and to be expected.

As a means of filling some gaps that could make people ignore OSM based Garmin maps for Spain (and, so the involvement in the project), I decided to create a transparent high quality contourline map of Spain, 99.9% identical to the one included in TopoHispania 2.0x, that in combination with any other Garmin IMG map (but specially with the fantastic ones from, to have a better and more precise alternative to the usual NASA SRTM 3" data. This contourline map for Spain is pending release, and will be available shortly for download from So people will have one less reason to disregard OSM based maps, and hopefully start contributing.

I have also been collaborating with people behind QLandkarteGT development, a cross platform desktop application to manage both raster and Garmin vector maps, as well as routes, waypoints and tracks (much like Mapsource, BaseCamp, OziExplorer and CompeGPS). The software is great as it is now, but there is some work being done to take the software to the next step of features and usefulness. Currently you can already load local and remote (WMS or TMS servers) raster maps, any number of local Garmin vector maps (overlaid on top of any raster map), create and manage waypoints, routes, track (create new, modify existing), calculate routes, search for places, interface to older Garmin GPS (newer ones use USB storage), etc.

I'm by no means a programmer, and little code can be contributed by me, but hopefully the time I've spent trying some "hidden" features (and making them better known), as well as investigating support for Garmin NT maps (which, for example, TopoHispania 2.0x is using) was worth the effort, and can ease the way for real developers to the point of improving the application. And, at the same time, I'm trying to make people know QLandkarteGT exists, that it's already very useable, and that it's the only desktop application so far (to my knowledge) that understands the Garmin JNX (BirdsEye) format supported by newer Garmin GPS receivers (a JNX map can be configured to show different map or aerial images at different zoom levels, so when you zoom out you see a nice and clear topo map, but when you zoom in more, you see an aerial image).

This support for JNX maps can seem nothing worth trying the program, but a team of people from the MTB community in Spain has managed to create JNX maps covering all of Spain, in record time, from available free (as in beer) official maps an aerial imaginery.

So, it's been three months since my last update, and my direct contributions to OSM are down to almost zero, but I hope the effort in the projects mentioned above can have a multipliying effect, and drive more people to OSM and contributing lots of information. Maybe that won't happen after all, but I feel that I should be doing something, and well, I'm doing quite a few things.

Comment from b166er on 13 June 2011 at 00:02

don't give up, big community is on your side!

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Comment from rw__ on 13 June 2011 at 00:21

Welcome back after your vacation! ;-)

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Comment from durian on 13 June 2011 at 12:01

Bravo! For us Linux users, QLandkarteGT is the only available desktop map program!

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