OpenStreetMap

Mapped Prem Nagar, Berhampur

Posted by madnag4u on 16 September 2013 in English (English)

Today, I mapped a residential area (Prem Nagar in Berhampur) by collecting GPS traces here. The houses are so tightly packed that it is near impossible to trace the street via satellite imagery. The roads were awfully paved and I had to be very careful not to peep into many shop signs, or else people here think I'm snooping. I can't blame them though; many recent burglary cases were registered in this area.

Still, you can't avoid being seen when you are exploring! When I was mapping a street, an elderly woman scolded me and inquired what I was doing there! I just gave her a smile and moved on. Hope she cools down soon enough.

Location: Prem Nagar, Brahmapur, Ganjām, Odisha, India

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 16 September 2013 at 08:55

How did your GPS fare in those thightly-packed streets ?

I find the best remedy against strange looks is to be more visible, not less. Wear a high-viz jacket, or even a bright-yellow T-shirt with the OSM logo and/or "surveyor" printed on it (many shops offer print-on-textile services). That may not work as well in India where even officials can be looked upon with suspicion, but it should help.

Another thing to do is to print some OSM leaflets to distribute if people ask questions. Turn an akward discussion into an evangelising session :) Evangelising OSM, especially to the not-so-techie population, is still ugely important.

One last thing people do to avoid stares while surveying is to survey during very early morning. That's too much work for me :p It probably also make you look even more suspicious.

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Comment from madnag4u on 16 September 2013 at 13:56

Vincent de Philly:

Well, I'll upload the gpx tracks as soon as I update my city, but there was around 3 to 5 metres of inaccuracy even in that tight space :) So, all in all, there were pretty good traces.

I'm a very shy person and thus try to be as inconspicuous as possible :/ Considering that it's an unsafe area, I'll rather try to hide myself there. You don't know what might happen otherwise :( But your idea regarding the leaflets does make sense. The next time I'm questioned about my activities, at least I'll be able to handle the situation gracefully :)

And no, surveying early in the morning is out of question. In certain parts of the city, people go take bath in ponds before sunrise. That's the custom of villages here. So you can imagine how awkward the situation might turn if I follow your advice :P

robert: Really a wonderful jacket! It might help me if I weren't trying to survey without raising suspicion... And I didn't know that Mr Lee endorsed OSM! Thanks for sharing the link :)

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Comment from robert on 16 September 2013 at 18:05

Yes, I think the jacket-wearers have chosen to abandon stealth and decided that the best place to hide is in plain sight.

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