OpenStreetMap

What a fantastic State of the Map US

Posted by mikelmaron on 12 June 2013 in English (English)

It's hard to know where to start. Most of the last four days, I wanted to be in at least three places at once.

Top of my agenda was moving forward the discussion and building of social tools in OSM, many of us were thinking the same, and we truly did make progress. Thanks so much for the great reception to the ideas in my presentation, and also happy for the interest in the slice of the early "history" of OSM. Talks by Saman, Richard, and Martijn all gave different approaches to a common vision, and I think there's broad acceptance of the direction in the OSM community. We got to work at the code sprint, on a two sided approach. Martijn, Steve Singer, Drew Dara Abrams, and Tom all contributed to the basic framework of Groups in the rails port. And Serge and Drew did some good exploratory architectural thinking into an Activity Server (OSM Antenna) to support News Feeds. I also started off on a more expressive User Profile page, including linking in JSON from HYDC (hoping to get JSONP). Lots of fun to be part of this and other ad hoc dev teams, and I really want to find ways to keep the pace on this and other development efforts.

Related were several good discussions on improving the community outreach and community tone of OSM. Alyssa Wright's investigation of gender and list participation totally hit home, and some solid ideas to address this imbalance are in formation. Also, think I recruited a couple new list moderators (Tom, Stephen, I'll be in touch!).

OpenHistoricalMap had an excellent BoF, lots of interest from historians working on real mapping problems. Jeff Meyer ramped us up with so much enthusiasm, and we set about fully getting OHM open for business. For the Code Sprint, Jeff set up our own forks on github for the rails app, mod_tile, the styles, osm2pgsql, and gotten everything current on the server. I started looking at adapting CartoCC to more easily build time aware map tiles, with the goal of manually providing time slices of 2008 and 2009 Burning Man. Tim Waters investigated adding time parameters to the maps API call, as well as better editing filters for dates in JOSM, and Sanjay was looking into time aware exploration tools of the data (along the lines of the in development historic gazateer. And Tim and Aaron worked on data imports of historic US counties and historic NYC buildings. The introduction of and work on Vector Tiles may be the ultimate way for OHM to handle time aware tile sets, by pushing filtering to the client; they'll also have application in low bandwidth environments (imagine global OSM installed on BRCK).

Another great focus of discussion was OSM in Education. Patrick Wilson presented Zombie Based OSM, and Noula and Richard from GWU shared their great work. Both sparked a lot of ideas, including the notion of TeachOSM, a simple curriculum site along the lines of LearnOSM, which Ian is charged up on. There's a lot to figure out here, but a good group. As well, the GWU presentation sparked some ideas for improvements to the Tasking Server, to make it easier to assign grid squares, based on a difficulty ranking, as well as improved individual statistics. This could eventually tie into the user profiles, giving badges to participants in HOT activations.

snkashis from Caerus took up the charge on the Tasking Server, starting to get familiar with the code base by implementing a link to iD. Peter Chin dove in as well. To support this, Tom MacWright added support for TMS in iD.

We had a good HOT BoF initiated by Amy Noreuil from USAID OTI. It was excellent to connect with Amy and hear about their experience working with HOT in Haiti, and what the future might hold. I also met Jorieke, one of the Eurosha volunteers, and absolutely great to hear about the experience from her. Presler from Haiti made a surprise appearance, was great to see him again, and see all the work with OSM he's doing at IOM. We all came together in Schuyler's presentation to give a full picture of HOT. Also good presentations from and good to meet Dale Kunce from Red Cross and Felix Delattre's work in Nicaragua. I made the plea to the assembled technically oriented hotties to join the Technical Working Group. One substantial new idea that came out of SotM was holding a small round table of agencies and organizations working with OSM in DC, to share and discuss broader strategic direction of HOT type work. As well, some early thinking on other ways to encourage coordination of working with OSM within the government. Finally, met Christine White and Bronwyn Bronwyn Agrios from ESRI, and there's going to be some great OSM stuff coming up there, starting with an event at the UC.

Connected with new folks using OSM for good in other ways. Gregor MacLennan from Digital Democracy is looking at mapping river networks in the Amazon, in order to model flows pollutants in indigenous people's territories, which overlaps with some of the notions of Open Watersheds in Kerela, flood mapping discussions with NASA< as well as mapping in other parts of the Amazon. Also learned about the New California Water Atlas, being built by Laci Videmsky and Chachasikes (finally good to meet this friend of Anselm's and developer of Lemonopoly) (update: great discussions taking place on Open Water Sheds Chris Natali from the Earth Institute recently connected FormHub to OSM, something Matt Berg and I had been bouncing around for a while, and I hope to figure some things out there. Jaak Laineste is looking at OSM to map global trash cleanup and landfills, something Liz Barry and I have been involved with before. All of these are informing my thinking on using the OSM model for conservation data in the DRC.

The National Park Service presented their full circle work with the OSM community, and while I didn't get enough time to talk to them, I finally met Nate Irwin in person, and we have a lead on connecting with Rock Creek Park; also hope to learn more about their feedback system from OSM, and perhaps see how it touches on Jeff Johnson's GeoGit work. There's a NPS mailing list. Craigslist shared their learnings with setting up tiles, and we caught up on their new experiments with Notes. Very proud to have been talking with them through the process and providing a little guidance into our community and tools. Apparently, CL poster feedback has led to significant new mapping, and I think this would be a great visualization (highlight changesets proximate in time and space to CL notes).

Was excellent so many of the core technical folks made it in from across the Atlantic. Grant delved into the details of OSM's hardware setup, Andy explained the move of the core OSM styles to CartoCSS, Frederik talked about the process of producing exports, and Tom Hughes was in attendance as well. With so many of them here, the Code Sprint was pretty effective. An idea that came up, but I didn't get chance to work on, was links to download services like GeoFabrik, Garmin exports, Overpass, from the Export Tab (would need to have metadata published on each service to direct to appropriate download spot, or use bbox, and explain fully the nature of the external sites).

With Henk Hoff, Oliver, and Steve Coast also in town for OSMPlus (which I unfortunately missed while enmeshed in the Sprint Day), was an opportune moment for the BoF on the ODbL and geocoding. I think this tricky topic was discussed really well, and there's probably a practical way forward. Also on my mind was the overall structure of OSM orgs, the roles of OSMF and OSMUS and HOT and other entities, what they're responsible for, how they operate and support themselves. Didn't get to talk as much as I'd like about federated structures, local chapters and funding models, but that can develop from here. But was good to hear Grant's relatively positive response to a question on future employment as an OSM sysadmin. Other things on my agenda that just couldn't possibly fit into all the going ons was thinking about better tool management for Tags, and a UN appropriate tile set.

And that's just what I remember right now. What an amazing few days, so much momentum, good ideas and spirit. Was great reconnecting with many folks. The organization of the conference was totally on point. I even connected with one of my favorite beers. I knew this was going to be a good conference, and it didn't disappoint. Thanks OSM!

Location: Mission Bay, San Francisco, San Francisco City and County, California, 94158, United States of America

Comment from iandees on 12 June 2013 at 02:09

Good to see you Mikel! This is an excellent reminder of all the stuff we talked about. Thanks for the great summary!

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Comment from mvexel on 12 June 2013 at 02:19

Agreed, a great conference excellently captured. Looking forward to working together more and keeping the momentum.

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Comment from mikelmaron on 12 June 2013 at 02:32

thanks Ian, Martijn. great to see you both too. and all this was only from my perspective!

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Comment from aseerel4c26 on 12 June 2013 at 17:08

Thank you for this nice-to-read re-view!

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