russdeffner's diary

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HOT/OpenStreetMap 2015 Aspirations

Posted by russdeffner on 1 January 2015 in English (English)

In follow-up to my last post: HOT 2014 Review, here is a brief post regarding my aspirations for 2015. Most of which are related to my Voting Membership in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, but some are mostly personal goals.

  • I intend to run for Chairperson for the Voting Members of HOT again; as described in my 2014 review, it was a bit tougher than I anticipated and I personally had a rough year so I feel that I came up short compared to what I wanted to see happen this year. However, I’m still dedicated to the work and maybe a bit more realistic in what I can accomplish this coming year. (Will save a more thorough ‘campaign’ statement until the election draws more near)
  • Whether or not I am re-elected as Chairperson, I will continue to be involved in multiple HOT Working Groups. Currently I feel most helpful and dedicated to the Governance WG, probably followed closely by the Communication WG, but still think it important to participate in all of them as much as I am able (we definitely need more people in all the wgs).
  • Specific to the Governance WG and the governance of HOT, it’s on my current agenda to work on a catalog of all the HOT policy and guidance documents; we’ve done a lot of work creating these, but we have not done a good job of making sure they are easy to reference. As part of, or a continuation of that, I expect to spend many, many hours over the next year reviewing, recommending, and possibly amending our policies to be more in line with practice and the strategy developed by our Board and Executive Directors.
  • Personally, I'd like to ‘complete’ Park County, Colorado – mapping around ‘home’ is what starting my love for OpenStreetMap. I’d say I’m about 75% done with cleaning up the TIGER mess and maybe 50% of buildings and about 25% of landuse/natural polygons. I guess I should specify that ‘complete’ being what I can do by armchair, longer-term I will get to addresses and other details.
  • Of course if things go well, I’ll attend the State of the Map – US conference again this year; hopefully we’ll conduct the first HOT summit (and I’ll be able to attend) this year – and at least a few OSM-Colorado meetups (trying to help plan one in Fort Collins in the next couple months).

Bring on the New Year!

Russell Deffner

Chairperson for the Voting Members

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

HOT 2014 Review

Posted by russdeffner on 1 December 2014 in English (English)

Greetings, this is a brief recap of my contributions to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) in 2014.

In February 2014 I was nominated and accepted as a Voting Member of HOT and in March I was elected as the Chairperson for the Voting Members.

At the end of March, as some of you well know, we began an Activation to assist Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), aka Doctors Without Borders, with the Ebola crisis in West Africa, see for details. I assisted the Activation Coordinators at the beginning of the Activation by updating that wiki page for about the first month, as well as completing a handful of mapping tasks. I also remotely contributed to the Map Lesotho Mapathon in July.

As Chairperson, my focus was less on the mapping, and more on the ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations of HOT. I attempted to assemble the Voting Members for an ‘annual meeting’ twice, but was unable to get a quorum (at the time a majority) of our members. This was obviously a problem and after many meetings and conversations it became fairly clear that with a worldwide membership, even meeting electronically, would be difficult.

So I shifted my efforts to helping re-ignite the HOT Working Groups, especially the Governance WG. Although I also participated in the Activation WG, Training WG, Community WG, Communication WG, and attended a few Technical WG meetings; I’m going to focus on the achievements of the Governance WG here. Our first priority was to address the issue(s) of assembling our membership to hold legitimate meetings in order to conduct business. We decided our best course of action would be to ease the quorum requirement; the alternative would have been to start removing members (which would have been an extremely difficult and much longer process). In order to do so, we needed to get a majority of members to assemble in order to ratify a change to the bylaws. So first, we drafted and proposed Proxy Rules which were approved by the Board of Directors to use for a Special Meeting of the Voting Members to adopt an amendment to our Bylaws changing the quorum to ¼ of our members – which the Gov WG also drafted.

This culminated in our first ever meeting of the Voting Members, on October 16th, where a majority of us were present or represented by a proxy; i.e. able to conduct business. The meeting was specific to ratifying the quorum clause of the Bylaws and that was approved. Although I had high hopes to accomplish more in my first year as Chair, I am pleased with the progress we made as this should make future meetings of the membership much easier to conduct. Now the Governance WG will set its sights on the (quickly) approaching new member nominations and HOT election cycle.

As a side note, I also had to address an issue with several members regarding how we speak to and respect each other and hope I brought enough of a resolution that no further disciplinary action is required. Also throughout the year I continued to support our OSM community in Mongolia, see for the backstory and spoke at the University of Colorado on the subject in February.


Russell Deffner

Chairperson for the Voting Members

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

HOT Junior Coordinator - Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Posted by russdeffner on 5 October 2013 in English (English)

Just a quick note while changing planes in Seattle...

I'm so honored and excited to have been selected to join Severin Menard in Mongolia. Severin has been in UlaanBaatar setting things up and Monday we'll begin teaching and coordinating OSM mapping in UB. Stay tuned to the HOT network for more...

Happy Mapping, =Russ

Homage to My Alma Matter

Posted by russdeffner on 15 July 2013 in English (English)

I hadn’t been planning a complete armchair-micro-mapping-makeover of Colorado State University, but it was one of those things, it began by surfing the map/data in Colorado ‘hunting’ newbies (just to say hello and invite them to OSM-Colorado - and found myself admiring the good work done by our rival Buffaloes (CU) on mapping the Boulder campus(es); well I decided I’m gonna do you one better…

So, with love (it’s a friendly rivalry – I have Buff family), I think I’ve now put CSU on the map (better). Of course you’re free to have your own opinions, but could this be the ‘best’ mapped campus in the US? You’re also free to leave me comments, I’d gladly view other well mapped campuses; here is the general location of CSU on OSM

Some details in case folks are interested in some of the ‘stranger’ things in my micro-mapping style.

  • First, I try to use the entire gambit of transportation tags to best show what mode(s) of transportation should be using that ‘trail’; this is a campus with a strict ticketing policy for biking, etc. where you aren’t allowed. Therefor you’ll see I used highway=pedestrian, area=yes to represent the large ‘plaza-like’ (including The Plaza) areas that are generally ‘dismount zones’, then as a good micro-mapper should I broke the cycleways off the streets (i.e. removed cycleway=lane) and created new ways for them, so you’ll see along some streets ‘parallel’ cycleways and footways (the sidewalks) with a cycleway the sidewalks should be pretty much walking only, hence highway=footway tag, except where bikes need/often use the same ‘trail’ then I used highway=path (i.e. cycleway=bikes only, footway=walking only, path=combo)
  • After getting into mapping, I realized it is my 10 year graduation anniversary, and a lot has changed around campus (and my memory is fading – I rarely make it up that way anymore, and it’s probably going on 3 years since my last visit to FC, probably 6-7 to campus); so a lot I had to pretty much ‘armchair’ map, and some things like the areas of the ‘plaza’ under the Clark building (and especially the Natural Sciences building) I had to guesstimate/try my best to remember how it looks under there, so those will probably need fixed up by survey or someone with better memory/more recent visit.
  • Lastly, as it’s been so long, etc. points of interest such as eateries, facilities, etc. will need added; maybe I’ll make a special visit someday, but it is a rather large campus and it might take an army (hmm… yes, Rams, where the heck are the Spatial Information students… I’ll have to reach out to some of my old profs, I have talked to one of them in the last few years…)

That being said, CSU is where my love for mapping began, so in turn, I spent somewhere around 30-40 hours (who’s counting) editing the Main Campus (and Hughes Stadium) of Colorado State University; I’m proud to be a CSU Ram Alumni!


Location: West Drive, Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, 80521, United States of America

1000 Edits (changesets), Monsoons, and more

Posted by russdeffner on 1 July 2013 in English (English)

It's been a fairly good weekend; my side of the divide has received some actual soaking rains (of course scattered/typical CO afternoon 'monsoons' also with hail and lightning) for several days now. Although it’s not quite the same story on the western slope and the call for mapping continues; see

I also hit 1000 edits today, or what I think should more accurately be called/is changesets; I think a better milestone is having edited 500K nodes (which I’m around 350). Anyway, I digress…

Just wanted to chart a few things:

  • I still have on the agenda, a quick recap of SOTM-US (and the follow-up in Denver); maybe just another diary entry.

  • Now that I’ve pretty much done all I can to help HOT create the Guide and Code, I starting helping the Activation working group, first by attending the meeting the other day; and of course I volunteered to help do something; so I’ll be working with Andrew Buck on humanitarian mapping project (HMP) ‘templates’ (as HMP’s basically have to come first), hopefully we’ll have something in a few weeks; ready to deploy by basically anyone (more to come).

  • And because I finally think I can relax a bit on the CO fire mapping situation, I can start working on documenting it. I’m not quite sure what medium I want to use, but expect it to be pretty directly pro OSM/HOT; but professional (maybe a bit salesman-ish) and most importantly, hopefully it will help gain interest in OSM for emergency use (obv. with a wildfire lean).

Location: Weminuche Wilderness Area, Hinsdale County, Colorado, United States of America

Bluebell Fire - Brook Forest, CO

Posted by russdeffner on 4 June 2013 in English (English)

Got the immediate area around the Bluebell Fire burning near Brook Forest (Evergreen), Colorado pretty well mapped. Also sounds like firefighters have a good feeling they'll get this one contained quickly.

Location: Bobcat Trail, Brook Forest, Jefferson, Colorado, 80439, United States of America

OpenStreetMap Colorado

Posted by russdeffner on 22 May 2013 in English (English)

For those of you in Colorado, or passing through, or just interested; our local community is fantastic! No doubt there was a bit of momentum loss when the Coast's moved to the PNW, and I was totally swamped last summer with our terrible fire season; but we managed to keep rumbling along. JimmyRocks moving here gave a nice boost and we had a great group show up for the Spring Editathon, quite a few new faces have begun to appear including folks from the NPS - can't wait to hear Mamata's talk at SOTM-US - I hope they're contemplating our idea of mapping parties at national parks - let us in free and we'll map ;) - and all the sudden it seems we've got all these great ideas for meetups beyond the norm; we're going to have a SOTM-Denver (basically a recap for those who can't make it to San Fran) and what I'm really excited about, a Map/Camp-ing party later in the summer/fall. Oh, and it was a small but awesome meetup last weekend; the first event with the Coast's back in town, welcome home Hurricane!

We'd love to see more faces, so don't hesitate to join or even if you just want to see what we're up to, visit:

Cheers - hope to see/meet you at SOTM-US or a Colorado mapping event, =Russ

P.S. Any Utah folks want to help plan a (probably very future) Moab Map/Camp-ing party? I love that place and it's been too long since I visited.

Location: Snyder Creek Court, Jefferson, Park County, Colorado, 80456, United States of America

False Move

Posted by russdeffner on 1 March 2013 in English (English)

Hey all, I'm still in Bailey but 'moved' (at least my user profile) towards the middle of Park County. Starting getting in the thick of the TIGER mess toward the southern edge of the county and wanted to see if any folks are located down that way. Even referencing the TIGER 2012 data, there is no way to be 100% sure on street names, etc. without local knowledge.

Location: Stagestop Road, Bordenville, Park County, Colorado, 80456, United States of America

Burland, CO

Posted by russdeffner on 5 September 2012 in English (English)

So, after messing around mapping Uganda I was inspired to try and make the area around home as close to 100% mapped as possible. Not necessarily addresses, etc. but 100% land-cover (not zoning/administrative) but looking at imagery and creating a 'raw' "this is what is on the ground" map. I started with simple/small polygons for 'heavily' forested areas basically coming off the administrative boundary for Pike National Forest, but that didn't really work the way I imagined and also would have been extremely tedious, so I started over with a larger polygon delineated by 285, 126 and the South Platte River - made this landuse=forest and then used relations to 'insert' meadows, rocks, etc. I tried doing a complex relationship where the aforementioned forest was the outer polygon with residential as an inner polygon hoping to make forest/meadow/etc. inside the residential areas part of the outer polygon - didn't work, not sure why; seemed a multi-multi-polygon relationship isn't behaving intuitively. Anyway, just finished up Burland, so please feel free to check it out and give me feedback.

Location: County Road 72, Insmont, Park County, Colorado, 80421, United States of America

Red Cross and H.O.T.

Posted by russdeffner on 17 August 2012 in English (English)

So as an American Red Cross Volunteer, I got word of the collaborative project between H.O.T., ARC, and Uganda Red Cross. I've known about H.O.T. for sometime and figured it was a sign that I should pitch in. This project is another amazing example of their work and I'm glad to see the Red Cross helping out. I also learned to be very appreciative of the imagery in the U.S.

Great work H.O.T. I signed up for the mailing list and will try to pitch in more often.

Location: Adoko Road, Lira, Lango, Northern Region, Uganda

Park and Jefferson County Friends

Posted by russdeffner on 22 July 2012 in English (English)

I hope those of you I just friended on OSM find this entry. User XenonofArcticus and I are working on getting a Jefferson and Park County (and surrounded area) group together. I noticed a lot of users in the area (I friended everyone within 20KM or so) have not yet made any edits or have not in a long time. We are hoping to do a basic OSM overview and editing class in the near future. Please follow this discussion on for details:

Few updates

Posted by russdeffner on 22 July 2012 in English (English)
  1. Have about 1/2 of Park County TIGER edits complete.
  2. Have been using OSM for situational maps for a high profile Non-profit organization involved in disaster response; in conjunction I (and other volunteers) have been actively engaging in editing areas in and surrounding the 2012 wildfires in Colorado.
  3. Contacted by XenonofArcticus via OSM and started working on building a Park/Jeffco area OSM group using

Copper Mountain Ski Resort

Posted by russdeffner on 2 December 2010 in English (English)

I like the piste map concept and since I missed the Winter Park meet-up/mapping party I thought I'd contribute some knowledge from my years working at Copper Mountain. Enjoy

Location: B Road, Copper Mountain, Summit, Colorado, United States of America

Harris Park and areas along the way

Posted by russdeffner on 23 November 2010 in English (English)

I was hoping to do nearly all TIGER road corrections 'armchair' style around Bailey Colorado, since I know the area very well; followed up by ground truth-ing some street names and eventually gathering address data. However, the TIGER data for Harris Park and the areas along the way have some major anomalies. It’s going to take a lot more verification than I was hoping for to get the roads fixed. Possibly going to take some four wheeling; plus there are a ton of hiking trails, etc up that way so don’t expect that area to be complete for quite some time.

Location: Highland Park, Lakewood, Park, Colorado, 80421, United States of America

Completion of Burland

Posted by russdeffner on 21 November 2010 in English (English)

Just an update; that last night I finished editing the TIGER data for Burland, a sub-division of Bailey Colorado.

Location: Burland, Bailey, Park County, Colorado, 80421, United States of America

Begin Park County edits

Posted by russdeffner on 20 November 2010 in English (English)

Today I have begun editing Park County Colorado. This entry is more of a time stamp for when the work began.

Location: Burland, Bailey, Park County, Colorado, 80421, United States of America

OSM and Depiction Webinar

Posted by russdeffner on 20 November 2010 in English (English)

Wednesday, the 17th; which happened to be GIS Day! Hurricane and I had our OpenStreetMap and Depiction Webinar.

Almost 80 people attended and most said it was a great presentation. Hopefully at least a couple dozen will become OSM contributors.

Idaho Springs Mapping

Posted by russdeffner on 20 November 2010 in English (English)

A while back found the group OSM-Colorado.
A few weeks before that I had learned that pretty much all of Park County Colorado was way messed up on OSM. I decided to join the group.

We met up in Idaho Springs Colorado and about a dozen of us split into teams of one or two people and mapped the entire town in just about 2 hours.

The next week we met at MapQuest HQ in Denver and started putting our edits into OSM.

This is how I met Hurricane and Steve... Great people!

Location: Miner Street, Idaho Springs, Clear Creek County, Colorado, 80452, United States of America
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