Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

OpenStreetMap HackWeekend: Hacking and more!

Posted by poornibadrinath on 19 July 2016 in English (English)

It was two fantastic days of hacking, discovering, sharing and generally having fun. OSM HackWeekend opened a lot of doors in the process of learning new things, sharing new ideas, building new tools, hacking on amazing stuff. It was the first time Mapbox BLR played host to two days of hacking, working on tools that build and escalate OpenStreetMap and the results were anything but ordinary.


Hack weekend (2 & 3 of July) served as a platform for meeting a lot of new and interesting people and the turn out we had for the event was equally diverse and intriguing. We had twenty one people attend the event from different places across India and it was fascinating to hear what their interests are and why they thought OpenStreetMap HackWeekend would broaden their perspective and give a new edge to their work profiles.

Day 1:
  • Day one of Hackweekend started with Arun (PlaneMad) taking the participants to the world of opensource mapping with a session on OpenStreetMap. Many participants were new to mapping on OpenStreetMap and this introductory session was the icebreaker and a conversation starter. With people slowly getting the idea of open-source mapping and how it came into being with OpenStreetMap beginning its reign, the focus slowly turned to the tools that maintain and perfect OpenStreetMap. Kushan took charge of explaining the goals of the HackWeekend and what we planned on accomplishing over the weekend and thus, the hacking ---------------- began!

osm hackday

Day 2:
  • Day two, even though it had lesser turnout than day 1, was no less fruitful. Everyone continued to work on the projects they started the previous day and by the end of the day we had a solid progress on the tasks initialized. Here's the hackpad of the ideas that everyone worked on, and to summarise what everyone worked on:
    • Manoj, Maning, Jinal and I worked on localising iD editor by translating instructions to Malayalam, Tagalog, Gujarati and Kannada respectively.
    • OpenStreetMap main website has had some translation to Malayalam by Manoj and also, he worked on visualising 3D buildings.
    • Ram Gopal (VoidSpace) worked on Open GTFS: a way to generate GTFS feeds for anywhere in the world.
    • Prashant and team worked on using GL JS to visualise population and literacy rate in India.
    • Asif and team worked on creating an app using android SDK that tracked the location of a transport and estimate the amount of time it would take to reach the next stop or station.
    • Ravigopal did a Jekyll and css re-organisation of the OSM India website.

starred photos

Amidst all the hacks and so much information to process, we didn't realise it was time to conclude the event. With a brief session of discussing what everyone worked on and what were their learnings from two days of hacking, we wrapped up the OpenStreetMap HackWeekend. Eagerly looking forward to more hacking and more fun!

dscn1694-001 Cheers!

"History of Cartography" in PDF format

Posted by ImreSamu on 18 July 2016 in English (English)

"On this site the University of Chicago Press is pleased to present the first three volumes of the History of Cartography in PDF format. Navigate to the PDFs from the left column. Each chapter of each book is a single PDF. The search box on the left allows searching across the content of all the PDFs that make up the first six books."

( via Hacker News: )

 The History of Cartography, Volume 1

Simple Reflections

Posted by Zabot on 18 July 2016 in English (English)

Another quick update, this is the first step on the road to reflections. Mirror Lake This looks pretty good, but we can immediately see a few issues. The trees on the left are not visible in the reflection, and we had to use a prebaked skybox instead of the procedural sky. The surface of the lake is also incredibly still and perfectly reflective, which looks great for a small lake or pond, but would be off-putting if seen on a large river or the ocean.

Stay tuned for more as I make the water a bit less perfect.

Mapping my hometown Visakhapatnam

Posted by upendrakarukonda on 18 July 2016 in English (English)

Visakhapatnam is my hometown, it is the largest city (in area) in Andhra Pradesh. It is called the City of Destiny.

View of the sunrise in the beach makes my city pretty special from many other cities. One must experience the panoramic sea view from Kailasagiri Hills ropeway. It's really awesome and will be your most memorable moment. This city always stands among top in natural scenery. Recently, India signed agreements for developing smart cities and I'm glad that my hometown was one among them.

sunrise_over_bay_of_bengal_at_rk_beach_011 Sunrise over Bay of Bengal at Ramakrishna beach in Visakhapatnam. Photo by Srichakra Pranav.

dc-cover-uv41mprfd12q674cf2hiekn9j4-20160318072218 medi 1 People enjoy a cable car ride at Kailasagiri Rope Way in Visakhapatnam. Photo from Deccan Chronicle.

When I came to know about OpenStreetMap and it's crowdsourcing, I feel that I should contribute being a citizen of this city. An updated map will help anybody who want to know more about my city and I am happy that I am part of it. I mapped the region around the Ramnagar. Though it was well mapped, I concentrated on adding point of interests (POIs), missing buildings, streets. I also spotted some errors which I fixed. This made my hometown in OpenStreetMap better.

Before mapping:

screen shot 2016-07-13 at 10 43 15 am

By following mapping guides using JOSM the mapping journey was effortless and thrilling.

These are what I added: - missing POIs, - buildings and streets, - amenities.

After mapping:

screen shot 2016-07-16 at 12 46 24 pm

During the mapping I learned the following:

  • Ensure that the correct tag was used. There are lot of tags in OpenStreetMap and we should always verify if we used the correct.

  • Maintain consistency of coverage. As much as possible, we should trace each and every building in a particular area (if visible in imagery). This ensures that the data doesn't have gaps.

  • Maintain quality of tracing. In the case of buildings, we should make sure that the outline location is at the base of the building according to the guidelines in the wiki.

Being a gourmand I always search for tasty and delicious food. Definitely that experience helped me to mark more restaurants, where they were not mapped before. I also mapped few amenities and shops which helps to explore more about my city.

screen shot 2016-07-18 at 4 35 35 pm

It was fun and exciting to map my hometown. Apart of that, I also feel responsible to make sure the map is accurate and free of errors. I will continue mapping my hometown by adding more valuable data.

Location: Lalitha Nagar, MVP Colony, Visakhapatnam, Vishakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, 530001, India

comparing openstreemap-carto to other map styles

Posted by Mateusz Konieczny on 18 July 2016 in English (English)

This is the first part of comparing openstreetmap-carto and other map styles. Note that comparison is focused on finding things that may be improved in openstreetmap-carto.

Relief data

All maps in my basic sample turned out to show relief data. It ranges from subtle, almost unnoticeable to extremely heavy and dominating over all other features. Is is open question whatever adding rendering of elevation data to openstreetmap-carto would be desirable. But it is clear that rendering elevation data is common, and in some cases effect is great.


But even assuming that it would improve map there are some complications:

  • more non OSM data - what would run contrary to attempts reducing usage of external sources. It may be even considered as misleading given that OSM has no terrain data.
  • Default map already renders many things. Adding something completely new to render would need really good justification and would be very complicated to do well
  • To render elevation data source of worldwide elevation data on suitable license is necessary. Some data is available but either it requires major work to fix voids/peaks/pits (see for some examples of complication). There are some sources with this problems partially fixed - and seem to be the most popular, but both have a problematic copyright status. First has "Users are prohibited from any commercial, non-free resale, or redistribution without explicit written permission from CIAT", second claims that "Elevations and contour lines are facts that should be ineligible for copyright". While I agree that this should be ineligible for copyright I am not sure whatever these data is eligible for copyright (or fall under equivalent laws). AFAIK it is likely to be covered under database rights (collection of data may be protected even if individual entries are not copyrighted and there is no creative work involved).

See comparison of maps in a basic sample.


The previous comparison is revealing also another weakness in openstreetmap-carto - it is not capable of diplaying landmarks earlier. Google maps is fairly good at this - though with results badly affected by fact that "business paid for advertising" is one of criteria for landmark. Sputnik is trying, sometimes with fairly good results, sometimes with rather poor. But this problem is mostly affecting higher zoom levels.

On lower zoom levels mostly two types of landmarks are visible - "the highest mountain in region" visible above gives quite good results.


Sputnik seems to be also quite good at deciding which airports should be rendered. There are some mistakes, but overall their algorithm works fine. See Atlanta or Bogota with cluster of airpots to the west and cluster of airports in the eastern direction.

It is interesting whatever solely OSM data is used here.

See "Too many tiny private airports on the map at small scales".

Old Satellite Imagery of the Philippines

Posted by compumatrix on 18 July 2016 in English (English)

The Satellite image on these maps in the Northern Part of the Philippines is around 20 years old.

MapQuest Stops Serving Tiles

Posted by ryebread on 17 July 2016 in English (English)

So, I've decided to look at GNOME Maps yesterday and found that this happened: GNOME Maps shows the following message:

Beginning July 2016, this version of MapQuest, along with, will no longer be available. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you're using a map generated from this site on your website, please visit our Developer blog for information on how to transition your map to our updated tiles.

So now all the tiles displayed by MapQuest are hosted on MapBox servers, and every request requires a key to be provided.

actually we don't do the maps anymore, we use Mapbox. MapQuest is focusing on some mobile and IoT applications, routing and direction engines rather than maps


Problem with minor railways pretending to be major

Posted by Mateusz Konieczny on 17 July 2016 in English (English)

There is one common tagging problem - missing service tags on minor railways. It leads to a poor rendering on lower zoom levels, as renderers are rendering minor service tracks like important railways.

It is quite easy to spot places that require fixing by browsing map on lower zoom levels - see for example

This place at times of writing has noticeable bundle of rails near McAlester, indicating place where somebody mapped minor railway tracks without marking them as minor (note for this case is at


See for documentation how service tags should be used for railways. Note that remote mapping generally is not feasible as result of subtle differences between yard and siding.


Image by Basil D Soufi, CC-BY-SA license.

Nottinghamshire Civil Parishes - names for unnamed areas

Posted by alexkemp on 16 July 2016 in English (English)

I'm surveying my way currently through Carlton NG4, which is the suburb next-door to Nottingham NG3. In all the days & weeks that I've been covering this area I've puzzled over why Carlton does not have a designated area in OSM + where to find it. I believe that I may have discovered the answer for both questions.

csmale has put in place GPX file downloads for Counties, Districts, Boroughs, Unitary Authorities and Civil Parishes/Communities in the UK (sourced from Ordnance Survey shape-files + converted into gpx files for easy import) — how fantastic is that! Nottinghamshire is available as a county and Nottingham + other Boroughs/Districts are available as a Unitary Authority. The next level down from Unitary_Authority/Borough/District is Civil Parish, and they are all available as well. Hooray!

There is a worm in every apple it seems, and one problem with the Notts CPs is that, whilst most have a name, eight do not. So, to try & help, and after ludicrous amounts of research, here are the best answers that I can find:


See Also:

Nottinghamshire Civil Parishes
(note that a Civil Parish (CP) has zero connection with an Ecumenical Parish)

Admin Tags for Nottinghamshire:

boundary=administrative: (on way and/or on relation grouping those ways)

admin_level=1: n/a
admin_level=2: (Border, external (with Irish Republic))
admin_level=3: n/a
admin_level=4: (Border, internal (with Wales/Scotland))
admin_level=5: Region is “East Midlands”
admin_level=6: County is “Nottinghamshire”
admin_level=7: n/a
admin_level=8: Unitary_Authority/Borough/District (eg Nottingham, Rushcliffe District)
admin_level=9: n/a
admin_level=10: Parish (eg Alverton CP)



Extra Tags:

is_in:region=East Midlands
is_in:district=Rushcliffe District
name:old=Hucknall Torkard CP
old_name=Hucknall Torkard CP

Unnamed Shapes Named:

Q: When is a Civil Parish not a Parish?
A1: When it is an unparished Parish
A2: When it is a Municipal Borough or an Urban District

In short, there are 9 areas in Nottinghamshire that, if it were drawn as a map of CPs, would have 9 holes within it, each of which is given the generic classification of being “unparished”. Whatever that means.

  1. Unnamed_shape_5619
    This is part of the former “Worksop Municipal Borough”. Currently, Worksop is a node. Worksop is unparished & is within the Bassetlaw district.
  2. Unnamed_shape_5620
    This is the former “East Retford Municipal Borough”. Currently, Retford is a node. East Retford is unparished & is within the Bassetlaw district.
  3. Unnamed_shape_5632
    This is the former “West Bridgford Urban District”. West Bridgford is unparished and is within Rushcliffe district. The current West Bridgford residential relation contains a note, saying: “naive, includes Edwalton”. The OS includes both West Bridgford & Edwalton within shape_5732.
  4. Unnamed_shape_5749
    This is a union of part of the former “Arnold Urban District” and “Carlton Urban District”, each of which is within Gedling district. Both Arnold & Carlton are unparished. The current Arnold CP relation is mostly the correct shape, but with errors (wrong name, little attribution, no 'outer' type, etc.).
    16 July: boundary updated from shape_5749 + relation, etc. fixed
    17 July: name fixed; entry s/b complete
  5. Unnamed_shape_5761
    This is a union of the former “Kirkby in Ashfield Urban District” and “Sutton in Ashfield Urban District”, each of which is within Ashfield district. Both Kirkby & Sutton are unparished.
  6. Unnamed_shape_5762
    This is the former “Hucknall Urban District”. Hucknall is unparished and is within Ashfield district. A Hucknall (unparished) admin boundary relation (name:old=Hucknall Torkard CP) already exists, although the Relation is broken due to various missing features.
    18 July: boundary updated from shape_5762 + relation, etc. fixed; s/b complete
  7. Unnamed_shape_5851
    This is part of the former “Beeston and Stapleford Urban District”. Beeston is unparished and is within Broxtowe district.
  8. Unnamed_shape_5861
    This is a concatenation of the former “Mansfield Municipal Borough” & “Mansfield Woodhouse Urban District”. Both Mansfield + Mansfield Woodhouse are unparished, and each is within Mansfield district.
  9. Nottingham
    The hole at the centre of Nottinghamshire is unparished and was formerly known as “Nottingham County Borough”.

Add/Edit a Parish Boundary HowTo:

I did this for the 1st time with 4. Unnamed_shape_5749 to edit the Arnold CP boundary to become (in the end) the Arnold and Carlton (unparished) boundary. My 2nd edit will use 6. Unnamed_shape_5762 to edit the Hucknall (unparished) boundary. I'll edit this blog live to make sure that the instructions are as accurate as possible. It will assume that you have already installed & use JOSM on a desktop computer, that it is connected to the Internet, and that everything is up-to-date.

  1. You will need the fastest computer possible with as much memory as possible
      My JOSM offline save-file is 437MB. JOSM seems to load all of that into memory at once.
  2. Start with a fresh load of JOSM; wait until the very first screen comes up; do nothing else!
  3. Use the File menu and, if you have the option to Download OSM Data Continuously, switch it OFF.
  4. Outside of JOSM, copy the GPX url-link for the file that you are going to use
  5. In JOSM, use Open Location... (Ctrl-L), paste the URL + press OK (you should now be looking at a black screen with a magenta/purple outline)
  6. Use the “+” key and the “Ctrl+arrow” keys to view a part of the outline at high magnification
    (it was 6 “+”'s for me initially) (once working, a length of “3.00 m” at top-left on the screen is typical for me, going to 1m or less if more detailed work is required.
  7. Switch Download OSM Data Continuously back ON
  8. (this was probably a mistake): I loaded my save-file, obtained previously by Save As.... It took forever to load. It would in hind-sight have been better to have let the machine auto-download from OSM. At high mag that is very quick.
  9. You now need the GPX trace + any prior boundary lines easily viewable in the window. It is almost certain that the magnification will need to be very high to be able to operate comfortably. Do NOT switch any imagery on unless you need to check the boundary against rivers, roads, etc..
  10. Unless the territory in front of you is perfectly virgin it is likely that, once highlighted, any existing boundary lines will contain more than one Relation. That means that you need to careful if editing any boundary, as it will affect all other relations.
    In my case, viewing the Parish boundary just below Linby, there are four: “Linby CP” (admin_level=10), “Gedling” district (admin_level=8) & “Ashfield” district (admin_level=8). The fourth is “Hucknall (unparished)”, but it has neither admin_level nor roles for any members. In addition, the last member does not connect back to the first (unlike all of the other 3), which suggest some kind of breaks in the chain.
  11. The first thing to do is to add roles for each member (it can only be “outer”, since there will be no holes within this boundary) + admin_level=10 so that it can look “Linby CP” in the eye.
  12. Next is to trace round the boundary circle, looking to try to find any errors in the chain. Here is my first example of the kind of mind-numbingly stupid 'errors' that you may find:
    The boundary is following a footpath heading north-west through a wood and joins another couple of Parish Boundaries coming up from the left (south) on the edge of that wood. One of those boundaries (“Nuthall”) follows back down the track I've been chasing, whilst the other (“Greasley”) joins with the track I'm on, heading north. So far, so normal. These are the 3 values for “source” in those 3 tracks meeting at a point:
    source=OS OpenData BoundaryLine (the track I've followed to this point)
    source=OS_OpenData_Boundary_Line (the track joining from below)
    source=OS_OpenData_Boundary_Line (the track continuing above)
    Because the Relation indicated that the ways were disjointed I attempted to merge them, but those different source values stopped it. Sometimes I want to spit. All 3 were changed to source=OS_OpenData_BoundaryLine, and all thoughts of merging the ways were abandoned.
    One more feature was that originally the footpath & the boundary nodes were joined - a foolish idea if you want easy maintenance. Up to the 3 ways joining, the boundary track had been astonishingly accurate to the gpx track (much better than how I left Arnold CP). However, at the 3 way join it all went to pot, and I had to split them all to be able to conduct repairs. By going to the highest-mag the nodes could be placed side-by-side without needing to merge them.
    03:25am: phew! painstaking small trims to the line of the Parish boundary to keep it true to the gpx track & after meeting up with yet another set of boundary line + relations (Broxtowe, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire) I finally am able to get all ways into line & it merges into a circle! Wow! dunnit. Here's the overview of that specific procedure:
    Lines of nodes are joined together into a ‘way’. Click on a line between 2 nodes in JOSM & all connected lines in the way will be selected. That way is given a number, and the Relation window shows all ways in order. So, the currently selected way that I've just been working on is 61594085. The next one will be 61594091. It is also currently the next one in the window below 61594085, but when I reached the junction of the two ways it was NOT the next one. I clicked on the “Move the currently selected member up” icon within the Members section of the Relation window, as I had for the previous out-of-order sections and lo! It was the final one to slot into position.
    I have absolutely no idea what difference that will make, but it does mean that I should have finished my work on this Parish Boundary and, after saving & uplifting everything, I should be able to finally get to bed. Hooray.
Location: Lace Market, St Ann's, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Carlton Khazis

Posted by alexkemp on 16 July 2016 in English (English)

As I've gotten further into the Carlton heartland (earliest houses in the suburbs: late 1800s / early 1900s, with a large number of 1920/1930s semi-detached) I was surprised to see a number of khazis. A few had been kept for their original purpose (very useful if you get caught short whilst gardening), but most had been converted into tool-sheds. I'm surveying now close to the heart of Carlton and came across a row of Worth Street khazis which could conveniently be photographed from Cavendish Road. This is the khazis close up (the pussycat is a bonus item):—

row of khazis + cat

...whilst these two photos are the same buildings from a distance (in both cases the khazis are on the left, covered with greenery to hide their blushes):—

distance shot #1 distance shot #2

I knew that Victorian houses commonly came with outdoor khazis 'cos my father was born & raised in such a house, but I was surprised to find that 1920s/30s houses could be built in the same way. One of the utter delights for my parents was in 1954 to be able to move from sharing his mother's house into their own prefab (“pre-fabricated house”), complete with indoor toilet & bathroom plus constant hot water. All 3 of those were unknown items for many families in Britain & that remained common until the 1960s/70s.

My own house in Thorneywood has a start_date of 1883 & is similar to that Worth Street terrace. There is zero drainage at the front (the street is on a hill and both needs & has full drainage, but all the house gutters empty on to the pavement). All house sewers & drainage are at the rear, and the sewer is common to the entire terrace & empties into the side-street sewer.

Thus, it seems likely that my & my neighbour's houses were also built with outside khazis; however, there was zero sign of any of them when I moved in in the 1980s.

My sense is that the Victorians (and later) were repelled by the idea of bringing toilet functions inside the home, and actively wanted them placed at the bottom of the garden (as far away from the house as possible). It was not a great many years previously that “bad odours” (miasma) were directly connected by their medical professionals with disease. In addition, very few people owned their own homes. Even the middle-class rented their homes, paying yearly on 100 year leases. In that situation the beneficial owner would have very little incentive to build up to a standard; anything that reduced the build cost would be embraced.


16 July: a note on prefabs: my birth town was Hull and my parents moved from Mayfield Street to Grange Road. Mayfield was close to the town centre, a nearby railway line & the West Docks, all of which were prime targets for the WWII bombing that laid much of Hull flat. Their prefab was a 2-bedroom bungalow with pre-cast concrete frame & asbestos roof; it had a design-life of 10 years & lasted 50. The bungalows that I surveyed yesterday on Foxhill Road Central & Rushcliffe Avenue are an identical design from the outside—if using different materials internally—to those prefabs.

Location: Arnold CP, Gedling, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Finished the tutorial

Posted by Brooke97 on 15 July 2016 in English (English)

Just finished the tutorials on how to start mapping on Missing Maps. As practice for mapping areas/buildings I added a pub restaurant and some apartments, in an area that I'm familiar with. I tried to include as much information as possible, such as a street number and postcode which I found from the restaurant's website. Next I'll be learning to map roads.

Mapper in the Spotlight: Jinal Foflia (India)

Posted by escada on 15 July 2016 in English (English)

Who are you ?

I'm Jinal Foflia from Bengaluru, India. In my free time you'll see me playing with words which turn into poetries, an amature baker and always trying to make something creative out from the waste. I'm an engineer and currently work at Mapbox as a Data Analyst.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I heard about OpenSteetMap from a friend, there was a discussion about how precise can a map be and that's when my friend pointed out to OpenStreetMap and stated that 'you can make this map as precise as you want it to be'. I was curious about it and tried to research about it. Coincidently, after a while I joined Mapbox where I was given a broader perspective about OpenStreetMap and also got a chance to meet some very interesting folks who have immense passion towards OpenStreetMap and have been contributing for years. With all the guidance I started my mapping journey.

What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

I begun by adding points of interests in Bengaluru, then eventually jumped into tracing roads and understanding their hierarchy and classifications. It was very interesting to know that what we see in reality is no different from what we map. This gave me a lot of understanding about how cities are planned and how different each city is from the other in terms of planning and road networks. Currently I have started mapping turn restrictions and turn lanes. With my experience in OSM, I must say that relationships are complicated here too ;-)

How do you map ?

I'm lucky that my profession allows me to map, other than the mapping that I do with the team, I go for field mapping using field papers in and around my neighbourhood, trying to collect ground data and add that to the map. We also started our first mapping party on the world environment day (5th June), currently there are just two members, but we are hoping for more people to get involved and be a part of it.

Mapping trees in Basaveshwaranagara

Mapping trees in Basaveshwaranagara

Which tools do you use (GPS, Apps, Editors, QA-websites) ?

I have used OSM tracker for adding traces to the map. Also I make sure to use Mapillary app to capture images where ever I travel. Also MAPS.ME has been a handy application for adding some common POIs and addresses. I use JOSM editor for major part of mapping in OpenStreetMap.

Where do you map ?

I map locally and quite often for HOT. It feels great that the data that is added to the map, pre or post disaster can be of such great use. Nothing can be better than contributing for saving lives.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

It has just been a year since I started mapping, I feel that I don't have anything in particular that could be mentioned but looking forward in making the best out of it.

What motivates you ?

OSM has become an integral part of my life. The whole idea of a map being open source was the thing that attracted me towards it. I was reluctant at first to add anything to the map as I realised that all these edits would go live in sometime, but this is what makes OSM a special map! This gives me an opportunity to understand different people and the cities they live in. It's astonishing to see how each city is different from the other but yet the same. Also working with people who have some great experience with OSM makes my learning experience even better.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

Mapping involves a lot of intricate work, like understanding the right combination of tags, as each city/country has it's conventional way of tagging a particular entity. I often get confused with the current tag that is being used and the deprecated ones. Although each of them will have a good number of instances but choosing either of them is difficult. One fact that keeps me motivated is the OSM community, it's amazing to see the passion and the enthusiasm that everyone shares to make this map, what it is.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Right now i'm very keen in mapping my neighbourhood - Basaveshwaranagara. Adding various POIs, trees, gardens, buildings and turn restrictions in this area.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

The OSM community is huge, it's astonishing to see how everyone is connected to each other through OSM. I have had interactions with a lot of mappers since I started mapping. Notes in OSM are a great medium to ask for help or seek attention of a fellow mapper to an issue. OSM diaries is an amazing platform to communicate with everyone on what are we working on or seeking help for. I'll be attending the SotM Brussels this year, this will be a great opportunity for me to meet and interact with the folks with whom I have interacted virtually. Looking forward to be a part of this.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

I use OSM for a lot of things like for my daily travel, to find places and to share locations. This is done using various applications like and OsmAnd.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

The OSM community in India is growing. Through Mapbox and individually, we are making efforts to make this community stronger. We do this by conducting OpenStreetMap related workshops for small groups, colleges and universities across India. This is to introduce them to OSM and help them get comfortable with mapping.

Taking a session on OSM for the university studentsTaking a session on OSM for the university students

I'm also a part of the English editorial team for the WeeklyOSM, a blog which gives a summary of all things happening in the OpenStreetMap world. There is great team behind this and it has been a very delightful learning experience in being part of this team.

I have started working in localising iD editor, that is translating various intructions of iD into my mother tongue, Gujarati using transifex. I plan to complete the core translations very soon.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

I'm glad that i'm a part of such an amazing community which is always ready to help and support. It makes me feel proud to be doing my bit in contributing to the making of the best map in the world! There is one thing that I would consciously do is to encourage women to participate and start contributing to OpenStreetMap. It would be great to see a diverse OSM community :)

Thank you for reading it :)

Thanks a lot for the interview, Jinal.

Weekly roundup - common errors and unexplained edits observed

Posted by nammala on 15 July 2016 in English (English)

Understanding common mapping issues is helpful to know difficulties faced by new mappers and can give insight into improving the editors for a better mapping experience. Here are some of the issues observed between 4 July - 15 July on the map:

  • building=house tags added to the nodes of the buildings: 1, 2. These were reverted.
  • Roads without any tags: 1. Asked for clarification.
  • Deletion of highway=track ways without explanation or source: 1 . Asked for clarification.
  • Roads were deleted as they are 'not public': 1, 2. Community responded asking for clarification.
  • Duplicate buildings & incorrect tags: 1, 2, 3. Community responded with a comment.
  • Deleted roads: 1, 2. Commnunity responded with a comment.
  • Deleted landuse=residential tags: 1, 2. Asked for clarification.
  • Deleted highway=primary roads: 1. Asked for clarification.
  • Overlapping buildings: 1. Community responded with a comment.
  • Added duplicates of few buildings: 1. Was fixed by the community.

It is always good to let the user know of the mistake to encourage active, qualitative contributions to OpenStreetMap.

Look forward to another roundup next week.

Mapping Kindergartens While Doing My Fieldwork Using

Posted by asdofindia on 14 July 2016 in English (English)

The last couple of weeks, I've been posted to Hosakote Rural Health Training Center as a part of my community medicine internship. My job here is to visit the 28 Anganawadis in this sub-center and do health checkup on the kids (and pregnant women, if any).

When I first visited Hosakote, even the Rural Health Training Center was not on the map. (On the other hand, Google Maps did not even show where Hosakote was). Ever since on my iPhone got the update to add places, I've been hungry to find new places. And I started by mapping the RHTC hospital.

There is one nurse at the hospital who is (or was till this week) the go-to source for geographic information about the Anganawadis. We found out the rough location of the 28 Anganawadis from her. She gave us village names and the number of Anganawadis at each place, along with possible itineraries we can take. I could already spot most of the villages on OSM but that was it.

So, the four of us went around, asking people for directions (every few feet, at times) exploring the villages, and finding Anganawadis. We were on two-wheelers one day, on car another day, and so on.

One nice thing about these villages is that they have straight roads in between beautiful farmlands. Also, there's always a road parallel to the Kabini canal. And these are all interconnected.

My modus operandi here was to find out the Anganawadi by asking locals, and immediately add it to the map, tagged kindergarten, using once I reach there. And then smile at the staring kids. Once I have scared them enough, checking each kid's oral hygiene, lungs, heart, growth, etc., I would ask the Anganawadi worker directions to the next Anganawadi. doesn't yet include any way to edit roads. Although it does have an option to "record GPS traces" I haven't explored this yet and do not know what it does. I think this feature can be used to trace roads.

But, I came back to my place and these roads were easily visible from the satellite editor on OSM. So, I just added the roads myself using the OSM web editor.

I added some villages and also fixed the wrong location of a village which was put at the place of a completely different village. Another feature missing for now in is the ability to add new villages.

Tomorrow is my last day at this place. I've only covered Anganawadis and there is a lot left to map (schools, water tanks, temples, ...). But I think I've already built an incredibly valuable resource, at least to my successors who will be posted to this place because now they don't have to ask anyone for directions.

OSM, for the win! Kudos to too!

Location: SH84A, Hosakote Mole, Nanjanagudu taluk, Mysuru district, Karnataka, India

Field mapping is so much fun!

Posted by Maanya on 14 July 2016 in English (English)

Although mapping technologies have revolutionized the way we create spatial data, field mapping still lies at the heart of every geography fanatic. Not only is field mapping a great way to verify what we see from space, it also helps in capturing details unique to a locality and is so much fun!

A few weeks ago, some of us at Mapbox went out for a field mapping quest to map POIs, trees, house numbers and levels for the buildings around our neighborhood (Indiranagar, Bangalore). Manohar, Ajith and I teamed up with Nikhil, Abhishek and Jothi respectively, to add as much data as possible.

ezgif com-gif-maker

There's always something to map for everyone!

Along with the fieldpapers, we also used and Mapillary to supplement the paper based approach. Ajith added POIs, while me and Manohar added house numbers, building levels and trees.

Following are some take aways on using

  • has a nice interface for adding points onto the maps. But, the predefined list of features lacks some common labels such as shop.
  • groups all changes to a single changeset and uploads it when you are connected online. Once you login with OSM, the syncing is handled seamlessly.
  • This app supports adding notes. This is useful in cases where a shop shifts to a different location or when a user cannot find the right tag.

With such an app in place, fieldpapers maybe unnecessary. Having said that, the field mapping exercise carried out by me and Jothi entirely relied on them. Thanks to the terrible battery life of my phone 📴 😄 . So, my friends field papers are never going to go obsolete!


Some concerns while using fieldpapers:

  • If we set out to map on a rainy day or in case of a coffee spill, we all know what is going to happen to our sketches.
  • It gets cluttered if we add too much notes.
  • You have to manually enter the edits into OSM.

scan 1

The fieldpaper with our edits

In about two hours of time we were able to add 22 POIs, ~120 house addresses and 40 trees. We also got a chance to capture some amazing street view images using Mapillary. Information such as these could have extended applications in planning our neighbourhood better.

final 10th Main Road

On the whole, our field mapping experience was really good. It gave us an opportunity to explore our neighborhood and helped us understand the pros and cons of using fieldpapers and mobile mapping apps.

A look into a sample of edits from MAPS.ME contributors

Posted by manoharuss on 14 July 2016 in English (English)

TLDR: Most contributions from MAPS.ME editor are constructive and has significantly increased new contributors to the map. With any new tool, there are common mistakes that is made, many of which could be easily prevented by simple improvements to the editor and awareness for the users.

MAPS.ME is quickly becoming a popular way to contribute to OpenStreetMap, with over 250,000 changes within 3 months of launching the map editing feature.

Following recent reports of bad edits, we decided to review a random sample of changesets in detail last week to understand the quality of contributions from this new editor.


  • Changesets reviewed: 215
  • Problematic changesets: 8
  • Minor issues: 19 (Raw notes)
  • No obvious issues: 188

Problematic changesets

Looking at these changesets in detail can give some insights on what improvements could be made to help new mappers contribute constructively to the map:

  1. User added a castle that do not exist which was later deleted by another user.
  2. User added a lot "artworks". A community member commented on the changeset but the user did not reply yet.
  3. User added 211 hardware shops. I have commented on the changeset but did not get a reply.
  4. User added a duplicate POI. A community member commented but did not get a reply.
  5. User added 29 tourism=viewpoint tags to all kinds of things. I commented on the changeset.
  6. Department stores everywhere looked like this. I commented on this changeset. screenshot 2016-07-08 11 50 19

  7. User added tourism=viewpoint tags to 23 nodes in one area. I commented on this.

  8. User added 40 tourism=caravan_site tags to nodes along the roads. So when I opened it, it looked like this. screenshot 2016-07-08 21 04 54 This was captured in this Russian forum and was later cleaned-up.


For monitoring and reverting changes from MAPS.ME contributors, Ilya Zverev has made a convenient web tool , and a reverting tool to track and fix edits by country. In the monitoring tool, one can see the latest edits and tags edited, and also mass revert multiple changesets. The revert tool allows easy revertion of a list of changeset ids.

What are your thoughts on the editor?

From: Chetan, Krishna & Manohar

Petition in Faroe Islands: they Want Google Street View. Someone should propose OSM!

Posted by FraMauro on 13 July 2016 in English (English)

In the website sheepview360 they propose a petition to have Google Street View covering the Faroe Islands.

Is there anybody willing to propose OSM and the related services? I am just "a bit" far away, I do not think to be the best proposer!

Take into account that news about the petition reached Italian press: having them switch to OSM could be good PR material...

Location: Faroe Islands

OpenStreetMap Carto release v2.41.0

Posted by pnorman on 13 July 2016 in English (English)

Today, v2.41.0 of the openstreetmap-carto stylesheet (the default stylesheet on has been released.

Changes include

  • More consistent fonts for POI labels
  • Less saturated stadiums
  • Rendering obelisks and dog parks
  • An updated list of font packages
  • Cleaning up the font list
  • Rewriting the road colours script for easier changes
  • Various bug fixes

Thanks to all the contributors, including jdhoek, a new contributor.

For a full list of commits, see

As always, we welcome any bug reports at

Experimental publishing of Sentinel 2 satellite data

Posted by BushmanK on 13 July 2016 in English (English)

Recently, I've published several tiles of fresh Sentinel 2 satellite imagery using free spatial data hosting service. All tiles are available here. Two tiles were published by request, others are covering two major populated territories in Russia - Moscow region and Saint Petersburg region, one tile was randomly picked, it covers western part of Republic Mordovia, famous for endless forests (and one of my goals was to test it as a source of information about logging) and high concentration of prisons, located there. For some tiles, both visible wavelength and visible+NIR composites were made. Workflow of making those composites was quite simple:

  1. Make a dump of georeferencing data from any 10m/pix resolution channel image
  2. Use convert -combine from ImageMagick to merge single channels into 16-bit per channel RGB image.
  3. Use convert -contrast-stretch to manipulate image histogram
  4. Put georeferencing information back, save resulting file as 8-bit per channel RGB image, compress it with Deflate or LZW
  5. Upload it to, set up web map and WMS service.

(Steps 1 and 4 were made using GlobalMapper, but could be done using GDAL and Python script.)

I asked people to give me some feedback, however, only one person (not counting those who asked me to make two of those tiles) informed me that he used this information to update forest boundaries, changed by logging and wildfires. I'm obviously doing it not for any kind of reward or acknowledgement, however, I really don't like to do anything nobody is going to use by whatever reason.

It also works as a kind of social experiment. Many times, when I mentioned Landsat 8 data in context of someone's complains regarding of outdated/missing Bing/MapBox imagery, people were saying something like: "Oh, I'm not a programmer, it's so hard to make those composites by myself and I don't know how to use it". To be precise, a couple of people managed to learn how to do that by their own. But now I gave everybody easily available data (with ready to use WMS definition strings for JOSM) and it doesn't seem like anybody wants to use it (or, by some crazy reason, they don't want to acknowledge, that they used it). So, lack of imagery or outdated imagery is just an excuse to do nothing. I'm not blaming anyone - OSM is a volunteer project, nobody has any obligations, everybody probably have own life and other things to do. But it would be nice if people just stop lying to themselves and to others that only obstacle for keeping something up to date is lack of fresh imagery.

Just in case if someone is interested, according to this, we can legally use Sentinel 2 data. Changeset or particular objects traced from it should have "Copernicus Sentinel data 2016" (or appropriate date) in source tag, as a requirement of informing data users about its source.

Mapping Wikipedia

Posted by SCSpaeth on 13 July 2016 in English (English)

Mapbox recently released changes to the iD map editor that connects features to Wikipedia entries: Mapbox programmers decided to focus on core strength and allow Wikipedia to keep the details up-to-date.

Since the Angle Tree Stone building is on the map and the Angle Tree Stone has a Wikipedia entry, I decided to test the new feature. It took some searching to find the control for adding a Wikipedia entry because it is in a long list that is partially hidden in the interface. Once I found the control, it was easy to add the required information.

When I inspected the additions, I did not find them at first because they are sensitive to the degree of zooming. When I found the Building, Path, and Access Road, they appeared as expected. But when I tried to connect to the Wikipedia entry about the monument, I could not connect. Does it take time to rebuild the databases for this kind of information?

Location: Angle Tree Stone Access, Plainville, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 02762, United States of America
Older Entries | Newer Entries