Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

GSoC Diary: Backend and the Live Preview

Posted by n42k on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

With the front end design of the repository complete, I’ve been working on the backend. So far, most of the pages have been implemented, namely the homepage and the model information and search results pages.

Screenshot of the search results page The search page. Note that there's a single result per page, for testing.

The user page has also begun to be implemented.

Screenshot of the user page The current state of the user page. Notice the presence of my avatar.

It was decided to use the PostgreSQL database, and the Django framework for quickly implementing all these pages. The database schema has also been agreed upon since the last diary entry.

A diagram of the conceptual model for the database The conceptual model that was decided on.

In terms of implementation of this schema into Django models, it was almost a direct conversion, except the tags: we used a HStore field for them, as suggested by pnorman on IRC. The banned_by and banned_date fields were also removed from the user, and a Ban Table was made instead.

Furthermore, since no major issues have come up, I’ve managed to add a commenting feature, so that users can comment on models, and model revisions, to serve as a beginning for editing models. Hopefully this feature will be present at the end of GSoC. I’ve also implemented the live preview, one of the most interesting parts of the project, using THREE.js so that users can see a preview of the model right in the repository, in their browsers, without explicitely downloading a file and opening it themselves. Starting off, it will just support the Wavefront OBJ format.

Screenshot of the model information page The current state of the model information page, showcasing the commenting feature and a model of the Eiffel Tower being displayed in the live preview.

The REST API is also progressing fairly well, most of the endpoints have been implemented, namely the info get and model get endpoints, search by latitude and longitude and the author, category and tag lookups. In the next couple weeks, I will be working on the upload model page, and the administration of the repository.

Copyright note: the Eiffel Tower model was taken from, in OpenCOLLADA format, then converted with Blender to Wavefront OBJ.

Mapper of the Month: Jamie Nadeau (Canada)

Posted by escada on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

Who are you ?

I'm Jamie Nadeau. In OSM some people might know me more as LogicalViolinist and on the wiki as james2432. I grew up a bit here and there as we moved a lot when I was younger, some notable places being Kingston, North Bay, Ottawa and Gatineau. My back ground is computer science and am currently working in my field in the Ottawa Valley. I love exploring the world and taking on new challenges. James has been my nickname since primary school. I came up with LogicalViolinist by combining Logic(programming) and Violinist(I enjoy playing the violin)

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I first started seeking a better alternative to Google Maps as back then "off grid" locations were impossible to route to due to either no map data or the requirement for mobile data to navigate it(mobile data in Canada probably costs more than gold and is mostly covered near the US border, where most of the population is anyways). I came across OSMAnd and really enjoyed that you could load maps offline. My first edit was a correction to highway 417 (not exactly sure what I modified) and from that I was wondering what else could possibly be mapped and I went down the rabbit hole.

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

Initially I would map error on the map, missing roads. Then I moved on to buildings(manually via imagery), then addresses. Now I map anything and everything. I've done CANVEC imports, address and building imports, mapping indigenous villages in northern Canada and city admin limits. I'm not restricted to only Canada.


How do you map ? Do you make surveys ? Are you an armchair mapper ?

Both. When I scouted indoor mapping for malls, I would go in pen and paper and start taking notes. I drive a lot for OpenStreetCam and also upload to Mapillary. I've done a few HOT tasks as a local mapping party, but some parts in Canada are actually worse than some 3rd world countries. Northern Canada is not really surveyable, unless you plan on going by Canoe with camping gear and couple months supply of food. Myself and Rps333 have a friendly rivalery on who can cover more in OSC/Mapillary, it's benificial as we've done most of Ottawa by ourselves. Surveys are usually done with my phone or pen and paper. My favorite apps to do surveys in are OSMAnd(custom tag control), for POI) and keypad mapper 3(quick address collection)

Mall Mapping

How do you conduct your surveys ? (in case you do them of course)

If it's by pen and paper, I usually have printed off what I'm surveying and take notes/draw on it. If it's via the my phone I'm usually recording a GPX track and logging data in. I also collect data passively via imagery (OSC/Mapillary)

Where do you map ? Locally, HOT ?

Everywhere and anywhere. Mostly in Canada right now. It doesn't stop me from collecting data on my phone when I take a trip out of the country, something that my wife has grown accustomed to.


What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

Finally getting the buildings and addresses into OSM for the Ottawa/Gatineau region and cleaning up the data. As well as mapping Fort McMurray during the forest fire.


Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

Not relying on Google for geo-data as well as not having an empty map.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

I might not be popular for saying this but: dealing with the community. Sometimes it can be hard to get your point across when dealing internationally/other cultures via email/text instead of face to face. Sometimes people can come off a little harsh, especially to new commers.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Fully qualify buildings in Ottawa/Gatineau (residential/detached/commercial, etc) and finish mapping all Native villages in Canada.


Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Yes multiple in Ottawa, we meet every month or so to discuss future mapping projects(I think this month is bike lanes/paths in the Capital region)

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

Mostly for navigation via OSMAnd.

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

I've been collection a lot of OSC/Mapillary imagery so others can contribute. I've also created a GUI uploader for OSC: to make it easier than uploading via scripts.

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

OSM is an awesome project! Especially in times of crisis ( Fort McMurray, Napal, Haiti, etc). The community is very powerful and willing to contribute so much time to this project. Sadly we only get what we put into it, so we need to keep motivated to make the map even better, which may inspire new mappers to join an already booming project.

Testing edit...

Posted by AsgerFrank on 18 July 2017 in English (English)

Just testing edit. Posts here can be edited - but not deleted. Confirmed via

Iraq village cleanup

Posted by Øukasz on 17 July 2017 in English (English)

Many cities, towns and villages across Iraq have been placed on the map not by people who know them, but by an automatic import from older data sources. Because of that, they are often wrong, misplaced, misspelt, out of date, or otherwise of bad quality. All the names should be verified by people with local knowledge of the villages.

CATEGORY Cities are large settlements, with no or little agriculture. Towns are smaller, with some agriculture. Villages are primarilly agricultural. There are many abandoned or old villages across the country. These should be tagged as abandoned:place=village.

NAMES Currently used name should be placed in the name= tag, in original Arabic spelling. Old names (for example used before renaming in 2003) can be placed in old_name= tag in order to allow cross reference with historical docuemnts. Places that do not have specific English names, but can have their Arabic names transcribed into Latin alphabet should use name:en-Latn= tag. English and other (French, German, Spanish...) translations may be placed in name:en=, name:fr= and so on tags.

ROADS All villages should be connected with minor roads to the main network - usually highway=tertiary or highway=unknown tags are adequate.

Location: Saladin, Iraq

OSM: Why can't contributors check/correct their own work!

Posted by Little Brother on 17 July 2017 in English (English)

Just take a look at this:,self_intersection_points

and ask yourself: Do I check my own work?

OSMI is just one of the many very good tools available: Why don't more contributors use these tools?

Here is another view:,duplicate_node_in_way

and this one shows unconnected ways which lead to routing errors:

and there are plenty more views. Have a look and do some cleaning, please!

Old quarry-mapping in the summer rain

Posted by ChristianA on 16 July 2017 in English (English)

So, it's vacation time. Lots of time to do some mapping. Well, not really when one has a house that needs attention, and 4 kids that can't be left alone for too long.

Today I had some time, but it was raining. But the two oldest kids wanted to come along for some evening mapping of old quarries. The areas surrounding our village has plenty of old quarries. Some are marble, while the older ones are most often iron or copper. Over the years it has sort of became a separate hobby to find and map them all.

I had seen the quarries on an old orienteering map, so I knew were to go. Lots of fallen trees over the quarry

The second hole was a little scary since it was quite far to the bottom in one end. Deeper hole

The last three holes were quite small and also quite shallow Kids in a quarry

Afterwards, we went to a nearby location to look for two more small quarries. All in all, 7 quarries in about an hour. Still there are probably at least 20 more quarries left to find. I need a long vacation...

Location: Gamla Holmtorp, Gruvstugan, Norrköping, Landskapet Östergötland, Östergötlands län, Götaland, Sweden

Pokemon GO cleanup continues.

Posted by Yoshinion on 16 July 2017 in English (English)

Pokemon GO cheating, caught red handed. Just removed earlier today.

And it is still around in places. Removed this earlier today.

Enhance A Village

Posted by c tito young on 15 July 2017 in English (English)

We are a 501-3c Non-profit on a mission to end poverty. We started with a small village in the Philippines, and then I had learned that while this village is literally on the cusp of extinction it wasn't even listed on a map. So I've made the consorted effort in trying to lay out its existence using digital maps. I've never been there. Anyways.. anyone not having problems hanging out with mosquitos the size of tennis balls, crocodiles and spitting cobras, please check it out. Extra kudos for anyone near enough to explore it.

more info..

Location: Maharlika Highway, Calauag, Quezon, Calabarzon, 4318, Philippines

Progress on Gazha redevelopment

Posted by apm-wa on 15 July 2017 in English (English)

The streets of the redeveloped Gazha neighborhood of Ashgabat are paved and have started to open. I drove around the periphery of the development today on one of the main roads, and had to dodge a lot of construction equipment. In a few weeks when the last of heavy construction is done, perhaps I'll be able to cover all streets in the new neighborhood and upload accurate GPS traces of all streets to tweak the preliminary mapping already in place. At the moment the images have not yet appeared on the Mapillary map but when processing of them is complete, they should appear here:

Location: Vosmushka, Berzengi, Ashgabat, 744012, Turkmenistan

Day trip to Dashoguz

Posted by apm-wa on 14 July 2017 in English (English)

Flew up to Dashoguz on the 6:30 a.m. flight, spent most of the day on official business, and at the end of the day, took a half hour to collect street names in an unfamiliar section of town. Used Pocket Earth as it is the easiest smartphone tool for rapid collection of house numbers, street names, and POIs. Just finished uploading the fresh data and am ready to end a long day.


Posted by Nayte Weitzenkorn on 14 July 2017 in English (English)

This town sucks

Location: Queen Street, Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 19464, United States of America

Introducing #CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ // #COASTMAP-URABÁ (Eastern Coast) (Turbo Municipality, Colombia)

Posted by MangleBlanco on 13 July 2017 in English (English)

Hello OSM mappers,

It is a pleasure to announce the first mapping task of project #3302 - CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ (Turbo, Colombia) East coast.

It is funded by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) #Microgrant Program.

This Project will enable mapping of coastal wetlands in the Urabá Gulf to help planners and the local fishing community to respond to flooding hazards in the area.

This area is located in Turbo Municipality (Antioquia State, Colombia, Southern Caribbean).

The project will map over 190 km of coastline, including 2-3 km width inland.

Training Mapathons will be held on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July at Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

Remote OSM mappers are welcome to join.

Stay tuned for further mapathons and news.

Check out our blog:

Balkan matters

Posted by michalfabik on 13 July 2017 in English (English)

Stuff like this is what I really hate about mapping in the Balkans. The memorial nearby is supposed to represent a mass grave and the tourist information name tag says "Mass grave of Bosniaks killed by the members of the HILLBILLYSTAN army!", where "Hillbillystan" is a Bosnian mocking nickname of the so-called Serb Republic, the Serb-controlled territory within Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now I can either delete it and draw flak from Bosnian users, some of whom will certainly perceive it as an insult to their nation, or I can leave it alone and live with the fact that the map contains such utterly unprofessional childish garbage. (I actually contacted the author in a somewhat-related matter a while ago but got no answer.) And I'm certainly not helping matters by running into this just a couple of days after the Srebrenica massacre anniversary. Oh well.

EDIT: missed a word

Location: Lukači, Antonići, Novi Grad municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mapping Grenfell Tower

Posted by Harry Wood on 12 July 2017 in English (English)

A month ago the Grenfell Tower fire happened, killing >80 people. Back in 2009 we did an OpenStreetMap mapping party near Latimer Road, and I remember mapping the area around Grenfell Tower.

wikimediaGrenfell Tower as it was in 2009 - cc by-sa, R Sones

We were quite adventurous with our mapping parties back then, often travelling to corners of zone 2/3, meaning somewhat outside of central London, where the landscape is various flavours of urban, not quite suburban. This particular area always stuck in my memory as one of the most starkly mixed wealthy and deprived, or as I put it at the time "concrete estates and super-posh georgian terraced houses strangely existing side-by-side".

Well ok so if you read exactly what I wrote at the time, I may have described them as a "horrible bunch of dodgy concrete jungle housing estates", which seems harsh and insensitive in retrospect, but I did form an impression of the area which included some sort of admiration/pride, thinking it's cool that we live in a city where rich and poor communities live side-by-side.

It was strange and tragic then to recognise the area on the evening news, and to see reporters remarking on what a mixed area it is. The fire was a huge screw up from several more pragmatic angles, but thinking philosophically, it feels like a failure of London to bridge the wealth divide.

But never mind wider society, what about OpenStreetMap?! I think it's great that my OpenStreetMap adventures have lead me to explore this kind of neighbourhood, although in truth I don't think I actually surveyed Grenfell Tower up close. I think I remember deciding to stick to the more pleasant mews to the south and didn't venture round the back to the base of Grenfell Tower. While I appear to have notched up the first version of the building in the editing history, I think it was just pre-sketching from Yahoo imagery, and viewing it from a distance.

As has long been pointed out by Muki Haklay in his academic research (e.g.), OpenStreetMap doesn't always succeed in "democratising" to the extent we'd like. After all we'd really like the people living in these estates to map them for themselves. Even so, an OpenStreetMap mapping party got me out exploring these areas of London I wouldn't otherwise have visited and wouldn't otherwise have paid any attention to.

Location: Lancaster West Estate, North Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, Greater London, England, W10, United Kingdom

Computational Science

Posted by Mesfin Diro on 12 July 2017 in English (English)

Computational Science Program

College of Natural & Computational science

Graduate building, 7th floor

Addis Ababa University

Location: Kebena, Arat Kilo, Addis Ababa, 7821, Ethiopia

Start of #SweetsyDoha

Posted by Sweetsy on 11 July 2017 in English (English)

I started a hashtag of all the buildings I am outlining. I am getting the images from the DigitalGlobe Premium Imagery 'background'. I will add further information, where relevant, when I am on location.

I have noticed that currently Google Maps has a more up-to-date satellite of the area.

A not so bad method for interacting with the mailing lists on an as needed basis

Posted by maxerickson on 9 July 2017 in English (English)

Pretty easy, the mailto: links in the archives at, used with a reasonable client, maintain threading.

I'm using the support for Gmail that is built into Firefox. A couple clicks to set it up, find mailto on the about:preferences#applications page and select 'Use Gmail' from the dropdown list.

Statistics Canada and OSM building pilot project in Ottawa background.

Posted by Johnwhelan on 8 July 2017 in English (English)

The story actually goes back more than five years when it was realised that some Open Data was more Open than others because of licensing issues. The City of Ottawa gave its bus stops and some other information to Google in GTFS format. Because of the need to announce bus stops for improved accessibility all the bus stops were very accurately re-calibrated. This made the bus stops a very attractive high quality import but since the City of Ottawa’s Open Data license did not align with OSM it couldn’t be done but it provided the motivation to get the licenses sorted out.

The Canadian Treasury Board is responsible for standards and open data within federal government in Canada and they set about consulting with many would be users to come up with the 2.0 license. They have been working with a number of African governments on Open Data licensing by the way.

Once this license was in place Ottawa city council acted to ensure that all users had equal access to their data, ie bus stops, by releasing the data under a similar license and even that took a year or two to do.

Statistics Canada has a very different corporate culture than OSM and very early in the project a meeting / conference call was held with various players including Blake Girardot from HOT, Mojgan Jadidi, who had imported some Stats Canada data into OSM under the new 2.0 license and compared both carefully, and Tracey Lauriault, an Open Data specialist from Carlton University, who identified a building data set that the City of Ottawa owned completely. Other data sets were partially owned by various agencies such as MPAC who normally sold the data. That meeting changed the direction of the Stats Canada project, now it was to be an Open Data import with extra tagging by the public and that meant the local mappers had to both approve the import and be involved. In Ottawa local group of mappers meet up every few weeks, they were very supportive and held a number of meetings to discuss how they could help. In the end it was they who ran the import and handled much of the OSM discussion.

The City of Ottawa new Open Data license wasn’t formally approved for some time into the project. There was lengthy discussion in the Canadian community and with the import mailing list about the import, and eventually the questions about the license were referred to the legal working group who formally approved both the Federal Government 2.0 Open Data license and the City of Ottawa one. Mapbox were very supportive of the project providing a customised version of the iD editor.

It should be noted that normally handling both French and English or bilingualism can be a major problem for Canadian Federal Government departments. In this case OSM handles multiple languages very well both on the input side and on the display side, locally in Ottawa street names can be displayed in English or French and bilingualism was not a problem. Also the range of tools for entering data such as iD, JOSM, etc. meant the project was not committed to using one method of data entry.

One very significant part of the project was the use of R (, an Open Data statistical program, to analyse the data and this should provide a low cost tool for other parts of the world although as always training has its own costs.

Tagging bridge heights from open imagery

Posted by Richard on 7 July 2017 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap is navigable for bikes, on foot, and increasingly so for cars. But one thing we're not yet great at is truck routing.

HGVs, lorries, trucks, whatever you call them, need to get from A to B without breaking either the road or themselves. Which means the map needs to know about height and width restrictions. is a good example of what happens when truck drivers don't have this information (and also can't read):

OSM coverage is good in parts but patchy. Fortunately, the existence of open street-level imagery means it's really easy to map this sort of thing from the comfort of your own armchair. Here's a brief how-to.

Step 1: Identify low bridges

The majority of important restrictions are height restrictions, and the great majority of height restrictions are railway bridges. (There are a few canal aqueducts too, though canal-related restrictions are generally weight restrictions on overbridges.)

So one way to find potential low bridges is to follow a railway on the map, looking for instances where the railway crosses the road on a bridge, rather than the other way round (or a level crossing). Doing this systematically is pretty easy.

Or you can automate it with this clever maxheight map, which looks for exactly this scenario, and highlights the map accordingly. (Github code here.)

Step 2: Find height from imagery

You can use Mapillary or OpenStreetCam as open(-ish) equivalents of Google Street View. Here, for example, is a railway bridge captured on OpenStreetCam.

Personally I like to use Geograph, the long-running UK georeferenced photography project. You can go straight to Geograph itself, but I actually use my own bike route-planner,, which has Geograph photos integrated into it. First you plan a route under the bridge:

plan route

then you click the road, and 'View photos':

see photos

and hey presto, you can see there's a pic showing the height limit signage. Click that to see the full-resolution picture on Geograph.

There's even an (undocumented?) option to show Mapillary views directly in the OSM Maxheight Map:

Step 3: Map it!

Just split the road to create a short way underneath the bridge, and add a maxheight= tag. You can use imperial units without a space (maxheight=12'9") or metric with a space (maxheight=4.5 m).

The results

It's a really simple, straightforward process that makes the map instantly usable for truck routing. I fixed the bridges on the Cotswold Line railway (from Oxford to Worcester) in half an hour, from Geograph and personal knowledge. Greatly improving maxheight coverage in the UK should be doable in weeks rather than years. And, of course, it's a good excuse to get out and survey those places where the height isn't visible from imagery.

Once you've reviewed a whole railway, consider noting your work somewhere so that others can focus on other railways. I've started a wiki page for the UK at .

Declaration of professional relationships and potential conflicts of interest

Posted by Milli1201 on 6 July 2017 in English (English)

Dear HOT and OSM community,

I joined the HOT Board of Directors a couple of weeks ago and am now holding the position of the Board Secretary. As I am now also representing HOT and the HOT community, I put together this diary entry to explain my further professional relations and responsibilities.

Disaster Mapping and Management Department @ HeiGIT (GIScience Research Group Heidelberg University)

I am a Master student at the Geographical Institute of Heidelberg University and research assistant at the Disaster Mapping and Management department of the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology. The objective of our department is to support humanitarian and disaster management organizations and volunteer communities through current technology, innovative methodologies and research, as well as through awareness building in our international research community. Therefore, the formal collaboration of the GIScience Research Group and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team includes collaborative work on tools and services, workflows, research, in teaching, and proposals, to support the objectives of the international Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team community.

I am hereby not involved in any financial matters, my role is to rather build a bridge between the OSM/ HOT community, our department, and the GIScience research community in general. Apart from my work in the department, I also supported the NSF Eager Project on Crowdsourced Damage Assessment that was launched by HOT, Stanford Urban Resilience Initiative, GFDRR, and University of Boulder which I joined in a consultancy position for GIScience (Heidelberg University).

Missing Maps partnership with disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group

Apart from being a student and research assistant at the GIScience Research Group, I am one of the founding members of the disastermappers heidelberg initiative. disastermappers as well as the GIScience Research Group have been supporting Missing Maps since the launch in 2014 and also became a formal partner of the project.
disastermappers/GIScience Research Group involvement in the project includes research, the development of applications and workflows as well as related teaching, the organization of mapathons and workshops, and joint proposals. I am hereby again not involved in any financial matters and abstain related discussions involving HOT and the GIScience Research Group, thereby following the conflict of interest guidelines of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and our department.

Older Entries | Newer Entries