Recent diary entries
This is the first time using the openstreetmap system and I didn't know how useful and interesting it is at the same time. The fact is that our team used the openstreetmap facility and started the project 'GIS' or Geographical Information System as a part of NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME (NSS) and did its first mapping of our college 'Vidya Academy of Science and Technology, Thalakottukara'.
It is wonderful how technology can be used to in various ways to fulfill our needs. The task was thought to be difficult at first but, as we proceeded it wasn't difficult as predicted. With teamwork and hard work we developed our college map easily.
The team was divided into sub-groups and given different parts of the college. The collected data and information was edited on to the maps separately and the result, detailed map of college.
With this success we are hoping to map the adopted village of our NSS unit VELUR.
Grand central terminal
I have created 1 019 658 nodes. I love my nodes!
Here are some nice examples of art expressed in the houses themselves. Only one full example, but first let's start with a very beautiful front door in Hillview Road, Porchester, Nottingham NG4 (etched glass + stained glass leaded-lights):
Next is a modest little shield on the wall of a house in Ernest Road, NG4 (we English have been much influenced by the heraldry of the 14th Century):
The district around Ernest Road is full of 1920s & 1930s houses (a period renowned for the quality of it's housing in England as, following the slaughter of the Great War, the nation built “homes fit for heros”). Here is a good example of one of those:
The lead-lights provide internal light for the staircase. I also love the stone lions!
My final, quirky example of house-art comes from the first house built in 1929 on a former apple orchard in (what became) Highfield Drive, Carlton NG4. The date of the house was immortalised by the builders in the leading within the front-door, and the current owners allowed me to photograph it today:—
It is typical for maps covering large areas to display city labels. It is quite common to mark exact locations by displaying dots, circles or other symbols.
It also seems that labels for cities and towns may be displayed larger to improve the map.
I tested both ideas, without changing algorithm that selects cities and towns to be displayed. Example of before/after tested on UK are available below.
I ma not entirely sure about dots and I will certainly experiment with tweaking them, but I am happy with new sizes for city labels.
Additional before/after are available at https://github.com/matkoniecz/before_after_for_placenames
Can you introduce yourself ?
I have several occupations, and I appreciate that they are in very different domains, althought, it might be tiresome from time to time:
- I am a software developer at Champs-Libres, where a part of the activities is related to geography. We regularly use data from OpenStreetMap. We also install tile server, Nominatim, etc. Officially this is supposed to be a part-time job, but in reality, it takes much more time.
- I studied journalism, but after my studies I've always been a community worker. I also work part-time as coach for unemployed women at a feminist association.
- I have been (and sometime I am still) active in several different associations and movements such as GRACQ, which defends the rights of cyclist, de scouts, some unions, ...
Last, but not least I am a father and I love spending a good part of my life on that !
How and when did you discover OpenStreetMap ?
Purely by accident, in an article of the magazine of GRACQ. It got me inspired to continue. Back then, I started contributing with the things that interested me the most at that time: cycle routes and infrastructure for cyclists.
Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?
I need it almost every 2 weeks to localize the office of a customer, or to find my way around a different neighborhood. I am using my smartphone with OsmAnd more and more for this purpose.
I also use the data in my profession: both for our TMS-servers and for our analyzes we copy parts of the database to our servers.
What kind of mapper are you ?
I have the impression that little by little I became a mapper of the second plan. Right now, I do more evangelization around OpenStreetMap than actual mapping. I have organized conferences, met ministers, talked to the administration, etc. This requires some availability and patience. When you do it once, it often occurs that you are asked again. But I would be very happy if others will join me and start bringing the "message" themselves.
The consequence is that I have less time to add new objects to the database and spend more time talking about it. And, I confess, I have the impression that I start losing touch with the basis.
At this moment I am interested in the "social" mapping. I have been a community worker for 10 years and I think that OpenStreetMap is a great tool for this profession: e.g. for the creation of a central database of contacts, and to create maps for the most needy in our community (e.g. homeless people).
There was already a mapping party for the homeless in April, and I think it is a very sympathetic initiative.
What do you map ?
Mmm, I just answered that.. :-)
What is your largest accomplishment ?
I am proud of some of the presenations I gave, especially when some people from the audience came to me with additional questions, and later on became interested in OpenStreetMap or started using it in for their work.
Maybe not an accomplishment per sé, but I met a reasonable number of sympathetic people from the administration in Brussels and Wallonia. They are sincerely enthusiastic about OpenStreetMap, but every administration is like a juggernaut, they have a hard time to change course.
Why do you map ?
To maintain a "common good". I am very motivated by the idea to make and maintain a database with collective knowledge, available to everyone. This gives me the idea that I'm contributing to something that is much larger than myself.
Because our economic system is pushing us in the direction of individualism and glorifies property, I am happy, very happy to see different initiatives (such as OpenStreetMap, Wikipedia, open source, but also the movement of cooperatives and common kitchen gardens) form a counter movement.
I am convinced that on short or mid-long term our current dominant economical system will implode and a mixed system will emerge with a better balance between individual freedom and participation in the community.
Do you do other stuff besides mapping ?
As I already said, I present more than I map, although, occasionally, I find the time to map for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) projects.
I am also looking forward to moving to a new home, so I have a new neighborhood to start mapping.
Do you have some ideas to grow the OpenStreetMap community ?
I really like the recent initiatives by the Belgian community to welcome new mappers.
The mapathon organised in collaboration with 7 Belgian universities in April of this year and the mapping party for the homeless also attracted new mappers. I am looking forward to similar initiatives.
What is the biggest strength of OpenStreetMap ?
Its community of mappers, its license, ... about everything :-)
I find that OpenStreetMap is always ahead of the large suppliers of databases: when there is a new trend (e.g. infrastructure for cyclists), mappers will immediately start adding those in the most visited areas. The suppliers of the classic databases come afterwards, maybe they are more complete or with more coherence, but they are late, sometimes too late. Sometimes they are never arrive, like in developing countries.
What is the largest challenge for OpenStreetMap ?
The continuous growth of regular contributors in order to keep the map up-to-date.
How do you keep informed about OpenStreetMap news ?
I follow the OpenStreetMap blogs via an RSS-feed. I am also member of the talk-be mailing list, although I do not participate very actively.
Do you have contact with other mappers ?
I see other mappers during mapping parties, but also in certain projects.
Anything else that you want to mention ?
I am very touched by the capability of the community to help and support. It makes me proud to be part of it.
I just started playing with MapContrib made by Guillaume AMAT from France. It's a great tool to create dedicated webpages (or apps if you want) for certain tags.
Here I made one for dog parks
You can also allow other people to edit the map data in the way you want. They can change existing data or add new, in this case dog parks
So all nodes that will be added already have have the tag leisure=dog_park.
Another map that I made is for artwork
You can define the content of the popup for each POI, as well as predefine some possible node types and their tags. Here I defined statues and sculptures:
and for statues I defined the 2 base tags tourism=artwork, artwork_type=statue and 2 additional tags that you can fill in to set the artist name and the year the artwork was created
The above 2 links to MapContrib can be used on a mobile device, so you can easily add new dog parks and artwork on the go.
People have already defined a number of POI-themes, but you can easily add your own with a simple Overpass Query. I would say, why don't you try it out yourself and get people mapping missing stuff in your town (or across the world)
You can find some additional information (in French) on the wiki
Yesterday evening there was a public OSMF board meeting. I was one of the few non-boardmembers attending so i thought i'd give a report of my impressions here.
This was not the first public board meeting, there was one previously last July but this was a singular occurence so it was possibly more of a mock up meeting demonstrating publicly how board meetings go. The one yesterday was held under the premise that this is how board meetings are going to be conducted in the forseeable future which is a very different sitation. A big thanks to the board for taking this step and i hope the OSMF members and the OSM community as a whole acknowledge this by coming to the meetings. With the short announcement and the Friday evening date in Europe the small participation this time was understandable though. This is really public by the way, everyone can listen in, you don't need to present your OSMF membership number or something like that before you are allowed to enter.
I was about ten minutes late so i did not get the start, i came in during some discussion on SotM regarding finances between the board and Rob Nickerson from the SotM working group as invited guest. There were very few non-board members present overall - i think apart from Rob and me there were two others overall.
A few general words on procedure: The meetings are conducted with Mumble which i was already familiar with from the German OSM podcast which was usually recorded with audience via Mumble. You connect your Mumble client to the HOT mumble server (talk.hotosm.org), move into the OSMF board meeting room and can immediately listen to the conversation. Since i was not present at the start i missed any initial statements on procedure. There were no constraints in place this time so i probably could have said something at any time but in general it is likely expected from guests to not speak up freely but only talk when being given the word by the board. You can also mute yourself (which i did) to indicate you are not actively participating.
In general Mumble is not quite like a face to face meeting, you have only acoustic and no visual communication and there is always a small but inevitable time lag in communication. It is more like radio communication. You usually configure your client to only transmit when you press a button to eliminate any background noise when you are not talking. There is also a text message/chat system connected to it which can be used for communication without interrrupting the audio conversation.
On the meeting itself - my general impression was that it was easy to follow, everyone was understandable and none of the current board members has a really problematic accent - Paul a bit of Canadian which you need to get used to, Peda quite strong German tone (which i of course have no problem with) and Ilya a bit of Russian tint (which i find enjoyable). There was occasionally somewhat strong background noise while people were speaking but not everyone can move to a tone studio for the meeting of course.
What happens during a board meeting is the members talk about various topics make decisions on some of them via vote and so on. My general feeling of the whole thing is - i hope this does not sound too harsh - that it is kind of unproductive. I am probably somewhat biased here, being self employed i am not really that used to regular organizational meetings any more - when i am at a meeting these days i tend to get paid by the hour which usually tends to expedite things. But i know from past experience that meetings are often fairly unproductive at least by outward appearence and this board meeting was not an extreme case in that regard at all.
This impression is probably partly because of the setup in Mumble - although you are talking to each other you are not really stitting together. Quite a lot of time is spent essentially on waiting if someone has something more to say on the matter because you cannot indicate this using body language. There is also the occasional conflict when two people try to speak up at the same time and then both back off to let the other have the word. Another factor probably was that because the meeting was public everyone was very guarded and careful with voicing a strong opinion. To get progress on a subject it tends to help if you try to work out topics of disagreement by expressing your standpoint in a very pointed way and possibly even insituating a disagreeing standpoint from someone else. This did not really happen. So this is probably something that will improve in the future when everyone gets more used to the public setting.
I will give two examples of subjects that were discussed:
One topic was the collective database guideline which was approved by the board during the meeting. Procedure for votes is apparenly very formal by the way, Kate (who was chairing the meeting) called every member individually to approve or disapprove. There was some discussion about the examples to be included with the guideline - i did not really understand that, maybe because it was about a third example which was not part of the guideline draft on the wiki. What astonished me about the procedure a bit is that although this was a decision with quite some impact - after all this is now an official statement on the interpretation of the license by the organization holding the rights on the OSM data - there was no recap of the process leading to the guideline, the reasoning behind making the guideline the way it is and how the board thinks this fits into the OSMF mission (which it probably does - but still). Also i would have expected a kind of outlook in lines of where to go from here in terms of developing additional community guidelines or modifying existing ones.
Part of this could have been due to the fact that no one from the license working group was present and the board probably considers the guidelines to be managed mostly independently by the LWG and their role being purely oversight in terms of preventing possible gross blunder in these.
Another topic which was still in a much earlier state of discussion was a possible donation drive for the OSMF to be conducted later this year. Here my understanding was somewhat hampered by the fact that apparently this idea has been already extensively discussed on the face-to-face meeting of which there is not yet a comprehensive record. The discussion was mainly about how to proceed about this regarding the purpose of the donations (what the money is needed for), possible legal implications (if the donations can only be used for the purpose they were announced to be needed for) and timing (what is the best moment to start such a drive). The impression i got from this is that the board considers a fairly general donation drive to support their efforts to put OSMF finances on a less volatile basis (meaning less from hand to mouth and more of a cushion to compensate fluctuation in either income or expenses). One topic touched in that regard was the matter of trust in the OSMF board (specifically by the operations working group which is considered instrumental for a donation drive but also in a broader sense). My own impression is that this in general are important matters and it is good to see these are discussed although i kind of see the risk of starting to build the house from the top. Trust in the board regarding finances is a prerequisite for a successful donation drive and having an overall concept and realistic plans for both income and expenses is necessary to build such trust. With plans for corporate membership and widening general OSMF membership still somewhat vague and little long term (i.e. beyond yearly budgets) plans and directives on expenses (what the money will be spent on and what it will not be spent on) there is little basis to form an informed opinion on an individual matter like a donation drive. I can see the possibility of all of this developing into a solid an trustworthy concept but there is still a lot of work to get it there.
Overall i see the concept of public board meetings on a good way. Mikel made an interesting suggestion to have alternating formal board meetings and more informal talks in between which could make the whole thing more participative and more interesting for the community (although care needs to be taken for this not to degrade into a general chat).
A final suggestion to the board: It would probably be good if in the future you were all easily identifiable on Mumble by your Mumble name for anyone entering at any point in the meeting. IIRC Mikel was kind of cryptic. Maybe just agree on a common form (first name, first + last or OSM username).
After about two months break, the OSM mappers got together for another Mapathon. The venue was the training room of BDRCS (Bangladesh Red Crescent Society). It was like a reunion with the old mappers with many of whom I have not met for quite a few months. I also met some new mappers, one of whom is from my own University.
We mapped the Sirajganj Sadar for a project of ADB (Asian Development Bank). We did the following tasks:
After the Mapathon, we had Iftari together. Overall it was a success.
Recent discussion with one of OSM contributors, who edited a forest path, located at narrow straight cutline, crossing pretty dense forest, made me thinking about some good example of how bad tracks can get under the foliage. Since that person used Strava's point cloud, I decided that it would be perfect example.
Let's take a look at this place. It's a clearing for high voltage power line, about 85 meters wide. There is a mixed use pedestrian/bicycle asphalt road (former service road), about 6 meters wide, it goes from south to north. There is another road of similar type and size, which goes to the east. Forest there is mixed (about 40% firs), old grown, about 19 meters tall.
- Point cloud is quite dense there, and highest density portion width stays about 5.5..6 meters regardless of foliage cover.
- Width of corridor, fully covered with points (at least one point each 0.5 m) is about 25 meters with clear sky view and about 33 meters under the foliage.
- Width of full spread corridor is about 45 meters with clear sky and about 85 meters under the foliage.
Spread width does not change immediately, when road goes under the foliage. It's caused by Kalman filter, used in every consumer GPS receiver to reduce random jumps to the sides from user's course line (which improves only appearance, but not quality of data, since it's based on assumption, that receiver moves more along more or less straight/smooth trajectory).
I don't know, how exactly Strava calculates the color of each pixel for their point cloud layer, but if it's just some simple additive method with clipping, highest density area will only grow in time. And it's only a coincidence, that currently its with equals to real width of these roads.
Since all tracks in point cloud are independent, it doesn't make any sense to say, that averaging improves precision (width of corridor). It actually even makes it worse, because more awful tracks piling up there in time. However, accuracy (distance between corridor median line and road median line) grows until certain "saturation point". At least, until full coverage (when each point of layer contains at least one point at highest resolution) within visible corridor will be reached.
What should we learn from it?
Random tracks, even several tens of them, can't be completely reliable under the foliage, especially since foliage density is different, and certain areas may affect GPS reception systematically (cause similar direction of jumps). Foliage potentially increases spread from about 10 meters to each side to 20 meters.
Is this value large? If you don't have any other data there - no, it's okay - there are roads in OSM, traced from Landsat imagery. If you're trying to improve accuracy of paths, traced by any sources, better than Landsat imagery - you probably shouldn't do that, GPS tracks are not enough accurate to give any improvement, even in case of accumulated sets of tracks.
I use Mapillary to upload photos to & to store in the OSM map (a JOSM plugin allows them to be uploaded + shown on the map) (that also allows them to be shown in these diary entries). Mapillary sends me weekly emails, telling me currently that I've uploaded a total of 724 photos & have a total of 741 views. Which is not a lot.
This was last week's most popular photo:—
I think that my photo viewers need to get out more.
I noticed buildings imports back in February 2016 which were having
building=yes tag for all building nodes. Have captured the details here.
OSM user: geopeppe imported all these buildings and after my message, he cleaned unnecessary tags on nodes but now only exists are:
- Group of buildings instead of individual buildings.
- Missing source of the data.
- The missing documentation of the import.
I'd like to inform the community of Italy about this import and take next actions towards clean up or right documentations.
Since I didn't find any references to AW3D30 digital surface model in OSM Wiki, I decided to create a new page for it.
Briefly speaking, since JAXA license requires attribution for derivative products, it doesn't seem like it's possible to use these data to update OSM database, but it's still possible to mix AW3D30 data with OSM data in third-party products.
You will need to be of a certain age & British before the words “Bill & Ben” or The Flowerpot Men mean anything to you (both of those caveats ring true for me). In this next bit of garden/street art, the home owner in Highfield Drive, Carlton has decided that they prefer Little Weed to Bill & Ben:—
The final example of house/street art is from Standhill Avenue, Carlton and, as a silver salamander, is very different to Bill & Ben:—
These were both shot whilst I was surveying Carlton, England in the same Wednesday 15 June afternoon. There was the kind of steady drizzle that is capable of soaking you to the skin in minutes. I gave up after an hour or two, partly because I became convinced that my mobile might short-circuit. Hopefully the pics above will cheer you up as much as they did me.
So I have been going on a mapping spree lately mapping the outer banks of North Carolina, but What I have begun to notice is the national park boundaries are covering up all the detail out there. Many parts of islands are simply specifically their coastlines, are covered with these giant green blobs called National Parks. Here is an example at Portsmouth Island
What is even more frustrating, is this rendering issue has already been solved, when looking at lakes around borders of national parks, we see the green get covered by the water, with only a green shaded line remaining above the water to represent the border of the national park. Here is an example at Fontana Lake. Is there anyway we can fix this, It seems like a simple fix, just get national parks over oceans to render the same way as national parks over lakes.
Is there any reason this cant be done?
I have thought of a couple work arounds, like making the border of the national parks the islands, or putting an area of water over the area affected by the green blob issue, so it would be rendered correctly, but I realized that this would be mapping for the render which is a no no.
So how do we get this fixed?
Edit: I think I found the problem, For some reason many of the national parks are labeled with the tag leisure=park. the wiki page clearly says this is not the appropriate way to tag National parks. The solution seems to be to go through and remove the tag leisue=park, which will fix the rendering issue, as well as follow best practices.
We've released a new version 0.7 of our open source routing engine GraphHopper. Read here for more information
During GSoC 2015 I focused on improving road presentation in the Default OSM map style. This year I am again participating, but with more diverse goals. I am planning to improve performance, reduce rendering order problems and tune mid-zoom level rendering.
mid-zoom level rendering
I started with work on improvements to mid zoomlevels (z6 to z9). During search for the best and most promising ways to improve rendering, starting from trawling through reported issues. I also prepared and submitted some additional tweaks like rendering names for barriers, fixing viewpoints and forests and shops and other.
I am also like during GSoC 2015 preparing a comparison between the current map style and alternatives.
A bit of history
There are some visualisations showing how data was added to OSM. But I have neither seen nor found something similar for a map style. So, for start of next big series to the map I made a display of what was changed in the past.
Visualisation are available for z18
I selected Weybridge as location as map of this place was the first OpenStreetMap-based map to go on Wikipedia.
As usually testing and review is welcomed for open pull requests, especially one considering rendering names for barriers and an associated popular tagging mistake.
I am considering to look more for inspiration/comparison in printed maps. I looked for online sources and for now I found surprisingly small number of contemporary maps that would display sort-of-similar set of symbols as Default OSM style, with scale within z5 - z10 range.
But I found nothing highly useful. For now
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Florida_topographic_map-en.svg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scotland_map-fr.jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scotland_topographic_map-fr.jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deutschland_%C3%9Cbersichtskarte.png
are the best. Is anybody aware about maps or database of maps allowing to find maps similar in content to Default OSM Style, with scale within z5 - z10 range?
Thanks to Paul Norman for simplified osm2pgsql database dump. Without that resource obtaining database for lower zoom levels would be far more complicated.
The streets & civic boundaries (though not Parish/Ecumenical boundaries) are well sorted for Nottingham & district; well done SK53 & will_p for a fantastic amount of effort to create that (at least in my neck of the woods). That prior work occasionally needs a small trim here or there, but mostly my survey work is to add house number/names. It is useful exercise & gets me out of the house, but can be very boring. Fortunately, Nottingham folk are house-proud, love their gardens & are naturally creative, and spotting the results all helps to keep me awake. Here are some more examples from Standhill Road, Gedling:—
As I understand it, it was british Victorians that began to name their terraces as “Villas”, and to often include the start-date. There are good examples of this in a little terrace of 5 houses; I especially love the ‘bird's nest’ below the number for Hazel Villa:
...but it's the owner of Vivian Villa that has really gone to town with the pot plants:
Interestingly, Gedling Council itself takes pride in being creative. This is the sign for the King George V Recreation Ground + some of the sequence of photos (Mapillary seems to be having difficulty in processing them):
According to this geolocation.ws page the recreation ground is within an extension of the Thorneywood Brickworks and, further, that there used to be a tunnel under Standhill Road linking the two clayworks.
In the following 1938 picture (also in the 5 June diary) the recreation ground is at the top right-hand side, and Standhill Road can be seen running across the spur of land that remains between the two sets of clay workings:
Meanwhile, this Gedling Council Street-Guide PDF may be interesting to some, and especially due to the inclusion of a map. The map is copyright Ordinance Survey (of course), but I thought it a good contrast & compare to what OSM can do.
In a final coda, at the extreme top of Standhill Road is Porchester Junior School (the school urgently wants someone as a School Crossing Patrol person for Prospect Road if you live local) and, at the back of the school on Hillview Road, is number 61 on a plot of land that (a neighbour informed me) used to be “Sanders Farm”. So far, I can find zero information to confirm that assertion.
As we all are aware of that working in the open community will always give the feeling as working with family, where we can express our views , ideas and experiences. As an enthusiastic mapper, I just want to share my experience of working with OSM & JOSM. Though I have experience with mapping , but I’m green horn to this OSM. So I have started to learn everything about the OSM. Open street map is a user friendly website ,where we can contribute our mapping skills to map our home town or any place based on the knowledge of particular place. That is the basic environment, where the simple tools are designed to work and map the buildings, roads etc. These tools are more flexible in nature and bit interesting to work. There are also video tutorials and notes that helps us to get inhabit with the OSM. These tutorials helps us to understand basic techniques of mapping in the OSM. The mapping in OSM in an voluntary act where our mappings will helps some people around the world. It is directly used by the users. So every mapper should be careful while mapping. There should be no scope for errors. So I too mapped some area in my home town which is familiar to me through OSM. I am also attaching the work on my home town as well.As life is all about series of excitements, which you have to taste each and everything, I have come across the working on OSM with JOSM. Surely I can say that it’s best part of my learning career. After a long time I really felt challenging and exciting working with JOSM. It took nearly four days for understanding the each and every aspect in the software. Right from installation part to uploading process, I thoroughly enjoyed working the JOSM. It was software with great and user friendly interface. I had referred many sites and links for the working on JOSM. Gone through many videos for the procedure of mapping using JOSM. I was really fascinated by the filter option which is very interesting. Felt that there should be more snap shots and videos on the splitting process and also tagging. Really it was a great experience from working with JOSM. Its robust nature and shortcuts for many tools makes mapping more comfortable and interesting.
Thursday, on a blistering 9 June (followed up by thunderstorms on the weekend, which is classic weather for England) and I finally get to do some surveying out of my Home patch.
My Home patch is Nottingham NG3 – just a kilometre from the town centre – and everything that I've surveyed so far has been more-or-less well known to me. Now, finally, I get to the end of that patch. Here is the proof, with the 1877 Borough of Nottingham Boundary Marker outside the Peacock Health Centre where Carlton Road becomes Carlton Hill (it is also a node on the map, but I do not know how to discover what the node-number is):—
This is where Nottingham becomes Gedling, and also where the NG3 postal-district becomes NG4.
My first houses were Carlton Hill & Standhill Road. I'm going to keep surveying the houses west across the hill & to the other side. I'm interested to see what I will find.
In the meantime, I'm always interested to spot the art that folks put on, or in front of, their houses. Below is a little example from a house on Standhill Road:—