OpenStreetMap

Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Declaration of Conflicts

Posted by Heather Leson on 19 March 2015 in English (English)

As a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Board Member Candidate, I wish to state my potential conflicts of interest:

Employer is Qatar Computing Research Institute:

My full time job is in research on Humanitarian and social innovation software. Our open source software often uses HOT-driven OSM data. (e.g. MicroMappers and hopefully UAviators via OAM) As a research institute, we do not receive remuneration for HOT nor do we receive profit from these projects.

Professional Affiliations:

ca.linkedin.com/in/heatherleson

Boards and Advisories:

*Board: PeaceGeeks (member of Digital Humanitarian Network) *Advisor: School of Data *Advisor: Jump2Spot *Organizer: International Conference of CrisisMappers *More advisory roles: http://textontechs.com/portfolio/

If there are any situations of conflict of interest, I will respectfully step out of the discussion and/or vote.

Thank you,

Heather

A mad dash to Haarlem and back

Posted by SimonPoole on 18 March 2015 in English (English)

SOSM operates a fair number of services mainly for the Swiss community that up to now have been hosted on a single small server leased from Hetzner. While this is a very cost worthy solution, it doesn't have any redundancy built in and further requires cross border Internet traffic to access, which raises privacy concerns at least with parts of our community. SInce we started operating the server a bit over a year ago it was clear that a local solution would be preferable.

Due to the good relations between SOSM and Wikimedia Switzerland late last year we were pointed to the fact that Wikimedia Germany was throwing away their old hardware which used to host the "toolserver" and that while most of it was clearly not worth continuing to use, there was three couple of years old Dell R520 servers that might still be useful. While we needed to find an affordable hosting location to go with the machines (more on that soon), it was clear, if at all possible, we would like to secure the machines for SOSM.

Wikimedia operates a larger site in the Netherlands in a commercial hosting facility just outside of Amsterdam in Haarlem (yes Haarlem and nearby Breuklen gave the names to the Harlem and Brooklyn in NYC). They don't have direct on site staff and it was clear that we would have to arrange pickup when somebody was there dismantling the hardware. This turned out to be bit of a challenge and in the end, after determining that we wouldn't have to commercially import the hardware (no financial difference, just a procedural one), we decided that the easiest and most efficient, perhaps not most ecological, solution would be simply to drive up to Amsterdam short term when Wikimedia was ready and pick up the servers in person.

Last Friday was the day, Michael (user datendelphin) and myself started on our mad dash to Haarlem and back, a total of over 1'700km. To at least get some more out of it we decided to record as much as possible of the drive with Mapillary and naturally navigate with OSM only.

An old S2 for Mapillary with two empty 32 GB and OsmAnd for navigation.

I initially tried to run RTKGPS+ on the S2 with an external GPS device with the antenna beneath the sun roof (GPS signal reception is really lousy in that car), which however proved to be a bit much for the phone together with Mapillary and from Freiburg im Breisgau on we switched to using a normal bluetooth connected GPS device.

The set-up worked very well fillng a 32GB card for each direction, our longest continuous segment had something over 6200 images. Currently there are still roughly 8000 images from the drive back uploading (of a total of roughly 23'000), in any case we did cover a lot of new territory.

Routing with OsmAnd was quite painless too, and while it did take a couple of minutes to calculate the 850+ km routes that didn't really cause an issue. Very noticeable was the quite new support of destination, lanes and turn:lanes, lots of the intersections and on/off ramps were already completely tagged and only a handful had some errors. Matter of fact the only serious routing error we had along the way was due to a typo

Here exactly the same issue in OSRM:

which was caused by a short stretch of road with a wrong speed limit. OsmAnd does have an annoying tendency to try and short cut over off/on-ramps now and then, this may however be indicative of simply not penalizing these enough compared to continuing straight on. In summary the actual driving was uneventful and quite relaxing.

In the end, as we have already blogged about on sosm.ch, we picked up the servers (at 23:00 on Friday!) and had a quick and uneventful trip back on a different route on Saturday.

Special thanks to Wikimedia Germany and Switzerland and to everybody that helped getting this done. Michael is now working on getting the servers ready for deployment which we expect in a couple of weeks time.

Please consider our SOSM 2015 donation drive which should cover the initial costs we incurred acquiring the servers and any replacement and additional hardware we will need to purchase to get everything up and running.

First mapping. Higham, Lancs, UK

Posted by burtdakarax on 18 March 2015 in English (English)

Added some footpaths south of Higham, Lancashire. Part of my normal walks, but not easy ones to follow. Used Memory Maps to check positions of Ordnance survey marked footpaths.

OS Street View Copyright Easter Egg

Posted by James Derrick on 15 March 2015 in English (English)

Over the past few years, I've been a regular user of ITO World's very useful map analysis and comparison tools. One tool (not unique, but well done) compares OS Street View data with OSM highway names and produces both a completeness report, and also a set of map tiles which show differences.

This diff layer is very useful in JOSM to spot errors in both map databases, be it simple typos or show areas for physical survey. In my area North of Newcastle, this has typically shown up schools being closed and turned into small development plots for housing which I've worked into my cycle training runs to make a physical survey.

As I know my local patch well, these areas are often already tracked as landuse=brownfield, of highway=construction so it's just a case of adding in the street names once the developer has bothered to actually put the name plates up!

One such diff intrigued me - close to where my old University digs used to be (Ethel Williams Halls were demolished years ago!), a very small stub off a residential close started changing name.

Penfold Close became Whitby Crescent which ITO dutifully reported on. I though this to be a plausible omission, so added the name change and gave the credit to OS using the source:name=OS_OpenData_Locator tag. As this is about 12 miles away, and the road section in question about 20m long, I didn't undertake a physical survey - slapped wrists all round!

Recently, it changed again to Whitbay Crescent, which seemed strange - had a mapper in OS Towers lost a key from their keyboard? Well, as this seemed so strange and my Winter fitness improving, I cycled out from Cramlington to find out.

Off a small residential road, a t-shaped stub is surrounded by 5 blocks of semi-detached homes. Only one has a name plate showing Penfold Close, but the door numbers show odd and even consistently showing they are in the same street.

So, what is going on with OS Street View changing names of a cul-de-sac all of 20m long? Well, I suspect it could be a Copyright Easter Egg!

The suspicious mind in me wonders if OS has been making small but insignificant changes in OSSV open data to track if and how fast they appear in OSM and other databases? I don't believe this raises any copyright issues (I added the source tag to credit their information, as requested by the licence interpretation), but the feeling of possibly being tracked is both creepy, and reassuring.

Creepy - no one likes being instrumented and put in an experiment.

Reassuring - If my paranoia is correct, could it be that OS take OSM seriously to the point that our Open Street Maps are being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than our own*?

With apologies to HG Wells!

Location: Benton, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, North East England, England, United Kingdom

Edits of our travels in Kenya completed

Posted by Jan van Bekkum on 15 March 2015 in English (English)

Added road, campsite etc. information in Kenya that we collected during our drive to South Africa from the Netherlands.

Observations during a HOT task

Posted by dcp on 14 March 2015 in English (English)

I recently did a little work (for the first time) on a HOT task 892 in Africa. It was the simple task of adding highways between the settlements. Using Bing imagery we were ask to mark the settlements as landuse=residential and the connections between as highways.

Easy enough you may say and yes it was apart from some poor imagery.

However, paths of about 1 meter width were traced with a higher category even up to highway=unclassified

Tracks of one vehicle width were also traced as highway=unclassified

The highways connecting the settlements were attached to the perimeter of the landuse=residential. Routing would be impossible.

I abided by the HOT instructions and used the landuse=residential but most of the settlements were small homesteads similar to landuse=farmyard. The tag landuse=homestead would have been more appropriate but we don't have it.

It was also mentioned that locals on the ground would clean up the OSM data after we OSMers left but is that not being a bit unreasonable. These homesteads don't even have tap water let alone an internet connection.

I shudder to think I would have to use this data for routing!

Two Million Registered Users

Posted by Central America on 13 March 2015 in English (English)

Declaration of Conflicts

Posted by dkunce on 13 March 2015 in English (English)

American Red Cross

I work full time for the American Red Cross where I lead the GIS team. We work around the world and frequently have contact with HOT and other organizations throughout our work. We work closely with HOT during disaster response to prioritize and plan activations. I often talk about HOT or about HOT's perspective in my work with government agencies, corporations, and other non-governmental agencies.

In the past I have worked to give money to HOT for collaborative technology projects such as the Tasking Manager Upgrade. HOT is currently under contract to the American Red Cross support the development of OpenMapKit.

I serve as a de facto liaison between the Missing Maps project and the US Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit given my physical proximity to the HIU. I help coordinate imagery requests from the project and often create tasks on the tasking manager for Missing Maps.

I am frequently interviewed by the media in my role at the American Red Cross and often speak on behalf of the larger humanitarian mapping community which includes HOT.

Missing Maps

I co-founded the Missing Maps project with the British Red Cross, MSF, and HOT. I co-wrote the Memorandum of Understanding that explicitly outlines that member organizations must donate a defined part of all donor raised funds to HOT to ensure HOTs economic viability. Missing Maps is the only instance where I oversee any funds that are given to HOT for operations. The HOT Board approved and signed the MOU in 2014.

As I have stated before I will recuse myself from any discussions concerning financial matters with HOT and ARC. This follows not only good board practices but existing ARC and HOT rules.

Mobilisation around Critical Tasks

Posted by eireidium on 12 March 2015 in English (English)

Stumbled on http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/938 this am. Call for maximum participation on a small but important task to aid MSF. Was gratifying to be able to switch a few cycles from other tasks and be able to contribute. 100% complete within 10 hours and validation now under way. The power of collaboration and tasksharing. South Sudan

Location: Juba - Kajo Keji, Juba, Central Equatoria, South Sudan

5th Adventure Days in Glauchau

Posted by malenki on 12 March 2015 in English (English)

OSM booth OSM booth

At the AbenteuerTage (Adventure Days, a festival where adventurers present their travels) two years ago in exchange for hosting a GPS Workshop I was allowed to represent OpenStreetMap. Last year Gil Bretschneider, operator of the festival, invited me again to have an OSM booth at the festival last weekend. Happily I agreed, although I partly broke my right arm shortly before the beginning.

Again the festival was well organised, everything ran smoothly. Of course one could also meet interesting people when not being at the OSM booth. :)
This time I was so bold to visit one of the presentations of a family with two girls of now eight and four which had travelled Mongolia during three years for about ten months with camels. Although I am of course fascinated by this kind of reports I'd prefer not to listen to the traveller but instead do the travelling on my own.

Heinz Stücke Heinz Stücke

My personal highlight was Heinz Stücke. This German travelled the world for more then 50 years and nearly 650,000 km. The biggest part of the distance he went with a three-gear-bicycle. More details are to be found on Wikipedia. I also added some pictures with his allowance to Wikimedia Commons.

Now from travel statistics to the ones of the OSM booth:

One visitor mourned about the bad quality of OSM data in remote regions like Guatemala and Indonesia which I believed without research because of the small number of active mappers in less developed countries. Over the incomplete incomplete Panamerican Highway I had stumbled when testing long distance routing

Two visitors praised the good quality of OSM data in remote regions. One of them was the man whom I equipped with OSM based maps for his Garmin device at the 4th Abenteuertage two years ago. Three or four visitors installed OSMAnd, one even purchased the app after short testing. He also took the whole world in OSMAnd maps which I had with me – 55 GB.

Another four visitors we could give OSM maps for Garmin devices. Amongst them was a man who travels by kayak a lot – he was happy to receive the Mediterranean Sea and the north of Europe. I also asked the visitors to donate data back to OSM, at least to upload their collected GPS data to OSM – or email them to me.

This time we weren't able to establish an internet connection so we couldn't edit OSM on site but I mad a todo list of things to add/fix visitors told me.

OSM-Flyer and a HowTo sheet for installing OSM based maps on Garmin devices were of interest to a lot of the visitors.
Of the µSD memory cards I brought with me just in case I sold the half (1x 4GB and 1x 8GB) for the net cost, the maps were free of course. Also two OSM stickers got purchased.

Several visitors were quite interested for the idea behind [mapillary[(http://www.mapillary.com/).

Last but not least I could infect some of the visitors with my Albanophilia [de] so I assume that there will be some more people to travel Albania soon.

Walking to my room and back I travelled 10,5 km and collected 33 waypoints for corrections and additions at OSM.

For the success of this weekend I want to thank:

  • firstly Gil Bretschneider from grenzenlos-expeditionen for the invitation
  • my mother for transportation and helping erect the booth
  • Rockus for his presence during the three days all the time
  • Frederik Ramm from the Geofabrik for the posters
  • mapillary for stickers and T-Shirts
  • all visitors for all the interesting conversations

PS: I forgot the donation of 1,50 EUR for OSM by a visitor. The amount I just transferred to OSM.

Location: Gesau, Glauchau, Landkreis Zwickau, Saxony, Germany

Improving the OSM map - Why don't we? [3]

Posted by marczoutendijk on 12 March 2015 in English (English)

How useful is a tag that exists only once?

The OSM database is simple: A key and a value for every node you want to store into that database. And because it is a liberal database with no checking at all, you can put anything you like, in it.
Of course we have some rules and guidelines:
Map Features
From that we can learn that amenity=hospital is the preferred way to mark (you guessed it) a hospital on the map. Which is used 122164 times on the map (taginfo)
I think most map users have a clear idea on what exactly is meant by that specific tag combination.
But what about this one:
According to the wiki, man_made is:
A tag for identifying man-made (artificial) structures added to the landscape.
Below you see what this man_made=1417-32 looks like: Can you see what it is?? I don't!
Looking it up in the wiki for that specific value gives (you guessed it) an empty page. Why does one create a specific value for a key, without explaining to others what it means??


On taginfo you can find 1132 entries (75 screen pages) for man_made with a uniqe (used only once) value. This is the last page of taginfo on the man_made key: And the last entry is "junk".
I looked that one up again: Of course (you guessed it) there is no wiki page on man_made=junk.
In terms of data storage, those 1132 entries don't take much room, but why use them in the first place? Could the mapper - at least - not have taken the steps (setting up a wiki on that value) to help other mappers with this obscure value?

So please, mappers. If you create a value for a key that is not yet used anywhere else in the database (and think thrice before doing so), be so kind to the other mappers and explain what you are doing and why you are doing it! And even better: discuss this first on the appropriate forum or talk-list.

Hamlets in US cities

Posted by samely on 12 March 2015 in English (English)

Hamlets in US cities

Here's the oddest thing: US cities are full of hamlets.

This data goes back to the GNIS import and remains unrepaired in many parts of the United States. So how bad is the problem exactly?

I extracted all nodes tagged place=hamlet and intersected the data with Natural Earth's urban polygons data.

  • place=hamlet = 132 774
  • place=hamlet in urban areas = 20 330
  • place=hamlet containing GNIS tags in urban areas = 19 997

Here's a map showing the extent of the issue. Red dots are hamlets that intersect with Natural Earth's urban polygons. All other hamlets are yellow. If you find places to fix, click the "Edit" link to hop directly into your favorite editor.

What are your ideas to fix this issue?

Photos: Ikiwaner / CC-by-SA

Running again for the Board of the HOT US NGO in 2015

Posted by sev_hotosm on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

My Bio

I am a French GIS expert with 15 years of professional expertise and backgrounds in Geography, Geomatics applied to Prehistory and History, Humanitarian and Development. I have been working in GIS since 2000, respectively as a GIS Officer in Local Government/Authorities (France), as a PhD student in Archeology (France and Brazil), as a GIS Officer in United Nations Organizations (OCHA, PAHO and IOM in Haiti and WHO in Pakistan), then as a volunteer, project manager and finally Officer of the Board of the US-incorporated NGO HOT US Inc.

In Local Government, I had the opportunity to work as a project lead on census operations and census data, ordering orthophotos, running call for bids for electing webmapping application, sub-building a cadastre scale urban landuse, geocoding at building scale, chasing and georeferencing old aerial pictures, etc. I acquired an inner and thorough knowledge about how the geographic information is processed and handle by governments and local authorities at multiple scales, and I could measure the constraints and limits of non open data, limiting the possibilities of analysis and data cross-cuts. I always studied at the same time: made researches about geography of car construction, learnt remote sensing during a year and also started a complete course of prehistory, thus participated to excavations or field analysis in Syria, France and Greece. Even there, my focus is not only based on the technical analysis of archaeological remains (stone tools, pottery sherds...), but also on spatial and statistical analysis.

I was working on a PhD about an unknown civilization of first farmers in Eastern Brazil, analyzing pottery sherds, stone tools and other remains, when the earthquake hit Haiti. Then I both discovered OSM through mapping the affected areas and decided to apply for a GIS position in the humanitarian organizations deployed for the response and came eventually at the UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Information Management and GIS office through iMMAP in February. In March, I met for the first time the Hotties deployed in the country (Nicolas, Robert and Kate) and help them the best I could to organize training or to facilitate their meetings with a few stakeholders. I remained working as a consultant for two years (Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, International Organization for Migrations) but joined HOT (that had become a NGO meanwhile) in early 2011 for mapping + community building project in Haiti, and basically I have been keeping on working within the HOT Project until now as a volunteer, as a project manager on a given projects and also as a Board member (2014).

My HOT and OSM year in 2014

In 2014, I have been have involved in various activities:

  • As a Board Officer of HOT US
  • As a Project manager for HOT US, I co-designed with Kate Chapman and coordinated the implementation HOT Community Mapping and training project in Lower Shire, Malawi during two months (August and September) working with Maning Sambale and Emir Hatarto.
  • As a member of the community of the HOT project, I have coordinated primarily the CAR activation (completing almost the mapping of this country) and secondarily the South Sudan and Malawi activations, I supported other activations (mapping and mobilizing for mapping) in support of other crisis and also facilitated the Activation WG meetings
  • Within the Projet EOF, I co-authored a technical and an organizational guides around OSM ; I am specifically proud of an open data GIS guidebook that will be hosted in FlossManuals soon
  • With Nicolas, I coordinated the Projet EOF activities and had the opportunity to deploy in many countries: in Burkina Faso (May), Morocco (October), Ivory Coast (October), Chad (November), Senegal (November), Mali (December).
  • I spoke and/or did outreach about the projects OSM, HOT and EOF in various events Conférence Humanitaire (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Quai d’Orsay), State Of the Map France (Paris), UN GIS Day (Geneva), Salon Des Solidarités (Paris), SOTM (Buenos Aires).

My Vision for the HOT Board in 2015

This is the vision that Nicolas and I have for the Board of HOT US in 2015. Work is ongoing to produce and release a collective version from individual statements that will guide our action in 2015 within the HOT Project. 2015 will de facto be a year of changes for HOT with:

  • On the one hand, the resignation of its ED and a majority of its former Board members.
  • On the other hand, the many candidacies with a diverse set of skills and varying levels of experience within the organization. It’s likely that a sound mix of people shall come out from this election.

If elected, my actions within the Board of Directors for HOT will be as follow:

My vision of what a Board member shall be doing

I’ll be using the many hats that my experience provided me with: strategy, project engineering (design/implementation), reporting, admin/business processes, outreach, networking, advising, grants writing/fundraising and the field-specific technical and organizational skills building local OSM communities developed in Haiti and Africa in the past 5 years.

My priority

My compass will be to ensure that our organization fosters its support to the growth of autonomous local OSM communities (made of individuals, groups, chapters and economic operators) and develop their ability to sustain relations amongst themselves (global-local, South-South, North-South) and with technical communities (OSM, free software and open data) as well as the humanitarian and development actors. My intention is to provide feedback from my field experience in many contexts and type of projects, including e.g. budget optimization to systematically encompass support for local emergent OSM communities.

Reinforce HOT US as a member-based organization by carrying out internally

  • Ensure that HOT is a transparent organization for its members who can attend all meetings (Board included) and access all meeting notes, communications and all the Organization documents (specifically finance, admin, projects) ; within of course the respect of privacy
  • Make of HOT an inclusive organization in terms of decision making ; specifically in project design tied to subventions, grants, or core funds
  • Make of HOT a learning organization for its members from voluntary contributions in Working Group down to project implementation which shall continue to primarily seek hotties' participation
  • Redefine relations and roles between the Board Of Directors and Operational staffs (ED and Project Managers). Ensure a shift towards a more active role for the Directors in strategy/planning/design/implementation/monitoring of operations and projects with the ED in charge of running the day to day business. Resume operations meeting (stopped in 2013) between the ED and Project Managers and introduce continued attendance by Board and WG representatives.

What the organization shall do

  • Consolidation of the Commons of the HOT Project (tools, documentation, communication, network) and design a Charter of the HOT Project to which HOT US, other regional HOT organizations and partners have to be compliant with
  • Consolidate capacities to support remotely humanitarian and development actors.
  • Expand again HOT on-the-ground presence (after its shrinking in 2014) in order to support humanitarian and development actors and grow local OSM communities. Assess and review the fundraising approach to tentatively succeed in securing core funds for the first time in 2015
  • Strengthen our neutrality/autonomy from large partner and funding organizations within the humanitarian and development fields
  • Ensure that the Organization benefit from continued advisory support through its members and Working Groups and/or in the form of ad hoc simple consultations of experts or through the form of advisory projects tailored to address a specific need of the organization

What is the HOT Project?

Historically, the HOT Project develops as follow :

  • It started first as a community made of individuals forming an informal collective from 2007 until the first field work in the 2010 Haiti response (March/May/June).
  • In Aug 2010, the HOT Project developed as a community coupled to a US-incorporated NGO, HOT US fulfilling the role of a de facto Humanitarian/Development chapter operating mostly through volunteerism and an economic operator relying for project implementation on a mix of paid and voluntary work.
  • In 2015, the HOT Project consists of a community, a chapter (HOT US) and economic operators (HOT US, TheMissingMap project and many others)

The components of the HOT project can be developed as follow:

  • A community of individuals involved through remote activations and field work far beyond the HOT US voting members and the stable core of active contributors
  • An associative component as a kind of Humanitarian/Development Chapter with HOT US, for voluntary activity around OSM in the Humanitarian and Development fields in the form of mapping, training, outreach, documentation and tools creation
  • Economic operators, including HOT US, using the business mechanisms (proposals, calls for bids) and raising funds to support the use of OSM in the Humanitarian and Development fields.

HOT US within the HOT Project

  • Organize the Decentralization/Regionalization of HOT US into autonomous HOT regional entities (both chapters and/or economic operators) able to operate worldwide. By so doing, they will comply with the HOT Project Charter (cf supra) and maintain and enrich the HOT Project Commons (cf supra) and seek coordination/cooperation synergies in running their voluntary or economic project-based activities.
  • Organize for HOT US to play the role of incubator for such a regionalization process and for the regional entities to share in return with HOT US the financial costs of maintaining the Commons of the HOT Project (through a project fees, for example like TheMissingMap project).
  • Organize the cooperation between HOT US, future emerging HOT regional entities and already existing partner entities (GroundTruth, TheMissingMaps, etc.) or projects like the Projet EOF. This will ensure that HOT US incubate/support (if needed) those entities and that mechanisms are in place for those entities to operate by the HOT Project Charter and its Commons and contribute with HOT US to those Commons
  • Organize/address the handling of conflicts of interest for Board members involved in professional uses of OSM

Running for the Board of the US NGO Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT US)

Posted by Nicolas Chavent on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

Bio

I am a French Geographer and a GIS/Cartography expert with a background rooted in Litterature/ Social Sciences/ Social activism and 14 years of work in Overseas Academic Research, Humanitarian and Development actions.

I had been living over 7 years in Senegal and developed in this time an interest for Humanitarian and Development understood as fields of practices (theories and actions) where space and location tied to agile, innovative approaches to individual and community empowerment - geography in action - have a role to play which potential has not been fulfilled yet.

From my years as a practitioner in Overseas Academic Research, Humanitarian and Development worlds, I strongly believe that the OpenStreetMap project, the wider open data and open source movements are building a new emerging paradigm in territorial dynamics which allows for renewed global and local citizen actions and empowerments relevant for Humanitarian contexts and leading eventually to human Development.

The HOT Project

To foster the maturation of this paradigm, I invented the concept of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Project with Mikel Maron from late 2007 to early 2009. I engaged in the OSM response to the Haiti 12-January 2010 earthquake, both remotely and on-the-ground, by leading the first field work of the HOT Project from March 2010 onwards. I co-founded the US-incorporated NGO HOT Us with Mikel Maron, Kate Chapman, Robert Soden and Dane Springmeyer in August 2010 to widen and deepen the HOT Project in Haiti and in Humanitarian and Development work overseas. I served as a Board Officer and Programs Director for HOT US between 2010-2014 and focused my engagement in developing the capacities of this Organization, its community and its partners to support and build local autonomous OSM communities in Haiti and Western/Central Africa.

The EOF Project

To better address the specifics of community building in French speaking countries of the Caribbean and Africa, I ideated and started in 2012 the Espace OSM Francophone (EOF) Project with the support of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). The EOF Project represents both a collective as well as an efficient and agile mechanism to support continued local OSM animation. This consists of a mix of volunteerism and a series of small well targeted support projects tailored to the poverty context of those territories. Typically EOF activities spans in-country and remote mapping (humanitarian activations included), training, building of technical and organizational support materials. These are happening within an overall capacity building scheme and a continued mentorship which provides support to the most active individuals and groups. EOF works and operates through local partnerships with Academics (Research), Free Software Associations, Local Government or humanitarian actors. They form the basis of the OSM ecosystem and provides workplaces and resources for collectives of local OSM animators to grow local OSM communities.

2014 in the HOT Project

Over the last year (March 2014 to March 2015), I focused my actions on developing the EOF Project with the support of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) to consolidate and expand OSM in Haiti, Sénégal, Togo, Burkina-Faso, Morocco, Niger, Bénin, Ivory Coast, Mali and Chad. In parallel, I worked fostering EOF’s contributions to the Crisis activations and preparedness work of the HOT and The Missing Maps Projects. The work happened through a mix of paid work (as a freelancer) with OIF and OIF partners and a continued volunteered work. This entailed the following:

  • Continued support and mentorship to the most active individuals/groups of the EOF countries
  • Design and implementation of the EOF small sized support projects for continued animation, hardware purchases, capacity building missions and production of technical and organizational materials.
  • Carried out Western African field support mission in Burkina Faso, Sénégal, Togo and Ivory Coast and provided project support to the other countries
  • Lectured for the fourth year about OSM/GIS in master classes of Geomatics in a network of French Universities and Engineering Schools (Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Agrocampus de Rennes, Universités of Paris 1 Sorbonne, Paris 8 Saint-Denis and Paris 10 Nanterre)
  • Outreach in various events and conferences : Conférence Humanitaire (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Quai d’Orsay), State Of the Map France (Paris), UN GIS Day (Geneva), Salon Des Solidarités (Paris), GeoBretagne (Rennes), GeOrchestra (Clermond-Ferrand), GeOnG (Chambéry),

Vision for the HOT Board in 2015

This is the vision that Severin and I have for the Board of HOT US in 2015. Work is ongoing to produce and release a collective version from individual statements that will guide our action in 2015 within the HOT Project.

2015 will de facto be a year of changes for HOT with

  • On the one hand, the resignation of its ED and a majority of its former Board members.
  • On the other hand, the many candidacies with a diverse set of skills and varying levels of experience within the organization. It’s likely that a sound mix of people shall come out from this election.

If elected, my actions within the Board of Directors for HOT will be as follow:

My vision of what a Board member shall be doing

I’ll be using the many hats that my experience provided me with: strategy, project engineering (design/implementation), reporting, admin/business processes, outreach, networking, advising, grants writing/fundraising and the field-specific technical and organizational skills building local OSM communities developed in Haiti and Africa in the past 5 years.

My priority

My compass will be to ensure that our organization fosters its support to the growth of autonomous local OSM communities (made of individuals, groups, chapters and economic operators) and develop their ability to sustain relations amongst themselves (global-local, South-South, North-South) and with technical communities (OSM, free software and open data) as well as the humanitarian and development actors. My intention is to provide feedback from my field experience in many contexts and type of projects, including e.g. budget optimization to systematically encompass support for local emergent OSM communities.

Reinforce HOT US as a member-based organization an carry out internally the following

  • Ensure that HOT is a transparent organization for its members who can attend all meetings (Board included) and access all meeting notes, communications and all the Organization documents (specifically finance, admin, projects) ; within of course the respect of privacy
  • Make of HOT an inclusive organization in terms of decision making ; specifically in project design tied to subventions, grants, or core funds
  • Make of HOT a learning organization for its members from voluntary contributions in Working Group down to project implementation which shall continue to primarily seek hotties' participation
  • Redefine relations and roles between the Board Of Directors and Operational staffs (ED and Project Managers). Ensure a shift towards a more active role for the Directors in strategy/planning/design/implementation/monitoring of operations and projects with the ED in charge of running the day to day business. Resume operations meeting (stopped in 2013) between the ED and Project Managers and introduce continued attendance by Board and WG representatives.

What the organization shall do

  • Consolidation of the Commons of the HOT Project (tools, documentation, communication, network) and design a Charter of the HOT Project to which HOT US, other regional HOT organizations and partners have to be compliant with
  • Consolidate capacities to support remotely humanitarian and development actors.
  • Expand again HOT on-the-ground presence (after its shrinking in 2014) in order to support humanitarian and development actors and grow local OSM communities. Assess and review the fundraising approach to tentatively succeed in securing core funds for the first time in 2015
  • Strengthen our neutrality/autonomy from large partner and funding organizations within the humanitarian and development fields
  • Ensure that the Organization benefit from continued advisory support through its members and Working Groups and/or in the form of ad hoc simple consultations of experts or through the form of advisory projects tailored to address a specific need of the organization

What is the HOT Project?

Historically, the HOT Project develops as follow :

  • It started first as a community made of individuals forming an informal collective from 2007 until the first field work in the 2010 Haiti response (March/May/June).
  • In Aug 2010, the HOT Project developed as a community coupled to a US-incorporated NGO, HOT US fulfilling the role of a de facto Humanitarian/Development chapter operating mostly through volunteerism and an economic operator relying for project implementation on a mix of paid and voluntary work.
  • In 2015, the HOT Project consists of a community, a chapter (HOT US) and economic operators (HOT US, TheMissingMap project and many others)

The components of the HOT project can be developed as follow:

  • A community of individuals involved through remote activations and field work far beyond the HOT US voting members and the stable core of active contributors
  • An associative component as a kind of Humanitarian/Development Chapter with HOT US, for voluntary activity around OSM in the Humanitarian and Development fields in the form of mapping, training, outreach, documentation and tools creation
  • Economic operators, including HOT US, using the business mechanisms (proposals, calls for bids) and raising funds to support the use of OSM in the Humanitarian and Development fields.

HOT US within the HOT Project

  • Organize the Decentralization/Regionalization of HOT US into autonomous HOT regional entities (both chapters and/or economic operators) able to operate worldwide. By so doing, they will comply with the HOT Project Charter (cf supra) and maintain and enrich the HOT Project Commons (cf supra) and seek coordination/cooperation synergies in running their voluntary or economic project-based activities.
  • Organize for HOT US to play the role of incubator for such a regionalization process and for the regional entities to share in return with HOT US the financial costs of maintaining the Commons of the HOT Project (through a project fees, for example like TheMissingMap project).
  • Organize the cooperation between HOT US, future emerging HOT regional entities and already existing partner entities (GroundTruth, TheMissingMaps, etc.) or projects like the Projet EOF. This will ensure that HOT US incubate/support (if needed) those entities and that mechanisms are in place for those entities to operate by the HOT Project Charter and its Commons and contribute with HOT US to those Commons
  • Organize/address the handling of conflicts of interest for Board members involved in professional uses of OSM

todays surveys in oxford UK

Posted by Govanus on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

I've just been out checking the latest situation around south-west central oxford for just over the last 4 hours. I found the new roundabouts and new carparks assess the surfacing and layouts , checked the new junction chnages there and closer to glosterg green and the ashmolean, and finished of with a new look at the westgate site.

I've looked at the entries on OSM for some of the new features and I think I wil upgrade the roundabouts (based on sinage traffic movements and local phase diagrams at st frideswide square.

I'll also want to add details of new huts and bouth double decking and plastic surfaceing (a part out the back near the river) at the ice rink.

I also intend to look at the turn permission changes at glostergreen area including the mid junction cycle facilitiey.

Though after so long walking around the sites I may run out of time to complete much tonight :(

but can be able to do some more tomorrow hopefully....

Location: Jericho, Oxford, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom

OSM-IQ 1.4.x supports the export to GeoJSON

Posted by marco79 on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

With the new version of OSM-IQ you can export OSM to GeoJSON. The app will also create a HTML file that uses Leaflet.js to publish selected features in a web project.

Example: Points tagged with Amenity: Pub in Düsseldorf Amenity: Pubs in Düsseldorf

Improving the OSM map - Why don't we? [2]

Posted by marczoutendijk on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

Do we tag what something is not, has not, or what?

Part 2 in a series of comments on the current mapping problems and curiosities that I encounter with OSM.
Look at this Bicycle Repair Station: Can I safely assume that:

  • service:bicycle:truing_stand=yes?
  • service:bicycle:freewheel_removers=yes?
  • service:bicycle:dishing_tool=yes?
  • service:bicycle:headset_cup_remover=yes?
  • service:bicycle:cartridge_bottom_bracket_tool=yes?
  • service:bicycle:simple_headset_press=yes?
  • service:bicycle:metric_taps=yes?

at the University of San Francisco Bicycle Repair Station?
Any decent Bicycle Repair Station without a chain tool should not be allowed to carry that name!
Imagine this:
leisure=swimming_pool
swimming_pool:water=no
Or this:
tourism=hotel
hotel:number_of_beds=0

So please, when you tag, think first!


Another one: You need five minutes to find out what stuff cannot be recycled at this particular recycling station.
If we keep tagging in this way, we need 30 times the amount of data storage, compared to what is needed if you tag consistently:

Tag what something is, or what is available or visible

Like this one:

test

Posted by rejdek on 11 March 2015 in English (English)

test

Location: -34.000, -11.355

Categorising paths

Posted by Rostranimin on 10 March 2015 in English (English)

In relation to this: draft of a tagging scheme for path categorisation.

I've been mapping actively now for 4 years, and I've tended to concentrate on paths, tracks, footways and cycleways. I think that one of the very best features of OSM is how people map these with almost as much attention as they do roads. That's something which really makes OSM stand out as different.

BUT... in mapping these features there's one thing I've really really struggled with. In places where main paths are well mapped it is possible (and desirable) to add secondary (and more) paths. When we do this all and any mapping (or data) currently becomes confusing. That's because there really isn't a well established way to record the important relationships between paths, and because 'path' covers such a huge range of features.

I've resorted to using 'tracktype' on occasion. I've done my best to map surfaces and widths, and several other features. I've used 'footway' to distinguish good quality tarmac from 'path'. All these are work-arounds... trying to solve what ought to be a simple problem. And worse, even these work-arounds cause issues. There doesn't seem to be firm agreement that 'tracktype' is properly valid on paths, that the difference between 'footway' and 'path' is as I've used it, and there's certainly no agreement on tagging things like 'smoothness'.

So while in theory I get the idea that surveying for facts is better than trying to categorise things I'm very firmly of the opinion that paths must be categorised in some way.... and yes I have looked at what's already out there. We have 'smoothness', 'tracktype', 'surface', 'incline', 'width', ideas about 'accessibility' and 'access' (e.g. wheelchair = no), there's 'sac_scale' and 'trail_visibility', and 'mtb:scale', and I'm sure I've missed lots out...

Even if I properly map just one of the larger local urban green areas/parks using each and every one of these tags I think it'll still not be possible to say for certain which are the main paths and which are the informal desire lines. Many of the main paths won't be wheelchair accessible, might not be very flat, might not be very wide, and so on... in fact some of the less formal paths might be wider than the formal ones, the informal desire lines will sometimes be flat and the formal paths steep... and those are just a few of the issues.

Of course in a bid to avoid categorising things I could not map the smaller or more informal paths at all. But that makes no sense at all... currently because I'm trying to stick to mapping facts not opinions I end up applying my opinion even more strongly... avoiding mapping some features altogether just so that maps/data remain usable.

So here's a draft of a tagging scheme for path categorisation. It's an alternative to the existing pathtype definition which doesn't seem to have much use... and this is why I've titled it with the word 'alternative' for the moment. Maybe the proper thing would have been to add it to this initial page, but this system seemed like a good way forward.

I hope at this stage to hear from people whether this scheme would work (more than any further thoughts about why this is or isn't necessary - something you'll see that I've already made my mind up on personally).

Wesgate roads in Oxford United Kingdom

Posted by Govanus on 10 March 2015 in English (English)

the permision was apporved and availble from the Central State goverment's Department of Transport Case worker section contactable in Newcastle-upon Tyne. address details are on the barriers and I tryed to film them today but not yet rady to view yet... please tray to do the bus re routeing as I'm less experianced at that and may be a while till I'm on the internet again. buses follow the open roads marked. (ie not as construction. Most under the constuction tag have barriers to block them off at the moment though I did stert to add some there are others present the western site is largly leveled by mid-day today and large pipes stred toward the SW someway from the edge of the site.

Location: Grandpont, Oxford, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom
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