Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

Participating in the OSM US ED hiring process

Posted by migurski on 6 January 2018 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap US is hiring an Executive Director, and they are looking to build a hiring committee:

We are thus inviting community members (YOU) to self-nominate if you are interested in participating in the hiring process. … If you are interested in nominating yourself, expressions of interest will be accepted by email (to until January 12th, 2018.

I’m interested, so I sent the email below.


I would like to participate in the Executive Director hiring process as part of the 7-person committee! I’m pretty sure I know a few of the people who might be reading this email, but I thought I’d make it a more formal one to underscore my interest in helping.

I enthusiastically support the idea of finding a leader for OSM US at this time. The US Foundation has consistently been on the cutting edge of international OSM work, from hosting the most consistently well-produced regional conferences to pioneering advances in OSM’s use for disaster response and international development. OpenStreetMap needs a way to communicate with the many organizations whose mission or business depends on it, and hiring a full-time ED will help this happen.

OSM as a whole is experiencing rapid change, and faces both risks and opportunities I wrote about in this widely-shared blog post last year:

As a long-time participant in open source and non-profit technology efforts, I bring experience and perspective that will help ensure a good process and result. I’m on the boards of mapping non-profits GreenInfo Network and Digital Democracy, I served as CTO of government technology non-profit Code For America for three years, and I’m currently Executive Director for a new non-profit political mapping project,

Finally, as a long-term participant in OpenStreetMap I am deeply familiar with the project background. I’ve mapped since 2006 and attended almost every SOTMUS conference since 2010 in Atlanta. I’ve contributed to OSM in a variety of ways focused on the approachability and usability of the project. I’m motivated to see OSM grow into a mature, healthy, successful organization and I’m excited to see the US Foundation take the important step of finding its first full-time ED to make this happen.


Location: Longfellow, Oakland, Alameda County, California, 94609, United States of America

The New Digital Globe Premium Imagery...WOW!

Posted by apm-wa on 4 January 2018 in English (English)

I spent a little while the last two evenings using the new Digital Globe Premium Imagery for Turkmenistan to clean up some parts of Ashgabat plus areas in the far southeast I visited some months back but was unable to map in detail. This new imagery is terrific. I corrected some rail lines and added rail spurs to factories I either visited or rode past, plus added streets. This is good stuff.

Location: Garlyk, Lebap Region, Turkmenistan


Posted by AkuAnakTimur on 4 January 2018 in English (English)


Removal of a neighborhood demolished three years ago

Posted by apm-wa on 2 January 2018 in English (English)

Today I interviewed some embassy staffers about the status of the Ruhabat dacha community, which appeared on the OSM map of Ashgabat north of the Altyn Asyr ("new Tolkuchka") bazaar. I have driven past it many times and never seen a house there, but the map shows a significant residential community. It turns out the Turkmen government ordered the entire community demolished in 2013, and by mid-2014 (before I arrived here) it had been eradicated. All houses were torn down and the rubble removed, ostensibly to make way for a new airport and zoological garden, neither of which was built there (the existing airport was expanded, and the zoo was moved to a new site southwest of the city).

I thus removed the point marker for the "town" of Ruhabat, since it has not existed for over three years, and redrew the outlines of the "neighborhood" to correspond to a small village on the northwest corner of the former Ruhabat community. I will have to drive up there to see if that community has a name.

Location: Ahal Region, Turkmenistan

New mapper

Posted by johnwmpls on 2 January 2018 in English (English)

Mapping my neighboorhood, mostly in Otsego

OpenStreetMap Notes: some interesting stats

Posted by joost schouppe on 1 January 2018 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap Notes make it easy to share some info about mistakes or missing data in OpenStreetMap. It's a very open system, allowing for posting and commenting from third party apps and even without logging in.

I'm working on an exhaustive analysis of how notes are used. Here are some prelimanry findings.

Notes are often personal

While the wiki doesn't encourage using Notes as a personal to-do list, very many Notes get closed by the original poster. In fact, of all Notes that were posted by a logged in contributor, that are at least 90 days old, and are already closed, 50% were closed by the original mapper. The vast majority of those "self-closed" Notes (96%), never saw interaction. Notable though, is that IF there was some sort of interaction, there was a reaction by the original contributor in almost 90% of the cases.

One of the things that I want to investigate, is if these people who are closing so many of their own Notes, are also up to closing other Notes. What I would like to know is if the surge in Notes created more note-closers, and if so if they were new to notes or not. is huge

When implemented Notes into their app, the impact was huge. Basically, the number of Notes doubled overnight. The graph shows the monthly opened notes. In the first months of Notes, the added notes were about the same as all other notes together! surge

Since its peak, the number of Notes has been steadily going down, while the number of other notes is going up. My method of identifying notes is looking for "#mapsme" or "" in the opening comment, so maybe this string isn't included anymore in some versions?

And we can't keep up, right!?

Of course, this surge had a negative impact on the closing rates of Notes. However, the overall statistics that we are used to seeing, paint a somewhat overly negative image.

A tiny bit of methodology. I'm interested in how we handle incoming Notes. That means you need to look at rates, not raw numbers. One way to do that, is to define a goal, and see if we're attaining it. For example, the graph below takes the goal "Notes should be closed within 90 days". (note: I did not take account of the re-opening of Notes here.) That of course means you have to wait till a Note is at least 90 days old before you make a decision on the stat.

The graph shows that until the surge, we had a slightly downward trend, but usually at least 60% of Notes were closed within 90 days. The "overall" line shows that this rate went steeply down as surged. However, this is mostly caused by the notes having a much worse performance. The closing rates of app-free notes did go down a bit, but in most months stayed close to 60%.

Closing rates

Those annoying users?

The reason for a slower closing rate might be simple: Notes usually aren't made by people who close their own Notes. So a hypothesis I want to check is, if you split Notes between "made by people who tend to just work on their own Notes" and "Notes made by people who just want to share some information", is there still a difference between and other notes?

One of the main complaints about users is that they don't respond to comments. Of course, there can only be something to respond to, if their Note first gets commented. For that to happen, the Note has to be non-anonymous and commented by someone else who was logged in. To my surprise, this is a relatively rare situation. Less than 4% of all existing Notes were made by logged in users and responded to by other logged in users.

In this rare situation, there is a reaction from the original contributor in about 30% of the cases. If the Note was made through or an unknown app, this rises to about 40%. However, if the Note was made with, response rate was only about 10%.

Since Navmii makes only anonymous notes, this rate can't be counted for that app. The recent StreetComplete notes get a 26% response rate in similar circumstances. So there is clearly something going on with Some further measures to increase comparability might be necessary, for example excluding Notes from heavy mappers. But before we saddle the horses, don't forget what the actual number is we're talking about. In 2016, if users were exactly like the general population, there would be just 2500 more reactions from original contributors, on a total of 123.797 notes that year.

Other explanations

So the lack of communication might be relatively minor compared to the "abuse" of Notes by people who don't know what they are meant for. If someone would like to do some text analysis to see if automatic classification of usefulness is possible, I could offer a file that is ready for consumption. (the Notes dump is relatively easy to parse though)

A bit harder to analyse, would be the hypothesis that the difference is because notes tend to contain some info that is hard to ignore (like "this place is closed now"), but hard to verify ("did you really mean Place X"? If you don't trust the contributor, and they don't answer, you have to go check).

In other news:

What on earth happened here? From May to July 2017, anonymous comments went absolutely through the roof, and then just as quickly went down to normal again. Most seemed to have been nonsense comments. Does anyone know what happened here?

Comment spike

Oh, and if you're working with the Notes Dump yourself, be mindful of this minor bug I found.

Work in progress

I've been dreaming of a global database of local basic statistics about OpenStreetMap for years. That turned out to be a little over-ambitious for me. Hence my retreat to local statistics for Belgium only. Analyzing Notes is a kind of proof of concept. This article is a little side to the process of publishing statistics about Notes for the world, but also all continents, countries and "regions" in the world. Since these are the tools I'm fluent in, I wrote the analysis scripts in SPSS. They are available on Github. It should be relatively straightforward to translate to other, more open languages. Publishing will be on the platform. Unfortunately closed source payware, but they donated a version for OSM analysis purposes.

Shape this project

I usually start of projects like this with a clear goal in mind, then lose track of that goal completely because of all the interesting side streets I find. Working towards the platform helps shape that a bit. But what kind of questions would you like to see answered? I intend to make it easy to play around with the numbers yourself, but maybe there's some aspects I'm missing entirely. Let me know! Feel free to post here or as a Github Issue.

New Year's Day mapping in Abadan and Köşi

Posted by apm-wa on 1 January 2018 in English (English)

Ann and I celebrated New Year's Day by taking advantage of the low level of traffic (many revelers evidently slept in) to explore a previously unmapped industrial road southeast of Abadan that serves a large gravel quarry. We collected both GPS traces and Mapillary imagery, and then proceeded northward to collect more street names in Abadan. We also collected some POIs in Köşi, specifically numbers assigned to schools and kindergartens. This is a particular interest of mine since, in the event of a major earthquake, the schools and kindergartens will likely be used as emergency shelters and rally points, and thus places to look for survivors.

We corrected some streets (one mapped as a through street in reality dead ends at what appears to be a school house, for example) and hunted down some streets signs. All in all, we had a moderately productive afternoon, and a pleasant drive.

Another section of Köşi has been demolished, to the north and south of the extension of Magtymguly şaýoly that was extended westward a few months ago. Houses either have been torn down or are in process of demolition. It is not clear what is next for that neighborhood. I removed buildings from OSM that no longer exist, based on this ground truth, and collected some Mapillary imagery to corroborate.

Location: Transport köçesi, Abadan, Ahal Region, 745220, Turkmenistan


Posted by naoliv+test on 31 December 2017 in English (English)



Posted by naoliv on 31 December 2017 in English (English)

(Sorry for the wrong test)

Experience of #PoliMappersAdventures

Posted by LorenzoStucchi on 31 December 2017 in English (English)

During December with PolimappersAdventures I discovered lot of new features and I have mapped simple but useful ones, that I don't know before, in my small town. From this feature we will try to improve the map with the knowledge of the importance of the wiki.

Thanks to all who participated and map.

Location: Cascina Gazzulo, Sulbiate, Monza and Brianza, Lombardy, 20884, Italy

# BHOOT - The Ultimate Ghosts Behind the Scene

Posted by tasauf1980 on 31 December 2017 in English (English)

The Journey

In early 2017 a group of active members from OpenStreetMap Bangladesh Community (OSMBD) decided to form an unofficial entity BOIL (Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab) to utilize the huge & diverse potential of crowdsourced OpenStreetMap data and take the Open Data movement forward. The decision was made to coordinate the community activities in a more structured way and bring out the best from the members of this community. Immediately, BHOOT (Bangladesh Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Operations Team) was formed as a initiative of BOIL to support HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) with all their activations supporting all the disasters & emergency humanitarian crisis throughout the globe including Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh BHOOT(vut) stands for Ghost, the entity you cannot see in front of your eyes but surely can feel its presence and works. However, the group vowed to make the impact remaining behind the scene and not really bother focusing to become the poster boys of the community. And, literally they made the impact with a big bang!

Collaborating with Pathao with “Map Your City” project, leading the “South Asian Flood Activation (Bangladesh part)” by HOT, supporting “Rohingya Population Movement Mapping” by MissingMaps… 2017 was a very busy and eventful first year for the BHOOT’s. With adding more than 2 Million buildings, 2000 km roads & 150k street view images from Bangladesh region on the OpenStreetMap, surely they made the community moved & evolved. Eventually the team almost single handedly taken the size of the zipped data size of Bangladesh region from 22 MB to 93 MB in only 06 months! The humongous contribution made 05 members of the team reaching the top 10 position in Missing Maps global contributor’s leaderboard and another 15 placed in top 100 of that leaderboard!

The Community

Derived from the OpenStreetMap Bangladesh Community (OSMBD) the motto of the team is to expose & utilize the huge potentials of the diverse community people. And that fuels the team’s constant drive to the community engagement. The team focuses on quality rather than quantity and believes in strong knowledge base. To meet the base requirement and create a strong foundation for the community the team has been facilitating hands on trainings on basic and advance mapping, introducing different data collection tools & platforms along with frequent mapathons for the community. In 2017 the team facilitated more than 14 trainings & Mapathons where 135 newbies and 65 existing community mappers were involved. In support to HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) & MissinMaps the team contributed to more than 50 different mapping tasks in different part of the globe to put the vulnerable population on the map suffering from different disasters. Among those 27 tasks were completely handled by this team! In Addition, the team launched “Mapillary Bangladesh Community” and combinely added more than 150k street level images in Bangladesh region. Other than the specific projects the team has been supporting the project needs of Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Save The Children in Bangladesh with remote & collaborative mapping using OpenStreetMap. The team is always open to collaborative approaches to ensure a sustainable open data ecosystem.

Pathao Collaboration

In April 2017 the team started their collaboration with Pathao Ltd, the fastest growing tech startup to support & improve the navigation system for their ride sharing services. Soon the team became one of the core support for their operations and assigned to develop a standalone map server for the company. Already the team has successfully deployed the dataset they have developed and constantly working on building the richest repository of map data for the region. The team is also working on developing different data collection tools along with a complete, effective navigation & transportation API. It is believed that the outcome of the tremendous work the team is doing will be a complete game changer for the industry!

South Asian Flood (Bangladesh)

Since 11 August 2017, heavy monsoon rains caused intense flooding across more than one-third of Bangladesh. As per the analysis by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), the flood was the worst in the last four decades. Incessant heavy rainfall brought by the monsoon triggered flooding in five divisions, 31 districts, 176 Upazilas and 1,173 Unions.Findings indicated that a total of about 6.9 million people (1.54 million households) have been affected by the floods. National authorities confirmed 114 deaths and 197,416 people are temporarily displaced in 703 community shelters. As a result of the extensive floods, 77,272 houses were destroyed, 524,375 were partially damaged. Findings also highlighted that in northern Bangladesh, the following are the six worst-affected districts: Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Kurigram, Jamalpur, Nilphamari, Sirajganj. In these districts, a total of 330,000 people have been displaced. Access to the most affected areas in the northwest was a challenge as roads are either severely damaged or submerged under flood water. It is estimated that around 9,000 km of roads, 500 bridges and culverts have been damaged. Nearly 100 km of rail lines, have been severely damaged by the floods. Around 714 km of embankments have also been washed away.

To address & meet the increased needs of food security, wash, shelter, health, education, GBV, child protection, and early recovery the aid agencies needed a baseline map for Assessment & operations efficiency. And that made HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) declaring activation for mapping the affected areas. The team “BHOOT” straightaway deployed to task and took the lead for remote mapping and validation. Utilizing the devices they received from the “NetHope Device Grant”, the team traced down more than 500k buildings along with almost all the roads, waterways in the affected areas.

Rohingya Population Movement (Bangladesh, Myanmar)

Violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, which began on 25 August 2017 has driven an estimated 646,000 Rohingya across the border into Cox’s Bazar, joining some 300,000 that had fled in earlier waves of displacement. Pre-existing settlements and camps have expanded with the new influx, while new spontaneous settlements have also formed and grown. The Government and people of Bangladesh have shown extraordinary generosity in keeping the country’s borders open and shared their resources with refugees from Myanmar. Newly arrived refugees are settling in the border areas in the south-east of Bangladesh, in Cox’s Bazar, where an estimated 307,500 refugees were already living. The vast majority are staying in a large and densely populated settlement called Kutupalong. The terrain of the camps is hilly and prone to landslides, flooding, whilst proximity to the coast also makes the area prone to cyclones. Weather conditions, the challenging terrain, and the lack of roads limit access to the refugees, especially those living in more remote areas of the spontaneous settlements.

To support the coordinated operation by UNHCR, MSF, Redcross & other aid agencies in the region “BHOOT” team remotely traced down almost 250k buildings, Roads & other features of the area. Later when MissingMaps officially started the activation the team continued the support remotely to map out the areas in Myanmar too.


The people may have been behind the curtains but the presence were felt with all the activity that was evolving & moving Bangladesh! The mammoth activity helped the team to achieve “NetHope Device Grant” from HOT for the community! The grant has been utilized to support the community activities with resources. The devices has helped the team to spread out the sparks and last quarter of the year the community found more busier. The spark is now widespread to the community & “Youth Mappers” chapters in the country who vowed to take the platform forward.

2018 on the Making….

And already the team has started drafting the plans of activities & Collaborations. More new projects fueled with innovation and research integration has been drafted, Collaboration with global leads like “Moovit” is planned to launch, More community driven initiatives formatted… The BOILers are already heated up for The Next Big Things!

Just Stay Tuned to Watch the Lambs become the Lions!…

Happy New Year :)

HappyNewYear. More Results of land-use human centered classification study

Posted by grass_and_green on 31 December 2017 in English (English)

Dear all,

Since one month, we are running a cognitive study to understand human mental efforts of data classification in OSM and similar voluntary mapping projects. The study under the following link here. However, you can read more about the initial results

You still have time to participate in 2017, we wish you all Happy New Year


Dr. Ahmed Loai Ali

Postdoctoral researcher @ Bremen Spatial Cognition Center


Posted by anxiety on 31 December 2017 in English (English)

this is last day of 2017,i am looking forward a answer from someone.emmmmm,best wishes to myself

Communication channels

Posted by Dzertanoj on 29 December 2017 in English (English)

Being a distributed crowdsourced project, OSM strongly depends on communication channels to bring the desired level of coordination within communities. However, since there is a high level of independence and autonomy in these communities, it might lead to a situation of scattered and fragmented communication. I'm not proposing anything here, but I still want to bring this issue to attention.

Every technology used for communication (mailing lists, forums, messenger channels, IRC) might have a certain advantage over others, but the thing is that it has nothing to do with its popularity. The dominance of a certain channel within a community has historical roots and relies on a habit. An existing choice might have a justification, but that is not a reason for a particular choice. For example, why Russian-speaking community prefers forum over the mailing lists? Just because several people started using it many years ago. It's not because it's easier to search through it or because it has better message formatting features. But there is nothing wrong with it. However, there is one significant bad side.

Commonly used communication channel might get a "fork" just because several people (or even a single person) want to take over it or just because they have different habits. That's exactly what happened in Russian-speaking community starting a Telegram messenger channel. Those who don't want to use Telegram or who prefer non-real-time communication (forum or mailing list) over a real-time chat technology, become deprived of a significant part of a communication process.

Moreover, "forks" like that might be used to make certain decisions look more legitimate. For example, a certain tagging practice or a change of a Wiki page might be discussed in a limited circle of people using a new communication channel. Others, who use a different channel, stay unaware of that. While someone who participated in that discussion from could later use an argument that something has been discussed and there was no objection, so let it be this way. This is a practical example of using an existing selection bias to justify something because it is easier to pick a channel of communication where a certain opinion prevails and to get an approval of any idea that correlates with that opinion (also, look up "Gerrymandering" in Wikipedia).

I am perfectly aware of the fact that there is no real approval procedure for any kind of decisions forming a structure of the OSM project. But it doesn't mean that using technicalities like that for "political" matters is something totally acceptable. I hope that someone will, at least, think about it for a minute.

My suggestion on OMS

Posted by jason_yanczhang on 29 December 2017 in English (English)

I strongly suggest that OpenStreetMap should introduce its official applications on all platforms.

Location: Weikang Road, Wujiaochang, Yangpu District, Shanghai, 200433, China

Adding a change to "OSM Carto" (the "standard" map style)

Posted by SomeoneElse on 29 December 2017 in English (English)

There's a discussion over on talk about contributions to OSM's Standard map style. This diary entry explains what I did in order for a change to fix a problem with bus guideways that was visible in that style. It's provided here so that hopefully it can help more people that want to (but don't necessarily know how to) to contribute.

The first thing I did was log an issue for the problem that needed to be fixed. As well as describing the problem that also outlined the fix (actually I referenced some code in a different map style where I'd already fixed the problem). The initial discussion on the issue was helpful in that other people said that yes, they thought that it was a problem too.

However, describing the problem is only part of the way towards actually fixing it. In order to do that, I started by reading the "contributing" guidelines and the links from there.

I already had a github account. I forked OSM Carto into my area to create this. Within there, I created a new branch "guideways_low_zoom" (since deleted) just by typing the name in into the github UI.

I already had a virtual machine running Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (server) with all the pre-requisites in place. I'd set it up as per the switch2osm guide, but mainly use it for developing a different map style based on an older version of OSM Carto. Another option is to follow the recommendation in the OSM Carto repository and use Docker.

I then had to "git clone" my forked repository to set it up on that machine, and I then did:

git checkout --track origin/guideways_low_zoom

to get the correct branch there.

In order to actually get the vanilla copy of OSM Carto working, I had to follow the instructions in the "Shapefile download" section of the switch2osm instructions (essentially running "scripts/").

I then created a shell script to load a small section of data, similar to this script which I use for my own map style, but with slightly different osm2pgql parameters as specified both in the "switch2osm" guide and also OSM Carto's "install" guide.

The next thing to do was the actual code change. 2 files were affected, as can be seen here. The "project.mml" file decides what data is sent through to each layer and the "roads.mss" file contains the layer that we're interested in ("guideways").

There's one change to "project.mml" - reduce the minimum zoom that's sent through to the "guideways" layer from 13 to 11.

There are two changes to "roads.mss". The existing code just contained "[zoom >= 13]", so I added a new section for "[zoom >= 11][zoom < 13]" based on the equivalent zoom railways code.

I also changed the colour slightly from "#6666ff;" to "#6699ff;", and used the much maligned w3schools to "nudge" the colour in the direction that I wanted to go. The reason for the colour change was to make the bus guideway blue at zoom 13 less "in your face" at that zoom level; it previously dominated the view of that area. Colours need to be varied with line width to balance the overall visual impact.

In order to test the change locally I used a variant of a script that I already had, changed just to get the latest version of the OSM Carto style, reload it, restart renderd and apache2 and remove previously rendered map tiles. To bypass the browser cache of tiles I used "shift reload" to fetch tiles from the server.

I had to tweak both the line width at the new lower zooms and also the colour until I was happy with both. Once that was done I checked my changes into my repository ("git checkin" with a sensible description and then "git push") and created a pull request via "New pull request" in the github UI. This created this pull reqest.

What I should have done next was upload examples of the new rendering in the discussion of the new pull request. I'd actually already added them to the original issue instead.

I then answered a couple of questions about the change. On the original issue, I tried to explain why treating bus guideways as trams was not a good idea (they're similar forms of transport but used very differently in OSM). Also on the pull request I explained why the new guideway rendering should be handled by "[zoom >= 11][zoom < 13]" rather than just "[zoom >= 11]". The inclusion of that code was actually accidental (it had come from the railways low zoom section) but a check of the resultant mapnik.xml showed that it was smaller with "[zoom >= 11][zoom < 13]" so I kept that version.

The code was then merged within a few days and I deleted the local branch that I'd created and did a "git checkout master" to switch to the master branch again.

In order to keep my copy of OSM Carto up to date with changes that were made subsequently, I needed to do this:

git remote add upstream
git fetch upstream
git checkout master
git rebase upstream/master
git push -f origin master

In github it now says "This branch is even with gravitystorm:master.", so the whole process can now be repeated for the next change.

Reflections on 10 years of a changing Open Source Map

Posted by James Derrick on 28 December 2017 in English (English)

Reflections on 10 years of a changing Open Source Map

It was ten years ago today that I registered to map the highway!

With apologies to the Beatles, on 2007-12-28, I registered an account with OSM, started editing the map, and after returning from Falkirk to Cramlington, uploaded my first GPS survey data.

The map has changed rather a lot in that time, and not just in completeness, but in the diversity of the usage of OSM data. I was surprised a few years ago when visiting Lichfield that the Council was using OSM to show car parks, but shouldn't have been surprised at all when preparing for a walk up Simonside when the Forestry Commission linked to an OSM map based in a small way on my previous visit!

Back in 2007, OSM in the North East of England included the major long distance roads only. Pioneers with GPS must have driven blindly into the blank 'Here be Dragons' space probably rushing towards Edinburgh. Back then, my town of 45k souls was little more than the odd through road so my earliest traces are dendritic studies of suburban planning surveys. NW Cramlington dendritic housing Using the classic maze solving technique of 'follow the left hand side of the road', I cycled around local housing estates adding detail and getting progressively fitter. The improvement in my legs became important as survey cycle rides became progressively longer, ending up with an hour's travel to map a distant hamlet in Northumberland before heading back.

Although my heavy commuter bike didn't get any lighter, other tools of the field surveyor did improve. After my first Garmin GPS II+ GPSr fell victim to sea water ingress whilst teaching young dinghy sailors, I moved to a Nokia N800 - no, not the Lumia 800; the Nokia N800 Internet tablet. This was a full Linux device with a colour touch screen and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi at a time when tablets were only available from pharmacies!

Using the rather amazing (for the time) Maemo Mapper software and a Bluetooth GPSr 'puck' it was possible to both capture a GPX file and more importantly, make field survey notes on the same device.

Interestingly, even back then, proprietary maps cost a lot of money - around £150 for the N800 so OSM was rather useful.

The 640x480 camera was so poor quality, even I could have captured scenes better with crayons, so text notes were the order of the day. GPX files with one point per second didn't fill up the 256Mb SD card, and street names could be added directly to waypoints - something I recorded for posterity in the OSM Wiki with a screenshot back in 2008:

Maemo Mapper Insert Mark

Pecking away at a tiny on-screen keyboard with a resistive stylus was S-L-O-W (remember, this was 2008!), so I experimented with Photo mapping, and Audio mapping using time synchronisation and the several JOSM plugins to work out where a note was captured (as the recording device didn't have a GPSr). Years of field survey suggests mixed methods are best - photos for specific facts and general street scenes, audio for moving commentary, waypoints for signs.

Top Tip: A picture can indeed save a thousand words, which can be a long time when listening back to an Audio mapping recording for the forth time because wind and traffic noise mean you can't quite catch the spelling of that side street name!

Top Tip: Never rely on a single survey method or device. Use more than one GPSr (Garmin models capture inertia differently; phones have poor antenna), take spare batteries, a camera phone, and a pen (and a spare pen :-) ).

Ah - the first mention of JOSM. Like many powerful tools, starting out with JOSM was VERY difficult. I remember finger bending gymnastics trying to trace GPX files and add roads. My 19" CRT monitor must have looked like a sunflower as the screen was surrounded by a halo of yellow sticky notes containing scrawled keyboard shortcuts and tags.

After only ten years practice, I can trace about one building every four seconds in a dense area and probably have deformed fingers from jumping between A to add, S to select, B to add a building, SHIFT to re-align (and no, I can't remember the keys - they just happen). Unfortunately, I can see future archaeologists interpreting the pattern of muscle attachments in my hands as a sign of RITUAL behavior rather than Open Cartography!

After completing the survey of all streets in a 30km radius from my home, Microsoft announced in 2010 that Bing Maps could be used for tracing into OSM. This changed mapping from requiring direct GPSr field survey for ALL activities, to an iterative process of 'armchair mapping' using aerial imagery to rough-out road and building geometry first before capturing ground-truth, road names, actual position data, and gazetteer details with a physical visit.

Comparing the data captured with early Bluetooth GPSr (only capable of tracking 8 satellites) with modern imagery and Garmin GPSr, the results are surprisingly good. Sure, you can show spacial offsets using Trimble or Leica differential survey kit, but the features are mostly within the width of the road. Almost - smaller roads have less GPS data so are less accurate; wider larger roads have more traffic, so more traces, so more averaged centrelines.

Bing still has a lot more aerial imagery than myself (even after a DC-3 survey): Cramlington from a DC-3

With my locality mapped, my pattern of mapping has changed from area survey to maintenance, adding new developments, checking Note questions, and occasionally wondering why my past self interpreted a trace in such an obviously wrong way (with the benefit of 20:20 high-res aerial hindsight!)

Re-visiting early areas based on ground survey before aerial imagery does highlight some common issues:

  • Moving GPSr tend to use inertial averaging giving exaggerated corners. The impact is junctions can have poor geometry, with a straight 90deg T-junction skewed into a more complex Y or L, often reversing the 'give way' priority.

  • Straight roads aren't. Road engineers have big toys which don't like corners, so roads like to be straight as long as the terrain allows it. Early GPSr and parked cars conspire to make roads more curved than reality.

Top Tip: The easiest way to map a straight road is not to put bends in it! Simply - take out unnecessary extra points, and line up the remainder (e.g. the JOSM L-key).

So, after ten years of GPSr field cycle survey, how should you commemorate the milestone?

Well, a year ago I decided to map EVERY DAY for my tenth year - and somewhat to my own surprise, have managed the feat. After almost 9000 edits and 620 traces, Pascal Neis excellent tool shows 366 mapping days in the last year:

My 2016-2017 Mapping History

As well as mapping from a bike, I have also captured images and tracks whilst on a narrowboat on the UK canal system. Using both Garmin GPSr, and a Raspberry Pi complete with camera (much cheaper than a GoPro), I decided to arm-chair map several journeys from Lichfield to Stafford, Stone, Stoke on Trent, etc.

I ended up adding both urban and rural detail from Lichfield, down the S&W past Penkridge, to Autherley Junction, up the Shroppie to Chester, then back to Middlewich, Kidsgrove, then up the Macc mapping Congleton, Macclesfield, Marple, and New Mills (to name but a few), before stopping at Bugsworth (AKA Buxworth - the canal is older than the road signs :-) ).

This has taken some creativity, from using iD on a Linux desktop, OsmAnd on a phone, and even JOSM running fine on a Raspberry Pi 3 with official touch screen and 4G dongle whilst on a train back from a business trip!

JOSM on a Raspberry Pi 3 on a Train

Top tip: Use a scroll-wheel USB mouse as a touch screen is just not precise enough when moving at 200km/h...

Remarcably, for an embedded ARM teaching board, JOSM is quite usable on the RPi3 even when mixing GPX survey data with aerial imagery - as long as you use TAB to hide the sidebar to make the most of the small screen.

Thanks for all the Nodes Ways and Relations!

So, here's to the next ten years of OSM contributions both ground-truth and armchair, and thanks to all those other mappers, surveyors, wiki-fiddlers, sys admins, devs, DBAs, OSM Foundation, organisers, and not least our ex-BDFL who have made it all possible!

Where next? Well, there's three on-going construction sites to check, and a new one reported via a note... better get the GPSr and bike out!


Location: High Pit, East Cramlington, Northumberland, North East England, England, NE23 6RA, United Kingdom

Workshop on Mapillary Bangladesh at Eastern University, Bangladesh

Posted by Md Atikuzzaman Limon on 27 December 2017 in English (English)

Eastern University and OpenStreetMap (OSM) Bangladesh Community organized a daylong event on "Workshop on MapillaryBangladesh" held on December 15, 2017 at Eastern University Seminar Hall. More than hundred enthusiastic Mappers from OSM Bangladesh Community, Mapillay Bangladesh Community, YouthMappers Chapters in Bangladesh, and students of EU participated in the workshop.

Mr. Edoardo Neerhut, Community Manager, Mapillary graced the workshop with his presence as the Chief Guest. Prof. Sheikh Tawhidul Islam, Director, Institute of Remote Sensing, Jahangirnagar University was the special guest. Prof. Dr. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Eastern University, presided over the session.Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Canada delivered his speech to share his views with the audience.

The workshop started with the welcome speech by Mr. Ahasanul Hoque, Vice President, Humanitarian OSM Team. Mr. Hoque presented OSM Bangladesh and current status of Mapillary and gave some guideline for future mappers. In his motivating speech the session chairProf. Dr. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman mentioned that volunteering task is very important for students for their future. He also mentioned that in 1971, our victory was achieved by the volunteering initiative, Freedom Fighters were not paid. The Chief Guest of the workshop Mr. Edoardo Neerhut, showed details of Mapillary works, application and future plan of Mapillary. He was delighted to see the enthusiasm, hard work andinherent talentof the mappers.

There was a panel discussion where the participants openly discussed their mapping issues with the guest and experts, shared their experiences, ideas and way forward. Mr. Tasauf A BakiBillah, Head, Map Team, PATHAO;Ms. Maliha Mohiuddin & Ms.AirinAkter, YouthMappers, Dhaka University; Mr. Minhaz Mahmud, OpenStreetMap Bangladesh Community; Mr. Krishno Prashad Mondal & Ms. Sanjida Bintey Ali,YouthMappers IRS-JU;Mr. Atikur Rahman, YouthMappers Dhaka College, Mr. Shahin Matubbor, Mott McDonald; Mr. Md. Atikuzzaman Limon and Ms. Akhi Agatha, Youth Mappers at Eastern University were also presented their ideas and previous contributions.

The event organized by Eastern University, Mapillary, and OSM Bangladesh Community and sponsored by Mapillary and Institute of Remote Sensing, Jahangir Nagar University. The program successfully ended with a concluding note by Mr. Ahasanul Hoque.

Md Atikuzzaman Limon Coordinator, YouthMappers at Eastern University, Bangladesh

Location: Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka, Dhaka Division, 1207, Bangladesh

Days of mapping: Batangas City (December 2017)

Posted by TagaSanPedroAko on 26 December 2017 in English (English)

Batangas City's map is slowly growing and updated, thanks to having MAPS.ME and imagery by DigitalGlobe through their API. Much efforts are on local updates, and an ongoing effort to map Meralco's power network and public transport is being followed up, but most mapping is related to the local vicinity, especially POI's

Local updates

Thanks for having Maps.Me, many POIs, particularly those in the Poblacion, can be added now while on the ground, and notes can be created at the same time, with uploading to the OSM database done when now connected to the Internet through WiFi, such as at home, on Plaza Mabini (which has public WiFi provided by Globe Telecom's GoWiFi), or at the malls with free WiFi (such as SM City Batangas and Bay Mall, though the former has time-limited WiFi service).

Upon hearing of an area around Calicanto called "Lawas", I soon added a note for it around the area called as such.

One latest update is a future bridge between Ferry, Kumintang Ibaba, and Gulod Labac, which I added to OSM after hearing the news of such construction during the All Saints' Day vacation. The bridge is now mapped here as this

Being least detailed over the area along Route 436, I made some mapping of Lourdes Subdivision in Bolbok after attending a funeral service in Mt. Zion Memorial Park. I added a school (Princeton Science School), a home-based ''lomi'' restaurant, and a small Christian church, which is shown in this changeset. Further changes, like naming a street on the same area, adding an annex campus of a public school (Bolbok Elementary School), and correction the location of Princeton Science School, are done after returning back to Batangas City for Christmas.

Updates on the Kumintang Ibaba area are done through notes created by Maps.Me, after a ground survey, then mapping. After finding street names while on a tricycle ride through the back of Lyceum of the Philippines University Batangas, I added notes through the app, and made the changes on iD back home (see changeset 54641045).

With time to see the inside of University of Batangas - Elementary Department on December 15, I took time to see the building names, and made the changes after (see this).

Being the priority area, the Poblacion area (particularly on the commercialized areas along the major streets: P. Burgos, D. Silang, Rizal Avenue, and A. Evangelista) is one major part of the latest mapping effort. On the last day pf classes in the city, I added many POI's along Rizal Avenue, A. Evangelista, and the Lumang Palengke site, via Maps.Me, which allowed adding POIs upon sight, and creating notes at the same time, and uploading the changes when now connected on the Net. These changes can be seen here and here.

On a trip back to San Pedro, Laguna, I took time to add one several POI's and create notes for missing building names while on a jeepney to Batangas Central Terminal. The POI's added can be seen at changesets 54702550 and 54702518. On that trip also, I marked and added the name of a street beside Lyceum of the Philippines University Batangas (see this changeset).

For the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (reopened at December 5 after restoration following damage caused by the April 2017 earthquake swarm that rocked Batangas), many changes are done after on-the-ground observation of its grounds after attending a Mass on the 2nd Sunday of Advent (December 17). I added the whole grounds of the church, referred commonly as "Basilica Site", chapels within it, statues of the Virgin Mary, Immaculate Conception, and the Sacred , and a walkway behind the main church. The additions and modifications can be seen at this changeset and this following one

With the Batangas Central Terminal being slowly developed, update is needed already. So, through on the ground survey and new imagery (via DigitalGlobe API), I updated the vicinity of the terminal, added access roads, bus shelters, toll booths at entrance and exit points, and some POIs, and redrawn a Meralco 13.8 kV line connecting to a guyed post with three 75 kVA transformers supplying 240/415 V power to the terminal facilities and concessionares. The nearby Isuzu dealer is set for remapping, but being out of scope of the intended mapping work, I will create changes later.

With expansion work not yet reflected on the map, Batangas Port is also part of my latest mapping for Batangas City. I added now the expansion area, including its grounds, roads, and warehouse buildings.

Coming back to Batangas City, I took time to find missing POIs, and soon adding them to OSM. I made a small number of edits to add POIs sighted on a bus trip between Alabang and Batangas City, and add subdivision grounds around Alangilan on the jeepney trip to Poblacion.


Power line mapping, particularly of the 69 kV networks by National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and Batangas II Electric Cooperative (BATELEC-II), was the principal mapping work on Batangas City when not yet in Batangas City for a vacation. And on a few days, I took time to map the 69 kV subtransmission lines running along the future Calamba-Batangas Railway right of way, thanks to DigitalGlobe imagery through their API.

Being not updated since a number of 69 kV lines are relocated to a new switchyard constructed by NGCP originally to accommodate Meralco's 69 kV lines connecting its substations in Bolbok and providing power to JG Summit in Simlong, I eventually redrawn the mix of NGCP and BATELEC-II 69 kV lines to connect to the new switchyard connecting to a pair of 200 MVA transformers (one is active, and the other one is a redundancy or back-up).

Meralco's 13.8/7.97 kV system did not need any updates, save for correcting lines that form any of the circuits from Bolbok and Batangas City substations, but after arriving to Batangas City last December 9, a new 7.97 kV single wire line, connecting to a new guyed post with a 50 kVA transformer providing 220 volts to a commercial building beside it, is already placed, and I added it immediately, but using Level0, which required 2 changesets to add it (1st adds the posts and transformer, and the 2nd adds the line)


Much mapping is focused on renaming and adding jeepney stops, and expanding and remapping of the Batangas Central Terminal. Jeepney route mapping are no longer a priority, as the principal routes are already mapped, but mapping another route or modifying an existing one is still possible.

Future mapping prospects

A future railway line connecting Batangas City with Calamba is one among my future mapping prospects, and though no construction has started yet (the project, under the Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure program of President Rodrigo Duterte, is still in planning phases), I already tagged and mapped parts of the possible route, which will connect to Batangas Port instead of the Poblacion (i.e. at the Railroad Station/Maselang area, near Lumang Palengke), to connect with passengers disembarking from RoRo ferries, ships, and boats at Batangas Port, provide an alternate route for freight to Manila, which is primarily transported by trucks through the STAR Tollway and SLEX, and because of the possible right of way of a route to the original terminus at Poblacion being largely residential already, with some segments having roads laid over already.

There are plans for a future expressway which will extend STAR Tollway into Bauan, therefore decongesting Route 436 around San Pascual, but mapping of that road cannot be started yet until right of way has been already marked.

Updated Batangas City mapping page on OpenStreetMap Wiki

With many mapping being done, the Batangas City mapping coordination page on OSM Wiki, also included as part of WikiProject Philippines, has already needed update. With many sitios and subdivisions being mapped slowly, updates are done to reflect this. A list of very important POIs is now included, which is originally blank.

Location: Duluhan, Cuta, Duluhan, Batangas City, Batangas, Calabarzon, 4200, Philippines

Event Notes - Mini Mapping party at Kanchipuram

Posted by Shrini on 26 December 2017 in English (English)

I went to my home town Kanchipuram, India for Christmas holidays. We had a good active Linux Users Group called KanchiLUG there few years ago. We still have few members there doing nice works there.

Decided to have a mini mapping party at kanchipuram on Dec 25, 2017. sent a mail to our mailing list and asked people to join the party.

We had one volunteer replied. T. Dhanasekar. We met on dec 25 10 am. Created an account for him in openstreetmaps.

We both dont use smartphone. I borrowed my wife Nithya's phone. He did not get any. I dont have a motor bike there. I already took his bike. Hence, we decided to roam around the city together and add interesting places to OSM.

I explained app and how to add POI. We found many schools, temples, shops, clinics etc and added them. For few POI's, we did not find suitable types in

Will ask the team to add more types.

In 2 hours, we added 75 places. There are still tons of places to add at Kanchipuram. We will add them in upcoming days.

Location: Thirumetrali Street, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, 631501, India