Recent diary entries
Today's newspaper carried news and a map of an internal boundary shift of two of Ashgabat's boroughs ("etraplar"). About 1,376 hectares of land has been shifted from Buzmeyin etrap to Bagtyyarlyk etrap. More map editing ahead.
The newspaper also said the mayor proposed annexing more territory into the city, which means it is highly likely the outer boundary of Ashgabat will change again in the foreseeable future. Even more map editing ahead!
It's been a long time since our last post about OSMCha... In this period, we have implemented few features in the frontend, nevertheless we have done a lot of work on backend and prepared OSMCha to be compliant with the GDPR.
This backend work was necessary to avoid technical debt, make the system run faster and to have a good base to the future improvements. We updated the OSMCha backend to run with Django 2.0, Python 3 and Django Rest Framework 3.7.7. Other backend dependencies were updated as well.
It's not on production yet, but we have already started testing a new version of OSMCha with the modifications required by the GDPR. The API and the frontend will show user metadata only to authenticated requests. It means that, if a request is unauthenticated, the fields
'check_user' will not be present. Furthermore it will not be possible to filter changesets by one of these three fields. The anonymous requests will not return an error, but the results won't take in consideration these filter fields.
If you use the OSMCha API, our staging server is available to your tests, so you can verify the modifications needed by your software (Be aware that the staging server has only changesets older than
2017-09-26). To make authenticated requests, add to the header:
Authorization: Token <your_token>. Your user token is available in the user page of the staging server (soon in the user page of the production too).
The saved filter (AoI) RSS feeds will have a different authentication method that we need to implement yet. The features API is yet exposing user metadata, but very soon we will do a big change to it. Instead of exposing a lot of information about the features, it will return just the
suspicion_reasons of each feature.
The GDPR requires some additional changes in other pieces of software that are used by OSMCha. The osm-comments-api and the changeset-map will be closed for public use and available only to OSMCha and some other softwares that are GDPR compliant.
We are planning to put the GDPR compliant version of OSMCha on production on August 27th. If you have some issue or need some help with the changes in the API, don’t hesitate on contacting us by our mailing list or opening issues on github. The new API documentation is available at https://osmcha-django-staging.tilestream.net/api-docs/.
Talk at State of the Map
I presented a talk in State of the Map 2018 in which I spoke about how we are improving OSMCha for the OpenStreetMap community. It was amazing to meet with a lot of OSMCha users and receive new feedback and ideas. You can check the slides or watch the video on YouTube.
This and future diary posts also appear on my blog.
After introducing MapRoulette 3, the micro-tasking tool for OpenStreetMap, I would like to follow up with a series of 'Insider' posts. Each of them will highlight an interesting feature or function of MapRoulette.
This week, we will look at Virtual Challenges.
Challenges in MapRoulette
MapRoulette consists of Challenges, which are groups of similar Tasks. An example is the Embassies missing representing countries Challenge by user johanemilsson. It asks you to add missing
country=* tagging to specify which country the embassy, consulate or mission represents.
You can start working on this Challenge right away by clicking Start. That will take you to a random Task. Because this Challenge has Tasks all over the world, you could land anywhere. This is why it is called MapRoulette -- the 'Roulette' wheel spins and you get a random task! What is nice about this is that you get to improve the map all over the world, and see what the map looks like in faraway places.
But what if you want to focus on improving one specific area? MapRoulette makes this possible too, with Virtual Challenges. Let's talk about how to use those!
Creating and Using Virtual Challenges
A Virtual Challenge is a Challenge that consists of a custom group of Tasks in a small area. You can create a Virtual Challenge quickly and easily yourself, based on the Tasks that are already in MapRoulette. Here's how you go about this.
First navigate the map to show the area you are interested in by. If you zoom in far enough, you will see individual tasks appear on the map.
You can apply filters to further narrow down the amount of Tasks. For example, you could add a filter to only work on Easy tasks.
Once you're satisfied, you click the 'Work on mapped tasks' button. MapRoulette will ask you to give you new Virtual Challenge a name.
After you set the name, you will be taken to the first random task in you Virtual Challenge. At the top of the Challenge List, you will find a link you can share with others to work on the Tasks together!
Let me know how you used the Virtual Challenge feature and how you would like to see it improved.
OpenStreetMap evolved since many years. Millions of contributors are helping this project to grow everyday. Inspired by some of my friends, Karnataka and Ireland evolution projects, I wanted to vizualize different parts of the world.
Sri Lanka (January 2015 - July 2018)
Thailand (January 2008 - July 2018)
Bangladesh (January 2015 - April 2018)
Taiwan (January 2008 - July 2018)
Democratic Republic of the Congo (January 2016 - July 2018)
Peru (January 2010 - April 2018)
Ethiopia (January 2017 - July 2018)
Bhutan (January 2008 - April 2018)
I was able to create all the above animations based on their data size which were compatible with my computer memory. Most of these countries have datadump lesser than 200MB. If you want to create GIF's of your own, you can follow below steps:
Docker setup for Mac
- Signup for Docker hub, download it freely and install it.
- Test whether docker running correctly in terminal. To test quickly, run
docker run hello-world.
- Create an Ubuntu 16.04 container with
docker run -it ubuntu:xenial bash
Libosmium and dependencies installation
- Create a working directory (E.g: work)
mkdir workand update Ubuntu by running
- Install git
apt install gitand clone libosmium
git clone https://github.com/osmcode/libosmium.git
- Install libosmium dependencies. You can install all dependencies in one go
apt install -q -y cmake doxygen g++ graphviz libboost-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev libgdal-dev libgeos++-dev libproj-dev libsparsehash-dev make ruby ruby-json spatialite-bin zlib1g-dev
- Install protozero by running
apt install libprotozero-dev
- Compile and build by following 5 steps:
cd libosmium mkdir build cd build cmake .. make
- If you want
utfcpplibraries to be installed along with libosmium itself when calling
make install, you have to use the CMake options
cmake -INSTALL_GDALCPP -INSTALL_UTFCPP ..
- At last call
ctestto run tests. If you dont get any errors, Congrats! your libosmium setup is complete!
- Clone osmium-contrib
git clone https://github.com/osmcode/osmium-contrib.gitto working directory.
- Change directory
- Install boost_filesystem and boost_program_options packages
apt install ibboost-filesystem-dev libboost-program-options-dev
- Now build by these 4 steps:
mkdir build cd build cmake .. make
- After building osmium-contrib, change directory to mapolution
- Install remaining dependencies one by one
apt install bc imagemagickand GDAL library
gdal_rasterizepackage by running
apt install libgdal-dev gdal-bin
- Install gifsicle
apt install gifsicle
- Now build mapolution:
mkdir build cd build cmake .. make
- You can switch to different handler:
cmake -DHANDLER=RoadsHandler ..This will filter only highways from the country extract. To get buildings, switch to
- Download any small country data from Geofabrik.
- Copy country data to container from host from a new terminal window
tar -cv <country.osh.pbf> | docker exec -i <container_name> tar x -C /home/work/osmium-contrib/mapolution/buildFor example:
tar -cv bhutan-internal.osh.pbf | docker exec -i practical_banach tar x -C /home/work/osmium-contrib/mapolution/build
- After copying to
builddirectory, run following command
./mapolution -s 2010-01-01 -e 2018-07-31 -S 30 country.osh.pbf(-s start date, -e end date, -S number of days) - This will create an
outdirectory where shapefiles were stored.
./rasterize.shto get final GIF output as
- Now, from another terminal window copy
anim.gifto host from container
sudo docker cp <container_id>:/home/work/osmium-contrib/mapolution/build/anim.gif .For example:
sudo docker cp fbb0afd5e095:/home/work/osmium-contrib/mapolution/build/anim.gif .
That's all! You've got animated OpenStreetMap evolution. Let me know if you could able to create one by these steps and post your result in comment. Happy mapping :)
August is the Philippines’ National Language Month. So I took the time to translate this diary in my local language, Filipino/Tagalog, which can be found here.
Late last year I’ve been fascinated with the concept of and started advocating about “inclusive mobility.” For me, inclusive mobility refers to a state where everyone and everybody are free to move everywhere and have access to all modes of transit, and all roads and bridges are passable.
It was amazing to see and experience the streets of Milan. I believe they have reached the state of inclusive mobility where both automobiles and differently-abled pedestrians have been taken into consideration in the transport planning process.
Getting to SotM 2018 at Politecnico di Milano…
For this year, SotM was hosted at the Politecnico di Milano. There are a lots of ways to reach the venue. maps.me suggests either by car, walking, cycling (bike share programs are available in Milan but I wasn’t able to try it :( ) or train (but no tram?). In the first day of the conference, I traveled alone because I woke up late and I didn’t want my mates to wait. But they instructed me how to go there (thank you Geoffrey and Tima!). I opted to take the subway from Republicca to Milano Centrale to Piola. At Piola, I found myself walking towards the wrong pin location and walking around the area for 40 minutes under the heat of the sun! I was so lost that I decided to ask a stranger to point me in the right direction (thank you!).
So yeah, I missed 1/4 of SotM Day 1. But good thing there are recorded videos of the whole conference which can be found in Youtube.
Inclusivity, diversity and representation...
Before writing this diary, I watched the keynote address by Kate and Heather which I missed. Heather discussed the 5 components/values of being an “open” organization/community by OpenOrg. One (1) of it is inclusivity, which she stressed to be one of the hardest part.
Inclusivity means that we cover or include all regardless of gender, race, age, religion, income status, etc. This brings us to the topic of diversity and representation. We need diversity of mappers because each of these sectors have different perspectives, values and beliefs. These perspectives, values, and beliefs are representations of the sector they belong to.
Through OSM, we are connected and bound by the same vision which is to create a free and editable map of the world. It is our shared landscape.
This is why we promote diversity, include and encourage the youth and the young at heart, etc, to make sure everyone is well-represented and visible on the map.
So for me, inclusivity in OSM is where everyone and everybody from all parts of the world are free and empowered to map.
Inclusivity at SotM 2018
I believe the SotM2018 organizers had put their best effort in making the conference an “inclusive” one. Here are some of my observations and stories regarding inclusivity at SotM 2018:
- Participants came from 56 countries, that’s more than a fourth of all the countries in the world!
- SotM organizers livestreamed the event for those who couldn’t come personally; and uploaded the videos on Youtube afterwards
- Participants’ age range varied! I met Austin, who is 18 years old (I hope Heather was able to meet him too!), I also saw a young kid, maybe around 9-12 years old!
- A wide range of talks and panel discussions presented the concept of inclusivity (I believe all talks have somehow touched the subject of and promoted the concept of inclusivity) Here are some of the general topics:
- Gender diversity: Open Gender Monologues by Heather Leson (OSM) and The road towards diversity in OSM still needs to be mapped by Celine Jacquin (Geochicas) must be noted
- Differently-abled persons: persons with disabilities, youthmappers, displaced communities, and low income setors
- Interpolating number addresses
- Talks on inclusive mobility! (There were many talks on transportation that I wasn’t able to attend ☹ )
- Mapping tools and techniques for everyone!
- Interpretations of OSM imagery and data for all ages, sectors and background!
- OSM for Environmental Protection! Even trash should be visible in the map!
- Academic tracks were included at SotM 2018! I find this very interesting especially as someone who is still a student in the uni. Lol
- I was part of the Scholarship program and we have a 50:50 men to women ratio, and came from different regions of the world. Kudos to OSMF for giving equal opportunities!
- It is also great that we're encouraged to write OSM diaries in our own languages!
A word of thanks…
I would like to express my deep gratitude and congratulations to the OSM Foundation (especially to Rob and Dorothea), Wikimedia Italya and other organizers, volunteers (Polimappers!), sponsors, speakers, facilitators and awardess, as well as the different OSM organizations and local communities and all the participants of SotM 2018. This conference would have not been great and successful if not for you.
More powers to OSM and open data/mapping!
PS. I posted a thread on twitter on the things I love most about Milan.
Here are some photos of the talks.
And photos of the wonderful people whom I met in Milan.
Thanks for reading! :)
In the last few days I've been working at adding schools in the Azores. The Azores islands have a lot of these, scattered along the villages and cities of all islands.
Work consisted of adding buildings, pitches, roofs, and creating amenity=school areas on school grounds of all schools managed by public entities. Additional information such as addresses and contacts were also introduced.
Here's the changeset: https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/61385366
A few weeks ago i started my next mega project on osm. This one includes adding surface tags to all the freeways in the Valley Of The Sun
It's been a long few weeks, and a lot of work. But as of today i am 25% done with the project. Included in the project is adding streetlamps, walls and fixing any errors i find along the way. I'm also aligning the roads as i go to better fit the newer imagery. More updates will be added the next few weeks as i make more progress.
Thanks! Hans (aka) TheDutchMan13
Been working on getting the lakes in Hammerfest and Kvalsund mapped. I've transitioned from hand drawing lakes to using OCR on satelite images in order to make the task of mapping the lakes plausible.
"There are empty territories, but then a question arises: if they are completely empty, then why should they be mapped? For some reason, the local people decided that they don’t need to map that."
"We, as white men, are very privileged, and we simply do not see obstacles."
"Maybe in some form we will use the technologies made back in 2008-2009 for Osmarender"
"Why women can not program themselves an editor understandable to them, use tagging schemes that are necessary for women..."
"What this is about, is that Mapbox ruined the vector tiles for OSM."
"To sum it up, we see that OSM is turning into Google Map Maker."
Last week there was a big OpenStreetMap conference in Milan, where I obviously went. There were a lot of great talks, I met a hundred awesome people and shared many ideas. During the conference I wrote a live feed with thoughts and photos, though in Russian. That's why I don't plan to write a separate blog post: I've written enough.
At the end of the second day, when most people went to drink beer, me and four other attendees gathered to talk about OpenStreetMap and things learned at the conference. We recorded an 83 minute Russian-language podcast, which was shared on the live feed. But I also wanted to share it with the English-reading community, because some ideas from it were quite important, in my opinion.
Thus, I present to you a complete transcript of the podcast translated into English! I used Google Translate and spent couple hours on fixing words, so it should be understandable. I'd be happy if someone read it to the end and gave their thoughts on things discussed.
And I'd like to thank Dorothea again, who lent us a voice recorder. Without it, it would be unlikely the podcast could be deciphered at all.
State of the Map 2018 reinforced the diversity of the global OpenStreetMap Community and also lit a torch into the future of the OSM. This blogpost highlights my experiences in Milan and my key takeaways from the conference.
From the day I received the news that I was granted a scholarship to attend the conference, to the day I landed in Milan, it was all an awesome experience. The OSMF through Rob and Dorothea, provided wonderful support to make sure we all got our visas approved, and flights and accommodation booked. Visiting a new place can be intimidating, but thanks to the wonderful support everything went smoothly.
For me the fun began in Dubai where I met other scholars and participants Arnalie, Montshy, Iyan, and Eugene on the way to Milan, traveling as a group made it more fun and easier. The train ride from Malpensa Int. Airport to the Milan Central station took about 55 minutes, and then a 15 minutes walk to our hotel welcomed us to Milan.
Milan, a bit warmer than i expected - did not disappoint, with a mix of modern and ancient architecture, there was lot to take in even on the first day. But what made it even more interesting were the people I met, the scholars and other participants. New friendships were made.
Before SOTM 2018 I had attended State of the Map US in 2015 and 2017 and also helped organise State of the Map Africa in Kampala in 2017. But I had always wanted to attend the global one, and so my chance came at Milan, 2018.
SotM 2018 was a wonderful conference, I enjoyed every bit of it from day one to the last day. It was interesting to meet in person people I have been interacting with for a long time online. I was able to connect with different international and local organizations and communities, like the HOT community, FOSS4G 2018, YouthMappers, OSM Africa and Mapillary.
On day two of the conference, I was able to participate in a panel discussion on “Sustaining OSM Communities” led by Erica Hagen. It was interesting to talk about the challenges around sustaining an OSM community and the solutions different communities are trying to come up with.
The sessions ranged from technical to non-technical ones, there were always so many good choices that it was always very hard to make choice, the good news is that most of the sessions were recorded and I can revisit and listen to those that I had missed.
On the third and last day of the conference I was also able to do a presentation about our project in Uganda - Mapping for Refugees. You can watch the video here
The conference also announced the Swahili Version of WeeklyOSM which will be coming out soon, we are putting together a team of contributors, most of them YouthMappers from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
It was also good to meet other mappers from other countries in Africa, and we were able to have an OSM Africa BoF meeting at the conference where we talked about the upcoming SotM Africa 2019 as well as setting up local chapters in different countries in Africa. The session was attended by mappers from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Togo, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, and a board member of OSMF.
My favourite part of the event was the closing session where OSM Awards took place. It was so exciting to see my friend Tshedy from #MapLesotho win the greatness in mapping award and Crowd2Map Tanzania who won the Africa award, both were well deserved. Afterwards, they announced the venue for the next SOTM which will be in Heidelberg Germany.
The conference made my love for OpenStreetMap grow even stronger. My dream is to see OpenStreetMap communities in Africa get more organised and become official local chapters of the OSM Foundation. It is about time the State of the Map Global comes to Africa and when the opportunity comes, it should find all of us ready.
It's always something hard to describe when there's philosophical things bumps into your mind. And it even gets more sophisticated when you start to meditate.
A week ago, when I first stepped onto the soil of Milan along with curiosity and anxiety, I felt lonely. I walked aimlessly on the plaza under the glorious shine reflected by the Duomo, wandered around the Sforzesco Castle, everything just looked so different.
However, the loneliness didn't last long for me.
At the moment I entered the campus that morning, I realized it's my wonderland. I felt so excited to see so many people from different backgrounds gathering together, talking about their experiences with OpenStreetMap. I was deeply impressed by the opening session which transmitted envisions towards the application and development of OpenStreetMap.
I listened to a variety of talks during the three days. I learnt creativity from that emoji map. I learnt the need and difficulty to transform the basic data structure. I learnt new methods to make AOIs. I learnt the efforts to maintain and grow a local community. And others too...
I'm not going to elaborate things and thoughts about talks, workshops or lightning talks much here because beyond the knowledge and technics that I learnt from those wonderful talks, I would like to focus on more important discovery in this dairy. It helped shape my cognitive values, and will benefit me a lot in future study and daily life.
People who travelled a lot always told me that how different the outside world is. But they just saw the scenery and felt the culture, they hardly exchange thoughts with other people. This world is about people, people who have great minds and unique stories to be told.
At the social event, I got to know many people through the introduction by Mr. Miura. It was wonderful to perceive the atmosphere of diversity. It's something hard to describe because in my country there is no such diversity. Most people are egocentric, they like to consider things from their situation. Therefore, it's hard for them to adjust to a globalizing world. It's this diversity that taught me to think things from a global perspective when mapping and learning. I will take more into consideration when encounter disputes or disagreement.
It's diversity, It's unity.
People there all have passion towards OpenStreetMap, I felt I was in a big group when I attended the conference. We have things to share and discuss with each other. Although our opinions may differ, we are united at the State of the Map. It's really amazing when you see unity through diversity. I think that's the essence of human society as well as the charm of OpenStreetMap.
Among all the conversations I made with others, I absorbed a lot from scholars. They're lovely people who contributed much to OSM in various ways. I really admire their achievements and their enthusiasm. I also had nice time with many great people, whose wisdom and humor that I will never forget.
All these motivated me to become smarter, and contribute more and better so that I can share more and do more with OpenStreetMap.
There's a bunch of gaps remaining to be filled.
In my country, for some reason we could not have an official community but only chat groups serve to connect mappers. Nevertheless, I will still maintain the current condition and seek opportunities for growing the community. In addition, I will continue to spread the spirit of OSMers to more people who love mapping and explore more possibilities to utilize OpenStreetMap.
Finally, I want to thank Rob and Dorothea and many other diligent people who made this happen. I really enjoyed this year's SotM!
Hope to see you again in Heidelberg next year! May OpenStreetMap prosper and thrive!
2018.8.3 in China
How the OpenStreetMap data was made available to people's smartphones
After the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community crowd-sourced with over 250 interested citizens the data of their capital's public transportation system in OpenStreetMap, a schematic paper map was created from this data.
In a next step the community wanted to offer state-of-the-art routing applications to the visitors and inhabitants of Managua. For this, the data from OpenStreetMap was combined with also crowd-sourced schedule information by the Sofware tool osm2gtfs. The result is the common format for public transport data - GTFS -, which was then possible to include into existing applications, where the data can be used now:
Managua is available in the following mobile aplicaciones
Transportr: Public transport route planner for Android. Because its convenience and its characteristic of being Free Software, it is the best option for users of the collective transport.
TransitApp: Travel assistant and route planner. Application for Android and iOS that tells you how to move around the city using public transport or bicycle. The application uses the data of the users to estimate the positions of the routes in real time.
Download the apps and try them yourself!
How it was done:
In the first place the whole effort has been a grounded on the collaboration of many actors, from hundreds of curious and active citizens and students to gather the data, members of the Nicaraguan Free Software communities, who provided high level technical work, a group of international initiatives that collaborated on programming the missing Software to make this pioneer work happen, donours through our crowdfunding campaign, organizations like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, that collaborated in communication and provided a legal base for the handling of funds, and last but not least, the partnerships with companies that included the data in their products to offer a reliable solution to offer the services to a larger group of consumers. But let's get a bit into detail:
Then, we partnered up with the following initiatives and companies to include the data into different services:
- Published on transit.land - the most relevant library of open GTFS data.
- Integrated into the online routing service Navitia, hosting kindly provided by Kisio Digital.
- Included the Navitia endpoint into the public-transport-enabler, through a respective pull request to make it available in Transportr.
- Direct integration into the commmercial application TransitApp, through the company behind the Software.
Thanks to everybody involved to make this happen!
I would like to start practising to mark some of known trees like coconut, mango trees. How do i get started. I have iphone 8 plus. Thanks
The Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap Community started some years ago a public transport project to create the first proper bus map of a Central American city. Once the data has been collected in a collective crowd-sourcing process directly on OpenStreetMap, a paper map has been created. In a next step this data should be made available in different applications. The most obvious and best path was to rely on the common format GTFS, which can be easily integrated in most public transport routing solutions.
At this point, checking different options to convert OpenStreetMap data into GTFS - unfortunately none was satisfying. Within this desk study I also stumbled over the python script osm2gtfs, by Torsten Grote, the creator of the great Free and Open Source public transport application Transportr. This script was targeted to only work for Florianopolis in Brasil. It grabbed data from OpenStreetMap, parsed online information about schedule from the bus operators' website and created a GTFS out of it.
osm2gtfs was not ready to be used for any other city, but it seemed to be the best option to further develop: it relied on suitable libaries like transitfeed and it was programmed in Python, which I think was a good choice. So I teamed up with the maintainer and Jaime from the Costa Rican OpenStreetMap community, to evolve osm2gtfs into a useful tool for many cities. Together, we basically rewrote the initial script into a new structure, which is flexibly extendable for other cities, different sources for time schedule information and introduced a general standard process, which could work for many cities also without programatically extending the Software.
Due to the implemented changes it allowed at a later stage, more initiatives to join the effort: Accra Mobility, a project by the French Development Agency, directly through our partner initiative JungleBus, who extended the osm2gtfs to produce the GTFS for the capital and largest city of Ghana.
And also in Nicaraguan, in the northern city of Estelí, internatioal weltwärts volunteers picked up the dream of mapping the public transport system there. They made it happen, and collaborated extensively with the osm2gtfs Software package.
osm2gtfs is a community based initiative for the development of a versatil tool to convert data from OpenStreetMap about public transport, combine it with external schedule information in order to create a General Transit Feed (GTFS). The Software has been programmed by community members of Brasil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and France. Now osm2gtfs can be used without any programming skills, whenever using our defined input format. And, of course, with programming skills it is always flexibly extendedable to support any other city's particularities and sources for schedules.
If you are interested to convert OpenStreetMap data into GTFS, check out the documentation and feel free to communicate over the project's issue queue or contact us directly. Of course any contribution is highly appreciated.
How does it work?
The script retrieves current data about public transport networks directly from OpenStreetMap via the Overpass API. It stores the data in python objects and caches on disk for efficient re-use. Then the data is combined with another source of schedule (time) information in order to create a GTFS file using the transitfeed library.
For every new city a new configuration file needs to be created. Additionally, schedule information should be provided. By-default the schedule information is expected to be provided in a certain format. However other formats are supported through extending the code. For any city and schedule format the script can be easily extended, see the developer documentation for more information.
Wetlands and swamps once dominated the western part of Ba Ria Vung Tau province have been converted into industrial parks and seaports. The remaining parts were gradually transformed into shrimp farms to meet the export-driven demands of the economy.
The mangrove forests which used to occupy all the swamplands are now limited to riversides only. If this trend continues, the landscape will be transformed into factories and apartment buildings in the next 10 years.
Over the last couple months I've been busy fixing mapping in North Andover, MA, where I currently live. Issues with the mapping here in Massachusetts have largely been because of a lack of addresses, street data, business data, and stagnant notes left on the map for upwards of 4 years or so.
I've been very active with a couple projects as of late:
##North Andover Addresses and Street Overhaul; Massachusetts Address Import notes This project is progressively going through all parcels within the town and manually adding each address to the building, plus adding driveways, and assigning building=garage or shed as necessary. Plus, drawing in sidewalks as separate ways and correcting intersections and turn restrictions as necessary. It's a slow process, because there's so much to verify and add, and I'm doing this process largely on a block-by-block process, alone. This has gotten massively easier lately, however, as I've learned how to use JOSM to some extent, and discussion started about a Massachusetts wide address import, of which I provided details on how to do such an import using JOSM and the Conflation plugin. (Details of the current import effort are documented here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import/Catalogue/MassGIS_Addresses) Let's delve deeper into this...
The Massachusetts Basic Address Points is a database divided by town with POI / point data encoded at the center of building polygons for addresses, however the data for streetnames and housenumbers have tags that need renaming, and all the streetnames are in upper case. We had lots of talk on the talk-us-massachusetts list and discovered several issues: 1. Is the title() function appropriate considering the possibilities for false positives, and how many such positives would there be (McCoy Street, YMCA Way). 2. How would you handle data conflicts with multiple addresses to the same building. 3. How would you split up the data import so that it doesn't cause havoc on the server?
My opinion on the title() function was that the number of double capital items that would be made in error would be small enough to still warrant importing all address data, reliant on persons to manually or semi-manually edit such features at a later date. I believe we came to an agreeing consensus, but discussion is still taking place on this.
I suggested that data conflicts could be manually reviewed. If you have 36 Howe Street, and the import wants to put in 38 Howe Street next to it, you could pull up the MassGIS parcel map, check which neighboring parcels are officially using which addresses, and in this case, merge the two into addr:housenumber=36;38. Note, I wouldn't use the hyphen symbol, as it has the connotation that every number between the two are in the same building, e.g. 36, 37, and 38 Howe Street, which may or may not be the case. Discretely listing each one as it's own number separated by a semicolon is much cleaner.
While the community continues to stir on the subject of how to execute a massive import of the data, I realized that I could use this address data to simplify my own small scale edits. By loading the address import database for my town in with my edits, I can conflate the import data, do a manual verify for each address using the L3 Parcel Map, move buildings, draw addresses, and complete it all in one fell swoop. I thoroughly reviewed the OSM Wiki on whether doing small scale imports with manual verification are an issue, and apparently it doesn't qualify as an automated edit, and not necessary of a full import documentation, since it's all verified personally for each and every edit being made. It's still a slow process, but verifying matching data is a lot faster than clicking and entering numbers ad nauseum. It's progress.
As such, the North Andover address and general fix-up project is about 20% complete, with all addresses west of MA Route 125 being completed and verified. I really wish I knew how to implement a tasking engine to make this easier...
##Detail mapping of Merrimack College, public schools, etc. I've also being doing detail/micromapping of very specific locations within the town. Specifically, Merrimack College, large shopping areas, or public schoolgrounds. I read through the information contained on the wiki, and basically came to the conclusion that micromapping is fine, but if done in specific circumstances that could warrant it. I feel as if it's warranted for locations where the land features are managed, such as planted trees, parking lots, and public areas. It helps to create detailed views of these public areas so people know exactly what it will be like there.
I've been drawing grass, adding trees, walkways, and parking lots to make such locations as detailed as possible.
##SOTM 2018 notes on navigation data I've been listening to the SOTM talks while at work, and discovered one talk about turn based and directional assistance mapping within OSM. Apparently some of the modern tools being developed are using front facing camera data to assign turn lanes, and using these tools you can easily add such data into OSM. I plan on exploring this some more, but for those curious, you can see the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEml0vO3qvM
##Final Thoughts As always, I'm learning new things about OpenStreetMap every day, and every little bit of mapping I do helps to learn new tips and tricks about mapping more effectively and in a way to make a better map for others. JOSM is great for power mapping and toolset use, but iD still provides a dirt-easy way to contribute.
Over the last years several individuals of the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community MapaNica.net collaborated fruitfully in various occasions with UNICEF Nicaragua to experiment with participatory geotechnologies and children and adolescents on the Caribbean coast of the country.
This is the publication note by UNICEF Nicaragua (freely translated into English):
The approach of UNICEF Nicaragua with MapaNica.net emerged after the presentation of Felix Delattre, a member of the MapaNica.net community at the TEDxManagua conference in 2013. UNICEF Nicaragua became interested in the initiatives of the community and began to define joint efforts to be carried out: community mapping activities so that people, especially girls, boys, adolescents and young people, are empowered by participatory technologies in the most vulnerable areas of the country. The purpose was to identify specific problems to fight for the protection of children and adolescents. This publication is the systematization of the processes carried out in this respect. With the advancement of new media and global networks, transformations in knowledge management are evident by which more people have wide access to information, data and code (computer languages). However, so far, both the computer languages and the technologies are mostly dominated by a priviledged minority, and they generally don't apply it for social purposes.
One of the biggest challenges is to achieve active participation in digital media of the entire population, including girls, boys, adolescents, and young people to make information, data and code accessible. In addition, these initiatives support them to achieve the skills of the XXI century for a future employment, exchange knowledge and, ultimately, create alliances and participate in the solutions to problems that affect the rights of children and adolescents in the digital era.
The publication can be downloaded:
Article about OpenStreetMap in the print magazine of the Austrian Scientific Exchange Service (OeAD News)
For the two students Taalaikul (15), Ulsana (16) and their teacher Kaiyrgul from the remote village of Jani-Talap, which lies on the edge of the roof of the world - on the Himalayas in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan - water is the central theme. In the spring, the area is regularly flooded during the snowmelt, but after a few weeks, the wide river bed, which runs past the edge of the village, dries out for the rest of the year. The environment of the village appears dry and barren in summer, snowy in winter. The modesty of the people, but also their poverty can be felt and seen in the village. People make the most of it, having impressive patience and work together to improve the living conditions in this almost forgotten village that is hardly to find on any map.
The new media and open forms of collaboration through the Internet offer many opportunities to take on formerly professional tasks in your own hands: This ranges from Citizen Science, the idea that anyone can make scientific contributions, to gathering and writing collaboratively the largest structured collection of knowledge in the world - the Wikipedia - or as well self-filmed video stars on YouTube, and in this case to create an accurate world map together with millions of people from all countries of this earth.
One of these initiatives is a Citizen Science project on environmental education at the University of Central Asia, where students and teachers from ten villages in the Tien Shan mountains participate, among them the aforementioned Jani-Talap students. From university teachers and students, they learn everything about water, environmental cycles, the measurement of water quality, to filter it and make it as useful as possible. Of course, many questions in the analytical investigations revolve around the "where", that is, the origin and presence of water. However, most of the geographical maps of the villages in question and their surroundings were missing to work on this question. With the free and technologies around the OpenStreetMap project, Taalaikul, Ulsana, Kaiyrgul, and another thirty students and teachers themselves were able to become the geographers, creating the basis for their scientific research - a map of their village.
OpenStreetMap works much like Wikipedia: There is also a simple edit button that opens a map editor in the Internet browser. Anyone can use a satellite image to draw streets, add points and provide known information. In addition, there are a variety of other ways to record data locally - even without an Internet connection, be it paper and pen or smartphones with GPS location system. For the Himalayas, there was little geographical data on the world map of OpenStreetMap. At least the main roads were drawn, albeit inaccurately. Getting usable satellite images of the individual villages was often impossible. With a good dose of fun, the students and teachers tackled the topic of maps and learned about the technical tools around OpenStreetMap. The analytical reflections and life experiences of the teachers enriched in a wonderful way the student's fascination about technology and their irrepressible curiosity and desire for change.
The Citizen Scientists in Kyrgyzstan created within a few days a detailed map of their respective villages. So they gave this information as open data in the knowledge of all humanity. All information in OpenStreetMap is not only accessible to anyone, it is also explicitly allowed to be downloaded, reused, to create additional analysis, maps or computer programs. In addition, there is already a whole ecosystem of mobile applications, computer programs, program libraries and geographic information systems, which are free software that can be used by anyone without discrimination or expense. In the Tien Shan Mountains, the geographical information of these villages is now available in digital form for the first time, and together with the existing software, offers extensive application possibilities.
Concretely, the Citizen Science projects were able to use the maps created to investigate access to clean drinking water in Kyrgyzstan: where does the water come from? Which sources are acceptable? How far do you have to go and get it? Who carries it? And what methods are used to make it drinkable? Publishing on OpenStreetMap also ensures that the information continues to be consistent and is always picked up, enriched and enhanced by all sorts of people. In this way, the inhabitants of the villages hope that tourism will be strengthened and that the local economy will be stimulated. In the capital Bishkek, for example, the taxi drivers have teamed up and improved the already existing map in OpenStreetMap in order to use it on smartphones. This will help them locate hard-to-find addresses and better serve customers.
The open geo-information can be used for research and economic development, enabling each person to contribute to the improvement of the environment. In extreme cases, they can even save lives: The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is a global non-government al organization that generates map data in the event of a disaster and provides them to relief organizations such as the Red Cross or MSF. Especially in the remote and endangered areas of our planet updated and detailed maps are rare. Especially after natural disasters, many volunteers want to help, and through OpenStreetMap they can do collectively. By this common effort, in only a few days, entire areas can be recorded on a new maps, that helps to save the population. Even during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, the free geodata were collected by thousands of volunteers, creating probably the best map ever existed of West Africa. It has been used extensively by humanitarian organizations and has contributed directly to the effective functioning and success of the mission.
This constructive aspect of digitization, the ability to create something with new technologies that would not have been possible without them, means democratizing knowledge and skills. That's just one ingredient to make our world a better one.
Recently, Microsoft released 125 million US building footprints as open data across 50 states. The data is freely available for download and use. You can read about previous release of 9.8 million buildings here.
With the help of tippecanoe and Mapbox Studio, I have visualized Hawaii dataset to know how data looks like.
Sharing few screenshots and gif: Honolulu
The dataset doesn't contain height attributes and looks good for me. You can find it in Github.
As a coach for the Open Summer of Code in Belgium, I thought the community would be interested in reading a little about it and get inspired - along with reading how many of the teams used a map and specifically OSM.
What is the Open Summer of Code
If you have never heard about the Open Summer of Code yet, it is an awesome project. Students create an open source or open data application which a real client needs. The client -often, but not always a governmental organization- sponsors the students. During the four week program, the students get relevant workshops, gain lots of experience, have lots of networking opportunities and are exposed to other Open Source projects and ideas. This all is organized by Open Knowledge Belgium, a small but amazing organisation which furthers the use of open data in Belgium.
This year 73 (!) students participated, along with 17 coaches, making this eight edition bigger then ever. Furthermore, oSoc has been more international then ever, with lots of international students and projects and having a spinoff in Spain. This first Spanish edition had 10 students whom enjoyed it a lot. In other words, don't hesitate to contact us. Wherever you are, you are welcome as student, coach, client of partner organization or perhaps even as organizer of your own edition.
For me personally, it was the first I participated to oSoc. I had the honor of coaching two teams, quite a challenge for someone just stepping in; but whatever challenge arose, there was always some coach with the right expertise to help out. Furthermore, with Ben Abelshausen (Xivk) and Jonathan Belien (jbelien) being coaches as well, OpenStreetMap was well represented, especially when Joost Schouppe passed by as well.
Maps in the projects
Lots of the projects needed a map. In the spirit of the project, we encouraged everyone to use open source and open data projects. OpenStreetMap is of course a perfect fit for this. And with so much OSM experience in the room, there was always someone to get people started with Leaflet or Overpass-turbo.
And boy, lots of projects needed a map: 10 of the 17 projects. Out of those ten projects, only one did not use OpenStreetMap. Ironically, this was one of my own projects: the project focused on visualizing sea data, thus the ESRI oceanographic map was suited better.
The other nine used OpenStreetMap in some form or another. Some used OSM as a small embedded map as extra information about some building, whereas other projects had it as a more central component; thus a map visualizing lots of data.
Ben coached another two projects. The first project, bike4brussels is a route planner for cyclists in Brussels offering many handy options, such as having a more relaxed ride, the shortest ride (which often is over bicycle-unfriendly roads), a compromise between those or a route with a bias towards the cycling network.
Ben's other project was even more OSM-centric: the Brussels governement asked us to compare their official data with OSM. They use OSM regulary for their operations, as the official data they offer has no routable graph. In other words, the OSM toolchain is better then their own internal toolchain - but they wanted to make sure that every road and all other official data is available within OSM as well. This project indicated the growing level of trust in the project and the maturity OSM has reached over the years. We're winning!
The developers view
In other words, lots of students worked with OSM in varying degrees - for small basic needs such as a simple map up to complex tasks such as the road completion project and route planning. However, they all agreed on one thing: OSM is very dev-friendly. This clearly shows the global effort that has been put into OSM, not only into the actual data but also into the software surrounding it - for which oSoc thanks the OSM community. Without OSM, some projects would have been more expensive or would have been totally impossible!
A great experience
All in all, oSoc was a great experience that was partly possible due to the power and awesomeness of OSM, but also thanks to the bigger open data/open source movement. The project clearly shows that an open approach works, that freedom and working together pays of in the long term.
I'd thus like to thank all of OSM for their work, the entire oSoc team (including the student, coaches, clients and organizer Dries) and invite everyone all over the world to participate next year as well to an oSoc.