OpenStreetMap

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StreetComplete

Posted by Drallibor on 14 July 2017 in French (Français)

J'essaye l'application StreetComplete, qui ne permet que de modifier des éléments en se basant sur des "quêtes" à réaliser dans une zone. Très efficace en nombre de contributions finales sur la carte...

Location: Résistance, Chelles, Torcy, Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France métropolitaine, 77500, France

Bienvenidos a #CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ (costa oriental, golfo de Urabá) (Municipio de Turbo, Caribe colombiano)

Posted by MangleBlanco on 13 July 2017 in Spanish (Español)

Hola mapeadores de OSM!

Es un placer presentarles la primera tarea del projecto: #3302 - #CARTOCOSTA-URABÁ (Turbo, Colombia) Lado oriental.

Este proyecto es financiado por: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) #Microgrant Program.

Este permitirá mapear humedales costeros en el golfo de Urabá para ayudar a los planificadores territoriales y a las comunidades de pescadores en su respuesta ante amenazas de inundación en el área.

El área de trabajo está ubicada en el Municipio de Turbo (Departamento de Antioquia, parte sur del Caribe colombiano)

El objetivo del proyecto es mapear una línea de costa de aproximadamente 190 km de largo y una franja costera de 2-3 km.

Realizaremos mapatones de entrenamiento el jueves 13 y el viernes 14 de julio en la Facultad de Ingenierías de la Universidad de Antioquia (sala de computos, 3er piso del bloque 20), Medellín, Colombia.

Se invita a los mapeadores remotos a unirse.

Estén pendientes de mapatones futuros y de noticias!

Mayor información en el blog: https://mangleblanco.com/2017/04/25/20170424-mapping-the-southern-caribbean-uraba-antioquia-colombia-time-to-go-open-and-humanitarian/

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

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

Hello OSM mappers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remote OSM mappers are welcome to join.

Stay tuned for further mapathons and news.

Check out our blog:

https://mangleblanco.com/2017/04/25/20170424-mapping-the-southern-caribbean-uraba-antioquia-colombia-time-to-go-open-and-humanitarian/

Balkan matters

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

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

EDIT: missed a word

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

Mapping Grenfell Tower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Computational Science

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

Computational Science Program

College of Natural & Computational science

Graduate building, 7th floor

Addis Ababa University

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

Start of #SweetsyDoha

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

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

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

Test

Posted by pkm on 10 July 2017 in German (Deutsch)

TEST

Wrocławska ciekawostka z południa.

Posted by LokalnaCytryna on 9 July 2017 in Polish (Polski)

Dodałem brakującą wyspę w Parku Południowym (są trzy). Głupio było patrzeć na brak czegoś, co często się widzi. Kolejny epizod będzie w zimie! :)

Location: Dworek, Borek, Osiedle Borek, Wrocław, województwo dolnośląskie, Polska

Iniciando en OSM

Posted by tuxsv on 9 July 2017 in Spanish (Español)

#Iniciando en OSM

Bueno he comenzado a colaborar en el proyecto OSM espero sirva de ayuda todas las ubicacones que estoy agregando. Gracias.

Location: Colonia Las Marias, San Rafael Obrajuelos, Departamento de La Paz, República de El Salvador

Posts em português agora vão para o Twitter e Facebook

Posted by vgeorge on 9 July 2017 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Para dar maior visibilidade às atividades das comunidades lusófonas do OpenStreetMap, a partir de agora, novas postagens em português (pt) e português brasileiro (pt-br) nos diários de usuário serão publicadas automaticamente na conta de twitter OpenStreetMapBR e página OpenStreetMap Brasil.

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

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

Pretty easy, the mailto: links in the archives at https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo, used with a reasonable client, maintain threading.

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

Использование OSM карты при отсутствии доступа к сети Интернет

Posted by iagsav on 9 July 2017 in Russian (Русский)

Цель: использование OSM карты в случае отсутствия доступа к сети Интернет.

Для достижения данной цели можно поднять стек OSM, но это связано с определёнными трудностями.

Известно, что вся база картографических данных OSM хранится в файле планеты: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Planet.osm. Поэтому, используя данный файл и программы для его обработки можно решать большое количество задач, связанных с:

  1. просмотром данных отдельных участков карты;

  2. рендером отдельных участков карты для печати;

  3. изменением данных в файле планеты.

Размер файла планеты в pbf формате на 08.07.2017 составляет около 36 Гб, в формате osm - 58 Гб.

Указанные ниже команды успешно выполняются в ОС Windows и Linux (Ubuntu).

Задача 1. Выборка участка карты по указанным координатам

Для решения этой задачи выполните следующую команду:

osmconvert planet-latest.osm.pbf -b=41.9376,55.5247,42.1429,55.6311 -o=Murom.osm.pbf

В результате будут вырезаны данные города Муром Владимирской области. Более подробное описание программы OsmConvert находится по этой ссылке: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Osmconvert. В качестве альтернативы можно использовать программу osmosis. Политическая карта мира, с помощью которой можно определиться с координатам выбираемых данных находится по адресу: https://github.com/GEOF-OSGL/OSMPoliticalMap.

Задача 2. Правка карты

Для правки карты можно использовать ПО JOSM (http://josm.ru/). JOSM позволяет загружать и просматривать локальные файлы в формате pbf и osm. После правки файлы также можно сохранить на диск в формате pbf и osm. Если попытаться открыть pbf файл, который был создан в JOSM, будет выдано сообщение об ошибке. Это связано с тем, что элементам карты, которые были созданы, не были присвоены идентификаторы. Эти идентификаторы присваивает сервер OSM при загрузке на него правки. Если использовать для хранения данных формат osm, такой ошибки не возникнет. Для конвертации pbf файла в osm можно использовать следующую команду:

osmconvert Murom.osm.pbf -o=Murom.osm

Данная программа успешно конвертирует данные из pbf в osm даже если в pbf находятся отрицательные идентификаторы.

Примечание. Команда по выборке данных из файла планеты успешно работает, даже если в файле планеты находятся элементы карты с отрицательными идентификаторами.

Задача 3. Добавление обновлённого участка карты в файл планеты

Следующая команда добавляет файл MuromNew.osm.pbf к файлу планеты planet-latest.osm.pbf

osmconvert MuromNew.osm.pbf --out-o5m | osmconvert - planet-latest.osm.pbf -o=planet-latestNew.osm.pbf

Файл MuromNew.osm.pbf хранит новые данные, которых не было в planet-latest.osm.pbf.

Результат добавления можно проверить следующим образом:

osmconvert planet-latestNew.osm.pbf -b=41.9376,55.5247,42.1429,55.6311 -o=MuromOneMoreNew.osm.pbf

osmconvert MuromOneMoreNew.osm.pbf -o=MuromOneMoreNew.osm

Файл MuromOneMoreNew.osm можно посмотреть в JOSM или Maperitive.

Задача 4. Рендеринг выбранного участка карты

Решение задачи рендеринга под ОС Windows выполняется с использованием Maperitive (http://maperitive.net/). Эта программа может открывать файлы .osm и .pbf, а затем экспортировать их в формат png для последующей печати. Maperitive успешно открывает osm и pbf файлы даже если в этих файлах есть элементы карты с отрицательными идентификаторами.

Задача 5. Использование карты с мобильным приложением

Для создания карты для мобильного приложения OsmAnd можно использовать программу OsmAndMapCreator: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OsmAndMapCreator. Инструкция по созданию карт для Maps.Me (http://maps.me/ru/home) находится по данной ссылке: https://github.com/mapsme/omim/blob/master/docs/MAPS.md.

По данной ссылке https://github.com/iagsav/osm_script находится скрипт, который на вход получает osm файл, отредактированный локально и содержащий отрицательные идентификаторы, и переопределяет отрицательные идентификаторы в положительные. Переопределение выполняется с учётом максимального значения положительного идентификатора в файле. Особенность данного скрипта в том, что результат его работы не может использоваться для объединения с файлом планеты, т.к. файл планеты может содержать идентификаторы элементов, которые были добавлены в локальный файл после обработки, в результате чего может произойти конфликт идентификаторов.

Благодарности: при написании скрипта огромную помощь оказал АрПи: telegram.me/Vsehposlav.

Statistics Canada and OSM building pilot project in Ottawa background.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add Map

Posted by kaungmay on 8 July 2017 in Burmese (မြန်မာဘာသာ)

Tagondaing တံခွန်တိုင်

Location: Tagondaing, ကြာအင်းဆိပ်ကြီး, ကော့ကရိတ်ခရိုင်, ကရင်ပြည်နယ်, 17031, မြန်မာ

Tagging bridge heights from open imagery

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

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

HGVs, lorries, trucks, whatever you call them, need to get from A to B without breaking either the road or themselves. Which means the map needs to know about height and width restrictions. 11foot8.com is a good example of what happens when truck drivers don't have this information (and also can't read):

11foot8.com

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

Step 1: Identify low bridges

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

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

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

Step 2: Find height from imagery

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

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

plan route

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

see photos

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

There's even an (undocumented?) option to show Mapillary views directly in the OSM Maxheight Map: http://maxheight.bplaced.net/overpass/map.html?mapillary=true

Step 3: Map it!

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

The results

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

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

lorem ipsum

Posted by paarschmuck on 7 July 2017 in German (Deutsch)

lorem ipsum

Declaration of professional relationships and potential conflicts of interest

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

Dear HOT and OSM community,

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

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

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

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

Missing Maps partnership with disastermappers heidelberg/ GIScience Research Group

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

Ein Semikolon in opening_hours hat Folgen

Posted by kreuzschnabel on 6 July 2017 in German (Deutsch)

Es ist gut, dass wir Öffnungszeiten in OSM erfassen. Echtzeit-Navi-Anwendungen wie OsmAnd markieren in den Suchergebnissen gleich, welche Einrichtungen geöffnet sind und welche nicht.

Das Schema, nach dem die Zeiten angegeben werden, ist allerdings einigermaßen komplex, und einer der beliebtesten Fehler ist das falsch gesetzte Semikolon. Ich habe schon viele davon ausgemerzt (und in meiner Anfangszeit einige selbst gesetzt, ich bin keineswegs besser!).

Deshalb die erste Regel: Benutz im Zweifelsfall immer das evaluation tool. Da kannst du oben eine Kalenderwoche aussuchen, darunter dein opening_hours-Konstrukt eingeben, und dann wird dir übersichtlich angezeigt, wann demnach offen und wann zu ist. Du kannst den String auch gleich da überarbeiten und dann mit copy&paste ins OSM-Tag übernehmen.

Das oben angesprochene falsche Semikolon schleicht sich immer gern dann ein, wenn nur wenige Wochentage von einem ansonsten festen Schema abweichen – nehmen wir an, Montag bis Samstag ist 08:00-12:00, Dienstag und Donnerstag zusätzlich 14:00-18:00 geöffnet.

Elegant ist es, je eine Regel für die Vormittags- und für die Nachmittagszeiten anzugeben, und ganz schnell hat man dann so was getippselt:

opening_hours = Mo-Sa 08:00-12:00; Tu,Th 14:00-18:00

… und ist schon reingefallen. Erklärung: Eine mit Semikolon abgetrennte Regel bedeutet eine vollkommen neue Angabe, wird also als „nur dann geöffnet“ interpretiert und macht damit die gerade genannten Vormittagszeiten am Dienstag und Donnerstag gleich hinterrücks wieder ungültig. Aus OSM-Sicht ist diese Einrichtung dienstags und donnerstags jetzt vormittags geschlossen, denn von widersprüchlichen Regeln gilt immer die letzte.

Richtig wäre dagegen ein Komma zwischen den zwei ergänzenden Regelsätzen:

opening_hours = Mo-Sa 08:00-12:00, Tu,Th 14:00-18:00

… auch wenn das irgendwie komisch aussieht, weil das Komma ja auch die Wochentage trennt. Auf Nummer Sicher geht natürlich, wer die Wochentage einzeln aufzählt:

opening_hours = Mo,We,Fr 08:00-12:00; Tu,Th 08:00-12:00,14:00-18:00

Das ist etwas weniger elegant, weil die Vormittags-Öffnungszeit in beiden Regeln steht, aber hier überschreibt sich nichts. Das funktioniert auf jeden Fall, und hier ist das Semikolon richtig, es sind ja zwei unabhängige Regelsätze für unterschiedliche Wochentage.

Andererseits kann man sich das Überschreiben durch einen neuen Regelsatz sogar zunutze machen, indem man die geschlossenen Nachmittage aus einer zu reichlichen Angabe nachträglich „ausschneidet“, mit einer off-Regel:

opening_hours = Mo-Fr 08:00-12:00,14:00-18:00; Mo,We,Fr 14:00-18:00 off

funktioniert auch. Hier ist das Semikolon richtig, die off-Regel überschreibt wegen ihrer Zeitangabe nur die Nachmittage.

Es gibt also mehrere richtige Wege, so was einzutragen, leider auch einige falsche.

Ein zweiter beliebter Fehler betrifft die Regelung „oder nach Vereinbarung“, englisch „on appointment“. Das wird hinten dran gesetzt, aber nicht mit Semikolon (dann würde es alle anderen Regeln überschreiben und nur „nach Vereinbarung“ gelten), sondern mit zwei senkrechten Strichen || abgetrennt – das heißt „zu allen anderen Zeiten gilt das hier“.

Es ist nicht ganz einfach, deshalb trifft man mich auch oft noch auf dem evaluation_tool an. Ist keine Schande.

Und denkt bitte immer an die Feiertage – an alles, was feiertags geschlossen ist, gehört ein PH off hinten dran, mit Semikolon :)

Better Walking Papers

Posted by Zverik on 5 July 2017 in English (English)

Walking papers from the Tula Mapping Party

I have talked publicly about improvements to walking papers since at least SotM 2013. Made a blog post here in 2014 with some thoughts. But all I've seen were new ways to print tiles or atlases. While I admire the Field Papers and MapOSMatic fork improvements over the past years, a good walking paper is more than that.

For a long time I have been using a 28-step process to prepare walking papers for my mapping parties. It involved using Maperitive, Inkscape and some proprietary software. This year I finally got fed up with reanimating that old renderer, which doesn't work perfectly on Linux, and tried something else. I had always been recommending QGIS for printing maps, and I decided to try it myself. Turned out, making walking papers with it is really simple and straightforward, albeit not without issues.

I started writing another guide with QGIS and GDAL and all the new tech, but it quickly grew to 22 steps. Still too many. Having discovered the Python Console in QGIS, I started experimenting with automating a few tasks. One thing after another, and now I have automated almost everything, fixing a few issues in QGIS on the way. I present to you...

QGIS with a Walking Papers popup menu opened

Walking Papers QGIS Plugin

It is the simplest way to prepare good walking papers for your mapping party. All you have to do is sketch the pie, and the plugin does the rest. Here are the complete instructions:

  1. Install the "Walking Papers" plugin from the official QGIS repository.
  2. Click the button with blue rectangles and choose "Download OSM Data".
  3. On a layer it created draw a polygon around your mapping party area (click a pencil button, and then "area" something near it. Left mouse button adds a node, right button closes the area), and choose the same menu item again.
  4. Yay, we've got a map. Sketch the pie with lines in the "Pie Overview" layer.
  5. Having finalized the pie, activate the "Pie Sheets" layer and draw areas around quarters that go on each of the printed sheets. Usually it's 2-3 sheets per a pie piece. Name areas like "4-west", where 4 is a pie piece number, and "west" helps a mapper to locate themselves.
  6. Click the blue rectangles button and choose "Prepare Atlas". That's all, check out the sheets and print them or export them to a PDF file.

Amazing, right? For a regular mapping party this way of preparing walking papers gives you much more control, and you would need to do much less explaining when handing these sheets to participants. Here is why I prefer it to atlas-printing websites:

  • The data is very recent. It is downloaded from Overpass API, and you don't have to wait for a server somewhere to catch up. Buildings missing? Ask mappers to help drawing them, and print the papers an hour before the party, with everything they managed to draw by that time.
  • Custom map style. With online services you have basically one good choice: Stamen's Toner. It is not perfect for walking papers: labels are in English, lines are too thick and dark, buildings don't have numbers and are hatched, so you can't draw anything on top of them, and the water is awfully black.
  • Vector maps. You are not limited by zoom levels, and thickness is specified in millimeters, not pixels on some maximum zoom level.
  • Custom attributes. The bundled style prints house numbers and building heights on buildings. It is not easy to alter that at the moment, but by manually editing osmconf.ini and wp_style.yaml files in the plugin directory ($HOME/.qgis2/python/plugins/walking_papers) you can add any attributes and change the style however you want.
  • Rotation. It is frustrating when the roads in your mapping area go in 45° angle on the map, which makes most of the space on walking papers sheets unusable. With this plugin, maps on your sheets are rotated so objects on the map are as big as possible, and you have plenty of space to put down POI names and house details.
  • Speed. No more waiting for an hour while your task crawls through the queue. Click a button, get an atlas, that's all.
  • Works offline. Download a map area in JOSM beforehand, or copy it with a flash drive from a connected computer, and use the "Open OSM Data" menu item.

I hope this plugin helps you with organizing a mapping party. We know these don't help with attracting new contributors, but parties are fun, you get to know your city or village better, and the amount of data you collect is unmatchable by any other data collection method.

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