CarolineH's diary

Recent diary entries

6th post - undergraduate geography dissertation

Posted by CarolineH on 27 October 2008 in English (English)

Thank you to all who replied last week. I still have more questions (below)...

First, some of my reflections on the Manchester mapping party that ran over the weekend.I have now been out with a (borrowed)GPS and made a minor contribution to the map. I took a lot of photos as I wandered round what I now realise wasn't a particularly large part of a network of paths within a park, not really sure as I started out what was worth capturing and what might/not make a valid contribution to the map. So I tried to note everything: signposts, cafe's, (permanent)ice cream stand, phonebox, CCTV cameras, animal enclosures/pens within a farm area, open spaces, children's playground, a tunnel, small bridges crossing back and forth over a stream, historic buildings/ Blue Plaques (English Heritage)etc. And then my camera battery ran out, so I had to stop taking photos and start writing notes and taking waypoints. When I returned to the mapping party base, and watched the event organiser re-draw over the tracks, it was fairly satisfying to watch a blank space get filled in, albeit only a small amount.

The main difference in my mapping technique/ practice from that of many (perhaps the majority of?) people, as far as I can tell from the responses I have had via this diary, is that I did not go out mapping alone. I went out in a group of three. Two friends of mine from the University (one male, one female) and I (female) walked around the park together, each with a GPS, walking (for the most part) together and reflecting on the mapping activity and our surroundings as we went along.
So, as a result, we generated three, near identical tracks, with two of us taking the same or similar waypoints. What exactly was the point of this doubling, or tripling up of GPS tracks? Surely a waste of valuable mapping time that could have been spent covering a larger area of the park? Would that not have been a more productive use of our afternoon?

Well, I would suggest that to an extent, yes, perhaps if we had split up and covered a larger area the map may have grown in terms of geographical area covered. But would we have had such an enjoyable day out by ourselves without each other's company; chatting about the OSM project and Map; what to include and what to leave out, why to include it, and who includes what? And we didn't just talk about OSM, we talked about anything that came up in conversation, and stopped for about an hour to have lunch in one of the park cafes.

So here is my question:

This approach seems to differ substantially from the 'form of mapping' that most OSMers / mapping parties adopt (as Richard suggested in response to my last post). Surely this more sociable form of mapping (and by this I mean actually going out mapping together, not just sitting in the pub talking about mapping practice over a beer afterwards) would attract a more diverse crowd along to mapping parties and the OSM project? It would help break down some of the barriers to entry - for example, you probably wouldn't take a child under the age of four or five (or younger still, as evidenced at the Manchester weekend) into a pub in Manchester city centre on a Saturday evening, but you would attend during the day if you knew other families would turn up. And ultimately, will the project not need to encourage a more diverse mix of people in terms of gender and age etc to serve its own interest and continue to exist and update, allowing OSM to perpetuate indefinitely?

Fifth post - undergraduate geography dissertation

Posted by CarolineH on 20 October 2008 in English (English)

Hello everyone,

Thank you to all those who responded to my question about the gender bias within OSM.

This week I would like to know whether you feel this apparent gender bias within the OSM community matters or not? Should it be a cause for concern?

Please comment here, email me via the site or at

Attending first mapping party this coming weekend and will post again next week.



Fourth post - undergraduate geography dissertation

Posted by CarolineH on 13 October 2008 in English (English)

While attending the State of the Map conference in Limerick, I noticed that women seemed to form only a small minority at SOTM '08 and, as OSM does not collect this type of data from members, I wondered if this was representative of the OSM community as a whole.

So, this week, I would like to ask:

From your experience, are the majority of OSMers male? And if so, why do you think this is?

Please comment here, message me via the site or at

Thanks and best wishes


Third post - undergraduate geography dissertation

Posted by CarolineH on 7 October 2008 in English (English)

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far...

Following on from the responses generated last week I would like to ask some more questions to do with mapping parties and the social aspect of mapping:

1) How far will you/ have you travelled to attend a mapping party?

2) Do you feel OSM mapping parties form an important part of your social life?

3) Are you primarily concerned with the mapped progress of your local (home) area, or with the success of the OSM project in general?

If you would like to share your opinions with me, and contribute to my dissertation, please respond here or by messaging me via the site or at

Thanks again,


Second post - undergraduate geography dissertation

Posted by CarolineH on 29 September 2008 in English (English)

My last post generated a good response from OSMers explaining why they got involved with mapping and joined in the OSM project. Thanks again to all those who responded.

I have decided to post some more questions along a similar line of enquiry, and am inviting anyone to respond and share their thoughts:

1) Do you view user-generated mapping, and taking part in OSM, as a hobby or a lifestyle choice?

2)Why do people attend Mapping parties?

If you would like to share your opinions with me and contribute to my study of the OSM community please either post a comment here, e-mail me via the site or at

Any response is appreciated and I will acknowledge all people who contribute in my dissertation, unless you specifically wish not to be acknowledged; please let me know if this is the case. I will not attribute names/ usernames to specific comments or quotes used within the body of my dissertation without first seeking your permission (most probably via e-mail).


First post - undergraduate geography dissertation.

Posted by CarolineH on 22 September 2008 in English (English)

No mapping activity as yet. Am researching for my undergraduate geography dissertation at the University of Manchester, and interested in what motivates people to participate in mapping and the OSM project.

I attended the State of the Map conference in Limerick in July as my first introduction into the OSM community, and am looking forward to the forthcoming Mapping Party in Manchester in October.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to share their opinions and experiences of mapping, and why they got involved with OSM.
If so, please get in touch with me either by replying here, or e-mail me at