Chaos99's Diary

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Another happy customer

Posted by Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 in English (English)., the biggest and most 'official; geocaching website has just announced that they will switch to OSM maps.

They state that they have been contacted by Google and would have to pay for their map usage in the future. Probably they didn't like that idea very much.

As a geocacher myself, I'm quite happy about the move. Their premium account already costs some money, and I wouldn't want that price to increase because of google.

Until now, OSM maps were an option on their main map display. lately they switched their static map thumbnails to OSM, now they moved the main map too.
They say they are using leaflet, user report that for know the tile source is MapQuest. But future plans seem to point to an own server, as they already talk about the new features they can implement with OSM, that weren't possible before.

Just do yourself a favor and don't dive into the comment section of that original blog post. A particular 'unhappy' customer is flaming heavily against OSM.


I'm in the aftermath of preparing some talk slides and I'm going nuts over it!

Please: when you share images (like group photos, screenshots, cake) on the wiki,
don't just put them under CC-Attribution-ShareAlike License (or state that they are, if you are not the creator), but also NAME THAT ATTRIBUTION!

It's not enough to write CC-BY-SA under each picture. Put a name (or an acronym, nickname, website name, company name etc.) beside it. If you are the creator, you are free to choose how the attribution has to be done, but you have to actually do it!
If you just uploaded an image from someone else, then try to find out how the original creator wanted to be attributed.

For a group of people who care a lot about licensing map data, we care surprisingly less about the stuff we share on the wiki. Wikipedia does that a lot better, but they actually learned through very expensive mistakes.

(Yes, I know I could just attribute everything to if no one other is named. I would be out of harms way, but that is not how the license is meant and it's hardly fair to the original creator.)

I'm giving a talk about OSM in the next days and I'm trying to find mobile apps to recommend to general OSM users (not (yet) mappers).

I'm personally using an Android phone and my pick is Locus, but even this one might not be the best. Unfortunately I can't go with 'most popular' app, as those will get / are getting blocked now due to heavy tile server usage.

So I would really like to know what YOU think is the best app for Android/iOS/WinMobile. Do you know of any apps that behave better, like using an own tile server or do local rendering? But beginner friendly usage is a must! (And Geocaching features a big plus.)

Knock yourself out in the comments. That's a very pretty 'please' here.
Thanks in advance!


PS: Yes, I know of the excellent lists of apps in the wiki. They just don't do recommendations.

Im Moment folge ich gespannt der Diskussion hier:

Nachdem AeroWest OSM Luftbilder gesponsert hat (, mit denen auch in meiner Stadt endlich ordentlich die Bebauung erkennbar ist, wollte ich mich natürlich sofort aufs Mappen stürzen.

Leider ist die ganze Sache technisch noch nicht so weit wie rechtlich (he, wann hat man das schon mal so herum). Es existiert noch kein WMS Server, der die Bilder JOSM-konform ausliefert. Das (mühselige) Importieren einzelner Bilder sollte zwar eigentlich mittels einem Plugin klappen, auch dieses verweigert aber noch den Dienst.

Im Forum wird wild probiert: verschiedene Pluginversionen, JOSM-Versionen, Betriebssysteme, Bildvorverarbeitung mit anderen Tools, Projektionskorrekturen usw. Alles noch Frickelkram und für den unbedarften Mapper nicht nachzuvollziehen.

Sehr schade, denn die Bereitstellung der Luftbilder ist zeitlich begrenzt.

Sobald sich im Forum eine Lösung abzeichnet, die auch für den Laien praktikabel erscheint, melde ich mich wieder. Hoffentlich stirbt der Thread nicht vorher ab.

Danke schon mal vorneweg an alle Bastler und Entwickler.

Gerade hab ich entdeckt, dass das Thueringer Forstamt eine Karte mit allen Erholungswegen (Wander-, Rad-, Reit- und Skiwanderwege) online gestellt hat.

Das ist ein mehr als lohnendes Ziel fuer einen Datenimport oder halt erst einmal eine Nutzungsanfrage. Insbesondere Wald- und Forstwege sind in Thueringen zwar zahlreich, aber leider noch unterrepraesentiert in OSM.

Da ich nicht weiss, ob ich dazu komme eine Anfrage aufzusetzen, habe ich das Angebot erstmal unter
dokumentiert. Wer Zeit und Muse hat, kann gerne schon mal Kontakt aufnehmen.

Der Link zum Angebot des Forstamtes ist:


does anybody know a way of retrieving the state for a given coordinate via some kind of API?

Like getting 'Bavaria'(Germany) or 'Wales'(GB) or 'Lublin'(Poland).

There seem to be such services, as some geotagging tools for pictures use them. But I don't know which services or APIs they use and if it's OSM based.

Any help (even if it is just on nomenclature; is this a reverse-geo-db?) is much appreciated.



Ok, I found no way of making that title sound NOT like spam. Sorry for that.
But let me explain:

You may or may not have heard of the micro-payment-slash-donation service called flattr (
It works worldwide, but for now is somehow a bit european if not german-centric.

I have to give a little explanation, bear with me as this turns to OSM soon. In short words its a system where you commit yourself to spend a self chosen but fixed amount of cash per month to support otherwise free online services, blogs, creatives and so on.
Supporting someone is just one click of a button and you can give to as many people as you like per month. Your fixed monthly amount just gets divided into smaller chunks. The psychological trick is that you just have to decide once how much you want to give and than click away without much concern about the money at all.

Now you can only give to those who are also participating. So a lot of things you want to support can't be 'flattered', which is a shame.
Flattr itself hosts a user generated list ( of websites people want to flatter, but can't because they are not able to.

Combining both entries OSM ranks place 6 on this list with currently 164 people willing to donate money to the organization, the website or the service.

That's not an awful lot of people, but considering that most flattr users tend to support sites on a regular basis, there is some money in for OSM.
Also it is a very nice gesture to receive even small donations for a otherwise free service. Unfortunately there is a catch to it, as you are required to 'give to get' at the moment. You have to spend at least the minimal amount of 2 Euro per month on others to be able to receive for yourself.

So, to the OSM team, please take a look into this and think about it. It would be nice if people (like me) could support and thank you for your work by using this service.

To all other readers: please take a look into it too. It's a very easy way to support all the people who give you a great and mostly free online world you take for granted every day.

Btw: I'm not associated with the flattr folks. I'm just a participant and joined as a 'giver' to support the sites I love. I would really like to receive some comments on what you think about the service in general, so feel free to express your thoughts.

Almost every day I'm out and about roaming my surrounding with a GPS device collecting track data.
I've found a ton of roads and ways not already in the map. As I use OSM data for in-car routing, I also find a lot of missing or
erroneous turn restrictions.

Thats cool right?

No, it isn't.

'Cause all this data ends up in a big pile of files either on my GPS or on my computer, never to be uploaded and integrated to OSM.
My memory fading away with time on where those turn restrictions were and what type of way it was I wandered.
I'm quiet sad about this myself. So I wondered, why don't I find the time to incorporate all the data into OSM?
Well I'm actually doing a lot of data uploading, writing descriptions, posting photos, vote on things and so on.
It's just that it is that I'm on, and not So I still wonder why. What makes geocaching so much more
motivating than OSM? (Follow this Wikipedia link if you don know what geocaching is.)

Well I can only speak for myself. But I'm pretty sure this extrapolates to quite a lot other people too.
The basic activities on OSM and geocaching are quite similar. You go out and carry a GPS with you. Either finding things according to coordinates or finding things to record its coordinates.
Then you return home and record what you have done. Either by writing a log description on, or by tracing your GPS track in JOSM.
I admit that using JOSM is slightly more complicated and time consuming than writing some text into a website form. But that's not the point. I'm a geek, I love complicated things. I do them for fun.

What separates OSM and geocaching for me is what you do after you uploaded your data. On OSM all you can do is sit back and marvel at the map, which will show a tiny new way or mostly just an existing way in a slightly new position and maybe render style. That's it. All your work meant that approx. 20 pixels changed its color in a sea of data generated by other users.
Well of course if you are in the top league of contributers you will show up in some lists, or you may manage to bring a complete new village onto the map (I managed to do that myself a long time ago). But for normal day-to-day editing, you won't get anything noteworthy.

With geocaching on the other hand, you are rewarded for every find. Even without any further work on your own, you will be presented with your number of finds and your finds for every type of geocache. With some work you get a massive load of statistics to put on your profile page that you can compare with the ones of your friends. In which countries have I found caches, how often were I the first to find, what difficulties have I found, how far away from home have I found caches, on which day have I had my most finds, whats the eastern-, western-, norther- or southernmost cache I have found, what the farthest away from home, what was the oldest cache I have found? That's to name just a few. With just a little bit more work on your own, you will receive badges you can present on your profile page. Thats like Bronze for finding more than 250 Micro-Caches, Gold for finding a cache above 1500m or Sapphire for finding a cache every day for 70 days in a row.

I may foresee two objections here:

At first you may argue: "But who likes statistics anyway?" Well, although I won't normally admit it: I do. I already mentioned that I'm a tech geek, right? And I'm sure there are many more on OSM. I'm actually German too, which somehow means I like dull things like statistics, bureaucracy and football. And at least one of these things has to be true, hasn't it?

The second argument may be: "But geocaching is just a game, OSM is serious!" Well again, OSM may have serious fields of application, but that doesn't mean that you can't just handle it as a game as well. Actually OSM may benefit from being more of a game. As all crowd sourced projects it lives and dies with its contributors, so it has to keep them happy. You will always keep a core group of activists even if your project is boring as hell, but look where the German wikipedia is heading with this. So keeping the project fun is a core aspect of keeping it alive. And games mean fun like nothing else. You may want to watch this TED-talk on a similar subject.

So, as a conclusion, I would like to propose to come up with some statistics that can motivate people to keep on uploading data. (Length of ways added, number of different POIs, farthest from home... almost all things from geocaching will translate quite well.)
Design some badges, medals, trophies or whatever to present on profile pages for certain milestones reached.
The How did you contribute to OSM Page of Pascal Neis is a really god start.

This would, at least, motivate me to do more work on the map.
So please give me a lot of feedback on this. Do you think this will generate more motivation? Do you think it's bullshit? Are you able to design some badges or do a statistics page?
I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cross post from the blog post comment:

Why I don't tag turn restrictions in osm as often as I would like to: because they don't stay in memory. I experience them while driving, where I can't take notes. I don't remember them later when editing and there are cumbersome to note when on foot.

So here is my question: are there any tools to edit them live on the road on my android phone? Most editor for android are still basic and don't support relations. But I would actually go for a dedicated turn-restrictions-only editor which therefore is fast and very easy to use.

Comments and recommendations welcome!

No 'avoid highway' on etrex

Posted by Chaos99 on 23 July 2010 in English (English).

Last time I went for a ride on my bike (that's the loud one, not the one with pedals) although I know the aera quite well I let my eTrex Legend do some routing.

I wanted to take some arbitrary scenic route, so I switched the 'avoid highways' (don't know if it is translated that way by garmin) option on in my routing settings.

Guess where it tries to direct me? Straight to the nearest Autobahn.

So does anybody know if this is
a) a mapping failure
b) something not yet possible with mkgmap
c) a bug in mkgmap
d) a bug in computerteddys map
c) a bug in garmins routing soft-/firmware


I know there are other places to ask this and get a more technical answer, but I just wanted to check for similar experiences first.

Dakota 20 ok with osm?

Posted by Chaos99 on 21 June 2010 in English (English).

Owning an eTrex Legend HCx myself, I nevertheless recommented a Dakota 20 to a friend in search for a GPSd for osm and geocaching.

Can anyone confirm that the Dakota 20 works well with the standard downloadable osm maps for garmin (like the ones from Computerteddy or the AllInOne Garmin Map)?

I would also be happy about any other comments regarding the use of the Dakota 20.
Whats the real uptime on one battery charge for example?

Thanks anyway


I've just returned from my trip to the birth country of OSM, the UK.

Lets first remark that my OSM powered eTrex guided me and my rental car along the way for the whole trip. I found every POI (pre-extracted from google) I wanted to go in decent time.

But I was not as impressed by the quality of the map as I anticipated to be.

Unlike my last trip to Denmark, where most minor roads were just missing in the area I visited, it wasn't missing roads in the UK.
While the roads were there, there lacked a lot of information vital to car routing (turn restrictions, oneway streets, beeing a dual carriageway or not) and POIs (Petrol Stations, Supermakets, ATM machines).

I won't hold this against osm. It's clear that osm always has insufficiencies and needs time to get better (and it certainly will).

I just start wondering why it is so much better in other areas? I had no problems in New Zealand, as well as in Scotland and here at home in Germany?
It can't be imports of official data: while NZ and SCO has them, GER has not and ENG has them too. It can't be because of the rural areas I normally travel to. SCO and NZ are just as rural as ENG (I went to Cornwall) and even the area around my hometown in GER is. So it must be mappers. But I suppouse there are more mappers in the UK than here in GER. And they started earlier. And what I get through the website is they are even better organised (a lot more mapping parties). Even the yahoo images are far better in the UK than in GER, where they can be only used as indicators for landuse or waterways. It leaves me puzzled.

My only explanation so far is, that it's a thing of perception. Probably you just don't notice errors in your home area that much because you can easily fix them and tend to travel on the same routes over and over again. On vacation on the other hand you get far too less 'sample data' to make up a fair opinion on the quality. Even if you travel some thousand(s of) miles. And errors feel worse 'cause you suffer from them more in a non-familiar environment.

Conclusion: Travel more, fix errors there, go unfamiliar ways around your hometown.

Recently I reviewed my google earth models (or better: 3D warehouse models) and checked on the license that is bound to them.
My conclusion: google and anyone wo gets a license from google may do anything with may models, but I'm not allowed to use (= create derivative works and redistribute) other models than those I created myself.

While I have no problem with my models being used by others (even commercial), I have a problem with not giving everyone the same amount of fair access. I would really like to publish them under CC_by_SA or even Public Domain. I can actually do that, as the license granted to google is 'non-exclusive', I just can't do it in googles warehouse.

Wouldn't it be nice to publish them (at least geo-referenced models of real world buildings) through openstreetmap? Even if we don't display them yet, it would be a great place of storing them and making them available to everyone.

There are some slight discussions (mostly outdated) about that in the wiki, but I haven't found any definitive answer.
Is there somebody with insight into the server hard- and software who could tell if it's even possible to store 3D (Collada?) models on them? Maybe just 3D data without textures?

Or does someone know a wiki page or blog entry that deals with that matter?

Danmark needs mappers

Posted by Chaos99 on 25 May 2010 in German (Deutsch).

Just returning from a short trip to danmark, guided by my reliable eTrex and a OSM map.

While I finally found my destination, I had to rely on coordinates extracted from google maps images. The level of detail of the OSM maps was rather bad. While there are lot of house numbers (an import?), there are no streets beside the primary and maybe secondary ones.

The lack of detail puzzels me a bit, as this is a popular holiday region and one would assume that at least some mappers are among the holiday makers too.

While I will off course add the tracks I recorded, much more work is needed in this region.

JOSM commit to new Mapnik render image on main site -> 2min. (I just didn't look earlier)


Letztens (das heißt im Verlauf der letzten 2 Monate) konnte ich zum ersten mal den Service von walking-papers testen. Hier eine kleine Beschreibung, die hoffentlich zu Nachahmern führt auch wenn sie in meiner Version vielleicht etwas abschreckend klingt.

1. Ausdrucken

Das Ausdrucken der Karte war nicht ganz einfach. Mir fehlte eine wichtige Zutat: der Drucker.
Nach dem Auswählen des Kartenabschnitts habe ich mir also das .pdf gespeichert und erstmal Vollbild auf einem Netbook anzeigen lassen. Dessen Display hat zufälligerweise die Breite eines DIN-A4 Blattes und ist von hinten beleuchtet. Somit ließ sich die Karte einfach abpausen (mit 2mal scrollen zwischendurch).

2. Neue Sachen Einzeichen

Ich habe mir einen kleinen Abschnitt des Zentrums von Meiningen herausgesucht um Häuserformen zu skizzieren und Namen von Geschäften aufzuschreiben. Letzteres klappte ohne Probleme. Bei den Häuserformen bemerkt man schnell, das man nur mit der Frontalansicht der Häuser nicht besonders weit kommt.

3. Einscannen

Die Bleistiftskizze zu scannen war einfach, jedoch enthielt sie keinen QR-Code (den hab ich nicht abgezeichnet.) Also habe ich die Bleistiftzeichnung erst einmal in Gimp über das Original-PDF gelegt und passend entzerrt. Das Ergebnis auf der Webseite dann hochgeladen und mittels JOSM Plugin erfolgreich wieder importiert.

4. Zur Karte hinzufügen

Das Eintragen der Informationen via JOSM war genau so kompliziert wie immer. Die Häuserformen wurden mangels Informationen über die Innenhöfe als Rechtecke aproximiert. Für einige Geschäfte war auch die Tag-Suche nicht einfach. Leider habe ich im Wiki keine best practise Beschreibung für Hausnummern bei einem Haus mit mehreren Eingängen gefunden. Ich habe daher die Hausnummern nicht an die Gebäudeform sondern an extra nodes getaggt. Leider sieht das im Renderer blöd aus.

Heute versuche ich mich an der zweiten Hälfte. Interessante Idee für's nächste mal wäre die Mitnahme eines Laser-Entfernungsmessers aus dem Baumarkt, um unauffällig Strassenbreiten und Häuserlängen vermessen zu können. Man verschätzt sich leider doch oft stark. Gerade im dicht bebauten Stadtzentrum mit schlechtem GPS Empfang könnte man auch von Kreuzung zu Kreuzung messen, um Strassen zu verbessern. Update: Gerade geschaut was die kosten und wie kurz die Reichweite ist. Also eher nicht.

Walking Paper zu meinem Ausflug

Location: Meiningen, Kernstadt Meiningen, Meiningen, Landkreis Schmalkalden-Meiningen, Thüringen, 98617, Deutschland

Combine Garmin maps

Posted by Chaos99 on 16 March 2010 in English (English).

Has anyone ever succeded in combining two garmin compatible gmapsupp.img maps into one, so the two can be selected as layers on the divice without the need of a PC to change/rename files on the SD card?

I like to use the raumbezug OSM map for Garmin for in car routing, but also the hiking maps for, well, hiking. It would be really cool (and should be technically possible) to change between the two on the fly.

So can anyone help? How to combine both into one gmapsupp.img?

Which businesses to tag

Posted by Chaos99 on 2 March 2010 in English (English).

On my last dairy entry about Protecting personal information in POIs I got great response.

The question was if to tag amenities like doctors with their full name if written on a sign outside. (The consensus was: yes)

But another question arised: What businesses to tag anyway?
I mean people tag manhole covers and street lamps so the obvious answer would be: all of them.

But really, what makes sense? OSM doesn't need to be a business register. It would be impossible to keep up to date anyway. Businesses with street offices is a reasonable constraint. Maybe in addition to those company buildings which are big landmarks or points of orientation.

But what about lawyers, engineers, agents etc. who don't normally have offices where the normal customer may walk in without an appointment. They would clutter the map in big cities with multi-story office buildings. But a map user would quite probably want to search for it with his in-car navigation device if he actually has an apointment, wouldn't he?

So is this a case of 'don't map for the renderer'? What would be legitimate sources of information, if signs on buildings are not present?

So please give me your opinion on this. I would be really happy if I could get as much response as from my last entry. Thanks in advance...

While mapping stores, shopes and other amenities in the city I came up with some question I would like to ask all of you:

What's your opinion on making personal information public by including them in poi data agains the will (or at least without knowlege of) their owners?

An example would be the full name of a dentist or doctor. Full name and address are without a doubt personal informations I wouldn't want to be made public without my knowledge.

But doctors are points of very much interest to a user auf the map. And they can't be (other than most shops) referenced without the name of the person itself.

This of course is a problem for any kind of amenity which name happens to include the full name of the owner.

Again the question: Whats your opinion? Map it cause they operate a business which they choose to do under their own name and which is adverticed on the building anyway. Or protect the personal information and map as nameless amenity?

Best practice: offline mapping?

Posted by Chaos99 on 26 October 2009 in English (English).

I'm planing to do a longer holiday abroad and will take my GPS and
openstreetmap with me.

I will probably find a lot of new things to map, but I won't have an
internet connection at hand.
Does anybody have some advice on how to keep track of things to add?

I normally add points with notes directly on my GPS (eTrex), but that's
very time consuming, I can't do it while driving
and I only can add very short notes. I usually get frustrated with the
on-screen keyboard within 1 or 2 days and subsequently stop taking

Only mark numbered points would be faster and easier, but I would have to
keep notes on another medium (paper notebook, netbook).
Merging these two data heaps will be time consuming afterwards.

As I have a netbook with me which could run JOSM, I could edit live or at
least at the end of each day. This would keep the frustration level low.
But I don't know if I can savely merge the data back into the osm data on ther servers.

Does anybody have some advice? Or some info on how you map on holidays?