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CharliePlett's Diary

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Why and How I Mapped all the Landcover in Belize

I joined OSM in 2016 when my friend suggested I do something useful. He knew I was interested in geography as I was trying to map on Google. But then a year later Google shut down mapping for users because of an Android pissing on Apple incident in Pakistan.

I then became really interested in OSM and started mapping. I had a desire for all the landcover to be mapped. I first started around my town of Spanish Lookout, then decided to do my entire district of Cayo.

It was slow work, but I persevered. After I completed the second and third districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, I learned a few tricks of mapping. By that time it was the year of 2022. The mapping tips I learned were so useful that by September of 2023 I had completed the other 3 districts, Corozal, Orange Walk and last of all Belize district.

There were a few other mappers that helped, but I did roughly 92% of the entire country. And in that time I would estimate that about 99% of roads and 97% of buildings have been mapped as well.

Going Forward

Going forward I’m planning on keeping the country up to date and continuing to map all buildings, power lines, speed bumps, etc.

And also I’m thinking of mapping all surrounding districts of Mexico and Guatemala, which we’ve started already.

Percentage of Landcover in Belize

TypeArea Sq. Km.Percentage
Wood/Forest14,81364.5%
Meadow/Grassland2,36610.3%
Wetland1,4706.4%
Scrub1,3816.0%
Farmland1,0534.6%
Water7823.4%
Orchard2951.3%
Residential/Ind/Com2241.0%
Beach/Sand20.0%
Location: Gnadenfeld, Spanish Lookout, Cayo District, Belize

The Problem

In order to do beautiful micro-mapping it is necessary to map ways with a lot of nodes. However, it is painful for other mappers to connect their own adjacent ways to these nodes.

Possible Solutions

  1. Some mappers have suggested using multi-polygons to cut those ways and attach multi-polygons. But I have a personal problem with this which stems from the fact that a lot of beginners have a hard time understanding the concept of multi-polygons and how to use them.

  2. Another solution is to remove the way entirely. However, this also removes the history of that item, which I’m averse to.

The Main Culprit

The #ADT Apple Data Team has been multiplying nodes on coastlines and waterways all over Central America. Here are some examples:

Changeset in Belize by DaleOfAire

Changeset in Belize by Ometepe

Changeset in Belize by Ometepe

Location: Caye Caulker Village, Belize District, Belize