I was out numbering houses today... I always feel so creepy when I do that, looking at houses and mailboxes and typing things down on a piece of paper... The worst part is walking down cul-de-sacs where people are walking in their gardens and just looking at you like you're some kind of creep... All while you are walking around to every house looking for their numbers, and then walk out of the area again without saying a word. I got out of one situation by asking a guy about help with my project and explaining it, but doing that every time is out of the question.
I've been thinking about buying an OSM surveyor vest but I'm not convinced I could go around wearing that and still feeling like a decent human being...
Comment from JohnSmith on 15 April 2010 at 02:56
The trick is to act like you own the place, it's basic social engineering, if you wanted to go a little further you could print up a name tag and put something like "OpenStreetMap Surveyor" under your name.
People only start to be suspicious if you act otherwise.
Comment from andrewpmk on 15 April 2010 at 03:55
Get up early on a Sunday morning and do it - no traffic and hardly anyone outside, but it's still light out (in the summer).
Comment from nmixter on 15 April 2010 at 06:11
Or you can find a database to import. Just try not to be too creepy. Be open and be honest.
Comment from kenguest on 15 April 2010 at 08:19
I tend to bring along a few printouts of one of these 'posters' with me and given one to anyone that asks what I'm doing.
Comment from chillly on 15 April 2010 at 10:17
Buy an OpenStreetMap surveyor's jacket (I think Andy Allan sells them). Then you look very official. Be prepared to answer questions which spreads the message.
Comment from robert on 15 April 2010 at 23:34
I think the simplest low-key way of doing it is just using a small clipboard.
Looks like you've got a job to do. Which you have.
Comment from agsochi on 16 April 2010 at 07:35
You can use OpenMaps - iPhone App, add any tag at any place.
Comment from Grillo on 16 April 2010 at 09:32
I could, if I had an Iphone :) Thanks for all of the suggestions, I'll think about getting one of those jackets after all... Also, I got out at a bad time. Nice weather and just after people start getting home from work. It's probably better to choose less crowded times like the middle of the working day or in the morning of a weekend.
Comment from Grillo on 16 April 2010 at 09:33
Checked the link to the iphone app, WANTS!
Comment from G3YAC on 17 April 2010 at 15:38
I've been thinking about getting some business cards printed up to help with this type of isue. http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/ (and maybe others) will make them to a standard design for around £3 or £4 for 250. Somewhat more if you want to fully customise them with your own choice of logo and screed on the back but it would spread the word and probably placate the mildly suspicious.
Comment from LivingWithDragons on 19 April 2010 at 04:36
This may be why I always hope people ask what I'm doing, so then I can explain nicely and not be a creep. The jacket helps though, if they don't want to approach you they can look up OpenStreetMap on the web.