OpenStreetMap

Last week's Soho mapping party

Posted by Harry Wood on 13 April 2010 in English (English)

Last week I was wondering around the streets of Soho gawping upwards, paying particular attention to the shapes of the tops of buildings. Photographing them while trying not bump into people, and trying to recognise features I'd seen in the aerial imagery. It's a peculiar fuzzy roof-top world you get to see from above, which can be quite difficult to relate to the street-level view. Anyway this behaviour must've seemed quite odd to my old colleague, when I bumped into him. It was an awkward kind of conversation. He said something like "Wow. Great to see you. I'm on my way somewhere, so can't stop to chat, but... what *are* you doing Harry?" to which the only response is to try to explain OpenStreetMap in 10 seconds flat. Think I did OK.

For the mapping party I think most people opted to skip the mapping and go direct to the pub. Maybe this was because my cake diagram covered an already mapped patch, and my explanation for this came a bit late (and people just aren't convinced by the whole building outlines idea) But I am going to keep organising them around the city centre, because it's only 1 hour's mapping pre-pub at this stage anyway. So c'mon. How about some building outlines?

Clearly the pub is the priority. And quite a pub session it was. Good turn-out.

OSM Blue Posts OSM Blue Posts OSM Blue Posts OSM Blue Posts OSM Blue Posts Blue Posts OSM Blue Posts

Russel was there with a copy of the London Cycling Guide book. It's just amazing to see London's OSM maps printed in glossy colour.

Speaking of cycling, Andy gave us an update on the OpenCycleMap shop. He's sending out microSD cards to quite a few people who want some OpenCycleMap goodness on their Garmin devices. Trouble is he's finding a fair few deliveries keep getting lost in the post, or the SD cards escape from the envelopes. He's using better envelopes from now on.

Of course we chatted a fair bit about Ordnance Survey Open Data releases. It's a massive thing which happened on April 1st. It would seem to make OpenStreetMap less relavent in the U.K., but as the dust settles around the new datasets and we take a closer look, particularly at StreetView and VectorMap District, we can start to see that it is good enough to help OpenStreetMap, but not good enough to make OpenStreetMap irrelevant. All said and done, it could'nt have gone better from OpenStreetMap's point of view.

We did a bit of ranting about over-use of relations again. We joked that relation #1 should surely be "The Universe" (It shouldn't. Relations are not categories). We talked about some non-acceptable use of tiles and the API which have been flushed out of the woodwork recently. This includes a mobile app which was using maxpeed data but hitting the API excessively to get it. Tom joked that we could start feeding it false numbers.

We talked about git again. TomH has been making progress at converting part of the SVN repo to git for development of the website. He said although there are automated techniques for such a conversion, he's needed to much more carefully handpick branches to convert. We had more talk about how moving to git will effect development/deployment processes. "With SVN, branching is technically cheap. With git, branching is technically and socially cheap".

We talked about OpenStreetBugs which lead into talk about Potlatch2 data layers. Did we say OpenStreetBugs will be available as a data layer? Can't remember. That sounds like another nice use of the feature in addition to helping with manual import of datasets. The point was made that JOSM has had data layers for a long time now. How will Potlatch2's implementation compare I wonder? Seems like there's some great features in the pipeline.

We'll have another mapping party & pub session on Wednesday 21st, but there's lots of other OSM stuff going on at the moment (or potentially going on). Check London event details and sign up to help make things happen!

Location: Fitzrovia, London, Greater London, England, W1W 7PR, United Kingdom

Comment from RussNelson on 13 April 2010 at 13:47

"miniSD"? ITYM "microSD". Mini was never very popular. Only device I have that uses one is the Nokia n810. Designers seem to have gone straight to the microSD aka transflash format.

Comment from Harry Wood on 13 April 2010 at 14:49

Ah yeah mini... micro. Confusing. (I've swapped it) Garmin's take microSD, the seriously diddy size. It's also confusing that you can chose between several manufacturer brands of SD card, including one called ..."SD"

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