The next London mapping party is fast approaching (Thursday) but I still have stories to tell from the previous two mapping parties!
A couple of weeks ago we met at a pub of Matt's choosing. "The Enterprise" was very pleasant, but I was disappointed that the staff were not in uniform, and there were no turbo-lifts, warp-drives, or holo-decks to be seen.
This pub was in the Bloomsbury area, and I took the opportunity to fill in one of the most annoying building outline gaps just south of the British museum. Interesting area. Quite a few missing shop POIs which I didn't get time for, but I just OpenStreetBugged them.
Steve Chilton also took up the building challenge, and maybe a few other people did too, so we've sort of connected the patches to form a large area that is looking much more filled in now. See the map of bloomsbury. In fact looking at the whole of London, things are looking vaguely more balanced now. There are still some annoying gappy bits, but not nearly so many.
Back aboard the enterprise...
Fantastic gathering. We had a great mixture of pro-OSMer-old-timers, and a sprinking of OSM newbies.
Always great to see Steve Chilton. We talked about the new books. One new book that Steve worked on...
...and one book that he didn't work on, also now available:
This was the last mapping party for Alex before he headed back to Russia, but he's hoping to get back here having submitted PHD proposals on some really interesting OpenStreetMap topics and transport topics. Let's hope he gets accepted.
That got us talking about transport AKA "transit". It's an area I'm doing some work in at placr.co.uk. It's an area google has looked at, and it seems Steve Coast would also like to light an open data rocket under it. We talked about how train ticket prices in the UK are a bit bonkers, and how a ticket search for London to Wigan will never suggest going via Manchester, and yet that is the best way to get cheap tickets. It seems something's wrong with our train ticket pricing, but also our ticket searching websites.
We talked about building coverage, regarding the progress (mentioned above) but also pondering how building mapping fits into the scale of too-much-detail-pointlessness discussed over on Tom Chance's blog
We talked about underground London. The post office mail train and other mysterious subterrainean goings on.
We chatted about the state of U.S. mapping. For a while now we Europeans been nagging them and goading them and poking fun at them to try and stop them obsessing over imports and spur them into building a real mapping community. We've tried to persuade them to get into on-the-ground mapping, which is where the action is at, and there's been some take-up among the "hikers" and outdoors enthusiasts. This is great but I wonder if we should change tack and focus on trying to get more "armchair mapping" happening. There's so much TIGER fixup work to do. But also, lets not forget, they've got full Yahoo! imagery coverage there, which changes the game somewhat. One thing's for sure. Constant talk of imports doesn't help with building a mapping community, but maybe all this talk of real world mapping is just too much for most americans :-) (honestly guys. It's the most fun kind of mapping) This followed on from conversations Andy and I have had with Ant from MapQuest. Some more thoughts over on the MapQuest developer forum.
Since then, the TIGER Edited Map has been brought back, which is a great step to help motivate and coordinate mapping. Did you turn your area green yet?
Also ocurring since the Bloomsbury meet-up, we had a #geomob (always fun) and we had another mapping party! (with a difference). This was really interesting. I'll have to tell you about it soon. All the usual London gang missed it because you were too slow to sign up. That'll teach you!
Don't make the same mistake again. Sign up for Covent Garden mapping now before... err tickets sell out. That's this Thursday. The last mapping party ever! (....this year ...during the week)