OpenStreetMap

Soho & Mayfair mapping, and pubs and burritos

Posted by Harry Wood on 20 June 2011 in English (English)

At Wednesday's London meet-up we did a spread out cake diagram with a choice of bits of Soho, or bits of Mayfair. I made the cake diagram with MapCraft again, aiming around the periphery of the buildings coverage as usual. I picked a slice to advance the building frontier in Soho, but found plenty of POI mapping to do too, including some salubrious streets full of sex shops. I finished my mapping loop very near to the monument to the Soho Cholera Epidemic. This is where GIS began, as all good geo-presentations are obliged to point out :-)

We were at the Iron Duke pub near Bond Street. Not sure if it counts as Mayfair really. This pub doesn't have a very impressive food menu, so we moved on, but not before discussing various matters...

There's going to be server move, which requires a bunch of pre-planning. Tom and Grant were going over some of the finer details to try to minimise disruption, but there will be a period of downtime next Thursday. This involves an early morning for some people, to perform the actual unplugging and moving.

We managed to talk about the front page design without talking about the design itself (for a change), but just how we might go about changing it. We discussed the idea of competition. Design by competition has to be managed with carefully specified rules and parameters. Grant was suggesting a number of different rounds to drill down towards an idea and implementation.

We talked about OpenStreetMap display names, and how some users in the database may still have a name ending in the space character, which clearly is completely nuts. At least you're not allowed to create them like that any more. Personally I don't think users should be allowed to change their display name (at least not without asking an administrator nicely)

And that brought us on to OpenID. Nicely documented on the OpenID wiki page, this login trick allows people to use some other websites (OpenID providers) to authenticate with OpenStreetMap. You still have to create an OpenStreetMap account, but it does allow new users to take a few shortcuts in this process, since your OpenID provider can populate various fields, and you don't need to choose a password. ...and it turns out this quite popular. Shortly after adding the feature, TomH reports that about a third of all new sign ups are using it! Most of these go for google as their OpenID provider. The login screen now shows various icons for popular websites. For a plain OpenID, your login is a URL. We talked about the styling of theses icons. My ubuntu firefox chose to show ugly borders around the images for a while, due to some style caching weirdness, but it's all good now. So the take-up is interesting. Hopefully it will lead to more people signing up (of whom some will go on to actually contribute to the map, and a small proportion will make their way up the curve)

Talking about stylesheets and cache-busting got us onto the topic of Rails 3 and other funky rails features such as resource routes, which I believe we're not using in the OSM code at the moment. Rails funkiness is something I struggle to keep up with, but I should probably try harder, given that I'm using it all at work too. TomH is apparently using "Chef" for configuration management now. There's another piece of funkiness I've heard mention of from the LRUG crowd.

As mentioned, the Iron Duke didn't serve proper meals, so we hatched a plan to visit the shiny new node 1265050024

Burritos

And then, since we were in the neighbourhood, we couldn't resist rounding off the evening with a trip to the good old way 97209483.

OpenStreetMap in the blue posts

I didn't set up the next OSMLondon event yet. Suggestions welcome. I'm trying to work out if I'll be able to get a weekend day free some time, and maybe schedule a proper mapping trip. Maybe we should do an OSMLondon bike ride to rack up some extra points for team OpenStreetMap on this thing. I like to organise events which I'm pretty sure I'm going to turn up to myself, which narrows the weekend possibilities considerably, but if somebody else wants to be the frontman for an event, e.g. on a day when I'm 50/50 able to attend, then that could work.

In any case we'll be going to the pub again shortly, and whatever happens, events get listed on the wiki page, and to @OSMLondon shortly after. I remembered some other OSMLondon communication tricks which we should point out to people. If you want an RSS feed for use in google reader or some such thing, twitter does this: @OSMLondon tweets as RSS. You can also get RSS feeds out of upcoming.org e.g the LondonGeoTech group RSS feed. I post most events to that (but not all, and not always in a timely manner)

So yes, the next event will pop up in these places soon.

Location: Mayfair, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, W1K 3JD, United Kingdom

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