The Gun, The Blue Posts, and tonight the Monkey Puzzle

Posted by Harry Wood on 12 December 2013 in English (English)

I’m wearing my OpenStreetMap polo shirt in the office today. All set for tonight’s London winter pub meet-up at the Monkey Puzzle.

We’ve had a couple in the series of winter pub meet-ups already this season. There’s also been these awesome things which already have write-ups:

The typhoon crisis mapping event at the ODI. My diary entry, and my write up on the ODI blog, and Sam’s blog

The OpenStreetMap Hack weekend. Jerry’s blog gives a good run down of various hacking activities. There’s also this from Dan. Looks like it was a great event. Sad to have missed it! Apparently this photo is everyone trying to do the Harry grin:


It’s not quite right guys. Keep trying. …having said that you’re probably getting it closer than this lot at SOTM :D

At the hack weekend there was somebody from the BBC doing some recording of interviews for a radio 4 documentary. I did an interview with the same people a couple of days after. It will be interesting to hear how all of that edits down. (This is in addition to the BBC world service interview which already aired).

So a couple extra-non-pubular activities lately, but don’t worry. We have also been to the pub!

The Gun pub in Spitalfields was an interesting place. Bit of a scruffy old man’s boozer, but with a lot of suited city folks. Luckily the music was only blaringly loud at the entrance, so we had a good chat around a table further back. Here’s Paul doing his best old-man-down-the-boozer impression:


More photos here

I was talking about wedding planning, and how I need an “OpenWeddingBudget” site to let me find out what are some typical amounts to spend on certain things like flowers. It’s one of those curious questions which is not entirely easy to find an answer to using google, partly because people don’t tend to openly share information about how much they’ve spent on stuff. …anyway I remember that conversation, but we probably also talked about maps!

As a wedding related aside, last week I was designing wedding invitations which included a map of Ilkley. Didn’t have long to do it. We were sending bitmap files to printers at sort of 300/400dpi, so the old dilemma of pixel resolution in text labels cropped up again. A basic screenshot of a web map at its native resolution is not great for printing. It either needs to be stretched at bit making it blocky, or would end up with really tiny little text labels on the paper. Since it was a fairly small area of map I needed for our invitations, I was able to work in SVG. I decided to try out a Maperative SVG export for this. It has a special export especially for inkscape, which puts all the objects nicely in separate layers. Much easier to work with afterwards than Mapnik SVG exports from . Also I decided I rather liked the imitation google rendering rules which maperative comes with. At the end of the day google does have good cartographic style, and I find it amusing when people say “What’s this Harry? Surely you should be using OpenStreetMap on your invites!”. Here’s a little 1:1 sample. Various things added afterwards in inkscape, and then exported to raster (at whatever resolution I choose). You can see the text is all big (hi res) enough to look good on a printout.

map data ODbL OpenStreetMap - on flickr

So anyway …we left the pub and headed for burritos just down the road, and then afterwards we headed to a different pub. We walked (slightly further than expected) to the Crosse Keyes.


I remember discussing real ale there. Did we actually talk about maps at all? I’m not sure. On the way home grant was doing a bit of mapping. He was pleased to be picking up a lot wifi data in the city.

We went to the blue posts more recently.


Mode photos here

We had along a few new faces, the names for which I have forgotten, but great to have them along starting interesting conversations and ideas for new (open) mapping projects on topics such as “OpenSickMap”, mapping occurrences of vomit which needs clearing up in the streets, and “OpenSexualSlangMap” mapping the words that kids are using when they’re talking about having …a bit of how’s your father. Apparently this is quite varied but geographically clustered.

We also had along a guy visiting from the U.S. who works with Planetizen, producing video courses. He’s interested in doing one for OpenStreetMap. I think I’ve mentioned video before as something we should totally do more of, but also something which is massively time consuming. With my various attempts I’ve picked up a few tricks, not necessarily to make my amateurish videos better, but to make them take a bit less time (At least if a video is going to look amateurish, it shouldn’t be the unsatisfactory result of many hours of work) but maybe we have an opportunity to get some video professionals involved.

There were quite a few other topics of conversation, which I forget. You just have to be there… and you can be!

Tonight we’re in the Monkey Puzzle pub in Paddington in about an hours time! All the details on the wiki

Location: Spitalfields, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, Greater London, England, E1 6AA, United Kingdom

Comment from SK53 on 12 December 2013 at 18:07

Journalist was Kat Arney free-lancer for BBC, day job at Cancer Research as a Science Communicator. Also a harpist, and according to her twitter bio a keen knitter.

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