Thailand Mapping + London Mapping TONIGHT

Posted by Harry Wood on 3 April 2014 in English (English)

Away on my honeymoon in Thailand, am I doing any mapping? Not much no! Firstly because my wife wouldn’t consider it a very honeymoony thing to do, but secondly everywhere we’ve been to has been pretty well mapped! The resort I stayed in Krabi is mapped despite being under a cloud in bing imagery.

Now we’re up in the north of Thailand in the historical city of Chaing Mai. Amazingly well mapped! All the temples and every other POI I could ever need within this distinctive square old town area, mapped in great detail.

Of course Chiang Mai is also a popular holiday hotspot, so this probably doesn’t mean the whole of Thailand is well mapped. I remember Matt commenting on this thing when he went on holiday to Mexico a five years ago. OpenStreetMap develops its coverage on an “interest first” basis. Interesting places get mapped, and this means holiday hotspots get mapped a lot quicker and more thoroughly, sometimes while massive cities nearby remain unmapped. Places which aren’t mapped are maybe rather uninteresting (and if you live in an unmapped place, and find this insulting… time to make it mapped place!)

Looks like the mappers in Chiang Mai are other holiday-makers rather than locals, judging by the not-very-Thai-sounding user names in this top mappers display.


(ITO OSM Mapper view ranking top mappers in Chiang Mai based on last touched objects)

Whoever it was, they’ve done a great job. I’m using the MapsWithMe app to view all of this without roaming charges. I can watch where the tuk tuk is driving in great detail.

I was also watching where speedboats were taking us on snorkelling trips to various islands in Krabi. This seemed to reveal a few missing islands actually. On investigation I see a bunch of islands which have ended up without a natural=coastline way. Instead they have natural=wood turning them green on the map. e.g. look at this bunch. I added a missing little one here. Harry’s island. I’ve put the coastline tag on it so that one will show up on MapsWithMe. So seems like there’s some tag fiddling fix-up reconciliation needed on lots of islands. I reconciled things on Ko Ma Phai (“Bamboo Island”) by removing the wood tag, since the whole island is not covered in wood. For starters it has a BIG beach with coral on it.

bamboo island beach on flickr

mmmmm beach.

It’s pretty tough having to survey these things. While I work my ass off on these troubling issues, my mapping friends back in London are busy…

Kicking off the London mapping season TONIGHT! Matt’s organising a walking talking mapping tour. Great for new people who want to learn more about how OpenStreetMap works, so if that appeals to you, or if you know anyone, please let them know.

There’s also an Olympics Park Mapping party (Yes! Two scheduled mapping parties!) happening next Wednesday evening.

All the details:

Comment from Edward on 3 April 2014 at 20:33

Congratulations on getting married.

Comment from AlaskaDave on 10 April 2014 at 04:19

Hi Harry,

AlaskaDave here. I just happened to catch your post and enjoyed reading your observations about the state of OSM mapping in Chiang Mai. Actually, most of the folks on that OSM heat map live here or spend a lot of time here and love mapping. Thailand is, as you surmise, pretty well mapped in spots and in other places not so well. Chiang Mai is a popular place for expats. Johnny and Tom live here full time, Stephan visits often, and is vying to come here more or less permanently if he can arrange a telecommuting situation at his real job, and I share time between here and Alaska. There are a few Thais working Chiang Mai too but the foreigners, farangs, are much more active.

I’m about to leave Thailand for the hot months. I’ll go back to Alaska, a huge state with very small population, and few OSM mappers. It’s vast and mostly unmapped. Most of the main roads are present but not much geography. It’s an immense project that I began working on last year and that I will work on for many months to come. Rivers, streams, islands, peaks, glaciers, trails — lots of work.

I don’t spend much time in the south of Thailand where the beaches are but I’ll take a look at those problem areas you mentioned. Did you happen to leave Notes on the map near the problems?

At the moment, I am almost ready to leave for the airport but I’ll check the above links when I have more time.

Best, Dave

Comment from Harry Wood on 10 April 2014 at 09:19

Ah awesome. Yeah I was just judging by the not very asian sounding names there, but I stand corrected. It has been mapped by locals! That’s great. Always like to hear this. It makes for a better sustainable community if local people are mapping their own areas.

It’s a shame I jumped to the wrong conclusion actually because I might have got in touch with you more directly to meet up while I was out there. I made some great friends in Sao Paulo by meeting up in this way (ão_Paulo_Dec_2009_Mapping_Party )

…mind you… My wife tolerates a bit mapping, but probably not on our honeymoon :-)

I didn’t add any notes, but it did occur to me that a patch of woodland in the middle of the ocean could probably be made to show up as a bug on various automated QA tools. Maybe does already.

All the rivers and mountains in Alaska hey? Sounds like a fun challenge!

Login to leave a comment