Mapping improvements made possible by [[Bing]]

Posted by James Derrick on 7 December 2010 in English (English)

The donation of good quality aerial imagery by [[Bing]] can make a real difference to the detail it is possible to map in OSM.

After mapping roads and main points of interest using various physical GPS methods, I thought the map of [[Cramlington]] Northburn looked pretty good. All the roads were well geo-located, and some building outlines were mapped where their location could be inferred from GPS tracks.


As you can see, good imagery opens up the possibility of including mapping right down to individual houses. Details mapped via GPS stay put, however previously inaccessible features such as complex building outlines make a dramatic appearance! After a bit of work gathering house numbers, searching for a house number and street in the nominatim gazeteer search now goes straight to the individual building.

With enough effort, it is quite possible to achieve a level of detail better than Ordnance Survey 1:10k Street View using [[Bing]] tracing. The hard part is putting in enough effort - tracing and tagging at this level takes a lot of time to get spot on.

Two estates done, another thousand to complete... :-)

Location: Cramlington, Northumberland, North East England, England, United Kingdom

Comment from nmixter on 8 December 2010 at 03:07

The trick is to get as many people involved with adding buildings as possible. Try getting teachers involved as a class project. Talk to city and county officials including planning department and engineering. Once common people see the power of osm, they will want to get involved. Maybe hold a osm mapping session where people get together and add just buildings in certain areas. It is a lot eisier if you recruit help.

Comment from Gnonthgol on 8 December 2010 at 06:52

I envy you who have aerial photo over your area. Only hope now is that Microsoft gets ortophoto over our area. Why don't they release the Bird's eye pictures?

Comment from liftarn on 8 December 2010 at 09:10

The Bing background made a very noticeable impact on Liepaja in western Latvia. The Yahoo coverage was very low resolution and Liepaja is the third largest city in Latvia. Now it looks like the street coverage is nearly complete (som still tagged as unknown) and house numbers, post offices, ATMs and so on have started to appear.

Comment from compdude on 8 December 2010 at 16:49

How recent is the imagery? It's definitely not as recent as Google Maps, but it's nice to see that a big company like Microsoft contributing their data to OSM :). Maybe they will see how crappy the OSM map looks in Seattle and start helping us improve it.

PS. Potlatch 2 is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from James Derrick on 8 December 2010 at 19:47

The talk mailing list included the announcement of an aerial image age viewer which uses the Bing API to display (presumably copyright) dates as an overlay to the images.

Unfortunately I must have been out when the camera flew over my house so dating the image by the colour of my car is not possible. Other features suggest the imagery is at the new end of my local quoted date range of 2004-08 - 2009-10.

Login to leave a comment