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amillar's Diary Comments

Diary Comments added by amillar

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The hazard of relying on commercial implementations of Open Source projects

While I agree with you that short-lived commercial software is indeed frustrating, I believe the whole scenario actually proves out the value of Open Data.

The true value in all of this is that NONE of the map data, including contributions and improvements, are lost when one commercial provider ceases to function.

Alternatives for Android include OsmAnd, Navit, and Vespucci. Not to mention non-Android alternatives, such as mkgmap for making Garmin map files for cheap Garmin gps units.

How do their features compare with Google’s own off-line Android mapping app? That’s simple: Google doesn’t have an off-line app. And you CAN’T make one or hire someone to make one, because Google doesn’t make the data available.

Any anyone who thinks that it’s safe to go with Google anyways, clearly wasn’t a user of Google Reader, GOOG-411, Google Buzz, Knol, Google Wave, Google Building Maker, iGoogle, or any of the dozen other Google products/services that the discontinued when they felt like it.

Walking Papers

Yes, that is how it works. Once you have scanned in your paper, you can use it as a background for either Potlatch or JOSM. There is an option on the Walking Papers upload web page to run Potlatch with the scanned image as the background. It also gives you an ID number which you can use with a plugin for JOSM, to use your scanned image as the background in JOSM.


You can't do it directly, perhaps, but you can get something close. If you use decimal lat/long, you can type it into your browser address line like this:

which should open Potlatch in the exact location. Click and add the node in the center of the screen. At zoom 22 you should be accurately positioned within a few centimeters.

Note that Potlatch can zoom to even higher levels than the OSM map view. The map view only zooms to level 18, but Potlatch can zoom in further to at least zoom level 22.


I do like "seav". In an urban/suburban environment with clearly-defined lots, I tag the entire lot as an area with amenity=place_of_worship. This includes the building, parking lot, and connected grounds.

In an rural or open environment it may be less clear where the church ground starts and ends, in which case I just stick with a node or area on the building.

I do the same thing with suburban schools; I mark the entire lot as amenity=school, and mark the school building with building=yes.

Wikipedia data for airports

Thanks for your feedback. I did not realize there even was a history feature like that. Yes, I'll sort them together to make it more useful. Thanks for the tip.

Odd changeset

I've had that happen occasionally in Potlatch if my connectivity has problems.

Wikipedia data for airports

I think this one is the best followup:

Wikipedia data for airports

To clarify, I'm taking locations suggested by Wikipedia (which may, or may not, have come from Google Maps), and placing nodes and ways based on Landsat or Yahoo Aerial photos. The actual coordinates going into OSM are not the Wikipedia points, so not from Google Maps.

In the case of airports in the United States, which is as far as I have gotten so far, it is pretty clear that the Wikipedia information did not originate with Google Maps at all, but a mass load from FAA public domain airport data. So for the US the point is moot. I have looked at a LOT of wikipedia airport pages so far and seen the same data as in the FAA data.

For airports in the rest of the world, I'm expecting there to be more shake-out on the issue before I get to them.

Wikipedia data for airports

See for example

Wikipedia data for airports

In short, yes, we are OK. All Wikipedia entries are required to be free of copyright encumbrances, and there are plenty of activities in WP around identifying and removing such problems. The current change will simply iron out some minor differences between Wikipedia's prior open license, GFDL, with their new open license, CC-BY-SA. Plenty of details are in the link. Thanks.

Landuse boundary question

There definitely does not seem to be a consensus on this. I've read some diary or blog entries where a mapper is angry if people put the landuse boundary on the road nodes, and others where the mapper is angry if people don't.

Personally, I like to put the road way down the center line of the street, and the land use separately at the edge of the street (at sidewalk if there is one), like davidearl says.

That half of the street really isn't residential or retail. But of course, the way being a line and not an area is an abstraction too.

With no consensus, do whatever makes sense to you :-)

Most out of date data in OSM?

Yes, that was definitely a GNIS point. As Minh says, many of the historical points just don't have any indication on them. I scrutinized a lot of data in that upload, but with many thousands of points across the US, it's just going to take good eyes and local knowledge like yours for some portion of them. Thanks for catching it!

No mapping for me :/

For a GPS logger, I have the iBlue 747, which has been very accurate and inexpensive. I know it is being sold under a number of names and models, including iBlue, Qstarz, and Holux.

Another inexpensive logger I read about recently was the AMOD AGL3080, at

Both sell in the US for about $75, which should be around 60 euro.

Stories like this make me glad I'm expatriating

If you think you can find another country that is free from stupid people, good luck and best regards in your search. If you need an international boundary, you'll probably have to cook up your own. Perhaps you can try Sealand

Can I help?

My first GPS unit wasn't very accurate, but I found that if I visited somewhere several times, the averages came out pretty good.

More US highway issues

I find things like this in various places. Since the tags only refer to Potlatch and have almost no other information, it was probably drawn by hand before the Tiger import happened.

Braided streets in Austin, TX

Background info:


Planet file extracts for USA at CloudMade

Glad to hear that osmxapi is now running again, with the server problem resolved.

Using a planet file was a suggestion given in the error message, so I followed it.

Running into Drawing conflicts

I would recommend that you tag the roads based on the function of the street, and not how wide they are.

For a residential street that is unusually wide, you can add the width= tag with the width of the street in meters. You can also add the lanes= tag to tell how many lanes there are.

You can see these tags at: