aude's diary

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Wikimania Haifa mapping party

Posted by aude on 16 August 2011 in English (English)

Wikimania, the annual Wikim(p)edia conference, took place just over a week ago. On Friday, August 5, we gave an OSM workshop and then took ~25 people out onto the streets of Haifa for a mapping party. We split into several groups, each led by experienced mappers (seav, uip, Zvika, Yarl, Polimerek, and myself) and accompanied by Hebrew speakers.

Photos by Sarah Stierch, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Participants learned how to use walking papers and GPS devices to collect data, and we followed up pretty well with inputing the information into the map.

Before and after

Here is the map, before:

and after:

RTL bugs

In preparing for the mapping party, I encountered numerous RTL (right-to-left) language bugs, including the CSS totally broken, not properly flipping the layout and general chaos in the screen layout. Also, Hebrew was being treated as a LTR language. I've spent some time to get some of these bugs fixed, with help from TomH, and RTL support is better. (separate ltr.css and rtl.css files now)

There still are plenty of bugs, hopefully the Mapnik ones fixed soon. Also, osmand don't support Hebrew. Hebrew/Arabic are written backwards as LTR, and transliteration of Hebrew names is very broken, not accounting for the fact that not all vowels are written:

Example in osmand:

  • In OSM = "Ha'Rav Raphael"

  • In OSMAND+ = "hrb rpl"

At least it helps to identify the bugs, and soon as possible, hope more of these bugs can be fixed.

Next Wikimania

All in all, a terrific mapping party in Haifa and great to see so many OSM mappers there. Next year's Wikimania will take place July 12-15, 2012, in Washington DC, at Georgetown University! We're planning to have OSM as a pre-conference activity, allocating an afternoon for a mapping party, and perhaps taking folks somewhere interesting and not yet well-mapped in the DC region, since Georgetown is already well-mapped.

Please mark your calendars and we'd love to see even more OSM folks at Wikimania 2012! -- see

Location: Haifa, Merkaz HaCarmel, Haifa, Haifa District, NO, Israel

Bethesda mapped in one day!

Posted by aude on 14 June 2011 in English (English)

Yesterday afternoon, I was in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of DC, for a meeting, parking six blocks away. The meeting happened to be at the same place (Caribou Coffee) where we met for an OSM mapping party in November 2009. ( At that time, we collected some POIs for the area north of the coffee shop.

This time, I got POIs for the main shopping area to the south of Caribou. Between Mazpen POI Collector app and jotting down some notes, I collected & added ~100 pois while walking. Also, there were some things to update. (new Taylor Gourmet, Vapiano; Austin Grill and some other places gone now)

Since then, I've filled in nearly all of the buildings in Bethesda, using aerial imagery and the map looks completely transformed.

There's still lots more to do, collecting more pois, addresses, and other details from on-the-ground mapping, and maybe another mapping party. ;)






Location: Bethesda Row, East Bethesda, Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, 20815, United States of America

Mapping during Digital Capital Week

Posted by aude on 11 June 2010 in English (English)

Digital Capital Week ( starts this weekend, and runs all next week, featuring numerous tech events in Washington DC. There also are a number of projects going on during DCWEEK, including one to map shops and other POIs in DC.

We are taking this as an opportunity to focus on neighborhoods that are not well-mapped yet. This includes the up-and-coming area around H St NE. On Sunday, we will meet from 11am - 3:30 pm at the H St Pop-up Lab (Library kiosk) at 1300 H St NE and do some mapping around there.

During next week, if there is interest, people could get together in the evening and do mapping in other neighborhoods that are not so well mapped (e.g. Capitol Hill, U St / Logan Circle).

With the data, we would like to create a custom map that highlights shops and other places in DC.

After DCWEEK, there still will be plenty left to map around DC, but we hope to make a noticeable improvement on Sunday and next week and increase interest in OpenStreetMap.

Details are on the DCWEEK wiki, as well as sign-up:

Location: Near Northeast, Washington, District of Columbia, 20549, United States of America

Upside down

Posted by aude on 11 December 2009 in English (English)

I did some cleanup in OpenStreetMap, around the National Mall in DC. Some parks data from DCGIS had been imported, but there were duplicates with what was already in OSM. In looking at the map after my cleanup, I noticed something quite odd. "Vietnam Memorial" is written with the "memorial" part upside down. I didn't realize that Mapnik writes labels upside down.

In edit mode, I saw that the Vietnam Memorial was drawn as a polygon and tagged with just a name. Also, the Constitution Avenue label is cut off and shows it as just "Constitu". I went in and tagged the Vietnam Memorial as tourism=attraction and historic=memorial. Now it renders as an area and seems labeled properly, offset from the polygon and right side up.

Though I am not sure the walkways are correct and need to check them with a visit. There is plenty more to do with both data imports and collecting details around the mall.

Location: Penn Quarter, Washington, District of Columbia, 20004, United States of America

Silver Spring mapping party

Posted by aude on 11 August 2009 in English (English)

We had approximately ten people at the Silver Spring mapping party last Saturday. This was the first for the new Mapping DC group, following on from a mapping party in June that was organized by CloudMade (now former) community ambassador Russ Nelson.

We are focusing on areas surrounding DC proper, as the DC government has shown willingness to allow us to import their GIS data. That's not the case for surrounding jurisdictions such as Montgomery County, Maryland.

My slice of the "cake" was the area between (south) of the railroad tracks and the DC border. I added the buildings along East-West Highway, including the NOAA buildings. I also added the Falkland Chase apartment complex and the Blair apartment complex -- both which occupy an entire square block with numerous individual apartment buildings and shops. Behind the Falkland Chase apartments was a small park, with a creek, walking paths, and an off-lease dog area.

Near the Mayorga coffee shop where we met, there is a brand new apartment building (The Veridian). When mapping this, the Yahoo! imagery was uselessly way out of date. Blair Mill Road used to cut through from Georgia Avenue to East-West Highway. The road has been reconfigured as Blair Mill Way, and does not connect with the rest of Blair Mill Road on the south side of East-West Highway. I got this change and the new building into OSM. I notice that Google Maps is still outdated with the old Blair Mill Road.

I'm not done with making edits to my area, and other people are still working on theirs. But, here are images that show before and after:



Location: Blair Circle, Montgomery Hills, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, 20910, United States of America

Oostende, Belgium

Posted by aude on 31 July 2009 in English (English)

I'm new to OpenStreetMap, though not new to mapping/GIS and am a long-time Wikipedian. I got a GPS unit about a month ago and took it with me to the State of the Map conference in Amsterdam.

Afterwards, I spent some time in Belgium. I had some idea that Europe was well-mapped in OSM, but noticed Oostende (along the coast) was poorly mapped. So, I spent a bit of time walking along the beach and around town doing some mapping. I mapped numerous streets, along with the walking paths in Leopold II Park.

In the past few days, I finally got around to uploading my traces and mapping them. I tried using JOSM, though my computer is not new and JOSM is unusable. I can use other Java applications just fine, like NASA WorldWind. I had also looked at Potlatch previously and was not terribly impressed, though looked again and noticed improvements. :) Potlatch works for viewing and mapping my traces, though I think further improvements are still needed along with other good tools.



Oostende is a sizable town, with approximately 70,000 residents along with many visitors.

I didn't have time to get all of the streets in the part of town where I was, and there are large sections of Oostende that I didn't touch at all and still need mapping. There also is a need to map POIs and other details.

Location: Vogelzang, Oostende, West Flanders, Flanders, 8400, Belgium