OpenStreetMap

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Recent diary entries

Mapper in the Spotlight: Pete Masters (Scotland)

Posted by escada on 15 May 2016 in English (English)

Q: Who are you ?

Pete Masters

I am Pete Masters (OSM: pedrito1414 - a hangover from my time living in Mexico). I live in Glasgow and work for MSF, running the Missing Maps project. I am a fairly rubbish climber, a regular footballer and get out to the lochs and mountains as much as possible.

Q: When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

As a user. I have travelled extensively with my various jobs and OSM and associated apps are indispensable. I can never understand why someone heading abroad wouldn't have OsmAnd or similar on their phone!

Q: What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

As a contributor, I guess I am a relative newbie. My mapping started with HOT mapping and then Missing Maps of course. The biggest difference? My eyes. It continues to amaze me the level to which we can train our eyes to pick out detail in satellite imagery....

Q: How do you map ?

In the field for MSF, I use OpenDataKit, OsmAnd, field papers and occasionally OSM Tracker, OpenMapKit. I do a lot of tracing, too in JOSM. At home, I do a little bit of surveying - mostly alterations and corrections I notice while navigating or leisure mapping while on holiday....

Q: Where do you map ? Locally, HOT ?

pedrito1414 statistics

A little bit locally, but mostly in the field.

Q: What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

I have mapped in Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Bangladesh, amongst others, but the experience of Bangladesh was pretty special. Working with Jorieke Vyncke and incredible OSM Bangladesh community was an absolute pleasure. We worked hard, we had a lot of fun and we did the job that MSF needed us to do. Very proud of that. Also, massively proud of the heights that OSM Bangladesh have since reached - I'm a big fan ;) Uni of Lubumbashi guys in Congo With the uni of Lubumbashi guys in Congo

Q: Why do yo map ? What motivates you ?

I have worked for MSF for a long time now and love the organisation. That I can practically contribute to their mission is extremely satisfying and motivating. I also find helping responders through the HOT activations following disasters very rewarding. I guess this is also the first time I have been a part of such a talented, committed and interesting community of people, too. Remotely, through conferences and meetups, and through the London and Glasgow mapathons, I have met brilliant individuals and made some good friends....

Q: What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

For me, it's not the mapping - it's the organising. Trying to make sure that data quality stays consistently high, while at the same time bringing in new people to OSM and HOT is a huge challenge. We are getting better, but there is a long way to go and I welcome ideas that anyone might have....

Pete Masters

Q: What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Training local mappers in Sierra Leone in June and launching the first stage of our effort to map South Kivu in DRC are the big projects on the horizon!

Q: Do you have contact with other mappers ?

All the time! I go to at least a couple of mapping parties a month in various cities. And, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to mention Nick Allen and Ralph Aytoun by name. They may be surprised, but I see them as my mentors in all of this - knowledgeable, incredibly generous with their time and always available and patient for my (never-ending, sometimes-foolish) questions ;)

Q: Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

As above... In the field, both for personal travel and work.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about "Missing Maps" ?

The Missing Maps is a project made up of numerous organisations and thousands of individuals. Each one has different objectives, resources, skill sets and each brings something different to the table. The openness of that table is massively important and we try to make it as welcoming as possible to people who want to pull up a chair. We unite around a common humanitarian desire and that's the fuel in the fire.

The project was born out of a need. A lack of geo-data in the places where MSF teams work - places that rarely make the news. The volunteers who engage and contribute are helping to meet that need and directly supporting life-saving medical work in some of the most dangerous and vulnerable places in the world.

While the Missing Maps project wasn't my idea - I was there at the start. I named it ;)

Q: Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

I still love to use paper Ordnance Survey maps while hiking.

Q: To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

Pete Masters

Just to say that this last couple of year's immersion in OSM and HOT has been an education, an experience and a pleasure. Long may it continue!

Thanks a lot Peter for taking the time for this interview.

The previous interviews can be found on the wiki

Belgische Mapper van de Maand: Stijn Rombauts

Posted by escada on 22 April 2016 in English (English)

Wie ben je ?

Stijn Rombauts is 37 jaar, bio-ingenieur van opleiding en werkt bij de Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij, waar hij computermodellen van waterlopen bouwt en onderhoudt, die gebruikt worden in overstromingsvoorspellers of bij het ontwerp van wachtbekkens of vistrappen e.d. Omdat hij voor z’n werk meestal achter de computer zit, probeert hij in z’n vrije tijd zoveel mogelijk actief buiten in de natuur te zijn: te voet, met de mountainbike of in de kano.

Stijn Rombauts

Wanneer en op welke manier leerde je OpenStreetMap kennen ?

Vooral als mountainbiker ben ik altijd op zoek naar de interessantere onverharde paden en wegen en ik geraakte op den duur teleurgesteld in de (gedateerde) kaarten van het NGI. Veldwegen en bospaden hebben nogal te nijging te verdwijnen, ergens anders terug te verschijnen of te verharden. En zo ben ik ergens in de herfst van 2012 op OpenStreetMap gebotst: een kaart die op dat vlak vaak nog wel een pak slechter was en is, maar waar ik tenminste zelf kan aan bijdragen.

Gebruik je OpenStreetMap ook zelf ?

Eigenlijk gebruik ik OpenStreetMap weinig. Ik heb wel een OpenStreetMap-kaart op m’n GPS staan, maar da’s dan eerder om tijdens mijn tochten te controleren of dat paadje hier links al in OSM zit. En ik moet toegeven dat ik meestal nog eerder naar Google Maps en Streetview grijp.

Hoe map je ?

In den beginne lag mijn focus dus op de veldwegen en bospaden. Na een tijdje ben ik ook wandel- en mountainbikeroutes beginnen toevoegen. Maar gaandeweg werd het me duidelijk dat andere aspecten wel wat verfijning konden gebruiken. Zo zijn de meeste wegen gemapt toen de eerste luchtfoto’s beschikbaar zijn geworden (vermoed ik). Maar veel van die wegen liggen niet helemaal op de juiste plaats. En er zijn wegen bijgekomen, kruispunten heraangelegd, fietspaden aangelegd e.d. Daarom heb ik me al vele avonden geamuseerd met het controleren van elk wegsegmentje, niet alleen qua ligging maar ook qua tags. Het noorden van Limburg heb ik zo al eens doorploegd; momenteel ben ik even overgeschakeld naar Vlaams-Brabant. En en passant bekijk ik dan ook de foutmeldingen in Osmose en Keepright. En soms word ik afgeleid door spoorwegen of dan weer door een stukje landgebruik of nog iets anders. M’n actieradius is eigenlijk nog behoorlijk klein: Limburg, Vlaams-Brabant, Luik en Luxemburg, op een uitzonderlijke zijsprong naar Frankrijk of Noorwegen na.

Waar ben jij als mapper het meest trots op?

Het zijn allemaal maar kleine bouwsteentjes die ik links en rechts toevoeg aan het al imposante OSM-kasteel. Maar ondertussen heb ik blijkbaar toch al bijna 300 wandelroutes toegevoegd of gecontroleerd.

Stijn's Achivements Stijn's Achivements

Waarom map je ? Wat motiveert je ?

Ik ben altijd al licht autistisch geïnteresseerd of gefascineerd geweest door kaarten. En nu mag ik zelf echte kaarten tekenen! Wat meer zou ik nog kunnen wensen? ;-) Soms ben ik ook wel eventjes beu, maar dat duurt nooit lang.

Doe je ook nog andere dingen ivm OpenStreetMap ?

Misschien te weinig. Ik heb al vaak gedacht dat ik wat meer tijd in de wiki zou moeten steken. In de talk-be mailinglijst passeert heel wat interessante informatie, maar uiteindelijk is dat een redelijk vluchtig en onoverzichtelijk medium. Zeker voor nieuwe mappers gaat er zo veel informatie verloren.

Heb je ideeën over hoe we de OpenStreetMap gemeenschap kunnen uitbreiden?

De moeilijkste vraag, zeker? Ik volg het niet allemaal op de voet, maar misschien dat via contacten met organisaties als Trage Wegen de bekendheid van en interesse in OSM het snelst kan groeien.

Wat is de grootste sterkte van OpenStreetMap volgens jou?

Dat mappers van over de hele wereld kunnen meewerken aan het maken van kaarten aan de andere kant van de wereld en dan vooral voor landen of regio’s waar er geen degelijke kaarten bestaat, lijkt mij de grootste sterkte. Vele kleintjes maken een groot.

Wat is de grootste uitdaging/moeilijkheid voor OpenStreetMap ?

In België is al heel veel al wel een keer gemapt. De grote uitdaging de komende jaren lijkt mij: hoe houden we alles up-to-date? Dat ergens een stuk landgebruik ontbreekt, is gemakkelijk te zien. Dat ergens een stuk landgebruik al 5 jaar niet meer is nagekeken, is een pak lastiger te zien. Hetzelfde voor wegen, wandel-, fiets en busroutes en alle andere zaken die in OSM zitten.

Hoe blijf je op de hoogte van nieuwtjes ivm OpenStreetMap ? …

Eigenlijk alleen via de talk-be mailinglist. Wat natuurlijk maakt dat mijn venster op de ruimere, internationale OSM-wereld behoorlijk klein is.

Heb je contact met andere mappers ?

Ik ben al ‘ns keertje naar een meetup in Leuven en Antwerpen geweest, maar tja, vanuit het verre Limburg...

Om af te sluiten, is er iets dat je de lezer nog zou willen meedelen ?

Verdorie, zo’n lange vragenlijst. Weer een avond dat ik niet heb kunnen mappen… ;-)

Belgian Mapper of the Month: Stijn Rombauts

Posted by escada on 22 April 2016 in English (English)

Stijn Rombauts is a 37 year old bio-engineer who works for the Flanders Enviroment Agency, where he builds and maintains computermodels of streams and rivers. Those models are used to predict floods and to plan of e.g. fish steps and waiting basins. Because he spends a lot of time in front of the computer for his job, he tries to be active, in the nature, during his spare time: be it on foot, with the mountain bike or in a canoe.

Stijn Rombauts

How and when did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

As a mountain biker, I am constantly on the lookout for interesting unpaved paths and roads. In the end I got disappointed in the dated maps of the NGI. Field roads and forest paths have the tendency to disappear and to reappear elsewhere or to become a paved way. This lead me to OpenStreetMap, somewhere in the autumn of 2012. A map that was often worse with respect to those unpaved roads, but at least I could improve it myself.

Do you Use OpenStreetMap ?

I rarely use OpenStreetMap. I do have an OpenStreetMap-map on my GPS, but that is used only to check the existence of the paths during one of my excursions. I have to admit that I still rely on Google Maps and StreetView most of the time.

How do yo map ?

When I just started, the focus was on field roads and forest paths. After awhile I also started to add walking and mountain bike routes. But gradually, it became clear that other aspects also needed refinement. I expect that most roads are mapped when the first aerial images became available. But most of those roads are not located correctly. And new roads have been added, crossings have been redesigned, cycleways have been created, etc. That is why I have entertained myself already during many evenings by checking each and every road segment, not only the positions, but also the tags. I worked myself through the roads in the north of the Limburg province. Right now I am doing the same in Vlaams-Brabant. During this task I also look at the errors reported by Osmose and Keepright. Sometimes I get distracted by the railways, or some land use issues or some other problems. My action area is rather small: Limburg, Vlaams-Brabant, Luik and Luxemburg, with an occasional dodge to France or Norway.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

I only add small building blocks in several different places to the impressive OpenStreetMap-castle. But in the meantime it seems that I have added or checked almost 300 walking routes.

Stijn's Achivements

Stijn's Achivements

Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

I always had a light autistic interest or fascination for maps. And now I am allowed to draw real maps myself ! What more can I wish ? :-) There are periods during which I loose interest, but they never last long.

Do you do other things for OpenStreetMap besides mapping ?

Maybe not enough. It is not the first time that I wonder whether I should spend more time in the wiki. A lot of interesting information passes on the Belgian mailing list, but in the end that is a fairly volatile and cluttered medium. This means that a lot of information gets lost, especially for new mappers.

Do you have ideas to extent the community ?

The most difficult question, I assume ? I am not so familiar with this topic, but maybe the interest in OpenStreetMap and its community can grow the fastest via contacts with organisations such as Trage Wegen. (which is an organisation that works around roads for non-motorized traffic).

What are the strong points of OpenStreetMap ?

I think that the main strength of OpenStreetMap is that mappers from all over the world can contribute to the creation of a map on the other side of the world, especially for countries or regions for which no decent maps exist. Many small ones make one great.

What is the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap ?

In Belgium, we have already mapped a lot of things already once. I think that the biggest challenge for the years to come is to keep all of this up-to-date. When a piece of land use is missing, one can easily spot this. That a piece of land use has not been checked, is much harder to see. The same holds for roads; hiking, cycling and public transport routes and all other objects in OpenStreetMap.

How do you stayed informed about OpenStreetMap news ?

Actually, only through the talk-be mailing list. This is of course a limited view on the activities of the world-wide OpenStreetMap community.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

I have visited meetups in Leuven and Antwerp, but it was a long drive from Limburg.

Anything else you want to mention ?

Damn, such a long interview. Another night I could not map ...;-)

National Missing Maps mapathon

Posted by escada on 16 April 2016 in English (English)

Today, the geography departments of 7 Belgian universities organised a national missing map mapathon. We had about 190 subscriptions divided over 7 locations in Ghent, Brussels, Namur, Liège and Leuven. The organizers had contacted the press (written, radio and TV). So after hearing about the mapathon on the radio a few more people show up.

The team in Ghent

We were lucky enough to find enough experienced mappers to give introductions and help the people in all locations. I had the honor to do that for the session in Ghent. This was my first time, after just helping out on 2 previous missing map parties.

A chat channel was set up so the organisers could stay in contact and around noon we had Pete Masters tuning via Skype to give some background on the projects.

Video chat with the other teams and Pete Masters

The original plan was to map in Swaziland, but on Thursday Pete asked us whether we could work on South Kivu, because they need a map of this area for teams that leaving on Tuesday for a vaccination program against measles. We were more than willing to switch projects. We started around 10am, and by noon all three tasks were finalized.

In the afternoon we worked on some other projects (among them the original one in Swaziland)

Unfortunately, I cannot give you the final numbers, as I was still helping hope some people that showed up after hearing about the mapathon on the radio. I believe more than 23.000 buildings were mapped during the day. Hopefully someone else will report about this.

We also had a visit from the national TV, and they had a pretty long item in their journal at 1pm. the tv team

You can the see the result here (in Dutch). You can also listen to one of the radio interviews.

I would like to thank everybody (mappers, approvers, the universities and the "tutors") for this wonderful experience. Hope the see you again.

Location: Nieuw Gent / UZ, Gent, Ghent, Gent, East Flanders, Flanders, 9000, Belgium

Mapper in the Spotlight: Nick (Nederland)

Posted by escada on 12 March 2016 in English (English)

Wie ben je ?

Een toevallige mapper met oog voor oude militaire linies. Ik woon midden in de [Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie]((https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollandic_Water_Line). Dat was als potentieel cultureel erfgoed nauwelijks terug te vinden in OSM. Niet alleen de bekende Laaglandse Forten met lunetten en redoutes die in de Lage landen gemaakt werden, ontbraken, maar zeker de details als schuilplaatsen, sluizen en bruggen. Voor een voorbeeld van sluizen verwijs ik naar [Nieuwpoort]((http://osm.org/go/0Et7eGDS)).

Nieuwpoort

Ik maakte bestekken en tekeningen naast het schrijven van beleids- en adviesstukken. Ik ben zo een die je lachend een parkeervergunning aansmeert en die als je protesteert tegen de te betalen kosten achteraf zegt, ja dat kan, maar niet op dit 2 jaar oude legesbesluit. Het aardige is dat, als je nog niet onder de vergunning valt, je ook geen bezwaar kunt maken “niet gegrond”. Maar die uitleg wordt wel geaccepteerd, dat scheelt ;-)

Mijn hobby’s:

  • Kamperen in zomer en winter in de regio van José Happart, de Hoge Venen of het laagland langs [De Schelde]((https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheldt)), of langlaufen (Telemark). Verder ook nog educatief bouwen met LEGO met als kroonjuweel de deelname aan het nu al 14 jaar oude LEGO World.
  • Ik heb ook een complete verzameling topografische kaarten van zowel Nederland als België, verder een aantal historische kaarten van 40 – 45, die aan beide zijden bedrukt zijn, (want het papier was schaars), verder nog een aantal kaarten van andere landen in verschillende schalen en werelddelen.
  • Verder doe ik aan wandelen, fietsen en recenseren. Dit gebeurt deels steunend op kaarten, of met een verregende gids Wandelen langs Vlaamse rivieren.

Mooi zijn de GPS-loze hints van de Antwerpse auteur [Flips]((http://zilvervis.net/2011/11/25/jan-flips-vlaams-wandelpionier-1919-2010/)) met de serie Groene Dinsdagen, die je er zonder coördinaten op uitstuurt. Maar alle kaarten en boeken (van onder andere Julien Van Remoortere die bij Lannoo zijn verschenen) mag ik voor OSM teleurstellend genoeg niet gebruiken. Het mooiste van Julien vond ik het dat de start bij het station was, waarbij ik aan het OV per trein dacht, maar de auteur op het stationsplein slechts een parkeerplaats voor de wagen zocht. Mijn naam berust op toeval, als je je aanmeldt moet je een (schuil) naam opgeven ik ben bij familienamen (2 broers) blijven hangen.

Wanneer en hoe heb je OpenStreetMap ontdekt ?

Voor een vakantiereis langs de Maas vanaf de bron op het plateau van Langres kocht ik een Garmin GPS met de Franse kaarten erin. De 1e GPS was onnauwkeurig en met kaart en kompas of je analoge klokje kwam je er. Behalve in de diepe beboste dalen van de Rockies, daar rees de wens een GPS te hebben, maar tussen de hoge bomen deed een GPS het 20 jaar terug ook niet goed. Garmin stuurt je nu naar OSM.nl en zo kom ik hier.

Wat map je ? Is er een verschil met vroeger ?

Mappen is een leercurve en vergt een open mind voor alle goed bedoelde maar beroerd overkomende hints of zelfs geen hints, als een vriendelijke mapper opmerkt, “weet jij dat je werk (bijdrage) achter je rug om wordt verwijderd”, met een dikke huid als laatste verdedigingslinie. OSM is tenslotte een vrijheid blijheid propagerende instelling die vervolgens ook weer iedereen in het gareel wil houden ;=)(

Een newbie spreekt niet van vroeger, er zijn oldies uit 2007 ik kom net kijken. Ik werk aan linies, we hebben er hier (Holland) ± 40 bv. de Grebbelinie, de NHWL en de Raam- Peellinie zijn al een eind op streek. Maar ook de uit 40 – 45 stammende structuren krijgen de aandacht, net als bruggen sluizen en stuwen. De polders zijn ook nog maar zelden gemapped, daar liggen wel geen wegen of routes. Zie dit (voorbeeld . Met als afsluitende survey kanoën om de tussen het riet onzichtbare vaarten en baggerslootjes te verkennen, tijdrovend dat wel, bagger is geen water.

Hoe map je ? Maak je surveys ?

Uit het voorgaande blijkt dat ik bijna alles uit een survey haal, alleen een HOT evenement draait om luchtfoto’s, dat is improviseren. Een survey levert bijna 4 avonden werk op. Alleen een route heen en weer rijden levert 2 sporen op. Maar met banken, prullebakken, losse bomen, verharding, afsluitbomen, hekken of afrasteringen is het meer werk. Om de "Ruimte voor de Rivier" voor één arm van een rivier te mappen, ben je al snel een halve dag aan het surveyen. Als je tenminste niet vastloopt in de vette klei. Door de werking van eb en vloed varieert de breedte van zo'n rivier van 2 meter en oversteekbaar tot 200 meter.

NW from the A2 brdige

Gereedschap: Laarzen, stevige schoenen, Garmin 62s, rolmaatje (3,5 – 8,50), meetlint (10 – 50,00 m.), krijtje en een compact camera op AA net als de GPS, De camera heeft een geheugen met 600 fotos voor veel werk en een ouderwets notitieboekje, voor details in en op fotos die je in de eerste sessie niet hebt maar wel kunt mappen, vaak is dan een schaduw voldoende. De gemeten waarden kun je gebruiken om de GPS coördinaten te controleren (JOSM) De pc is een 5 jaar oude laptop met een tweetal externe harde 2 GB grote schijven voor back-up en gegevens. De pc ligt soms op de achterbank om de GPS te legen voor het onderscheid tussen items. Voor die achterbank geldt dat dat een auto is, met een fiets op een rek. Je kunt veel doen terwijl je op een fiets zit, je kunt mensen beter aanspreken dan vanuit een auto en erven en terreinen oprijden om iemand aan te spreken, niemand te zien dan is het toch in kaart gebracht. Ik gebruikt nu JOSM met veel hadige tools en P2 niet zo veel meer maar om even te kijken.

Waar map je ? Lokaal , HOT, MapRoulette, BahnRoulette ?

In de regio en overal waar ik kom, vaak gericht dat wel, veel in Nederland, vul maar in bij Pascal Neis, dan zie je precies wat ik waar doe. Of kijk naar mijn huidige OSM woonplaats New Cairo City, district 5 waar ik woon voor een ander project, het zoeken naar actieve Egyptenaren voor de opzet van een Egyptische groep mappers. Ik werk soms met Maproulette, een aardig spelletje voor een verloren moment.

Het laatste Fort dat op verzoek is gemapt is Everdingen. Het zuster fort Honswijk op de rechteroever staat op de agenda om een dezer dagen gemapt te worden.

Waar ben je het meest trots op als mapper ?

De detaillering die er gaande weg is ingeslopen, hetgeen dan weer zure of zuinige opmerkingen oplevert in de trend van dan wordt de database zo groot ?? He waar bouw je anders een kaart / database voor ? Ja, dan past ie niet meer in mijn machine ja en ? Dan moet je de selektie aanpassen, we bouwen / maken met z’n allen een goede en betrouwbare “kaart”. Up to date, dat heeft de overheid hier ondertussen ook al ontdekt. En niet slechts een route netwerk dat al kant en klaar is, laat dat aan een de routeur of renderer over. Het kadaster gebruikt de OSM kaart voor de [BAG viewer](https://bagviewer.kadaster.nl een kruis bestuiving (lees uitwisseling) tussen OSM en de Overheid.

Waarom map je ? Wat motiveert je ?

Tja, ik ben er in gerold en er is nog veel te doen. Een kleine bijdrage voor het gebruik van de OSM gegevens in de toekomst. Het visuele resultaat dat je achterlaat waar een ander dan weer naar kan kijken. En wat demotiveert je ? Zure weinig opbouwende kritieken of de lawine aan opmerkingen die je als mapper over je heen kunt krijgen op het Forum, je moet sterk in je schoenen staan om dat te overleven of je krijgt genoeg van pek en veren en haakt af en afhakers genoeg in deze gemeenschap. Ik vind het leuk om te zien dat iemand dan toch nog weer overeind komt en weer actief gaat mappen. Lak aan pek en veren en zeurders staan altijd ergens te blaten. Ze kunnen beter over je praten dan van je eten, dat gaat overal op.

Wat is het moeilijkste aan mappen ?

De leer curve binnen OSM met als beginner Potlach2, makkelijk zonder te downloaden, goed voor verschuivend werken meer een soort zoek het zelf uit systeem. Maar met een aardige mentor en dat scheelt een boel en de hint jij doet zo veel kijk eens naar JOSM. Met heel veel eenvoudige en handige links en toepassingen, vooral de fouten controle is handig en niet te vergeten de steile leer curve maar dat staat ook in de Wiki.

Wat zijn je plannen voor de nabije toekomst ?

Ik ben bij Vianen aan de laatste woonwijk toe, maar kan daar ook nog wel wat aan bijslijpen, want mijn insteek op details is gegroeid. En werk van A(lmelo) tot Z(aandam). De eerder genoemde linies en gasputten staan ook nog op de lijst maar niet op een achterrnamiddag. Ik voel me nu meer een zogenaamde en met een denigrerende term omschreven micromapper, dat kwam op het forum nog langs.

Grebbelinie by H. Bot CC-BY-SA-2.5 H.Bot

Heb je contact met andere mappers ? Hoe ?

Ja, ik ben ooit aan een project met richtingsborden begonnen, maar met de nakende import van Rijkswaterstaat, komen die teksten dan ook binnen. De Grebbelinie hebben we met 3 mappers in beeld gebracht. Ik heb in 2014 een presentatie gegeven over het nut en wezen van de BAG import. Ik bezoek de nieuwjaarsborrels van de GEO groep waar ook OSM r’s binnen lopen. De HOT bijeenkomsten zijn ook gemengd GEO OSM. Zo nu en dan per mail, via het Forum of persoonlijk. En zo hier en daar wat verre OSM vrienden, een wereld omvattend netwerk, voor wat het waard is. Ontstaan omdat ik hier en daar een vriendelijke vraag stel over een lokaal probleem. Zo ben ik in Cairo beland (als locatie op mijn OSM profiel) en heb vergeten mijn adres terug te zetten. Op het Forum zie ik mezelf nog als lurker, maar net als Q&A mag je dat mijn inziens geen contact noemen, net als het lezen van de groep Tagging, Talk en andere postings. Voor je ‘t weet lees en reageer je veel en kom je aan mappen niet meer toe, de kwaal van de sociale media, 24/7 bereikbaar zijn. Ja dat gaat bij mij niet op, ik bepaal of ik hem oppak, al zeker niet onder het eten en leg mijn telefoon ook niet onder mijn kussen. Een probleem kan tenslotte best wachten, het is geen watersnood of brand.

Gebruik je OpenStreetMap zelf ? Hoe ?

Ja, als tijdverdrijf, mappend en als databron soms, ik verdwaal niet in Nederland, teveel water.

Doe je nog andere dingen voor het OpenStreetMap project naast mappen ?

Zie boven, ja, op het Forum en Q&A en nee, ik laat het programmeerwerk even liggen, de PC is er voor mij en niet andersom. Maar ik promoot OSM waar mogelijk.

Om af te sluiten, is er nog iets dat je zou willen zeggen ?

Probeer uit te vinden of en waarom iemand OSM laat voor wat het is.

Merci et au revoir

Hendrikklaas

Mapper In the Spotlight: Nick (The Netherlands)

Posted by escada on 12 March 2016 in English (English)

Who are you ?

I am a casual mapper with an interest in old military lines. I live in the middle of the New Dutch Water Line and noticed that this potential cultural heritage is found barely in OSM. The famous Low Lands Forts with lunettes and redoubts that were made in the Low Countries, with details such as shelters, locks and bridges. For locks, I would just point to Nieuwpoort for a representative example. Nieuwpoort Professionally, I made specifications and drawings in addition to writing policy and opinion pieces. I am one of those that introduce a new parking permit with a smile and if you protest against the costs, says, yes you can complain, but not at this 2 year old act. The nice thing is that if you are not covered by the license, you can not object. But that explanation is accepted, that helps ;-)

My Hobbies:

  • Camping in summer and winter in the José Happart region of the [High Fens](High_Fens) and the lowlands along The Scheldt, cross country skiing (Telemark). Furthermore LEGO educational building with as crown jewel, the participation at the now 14 years old Lego World.
  • I have a complete collection of topographic maps of both the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as historical maps from 40-45, which are printed on both sides, (because the paper was scarce). * Furthermore I have some maps from other countries from different continents in different scales. I use those maps to hike, bike and review. Sometimes I end up with a walking guide, wet from the rain.

Beautiful are the GPS-less hints of the Antwerp author Flips in the series Green Tuesdays, where you are out there without coordinates. Unfortunately none of those maps and books (among others some from Julien Van Remoortere that are published by Lannoo cannot be used for OSM. What made me smile was that Van Remoortere mentioned that the start was at the railway station, not to encourage people to take the train, but just because he wanted a parking space for the car. My nickname is a coincidence, if you sign up you must specify a pseudonym. I ended up with the concatenation of the first names of two brothers.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

For a pleasure trip along the Meuse River from its source on the plateau of Langres I bought a Garmin GPS with French maps. My first GPS was inaccurate, so a paper map and compass or a simple analog clock were more helpful to get to your destination. In the deep forested valleys of the Rockies arose the desire to have a GPS, but among the tall trees, 20 years ago a GPS didn't really work. Garmin sends you to to OSM.nl for maps, so that is how I got here.

What do you map?

Mapping has quite a learning curve and demands an open mind, as you get hints or just simple messages like "did you know that your contributions were removed behind your back?". You need an elephant skin. OSM is all about friendly liberty, but still tries to keep everyone under control somehow. I can't really talk about the past. Some of us are here since 2007, so I'm still a newbie compared to that.

I work on Lines, military fortifications. There are about 40 here in Holland. Grebbelinie, NHWL and Raam-Peellinie are already pretty good. But I also work on more recent structures from WWII, and bridges, locks and dams. The Polders (example are also an undermapped area, because of the lack of roads. After remote mapping, I go surveying with my canoe - not easy, because the little streams and canals are often quite muddy.

How do you map?

From the above, you can deduce that I get almost all my data from surveys. Only when I participate in an HOT event, everything is based on aerial mapping and that requires some improvisation. One survey keeps me busy for almost 4 evenings. The drive forth and back alone gives me 2 tracks. Add the benches, waste bins, individual trees, surfaces, gates, fence etc. and you understand how much work it is. "Space for the river", or "Ruimte voor de Rivier is a zoning plan to improve living near the river. Surveys for one river arm, costs me half day walking through the greasy clay, if I do not get stuck. The width of the water varies from 2 meter and fordable, to 200 meters due to high and low tide.

NW from the A2 brdige

Another example of how I surveyed the area north-west of the A2 motorway bridge. [link?] The tools: Boots, sturdy shoes, Garmin 62s, a tape measure (3,5 - 8,50), tape (10 - 50.00 m), chalk and a compact camera and GPS on AA batteries. Afterwards the camera's memory is filled with 600 pictures for hours of mapping work. Furthermore I use an old-fashioned notebook, for additional details of items that you cannot photograph properly, e.g. because of shadows. The measured values can be used to check the GPS coordinates (JOSM). My PC is a 5 year old laptop with two external hard disks for 2 GB [really?] of backup and data. The PC is sometimes in the back seat of the car to empty the GPS in order to distinguish between items later on. I also have a bike on a rack on the car.. You can do a lot while you're on a bike,. You can approach people better than by driving up someone's land with a car. In case there is no one to talk to, you still have recorded the area with your GPS. For mapping, I now use JOSM with many useful tools. Therefore my usage of Potlach2 has lessened, but I still use it for a quick look.

Where your map? Local, HOT, MapRoulette, Railroad Roulette?

Typically I map in my own region, but actually I map wherever I go. But the focus remains on the Netherlands. But you can find it out yourself when you consult Pascal Neis' tools. you will see exactly what I'm doing where Or look at my current OpenStreetMap residence New Cairo City, District 5 where I live for another project. By changing the location on my account page, I actively seek Egyptians nearby to form an Egyptian mapping group.

I sometimes work with Maproulette, a nice game for lost moment.

The last fort which I mapped upon request was Everdingen. The sister fort Honswijk on the right bank is on the agenda to be mapped these days.

What are you most proud of as a mapper?

The amount of detail that has gradually crept in. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to sour remarks such as "why is our database growing so big ??" or "It doesn't fit on my machine anymore". But I wonder why should we stop adding those details. You can use a smaller selection of the data when it no longer fits on your machine. We all try to build / create a good and reliable "map". An up to date map I might add, something the Dutch government has now also discovered. And it is not just the route network that is already finished. The Dutch cadastre now uses an OSM map for their BAG viewer, which is a nice example of cross-pollination between OSM and the Government.

Why do you map? What motivates you?

Well, I just rolled into it and I see that there is still much to do. A small contribution for the use of the OSM data in the future. The visual result that you leave and that others can look at. What discourages me? Sour little constructive criticisms or the avalanche of comments that you sometimes get as a mapper on the forum. You have to be a strong person to stand up against that. Otherwise you will soon get fed up and leave the community . I enjoy it when I see someone coming back up and become active again after a period of inactivity. I think those negative people are everywhere and we should try to just ignore them.

What is the most difficult in the mapping process?

The learning curve in OSM. I started with Potlach 2, which is easy, requires no download, and can be learned on your own. I was then contacted by a nice mentor, who hinted me at JOSM. Thanks to the mentor I saved a lot of time in learning JOSM. It has many useful tools, I especially like its validation mechanism. But there is a steep learning curve as the wiki warns for.

What are your plans for the near future?

I'm in Vianen, working at the last residential area, but there is still some fine tuning to do, because over time I added more and more details. And working from A(lmelo) to Z(aandam). The above-mentioned lines and gas wells are also currently on the list but that cannot be finished over night. I would call myself a micro-mapper, although that term is used in a derogatory way on the Dutch forum.

Do you have contact with other mappers? How?

Yes, I once started out on a project with direction signs, but with the imminent import of Rijkswaterstaat, this data will be added anyhow. The Grebbelinie, we mapped with 3 mappers. I gave a presentation in 2014 about the use and nature of the BAG imports. I also visit the New Year get-togethers of the GEO group during which I meet other mappers as well. The HOT meetings are also mixed GEO and OSM.

Grebbelinie by H. Bot CC-BY-SA-2.5 H.Bot

I have occasional contact with other mappers by mail, via the Forum or in person. And here and there there are some distant friends in OSM, a global network, for what it's worth. This network is grown by asking friendly questions about local problems. So I ended up "living" in Cairo and have forgotten to reset. On the forum I see myself as a lurker. But communication on Q & A, is not really "having contact" in my opinion, just like reading the group Tagging, Talk and other postings. Before you know it you read and react too much and you end up without time to map. The problem of social media: being available 24/7. That does not work for me, I determine when and where I am available, and that is certainly not during lunch and my phone is not under my pillow at night. A problem can easily wait, as long as it is not a flood or fire.

Use your OpenStreetMap itself? How?

I use it in my spare time, while I'm surveying or as data source. I don't really need it to prevent me from getting lost, there is too much water in The Netherlands :-).

Do you do other things besides mapping?

I am helping out on the forum and help website. I do not program, the PC is there for me and not vice versa. But I try to promote OSM whenever possible.

To conclude, is there anything you would like to mention ?

It would be nice to try to find out if and why someone stops contributing to OpenStreetMap

Merci et au revoir

Hendrik Klaas

Where was I ?

Posted by escada on 21 February 2016 in English (English)

Here are some renderings of the GPX-traces I made during my walks (and ride to the walks)

The first one is with the walks from 2015. The "noise" is caused by not cleaning the track before the walk. 2015

This one is with all tracks I have made in Belgium since April 2011. All 2011

The same one, with other colours All since 2011 red-green

Here red is for fast sections, green for slow parts, overlayed on the map from Belgium All on Belgium

All pictures are made with JOSM. Would love to hear if there is a more appropriate program to make such pictures

Mapper in the Spotlight: dkiselev (Russia)

Posted by escada on 12 February 2016 in English (English)

The Russian OpenStreetMap community is one of the largest. Still, I don't know a lot of Russian mappers. Since I wanted to get to know them better, I asked Zverik for some interesting mappers. He was so kind to give a list of candidates. And I just picked one, that happens to be dkiselev

Q: Who are you ?

I'm programmer from Russia, living in Yekaterinburg. Though I've been living in Montenegro for about two years, and it's clearly shown by my hdyc heat map. I like to travel and programming. For one part of my life I'm sitting on my laptop with my back to the rest of the world and for the other part I'm driving or strolling somewhere I've never been before.

Heat Map for dkiselev

Q: When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

If I remember, I saw an article in Linux Magazine with article about OSM, and at that moment I was looking for map which renders one-ways. And OSM was just what I need. I've done some edits near my home, and can't stop edit ever since.

Q: What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

There are not so many differences in what I map, but in where I map. I could say that I'm armchair mapper, I love to map buildings, highways, rivers - all that basic stuff. An unmapped mid-sized town without mapped streets and buildings is like a Christmas gift for me.

Q: How do you map ? Do you make surveys ? Are you an armchair mapper ?

As I said, I am amchair mapper, but sometimes I like to take some POIs, or some small pathways in new neighborhood in my city. For POIs I use just a pencil and block note. Sometimes a smartphone with OsmAnd and photo-pois.

POI gathering with OsmAnd

Since I have a laptop with a huge screen, so I do not have a fixed place to do my mapping.

My workplace

Q: Where do you map ? Locally, HOT ?

Both ways, sometimes I just pick a random location in the middle of nowhere, sometimes I map a places where I was or have plans to go. Sometimes I map where my friends says "OSM sucks because there is no %place_name% mapped there."

Q: What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

Some people say that OSM is cool because of complex objects like 3d buildings or public transport routes, somebody else loses their mind from micro-mapping. But still, I could find towns and villages that are not mapped at all and sometimes they are rather big. First thing which you want from map - is coverage for your region of interest. And for me my first achievement will be first million of points added (I'm rather close to that point but still have some work to do). And another achievement would be a size of heat map from hdyc.

Q: Why do yo map ? What motivates you ?

It's rather easy, first, I love process of mapping: follow the road or river and click-click-click. It may sounds rather silly but: modern games like Diablo3 have pretty muchthe same process, follow the pictures on screen and click. And such kind of a game/mapping process gives joy to an enormous number of people. Second, that exact moment, when whole town or river or web of highways pops-out from dull gray mapnik-nothingness really drives me. It's a small world under your cursor. A road to a farmland with farmers, a small pathway from bus-stop to kindergarten through neighborhood with imagined parents and imagined kids on a playground.

Q: Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Yes, but most of such contacts are virtual via email. Not so many person-to-person meetings as I want.

The main reason for that is that we have different interests. Some of us like to map in city, someone else prefers the outskirts and mountain bike trails and others prefers to drive somewhere. So most of our parties are parties, not mapping-parties. Another reason might be that all of mappers around me, including myself, are keen on mapping and attending meetings but not on organising parties.

Q: What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

Mapping, as I see it, isn't a hard thing. Most difficult part of OSM is the "nobody needs that" approach on tagging and talk mailing lists. Guys, just think, If somebody uses a mailing list, which is pain by itself, to ask you what is the best approach to map a thing, there is a demand for that kind of things to be mapped.

Q: What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

I don't have formal plans for mapping, - I just map. I have some plans for programming around OSM:

Improve my own geocoder (Gazetteer) Improve QGIS-OSM interaction Create separate 3d model storage, with off-osm 3d models but with connection to OSM objects.

Q: Where can we find more information about your geocoder ?

osm.me is a live demo, but coverage is limited to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Montenegro. You can find the code on github Geocoder on http://osm.me

Q: Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

Yes, I use OSM for navigation, day-by-day and for journeys. I love camping and car-navigation with OSM helps a lot. It also helps me to find playgrounds for my kids when we are in a new city, and helps me with pedestrian navigation.

Q: Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

Yes, most of them related to programming, I do osm related programming myself and trying to help others to work with OSM data.

Q: Zverik told me you gave some talks about OpenStreetMap. Can you tell something about them ?

Conferences and talks, they form a large part of my work for OSM. This year I have visited 2 conferences. The first one was a local IT conference in my own city. I gave a presentation about OSM from the point of view of management. To summarize in one sentence: "how to manage a party of anarchists." I've described how to encourage people to do something for public good and not to destroy such project with stupid management. On the last conference in Moscow which was mentioned by Zverik, I've been talking about

  • Geocoding (I've tried to make that speech rather broad and general)
  • OSM data processing, building a polygons of populated areas and estimation of population density distribution.
  • 3d - it wasn't actually my speech, it was a kind of open discussion about 3d in osm.

Q: To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

Thank you for your time. Best regards. Dmitry.

Belgian Mapper of the Month: ponci4520

Posted by escada on 2 February 2016 in English (English)

Stefan is 28 years old and just finished his studies in resource and sustainability management (Joint Degree for Sustainable Development). Right now, he is looking for a job. He uses OpenStreetMap not only on a daily base for personal use, but also for his university research in order to visualise the distribution of cultural resources in cities. In future, Stefan would like to learn how to build his own map layers to show otherwise invisible buildings and infrastructures.

How did you discover OpenStreetMap?

The first time I heard about OpenStreetmap was at university. It was also mentioned in an edition of Arte, titled "Le dessous des cartes". But I only really started mapping after participating in a conference on the use of maps for the visualisation of sustainable economy and community initiatives. This initiative, called Transformap, hopes to produce thematic maps based on OpenStreetMap. After this conference, I took part in a monthly meeting of the OpenStreetMappers user group in Graz, Austria - where I was studying at that time. It is a very active group. Unsurprisingly, Graz is very well mapped. That motivated me to participate, so I started to map my own area, Hesbaye.

Do you use OpenStreetMap?

I spend a lot of time looking at maps. There is no other media that helps to understand, discover, or rediscover an area as well as maps. Maps also have the enormous potential to participate in the development of an area. I also have a smartphone with an OpenStreetMap navigation application, called OsmAnd. I use that app for navigation as well as an "ordinary" map of the place that I am visiting.

What kind of mapper are you?

Until now, I mostly did remote mapping in the area where I live: Hesbaye in the Liège province. But slowly, I started to follow some roads and visiting nearby areas to compare the map with the reality. I really like to discover new places thanks to OpenStreetMap. I do not have a real speciality, but by mapping my village, I learned a lot, especially concerning historical buildings. Since I want to show this patrimonium to others, I focus more on this topic at the moment.

What is your biggest achievement as a mapper?

Mapping the village I come from, though that is more like a never-ending marathon than an achievement. When I started, the Hesbaye region was barely mapped. However, nowadays, I notice that there are more and more mappers active in this area. Although I only contributed part of the data, I am very pleased that the map is getting more and more details.

How can we motivate more people to contribute to OpenStreetMap?

By organising Map-Jams and or workshops, e.g. in the Re_lab in Liège. By giving introductions to new mappers and teach them how they can use the different tools (JOSM, GPS, data imports) By organising regular meetings (once or twice a month) for mappers. By making a brochure with information for public services, companies, NGO's, computer scientist, etc. to promote the use of OpenStreetMap.

What is the strength of OpenStreetMap?

OpenStreetMap proved itself a couple of times to help people in need, e.g. after the earthquake in Haïti, or more recently during the ebola outbreak in West-Africa. The humanitarian intervention was more effective because the area was mapped by volunteers. The major asset of OpenStreetMap is without doubt its "open source" character. It is de-facto a common asset that belongs to humanity: everybody can participate -- of course you need an internet connection and a computer. Nevertheless it remains accessible for a large group. Those values are important and provide an alternative paradigm for the mantra of growth and commercial gain. I also believe that OpenStreetMap is a nice example of bottom-up internet organisation.

What is the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap?

Exactly this internet governance. Unfortunately there are more and more examples of increased top-down control on the internet (for security reasons, economic issues, etc.). As often, there are good arguments for both sides, but I am convinced that open source software proves that the internet is a collaborative project that is for the benefit of all.

Anything else that you want to mention?

OpenStreetMap is really not difficult. It is a community with a lot of passionate people who use patience and enthusiasm to help anyone who wants to get their head around open source software. You can start by exploring the different OpenStreetMap maps and the rest will happen automatically!

Mapper in the Spotlight: Fredy Rivera (Colombia)

Posted by escada on 15 January 2016 in Spanish (Español)

English Text

Fredy Rivera vive en un pequeño pueblo en los Andes de Colombia, es desarrollador de software y trabaja en proyectos sociales por medio de la fundación vivirenlafinca.org Su nick "Humano", es una respuesta al mundo digital y su trabajo social donde quiere rescatar que lo mas importante de la tecnología son las personas.

Taking a break

Q: Como y cuando descubriste a Openstreetmap?

Hace aproximadamente ocho años cuando buscaba mapas usables para mis proyectos y excursiones. OSM tenia solo unos pocos trazos que no sumaban unas decenas de kilómetros, aún así esos pocos kilométros eran mucho mas de los que se podían encontrar "libres" en cualquier mapa publico o privado del país. En Colombia la entidad encargada de la información geográfica oficial es el Instituto geográfico agustín Codazzi (IGAC) sin embargo este instituto se comporta como una empresa privativa que solo hace mapas a pedido y que no ha entendido la importancia politica y comercial de liberar la información geográfica del país.

A pesar de la poca información de que disponía en OSM decidí empezar a trabajar con OSM y pude adquirir un equipo Nokia N810 que se convirtió en mi primer GPS con el que tracé cientos de kilómetros de Colombia.

Al ver la tarea de Mapear Colombia algo tan grande decidí convocar a los amigos y solicitar la creación de la lista talk-co en la que actualmente hay 275 suscriptores, muchos de ellos activos que apoyan en los procesos de mapeo.

Y es así como al día de hoy el mapa de Colombia en OSM es el mas denso de latinoamerica si se compara el área del país con la cantidad de datos subidos a la base de datos de la plataforma.

Esto ha permitido que el mapa de Colombia en OSM sea usado por una gran cantidad de empresas como cadenas de supermercados, empresas de taxi , empresas de mensajería, de investigación social y científica y por supuesto instituciones del estado que no poseen los recursos para comprar información al IGAC.

Q: Que mapeas? Ha evolucionado despues de tus dias de newbie?

Mapeo caminos rurales y vias que solo son transitables con vehículos 4x4 mi lema es "al lugar donde fueres, mapead lo que vieres." Siempre mi interés son los caminos rurales, he hecho mucho de ciudades, sobre todo cuando hago talleres, pero hace 6 años vivo en el campo y ese es mi interés.

Q: Como mapeas?

La mayoría de mis mapeos son por recorridos con GPS, y para las ediciones uso JOSM

Q: En donde mapeas? En tu zona local, con HOT?

En mi zona local y durante los recorridos de mi trabajo.

Q: Cual es tu exito mas grande como mapeador?

Haber podido coordinar la comunidad OpenStreetMap Colombia y haber generado el primer mapa de GPS que se reportó usado para la atención del terremoto de Haiti. https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2010-January/046907.html

Q: Por que mapeas? Cual es tu motivacion?

Mapeo para que la gente pueda conocer el territorio y cuente con mapas libres que puedan ser usados para cualquier propósito.

Q: Que parte de mapear es lo mas dificil?

La parte mas dificil de mapear es no poder contar con tiempo suficiente y recursos para hacer los recorridos.

On the road

Q: Cual es la proxima cosa que quieres mapear?

Mi proxima aventura :)

Q: Estas en contacto con otros mapeadores?

Coordino la comunidad OSM Colombia y me comunico con los maperos todos los días, muchos de los maperos son mis mejores amigos.

A parking with a view

Q: Usas Openstreetmap? Como?

En mi GPS y algunos proyectos de mi trabajo como desarrollador, ejemplo http://datos.labmde.org/a74

Q: Aparte de mapear, haces mas cosas que tienen que ver con Openstreetmap ?

Uso los datos de OSM en mi labor como desarrollador de software.

En el año 2015 fui ganador del premio "Titan Caracol" en el área de tecnología y conectividad, un premio de caracter nacional que estimula a las personas que se dedican a proyectos de beneficio social, el premio si bien no es un estipendio económico, ha servido para que miles de personas conozcan el proyecto y se interesen por aportar y/o usarlo.

Espero por medio de esta difusión podre reunir los recursos necesario para adquirir un drone y certificarlo según la estricta normativa colombiana para ser usado en situación de desastre y mapeo humanitario, como ya lo hemos hecho con algunos aparatos prestado.

Una de las grandes satisfacciones que me ha aportado OSM es poder escribir el libro buscandodragones.com por medio del cual ayudo a las personas que se quieran integrar a el apasionante mundo del mapeo.

The Next Adventure

Q: Y por ultimo, tienes algo mas que quieres compartir?

Mapear es la mejor forma de conocer, te hace consiente de cada hito, cada casa, cada nombre.

Location: Medio Baudó, Chocó, Colombia

Mapper in the Spotlight: Fredy Rivera (Colombia)

Posted by escada on 15 January 2016 in English (English)

This time we travel to South-America for our Mapper in the Spotlight series. The interview and the English translation are done by Joost Schouppe.

Fredy Rivera lives in a small town in the Colombian Andes. He's a software developer and works on social projects through the vivirenlafinca.org foundation. His nick "Humano" is a reminder of how in the digital world and social work, humans are still the most important aspect of technology.

Taking a break

Q: When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

About eight years ago, I was looking for maps for some of my projects and excursions. Openstreetmap only had a couple of dozens of kilometers of roads mapped in Colombia, but that was still much more than any other available free data from public or private sources alike. The public entity for geography in Colombia is the Instituto geográfico Agustín Codazzi](http://www.igac.gov.co/igac) (IGAC). But though being a public service, they act more like a private company. They only make maps on demand, and have surely not understood the political and economical importance of freeing geographical information about the country.

So even though Openstreetmap was pretty empty, I decided to work with it. I managed to get my first GPS, a Nokia N810, and I tracked hundreds of kilometers of roads in Colombia with it. Looking at the enormity of the task ahead, I decided to call on friends and asked to set up the talk-co mailing list. Now there are 275 subscibers, many of which are active contributors to the mapping process.

Now OSM Colombia is the densest map in Latin America, if you look at the quantity of data divided by the area of the country. That has allowed the OSM map of Colombia to be used by a large number of companies, like supermarkets, taxi companies, messenger services, social and scientific researchers and even government institutions that don't have the money to buy information from the IGAC.

Q: What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

Mostly rural roads and tracks only accesible with 4x4. My motto is "wherever you go, map what you see". Though I also worked a lot on cities, my interest has always been the countryside. Especially as I've lived there for the last six years.

On the road

Q: How do you map ?

I collect data with my GPS, and map the data with JOSM.

Q: Where do you map ?

I map my local area, and where-ever my work takes me.

Q: What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

Having the posibility to coordinate the Colombian Openstreetmap community and having generated the first map that was reported to be used after the earthquake in Haiti. https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2010-January/046907.html

Q: Why do yo map ? What motivates you ?

I want to make maps that people can use to discover the land, free maps that they can use for whatever they want.

Q: What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

The hardest part is finding the time to map and the money to travel.

A parking with a view

Q: What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

My next adventure :)

Q: Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Coordino la comunidad OSM Colombia y me comunico con los maperos todos los días, muchos de los maperos son mis mejores amigos. I coordinate the OSM Colombia community, so I'm in contact with mappers every day. Many of them are my best friends.

Q: Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

On my GPS, and sometimes also in my work as a developer, see for example http://datos.labmde.org/a74

Q: Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

Last year, I won the "Titan Caracol" award in the technology and connectivity category. That's a national price that stimulates people who work on sociale profit projects. There is no monetary award, but it did help to get thousands of people to learn about the project, and hopefully to use and contribute to the data.

I'm hoping to use the opportunity to get the resources to buy a drone - and get it certified to use within the tight Colombian legal framework. We could really use it after disaster strikes or for humanitarian mapping in general. We have been able to do so on a few occasions with drones that were lent to us.

One of my big satisfactions was writing the book buscandodragones.com , an effort to help people integrate into the wonderful world of mapping.

The Next Adventure

Q: To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

There's nothing like mapping to get to know the land: you become conscious of every hamlet, every house, every name.

I would like to thank Fredy for the interview and Manfred Reiter for passing his name to us.

Location: Medio Baudó, Chocó, Colombia

Belgian Mapper of the Month: Polyglot

Posted by escada on 1 January 2016 in English (English)

Nederlandse Tekst

Polyglot is a Belgian network administrator who's hobbies are changing a bit over time: learning languages, cycling, horsebackriding, and oh .... OpenStreetMap became a major time sink!

How did you discover OpenStreetMap?

Apparently, it's been eight years already. I wanted to give something back to the free software world. I'm not a real programmer, so for a few years I contributed to the English Wiktionary. However, at one point it was more fighting against vandalism than bringing in new and interesting data about words and translations, so I gave up on that. OpenStreetMap had the advantage that, on the one hand, it's an outdoor activity, and on the other hand you get to use a computer in interesting ways. Every time you enter the surveyed data, you sort of relive the itinerary you followed, which intensifies the experience. Since I discovered Mapillary, my way of mapping/surveying changed again. Taking a huge amount of pictures, which serve as source material, became a goal in itself. I produce so many of them now that it is no longer feasible to process all of the data I collect myself. Before Mapillary I just took pictures of what I was going to add on OpenStreetmap. This process took about the same amount of time as the surveying itself. Nowadays weeding out the failed pictures from the thousands I made is work enough as it is.

Pad van Ad op OSM

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

Strangely enough, not that often. Or maybe I do, for example with OsmAnd. Wonderful how you can fit a complete offline map on your smartphone of our small country! And I once made a map with Maperitive to illustrate an article on Wikivoyage and Wikipedia. Afterwards I learned that they have integrated maps, based on Openstreetmap of course. What's remarkable about that map is that it combines data, in ways that would be unthinkable only 10 years ago. It took me a while to get it done, but only a fraction of the time, if I had to do all of the work myself. It displays bus itineraries and stops, a network of hiking nodes and connecting routes on a detailed background, overlayed with the topic of the map, an itinerary connecting wooden statues created by Ad Wouters throughout the forest. In my opinion, another very nice initiative is Umap, oh and Overpass API, of course. Invaluable, that is.

How do you map ? (field surveys, arm chair, ... )

I like to experiment, so I try pretty much everything! I do surveys by bike, on foot and even on horseback ... just fun to do. I started with a Windows CE phone with GPS, equipped with a small keyboard, which I could buy second-hand. Before that, I also used a data logger for a while and a 'regular' phone, which could take 5MP pictures. Today, it has to be a smartphone with no less than 8 or 12MP :-) Incredible how technology evolves and what how it enables us to do our mapping.

Arm chair? In a certain way yes. I kept bugging De Lijn (the public transport agency of Flanders) for permission to add their data into OpenStreetMap. After much insistence, and some help from OKFN, that finally came through. Then I started to figure out how to convert their data into OpenStreetMap format, using PostGIS and Python scripts. It was an interesting learning experience to be working with SQL and such. Subsequently I added all nearly 40 000 stops in groups of around 100 at a time on OpenStreetMap. I spent months doing this, if not years... By the time that TEC (the public bus and tramway agency in Wallonia) released their data, I apparently had some experience, because those 30 000 bus stops were added within three months!

Perhaps what kept me going, was the search for a model that can easily be mapped and maintained and is still powerful enough to represent the public transport routes as realistic as possible. The starting point was of course the "new" mapping schema of public transport. Many people call this schema too complex, because there are so many relations. On the other hand, it is impossible to model public transport routes with a simple schema.

I start with the (bus) stops as nodes on both sides of the road. I do not like to duplicate information, that only makes it harder to maintain. Therefore the way that represents the platform or the stop_position-node on the road, do not get any additional tags. All details go on the node, which represents the pole of the stop. The details include the refs, route_refs, zone and name of the stop. I also consider the stops on both sides of the road as different entities. So I have 2 stop area relations. Each relation contains the platform or bus-stop-node, the stop-position, the shelter, the bench, the wastebin, etc. When looking across the border, you see different mapping styles. For example, in Germany they put all stops with the same name in 1 stop-area-relation. This makes it impossible to associate the stop-position-node with the platform-node. Other differences are details that appear on the way representing the platform or on the stop positions. Those different methods are especially difficult to deal with when operators have bus stops across the border.

I just like to automate stuff. I started to use Pythonscripts to convert data. Later on, I started to write scripts within JOSM, in order to create stop-area-relations. Another script I wrote, assists me in the creation of route-relations. Without those scripts it would be an impossibly daunting task to map all this info.

Where do you map ?

In the early days, I mapped in my own (wider) surroundings. It is remarkble how one suddenly starts to look differently at ordinary things while out and about. Something like "How could I map that? Did I already add this? O, that has changed, I should fix that later on." I suppose that my specialization is public transport, although I experimented with lots of different things. One thing I can't I seem to get stated with is 3D-mapping. It just takes too much time to get it right. The tools do not offer enough support yet. When I discovered Mapillary, I spent some time on traffic signs. But I won't attempt to map them all. I did try to correct the Belgian data for the JOSM plugin, but I think that that plugin should be rewritten. Maybe it could make a nice project for the next GSoC ?

Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

Of course it comes in handy that OsmAnd works quite well, it's nice to know that I contributed some of the data myself. On the other side, I fear contributing is a kind of addiction, or an escape from reality. Maybe not too healthy after all. If I stop contributing next week, it might be because I gave this question a bit too much thought :-)

Do you do other things beside mapping ?

I read several mailing lists and fora to keep up-to-date with OpenStreetMap news, which has the added benefit of getting to practice my language skills. I don't consider presenting in front of a public as my strongest point, but I do like to get people started with JOSM, when they become more seriously involved with Openstreetmap, so I tend to try it every once in a while. A nice experience was the mentorship of Jorge, who developed the Mapillary-plugin for JOSM during GSoC. This was the first time I mentored, but it was an interesting experience and I believe the result is very useful for the community. I'm sure Jorge also had a good learning experience. I might repeat it next year. I have some ideas already: the Mapillary plugin could be developed further to include a 3D-like view. Another possibility is to reimplement the "expert system" for public transport routes in Java, as a real plugin. Or we could rework the RoadSigns-plugin, so it intelligently assigns tags to the node representing the traffic sign and corresponding tags to the affected highway.

About a year ago, I participated in my first Missing Maps Mapathon. However, I was not very well prepared back then. I mostly went out of curiosity. The participation was much larger than I had expected. The next one was in the Geofort in The Netherlands. --- Philippe, thanks for making that possible ! --- This month, I was a presenter, explaining JOSM. Perhaps it is not the most straightforward choice to start editing, but I think it is important to show the benefits of this editor. Furthermore, I also digged into the tasking manager. I noticed that a lot of items get mapped, but the validation is lacking in many cases. Since I have gained some experience over the years, I thought to give that a try. I find it difficult to reject tiles, since you want to motivate the people and give tips on how they could improve their work. This is needed, otherwise they keep repeating the same mistake over and over. Finding the right balance is a bit of a challenge. I am now experimenting with Twitch, in order to implement a better way for giving feedback for that validation. However, I'll admit that it also serves as a way to demonstrate that things can be done more efficiently with JOSM most of the time. Anyway mapping for HOT (or at least checking the hard labour others did and helping them to become better mappers) is quite rewarding. The Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team is really making a difference, creating communities where they wouldn't form spontaneously, but where the need for decent maps is greater than ever.

What is your biggest achievement ?

Definitely the script that I wrote to update PT route relations in JOSM. The script uses routes that are already mapped. The way we map those relations at this moment causes a lot of duplication. That is something you do not want to fix manually in case the street infrastructure changes, or when more detail is mapped. A smaller achievement is another little experiment of mine. After learning about Wikidata, I started adding tags for streets named after artists, architects and places. I started out by adding direct links via Overpass Turbo to the wikipedia articles, but after a while I developed a LUA-script that expands into a link pointing to Overpass Turbo. I hope this can help people who may be intimidated by the Overpass syntax to get a starting point for their own queries. I also like how this connects several different opendata projects.

But the thing that makes me most proud is that all together we achieved to create something that was unimaginable only 10 years ago.

Thanks a lot Polyglot for this interview

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Lutz Lange (Germany)

Posted by escada on 14 December 2015 in English (English)

One of my favorite maps based on OpenStreetMap data is the Historic Places map. I have been contributing several pieces of data that show up on this map, as well as helping a bit with the translation. During those tasks I met Lutz, one of the people behind this map. So it is with great pleasure that I can present this interview with him.

Lutz Lange

Who are you?

My name is Lutz Lange, and I live in a 1000 year old city in Saxony, one of the most beautiful regions of Germany. Professionally, I am an electrician on construction sites throughout Germany on road.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

In 2006 I was informed via the former German Mapping project maps4free about OSM. I was immediately impressed by the simplicity of the model, that allowed to create a on-line map with only a handful of key / value pairs. The motivations to join, where of course the expensive maps and software for my Palm.

What you map?

Currently, I prefer to map historical items, buildings and stones that tell a story. During the first few years, I mapped everything I came across. I do not do this anymore.

How you map?

At this moment the camera and GPS of my smartphone are my main tools to collect data. For trips that are well planned in advance (unfortunately very rare) I use another GPS logger and a Dashcam for data recording. From the start I use JOSM for editing. It is impressive to see how this has become a professional tool. From time to time I check my neighbourhood with KeepRight, OSM Inspector and Notes for errors and hints.

Where you map?

Mostly in my local area, the border region of Saxony , Saxony Anhalt and Brandenburg. But because of my work, I also come in other states where I can do on-site surveys. Occasionally, I am a couchmapper, rummaging in Historic.Place.

What is the biggest challenge as a mapper?

To be able to come back home from trip without notes. Knowing your own limitations in editing and leave some objects alone...

Personally I do not map 3D, TMC or public transport data. Not that I do not map those features, but because I did not understand the tagging schemas immediately and I do not have time to learn them.

Why do you map, what are your motives?

The original reason, that maps are expensive, no longer holds. It is rather a pleasant counterweight for the physical work in the daytime job. Also, I'm not the guy who wants to ride against himself or the time on a bicycle. OSM is a good reason, to enjoy a relaxing walk and discover something new along the way that can be mapped later on.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

Taking care of what was mapped before. E.g. dealing with something that was easily recognized as a grade3-track years ago, but is now rapidly becoming an overgrown path; telephone booths that were dismantled; businesses or companies that no longer exist; etc.

Do you have any plans for what you want to map the future?

There are still many historical objects to be rediscovered.

Do you have any contact with other mappers?

Yes, once a year there is a meeting with a few mappers from the surrounding area.

Furthermore, there is plenty of e-mail traffic related to the Historic.Place-map.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

OsmAnd is my loyal companion on my smartphone.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

I have my hands full as team member of Historic.Place, a little OpenStreetMap-based Web application.

Can you tell us something about this Historic.place map ?

Historic.places map

That will probably a long story. Once upon a time, ...............

Well, it actually began when another mapper (Radler59) started mapping the border stones of the Kingdom of Saxony and the Kingdom of Prussia, which dates back to 1815. There was already a map showing border stones, made by user Lübeck.

However, in a short period, many border stones were added in Saxony. This made the map very slow to load. When I started to look at ways to create my own map, I stumbled upon OpenLayers-guru Netzwolf. Not only does he write excellent code, he also makes it available free of charge to others.

And so, the first historical map was born around 2012. It was still based on the Overpass API.

The first historical map

This was quickly followed by a milestone and "Sühnekreuz" map, and the idea to create a map that displays historical features. When implementing this idea, I had the good fortune that Wolfgang (Netzwolf) cared personally about the development of the map. With a pioneer and thought leader in terms of OSM on board, the relevant philosophy and style of the map was coined. As an example, it had to be possible to customize the card to meet the needs of the user, and not the other way around...... I learned a lot in terms of software, Internet and as a human from Wolfgang. Hereby, I would like to take the opportunity to thank him for this. Even nowadays, when there is a problem, we can still count on him.

Milestone Map

The map quickly became a "self-perpetuating", and found a broad support from around the world when it comes to ideas, key / value description in the wiki, translations etc.

Carsten (Zecke) and René (Reneman) are the other "Full-time" team members of Historic.Place. Carsten en René are responsible for the development of the software behind the map. I take care of the georeferencing and the creation of Tiles old maps as a background layer.

We still want to implement many ideas, for example the Life Cycle Concept.

Any help or support is always welcome. For example, we could use someone to design the webpage and new icons for the map.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ??

Do not take yourself and your OpenStreetMap hobby too seriously, because actually we're all just farts in the wind.

Thanks a lot, Lutz for this interview and the history of Historic.Place, I really like some of your ideas that we do not have to take ourselves serious and that we should not map what we do not understand.

Previous interviews

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Lutz Lange (Germany) - (in Deutsch)

Posted by escada on 14 December 2015 in English (English)

Lutz Lange

Wer sind Sie?

Mein Name ist Lutz Lange, und ich lebe in einer über 1000 Jährigen Stadt in Sachsen, dem schönsten Bundesland von Deutschland. Beruflich bin ich als Elektromonteur auf Baustellen in ganz Deutschland unterwegs.

Wann und wie haben Sie OpenStreetMap entdeckt?

In dem ehemaligen deutschen Mapperprojekt www.maps4free.de wurde ich 2006 auf OSM aufmerksam gemacht. Mich beeindruckte damals, wie einfach mit einer Handvoll key/value-Paaren eine Online-Karte erstellt wurde. Motivationsgrund waren natürlich auch die teuren Karten und Software für meinen Palm.

Was mappen Sie? Gibt es Unterschiede zu dem, was/wie Sie anfangs gemappt haben?

Zur Zeit mappe ich mit Vorliebe historische Sachen, Gebäude, Steine, die eine Geschichte erzählen können. Die ersten Jahre habe ich alles gemappt, was mir über den Weg lief. Diesen Ansatz verfolge ich nicht mehr.

Wie mappen Sie?

Die Smartphone-Kamera mit GPS ist mein heutiges Hauptwerkzeug beim Sammeln und Erfassen von Daten. Für langfristig geplante Touren (leider sehr selten) benutze ich noch einen GPS-Logger und eine Dashcam zur Datenaufzeichnung. Als Editor kommt von Anfang an JOSM zum Einsatz. Es ist beeindruckend, wie dieser sich zum Profi-Werkzeug entwickelt hat. In unregelmäßigen Abständen überprüfe ich mit KeepRight, OSM Inspector und Notes meine nähere Umgebung auf Fehler und Hinweise.

Wo mappen Sie?

Vorwiegend in meiner näheren Umgebung, dem Grenzgebiet Sachsen/Sachsen- Anhalt/Brandenburg. Aber durch meine Arbeit komme ich auch in anderen Bundesländern zum Vor-Ort- Mappen. Zum Couchmapper werde ich gelegentlich, beim Stöbern in Historic.Place.

Was ist für einen Mapper die größte Herausforderung?

Auch mal ohne Ergebnisse von einer Tour zurückzukommen. Sich einzugestehen, dass die eigenen Kentnisse zum Bearbeiten bestimmter Objekte nicht ausreichen und deshalb lieber die Finger davon zu lassen..... Persönlich mappe ich z.B. kein 3D, kein TMC oder öffentlichen Nahverkehr. Nicht weil ich das nicht mappen will, sondern weil ich es nicht auf Anhieb verstehe, und keine Zeit habe, mich ausreichend damit zu befassen.

Warum mappen Sie, was sind Ihre Motive?

Das Ursprungsmotiv, teures Kartenmaterial, existiert heute so nicht mehr. Es ist eher ein angenehmer Ausgleich zur körperlichen Arbeit im Beruf. Auch bin ich nicht der Typ, der mit dem Fahrrad gegen sich selbst, oder gegen die Zeit fährt. Da ist OSM ein guter Grund, mal gemütlich auf Tour zu gehen, um etwas Neues zu entdecken und zu erfassen.

Was ist der schwierigste Teil beim Mapping?

Die Pflege des Erfassten. Ein vor Jahren als tracktype=grade3 erfasster Weg ist schnell zum highway=path zugewuchert, Telefonzellen wurden demontiert, Geschäfte oder Firmen existieren nicht mehr.......

Haben Sie Pläne, was Sie zukünftig mappen wollen?

Es warten noch viele historische Objekte auf ihre Wiederentdeckung .

Haben Sie Kontakt mit anderen Mappern?

Ja, einmal im Jahr treffen sich ein paar Mapper aus der näheren Umgebung:

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Lutz#Mappertreffen

Ansonsten reichlich E-Mail Verkehr in Bezug auf Historic.Place.

Nutzen Sie OSM selbst? Wie?

OsmAnd ist mein ständiger Begleiter auf dem Smartphone.

Machen Sie bezüglich OSM noch andere Dinge ausser mappen?

Als Mitstreiter bei Historic.Place, einer kleinen auf OSM basierenden Webanwendung habe ich alle Hände voll zu tun .

Können Sie etwas mehr zu Ihrem Projekt Geschichtskarte sagen? Seine Geschichte, das Team?

Historic.places map

Das wird wohl eine längere Geschichte. Es war einmal vor langer Zeit...............

Nun, es begann eigentlich damit, dass ein befreundeter Mapper (Radler59) mit dem Mappen der Grenzsteine des Königreich Sachsen Königreich Preußen 1815 anfing. Es existierte zwar eine Grenzsteinkarte des User Lübeck:

Lübeck's Border Stone map

Aber es wurden in Sachsen in kurzer Zeit viele Grenzsteine gemappt, sodass die Karte schnell überladen wirkte. Auf der Suche nach einer Möglichkeit, eine eigene Karte zu erstellen fand ich zwangsläufig zum Openlayers-Guru Netzwolf, der nicht nur hervorragenden Code schreibt, sondern diesen auch anderen unentgeltlich zur Verfügung stellt.

Somit war um 2012 die erste Geschichtskarte geboren, damals noch auf Basis der Overpass API. Dieser folgten schnell eine Meilenstein- und Sühnekreuzkarte, sowie die Idee eine Karte zu erstellen, die historische Besonderheiten anzeigt. Bei der Umsetzung dieser Idee hatte ich das große Glück, dass sich Wolfgang (Netzwolf) persönlich um die Entwicklung der Karte kümmerte. Somit war ein Vorreiter bzw. Vordenker in Sachen OSM an Bord, der maßgeblich die Philosophie und den Stil der Karte prägte. So hat sich zB. die Karte den Wüschen und Anregungen der Nutzer anzupassen, und nicht umgekehrt...... Ich konnte sehr viel in Sachen Software, Internet und menschlich von Wolfgang lernen, und möchte mich hiermit bei ihm bedanken, auch dafür, dass er wenn es mal klemmt, hilfreich zur Verfügung steht .

Milestone Map

Die Karte wurde schnell zum "Selbstläufer", und fand eine breite Unterstützung aus aller Welt in Sachen Ideen, key/value-Beschreibung im Wiki, Übersetzungen der Karte usw.

"Hauptamtlich" bereichern Carsten (Zecke) und René (Reneman) das Team von Historic.Place. Während die beiden für die Entwicklung der Karte verantwortlich sind, kümmere ich mich mehr um die Georeferenzierung und die Erstellung von Tiles alter Karten als Hintergrundlayer.

Wir haben noch viele Ideen umzusetzen zB. das Life cycle concept: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Comparison_of_life_cycle_concepts

Hilfe und Unterstützung aller Art ist Willkommen, zB. auch beim Web- und Icon- Design.

... und zum guten Ende ... was möchten Sie uns noch sagen?

Sich selbst und das Hobby OSM nicht zu ernst zu nehmen, denn eigentlich sind wir alle nur Fürze im Wind.

Explore Vandermaelen maps (1846-1854) in Flanders

Posted by escada on 4 December 2015 in English (English)

The Historical Places map just got a nice feature for the Northern part Belgium. For the whole of Flanders, Brussels and a part of Wallonia you can now see the Vandermaelen map. This maps dates from 1846-1854.

Reet or Reeth around 1850, with current historical buildings

How can you explore this map ? First go to the Historical map, hover over "Here is the map" and pick the language of your choice.

On the map navigate to any place in Flanders, then click the globe in the right corner. You should see

Map menu

Check the "Topografische kaart Vandermalen (1846-1854). This should start the loading of the tiles.

You can play with the transparancy of the historic map and the mapnik layer by pressing the - and + buttons on their right.

Transparancy controls

Enjoy !

A big thank you to the team of the historic map to make those tiles available.

Location: Laarstraat, Reet, Rumst, Antwerp, Flanders, 2840, Belgium

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Dave Swarthout (USA/Thailand)

Posted by escada on 19 November 2015 in English (English)

Who are you?

Dave Swarthout

I might start by saying that at age 72 I have a very nice life, especially now that I'm retired. I'm an American who lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for about 8 months of the year with the reminder spent in the United States. I met a fine Thai woman named Nut during my first visit and we've been together ever since. I have children and grandchildren living on both the east and west coasts of the U.S, in North Carolina and Oregon, while the rest of my immediate family is in New York State. I spend summers in the little town of Homer, Alaska, where I moved in 1983. I dearly love tennis and often play three of four times per week. In fact, it was my love of tennis that motivated me to exchange Alaska's cold, dark, and notoriously long winters for the warmer climate of Thailand five years ago. I have many friends there and Alaska is a fantastic place to be in the summer so I simply cannot leave it behind permanently. That's also why I settled on AlaskaDave as my OSM nickname. I was trained as a chemist and got a BS degree back in 1971 but I became disenchanted with the corporate world and left it behind in 1975. Since then I've been a carpenter, school teacher, bread baker, radio announcer, computer programmer, web designer, librarian, and commercial fishing broker. During the summer I continue to work at a business I helped start and whose website I designed, Alaska Boats & Permits, Inc., a commercial fishing brokerage. The website is simple by today's standards but it has served us well for many years and continues to do so: http://alaskaboat.com

I have been a map lover, a cartographophile, for my entire life. During the years before personal computers became common I bought many of the gorgeous topgraphical maps printed by the U.S Geological Survey and feasted visually on them for places to visit, trails to hike, and places to go hunting. These maps, especially the shaded relief ones, are beautiful and quite artistic to my eye. When Google Earth hit the streets I was literally dumbfounded. I spent countless hours gazing at the stunning aerial imagery of places I had visited, places I loved: the Adirondack Mountains in New York, Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Baxter Park (Maine), and of course, my beloved Alaska. Google made it possible to contribute data to improve those maps and I did that for a while. But the process was slow and there was no way to get a map for your own use from Google, for example, to put onto a GPS device. There still isn't. Consequently, for many years making my own maps in any way, shape or form seemed quite out of reach. OSM changed all that.

How Did AlaskaDave Contribute

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

After I retired from my brokerage job in 2009 I began to travel extensively and wanted Garmin maps for the countries I planned to visit. Since acquiring my first GPS, a Garmin eTrex in 2005, I've recorded traces of every hike, bicycle ride, and automobile trip I made and wanted to have good routable GPS maps for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos where I traveled by motorcycle. However, I couldn't justify paying $100 USD to Garmin for each of them so I began to look around the Internet for alternatives. I discovered the "Free maps for Garmin brand GPS devices" site at http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ and was very impressed with the OSM-derived maps of Thailand available there.

After using those maps for a couple of years I discovered the OpenStreetMap site and learned that a person could upload GPS tracks and from them create highways which could then be added to the OSM database. My first addition to OSM was a GPS track of 208 points on October 6, 2012. Using it I traced a series of connected roads I had ridden on my motorcycle that follow the west shore of Lake Phayao, roads that had not been present on any map before my ride. When I downloaded a new version of the Thailand map a week later, there it was; "my road" was on it. From that point I was hooked.

What do you map ?

Given the level of detail lacking in parts of my places of interest, I wish I could map everything. Time constraints prevent me from doing as thorough a job as I would if I had only a single area to deal with but I live in two countries (Alaska is as big as many countries), both of which need tons of work. At first I mapped only the easier stuff because both Thailand and Alaska have many areas that are practically empty of OSM objects; I concentrated on the basics, adding and aligning highways and residential streets, and POIs. Lakes and rivers, wood polygons and other natural features I began adding as I gained experience and when I had extra time. Now that I have more skill I tackle multipolygons when I must and spend a lot more time adding landuse and other structures like riverbanks and lakes with islands.

I recently learned how to compile my own Garmin maps using the open source Java program mkgmap and that has radically changed what I map. There is a general rule in OSM that you should not map for the renderer. That make sense, especially once you understand that OSM data should be kept as general as possible because OSM is actually a database, not a map. End users, that is, renderers, can decide what to render and how it should look. But let's face it, most of us want to see the things we add to OSM on a map, somewhere, somehow, and that influences what we map. For example, I designed custom icons for my Garmin Montana GPS for several types of towers including power towers and water towers. Now that I can see them I find myself mapping them much more than before.

One of my favorite things to map here in Thailand are milestones. I don't think the U.S. has many of these anymore but Thailand has thousands. Many Thai highways have a painted concrete milestone every kilometer. I don't map all of these of course but the special ones at the beginning of a highway, the Kilometer Zero milestones, are very interesting. I developed a special icon and corresponding style rule that displays the route ref alongside of it on my Garmin. I love seeing those as I cruise the countryside because I can be almost certain I was the one who mapped it. So far I've added 231 of them. You can see a few of them in the screenshot from Garmin Basecamp I've included (below).

How do you map ?

I do both surveys and armchair mapping. Here in Thailand I drive a motorcycle equipped with my Garmin Montana GPS set to record points at the smallest interval possible, about 1 per meter. I have a small Canon digital camera hanging from a neck strap to record POIs, street names, etc., which I will correlate with the GPS track in JOSM using the photo_geotagging plug in. After I get back home I analyse the photos to get whatever information they contain. This info I add and upload, along with the track points, to OSM. On a typical day trip I might drive 100-200 km, record a track having 6-10K points and shoot 100-200 photos.

I have several OSM related apps for my iPhone but find them too limited for extensive mapping. I will ocassionally add a POI using GoMap!! but being used to the power of JOSM I edit it later to flesh out the details. I have developed some presets for JOSM that are tremendous timesavers. They make entering data easy, fast and almost as importantly, consistent. The presets display the tags I've determined to be important and insure I don't forget any when tagging similar objects at a later date.

Vending Fuel Preset

Working in Thailand means names of places entered in the name=* tag must be in Thai script. I use Autohotkey to make entering common phrases and provincial highway number prefixes in Thai characters painless and error free. I also rely on several dictionaries and online resources to help with that. The superb Thai–English English–Thai Talking Dictionary by Benjawan Poomsan Becker and Chris Pirazzi is invaluable and something I use constantly. I also add a "name:en" tag containing the English translation of objects whenever possible.

Where do you map ?

The places I most enjoy mapping are the places I live, Alaska and Thailand. Both have huge areas that are lacking the most basic things so I spend most of my time mapping roads and natural features both as an armchair mapper and through field surveys. Alaska is a vast state but there are virtually no OSMers there. That means I have plenty of opportunities to make a huge difference in the current state of the Alaska OSM. Let me give you some more background; Alaska is a huge area with a population of only 600,000, half of whom live in its biggest city, Anchorage, so it's virtually devoid of man made features. Wikipedia tells us Alaska has about 3 million natural lakes. Only 3200 of them have a name and most of those are not yet visible in OSM because nobody's taken the time to trace them. Alaska has thousands of mountains, glaciers, rivers, streams and literally countless small ponds, most of which are also unnamed, not to mention roads and byways that aren't in OSM. Mapping Alaska completely will require a prodigious effort. When I read about people in Europe or the UK trying to formulate tagging for small features like allotments or indoor toilets I sometimes laugh. Obviously the places they work and live are mapped in fairly fine detail already.

Thailand too has many unmapped areas. That said, there is a core group of 6 or 8 people (including myself) who have done a terrific job of mapping most of northern Thailand, the area surrounding Chiang Mai. However, the eastern portion, Issan, and the provinces west and south of Bangkok need a lot of attention. Bing imagery wasn't available for much of Issan until only recently so now folks are working diligently to get the basic roads and water features added.

I map wherever I go because it's become an obsession. I have relatives in New York State, North Carolina, and Oregon so I do surveys by car and add data to OSM when I'm visiting. I spent a week in Istanbul last spring and had promised myself a vacation from OSM but after I started walking around using my GPS to guide me to the Blue Mosque and other POIs, I noticed so many errors I felt compelled to make edits and additions. Because I was walking, I worked on adding footways and other details to OSM for the multi-level Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

I can't point to any specific thing in that department. I have added a lot of information, including almost 400 GPS traces, and performed over 7,000 edits in the three years since my first contribution. I've added data in Alaska, Thailand, Fiji, North Carolina, New York State, Oregon, Istanbul, Poland and even edited portions of the Danube Bike Path in Austria, a resource that has a multitude of mappers living in close proximity to it. As for personal achievements, learning to make my own Garmin maps has been very rewarding and is a huge help when I'm mapping a new area. I drive to a destination and collect data as I go. When I have a chance I upload that data to OSM and immediately make a new, revised map that I can use on the return trip. Being able to see the new map data right away instead of having to wait a week to get it from the garmin.openstreetmap.nl site means I can see my recent additions, so I don't waste time gathering the same data again, and helps me catch anything I may have missed on my first pass.

I compile my own maps using OSM data, the Java program mkgmap along with styles and icons I've developed over the past year or so. At first it was hard to understand how the various pieces fit together, TYP files, the style rules, and how they affect the OSM data. At this point I have enough experience to put these components together to create maps that are both pleasing to my eye and useful in practice. I continue tweaking those components to suit my needs better; it's a work in progress. There's a wealth of information about how to build Garmin compatible maps on the Internet but it's very disorganized and hard to follow. I plan to write a more comprehensive step-by-step guide and put it in my blog, I'm Outta Here, and my OSM Diary when time permits.

Garmin Basecamp screenshot -
located at N18.54171° E98.94377°

Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

I map mainly because I love maps and always have. Contributing to an open source map of the world is wonderful stuff and plays well to my talents and disposition. There is also a part of me that feels making a map is a contribution to our culture and to a sense of place that many of us lack because we no longer reside in the neighborhoods we lived in as a child; I am certainly one of those. We are truly citizens of the world and mapping the places we live in makes them more familiar, more like home.

In a sense, I've become addicted to mapping. I live far away from family and most of my friends and I'm retired so I have a lot of free time. The desire to make OSM better gives my days meaning and motivates me to get outdoors to see what's there and what needs to be added. Sometimes I wish it wasn't so addictive. I used to write a blog, fool around with photography and Photoshop, maintain a journal, study the Thai language. Nowadays, almost all I do is map!

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

I find the process of developing consensus about tagging issues to be difficult. OSM is a world database and people living in Japan or Africa, New Zealand or Brazil, not to mention Thailand, have different ways of mapping, different prespectives about what's important, use different spellings, and have different ideas about how to go about things. The discussions in the tagging group, for instance, loop endlessly and seem almost never to produce a useful result. And then if you do find consensus, editing the OSM Wiki to reflect that result is a far greater challenge IMO. I hate the Wiki even though I am forced to use it daily. But editing it? No thanks. And I say that as a person who was able to learn and use assembly language to write operating system software in my younger days. Plus, in my role as a librarian I came to understand why such things as standardized subject headings and standardized numerical classifications are so important. You don't want one library to use as a subject heading U.S. Civil War while another uses the proper one, Civil War (U.S., 1861-1865). By comparison OSM is a chaos of tags that purport to describe the exact same thing because people are free to make new tags whenever they want. Having that freedom is nice but the resultant database is messy to say the least. It's difficult to pick the correct tag every time. I've sometimes gone back and edited tags on objects I added to reflect changes in my viewpoint or that of the tagging community.

What are your mapping plans for the near future?

I have decided to map some of the big trees that line the Chiang Mai-Lamphun road near where I live. These stately trees, Thais call them "yang na" (Dipterocarpus alatus), have an interesting history. They were planted by order of King Rama V back in 1882 when the highway was only an oxcart path but are now endangered by their close proximity to vehicular traffic. I plan to make custom GPS icon for them so I can see them on my Garmin unit. I'll tag them using another JOSM preset I developed that allows me to quickly enter height, trunk circumference, and crown diameter, along with the species and common names in both English and Thai. I'll use icons with different sizes to represent other common shade trees in Thailand that have large crowns, the majestic Chamcha or rain tree, teak, etc.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Yes. There are 5 or 6 active local OSMers here in Chiang Mai that get together socially a couple of times a year. There is a section of the Wiki devoted to Thai related issues where we discuss mapping projects, problems, errors, etc. Of course, we exchange emails, do tutoring, whatever, to further our mapping goals.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

I use it constantly. I travel all over Thailand during the winters and to other places on occasion and would be quite literally lost without my GPS. Even in the U.S. where high quality English language maps are readily available I use my GPS all the time. My kids live in cities on both sides of the continent and I'm not familiar with either area enough to get around without some sort of help. My home grown routable OSM/Garmin maps reliably guide me.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap?

Not really. I participate in the tagging discussion group and try to contribute answers and insight to the questions that pop up in the OSM Help list but I try to avoid getting caught up in long winded discussions that go round and round.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

I wish more people would get involved mapping their own neighborhoods and haunts. The best, most accurate OSM data exists in the places OSM members are active. I've tried to interest friends and family from time to time but their eyes usually glaze over after a few minutes. I reckon mapping isn't for everybody.

Thanks a lot for this interview, Dave.

The list with previous interviews can be found on the wiki.

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Dave Corley (Ireland)

Posted by escada on 4 November 2015 in English (English)

I first saw DaCor's avatar on the help-site, where he gave friendly and detailed answers. Later on, I saw him doing the same on the Irish mailing list. After seeing Jo Walsh's presentation (video) in which he is mentioned at the end, I knew I would love to interview him.

Dave Corley

Who are you?

Hi, I’m Dave Corley, from Ireland. My day job is in Quality Engineering in the medical device sector, specifically in the field of Interventional Cardiology. It’s a role I had never planned on going into but one which I really enjoy as no 2 days are ever the same. It’s given me the chance to learn many new skills over the years from project management to problem solving to developing new processes. In a nutshell, my job is to look at problems, use data to break them down into their smallest parts to find causes and implement the simplest solutions.

I would have to say OSM is my main hobby. When I have it, it pretty much soaks up all my free time.

When/how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

I became aware of OSM back in 2011, can’t recall exactly what it was that brought it to my attention but I became more and more interested in it the more I learned. At the end of 2011 I picked up a decent smartphone with GPS and started mapping with gusto.

Very early on (in the first day or two) I was having a lot of trouble with connecting the dots (how do I collect a trace + what do I do with it + where is the info on how to do these things) and got directed to the Irish OSM chatroom where the folks there were very patient and answered every single question I had.

The biggest benefit of this was it kept me engaged at a critical time i.e. right at the beginning. If it wasn’t for the help I received those first few days I likely would have walked away out of sheer frustration.

What do you map? Is there any difference with your early days?

I will map just about anything. Same as most, I started with roads and local POI’s but then moved on to addressing in a big way. Many people knock addressing but to be honest I can’t think of a better way to survey every square inch of an area. Only through addressing have I gone down every street, walked around every corner and gone to the very last house in housing estates. Yes it can be tedious but this is a marathon, not a sprint. All I can say is do it for a few hours on a single day and you’ll be amazed at what you would otherwise never find.

Due to work commitments now, I have little free time at the moment so I find these days a lot of my mapping is centred around QA and reviewing newbie edits and notes.

How do you map? Do you make surveys? Are you an armchair mapper?

Armchair mapper”, I have always hated that term. OSM would be never more than a niche pastime for a few select geeks if it was not for imagery and people making use of that imagery en masse. That being said, I do both, I survey and I do a lot of imagery tracing.

I’m a [JOSM](josm.openstreetmap.de) user at heart though I do dip into iD every now and then. It depends; I use whatever will get the job done.

When it comes to surveys, the one thing I always try to do is make sure and map as much detail as possible beforehand. When I’m out surveying, I survey, I don’t map, so having all buildings, roads and other features mapped ahead of time makes data collection that much more efficient.

In terms of apps, I would use the following:

  • OSMTracker - My go-to app when driving. I use it to collect voice notes and photos mainly, but its presets are very useful.

  • KeypadMapper - Another go-to app, this time for address mapping. You can rapidly collect addresses at a walking pace

  • [Mapillary](mapillary.com) - Create an open-licenced streetview of the area you are surveying. Very useful if you need to refer back to something without having to revisit the area again. This is a great one to leave running in the car when you are driving around. You'll collect thousands of images without much effort which are of benefit to everyone, not just you.

  • Maps.me - Free, offline maps. Useful to have no matter what

  • Vespucci - Mobile editor, useful for doing all sorts of mapping on the go. Your edits upload direct to OSM. For the folks who prefer editing while surveying, this is the app of choice

Where do you map?

Same as most, I started local, but have done a lot on a national level too. I’ve participated in a number of HOT activations over the years.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

There are 2 things I am particularly proud of being involved with, the first being the Irish Townland Mapping Project and the second, #MapLesotho.

Townlands.ie Logo

Back in Oct 2014, when I was out of work for an extended period with a back injury, I decided to get involved in an ongoing project among the Irish OSM community where we were rectifying out of copyright maps and using them to trace townland boundaries. A townland is the smallest admin boundary in Ireland and they date back nearly 1,000 years. They are the base boundary for all others in Ireland, admin, historical or otherwise.

The process, from start to finish to add just a single boundary goes something like this Identify the correct map sheet

  1. Crop it

  2. Rectify it

  3. Using JOSM Presets & Styles….

  4. Create the boundary

In addition, everything to do with this process used multiple tools and websites, each of which served a specific purpose. All in all it is an insanely convoluted process but there is no other way to do it as this data is locked up tight under government licence (but that is hopefully changing soon).

I started mapping them but then decided to create a wiki page, workflow and series of videos on the whole process as much for myself as anyone else. I knew if I went away and came back I’d forget steps of the process but I hoped it would encourage others to take part in the process too but I wasn’t too hopeful.

Townland mapping progress

Everything was released in Sep/Oct 2014 and there was a massive (by Irish OSM levels) increase in the volume of people mapping and townlands being added almost straight away and it has continued to this day. I’ve included a few graphs below to give an indication. Townland New Mappers

There are over 60,000 townlands to be mapped, but we are well on the way to finishing all boundaries by summer 2016 which is a heck of a lot better than the original when we were on track to finish in 2025. Townland Mapped vs. Target

Back in March 2014 I got involved (through a twitter conversation) with a Fingal County Council initiative that came about after a MOU was signed to assist with infrastructure and urban planning activities in Lesotho. From this, grew #MapLesotho, a collaborative effort to provide a definitive map of Lesotho. MapLesotho Logo

By utilising the HOT tasking Manager and using international mapathons, Irish schools and locals on the ground, we’ve taken it from 50,000 nodes of data to over 7 million. Support has come from many sectors most notably from the private sector in the form of a recent competition sponsored by Mapillary which drove a huge amount of mapping from locals.

Giving JOSM training in Lesotho

The progress of #MapLesotho has been mindblowing to say the least and really has been a fantastic team effort. I was lucky enough to go there in Feb 2015 for 2 weeks training local government planners how to use JOSM and other tools. We were lucky to have one of those techy/data guru guys in Colin Broderick (twitter.com/rusty1052) who gave indepth training on QGIS and other tools and Ciaran Staunton (twitter.com/ciaranstaunton) who put the 2 weeks together and has been both the glue holding it all together and the engine driving it on. Soren Johannessen (https://twitter.com/neogeografen) has been great too, posting weekly progress updates on #MapLesotho since June 2014.

OpenStreetMap Lesotho

We’re all off there again in Feb 2016 where the training will move from “get the basemap done” to QA and developing the base map.

Why do you map? What motivates you?

Simply put, I like data and OSM gives me lots of it to play with.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

The Irish OSM gang are a great group of folks. We’ve had a couple of meetups though not as many as we should and we’re fairly active in IRC, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself? How?

Whenever I go anywhere new I always have something like OsmAnd running as much for QA (see if there’s any turn restrictions etc missing) as out of pride. I love that the little map being displayed was made by a load of people I know personally.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap?

I’m as active as I can be in the Irish Open Data / Open Government scene and we’ve had collaborative sessions with Open Knowledge Ireland on trying to utilise health data released by the Irish government……there’s a long way to go in Ireland in the Open Data field but I’m hugely optimistic for where this is going.

Over the last 2 years I’ve been into colleges and schools teaching people how to map or use OSM for various purposes.

Teaching in schools and colleges

Thanks a lot for this interesting interview. It is really appreciated that you took the time , although you were very busy the past few weeks.

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Clifford Snow

Posted by escada on 29 October 2015 in English (English)

We have been interviewing Belgian mappers for a year now. Since I still like the concept, I want to extend it outside our little Belgian community. Therefore I will contact mappers from all over the world. I have compiled a list of some 30 names now of people that I met on different mailing lists and fora. From time to time I will contact one, and ask her or him to answer a few questions. The focus will be on individual mappers, unlike the very interesting interviews conducted by OpenCage, that focus more on developers and country profiles.

We start with Clifford Snow. I met him on the talk-us mailing list and we exchanged a few ideas about a presentation on OSM earlier this year.

Clifford Snow

Who are you ?

I map as Glassman. I worked in telecom operations for a number of years and even spend 10 years trying to make money blowing glass. I didn't succeed at making money but I did come away with a nice nickname and a love for glass art. I live with my wife in Mount Vernon, Skagit County, Washington State in the US. I have lived all over the US and once in Canada and Turkey. Washington State is by far the best location.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

While I had heard about OSM, it wasn't until I attended the Bellingham WA LinuxfestNW conference that I fell in love with the project. Even when you attend a conference with a large number of tracks you occasionally find yourself with some time slots where nothing appeals to you. Since I had heard of OSM, I decided to fill the time by listening to Hurricane Coast's OSM presentation. Thanks to Hurricane, I've been having fun with OSM ever since. Four years later, I gave my first presentation at the Bellingham LinuxfestNW on the power of crowdsourcing maps using OSM. I had been editing for just a few months when driving back from the gym I noticed a street closure with signs up that said this segment of road was being made into a one-way street. I went home and made the change. That is when I became addicted to the power of OSM. Anyone can fix a problem, make a correction or add a new feature.

What do you map ? Is there any difference with your early days ?

Shortly after I started editing my first purchase was a Garmin eTrex20 handheld gps unit. I still use it today. I love to take short hikes to add trails. Just last week I spotted a new trail. It had been completed the week before. It was a short segment but by documenting it I know others will be able to take advantage of it. Early on I attempted to import some roads in Tucson from TIGER data. Not reading the import instructions resulted in a horrible mess. I probably spent more time cleaning up my mistakes than if I had done it manually. The mailing list did help me with pointers on how to correct the mistakes. That experience helped me later on with the Seattle building and address import.

How do you map ?

My favorite app is GoMap!! for iOS devices. Since I'm an android user, that means having to borrow my wife's iPad which usually comes with strings attached. When not using GoMap!!, I like pencil and paper. Just a notepad to get addresses, names, phone numbers, etc. with sketches to help remember the layout. I also like asking retail stores for a business card. That often leads to a conversation about OpenStreetMap and sometimes free treats from ice cream shops! Businesses like that you are adding them to a map, even if it's a map they have never heard of. I do like to participate in armchair map-a-thons such as Maproulette's Battlegrid or the Fix U.S. Railway Crossings, or with the newest JOSM plugin, MissingRoads. These bite size tasks are the perfect break to our daily routines.

Where do you map ?

I mostly map locally. This summer we took a month long road trip mapping along the way. We spend enough time in Northern Minnesota to map Nisswa, MN. It is a small town that lives off tourists. Shop owners were excited about getting their business listed. When introducing new people to OSM we start by having them map something in their local neighborhood, then we talk about the area we are mapping which ranges from nearby cities to HOT tasks.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

Probably being part of the team that imported Seattle's buildings and addresses. We took on Steve Coast's call to add addresses to OSM. Locally we concluded that manually adding of addresses is too boring. No one was excited about walking streets to collect addresses. With the King County and the City of Seattle's open data, we were able to not only import all of the buildings and addresses but we helped build a stronger local OSM community. With Jeff Meyer, a devoted group of local open source GIS enthusiasts from cugos.org, and local OSM mappers we completed the task of adding every building and address. Not only that but we gave back address corrections to the county. (Which they still haven't fixed. Paul I'm talking to you.)

Why do yo map ? What motivates you ?

OSM is very empowering. One of our greatest strengths is the ease that you can tackle a problem without having to get "permission." If power lines are missing, you can add them. Can't find handicap parking, add them. Looking for hiking trails, just add them. Opportunities are not just local. If you want to get involved in communications, fund raising, etc. you just have to jump in.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Chase Stephens and I host the Seattle OSM Meetup Group. We have over 400 people signed up for our meetups. Each month we try to hold a meetup in different parts of Seattle. Last year we held a Meetup for OSM's 10th Anniversary in Seattle with presentations and a kite aerial mapping demonstration. We are constantly trying to find ways to find new mappers.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

Right now I'm trying to learn how to build map tiles to show my communities sidewalks. Every sidewalk and every crosswalk has been inventoried, now I'm looking to tell the story of how walkable my city is through maps. Using elevation data and OSM data, I hope to show the city where sidewalks are in abundance and where they are needed.

Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap ?

I am active in CUGOS, an active open source GIS community that meets monthly in Seattle and a QGIS local user group that we started this summer. At a typical CUGOS meeting, people talk about their projects and how they use open source software to solve their problems. We also talk about drones. We've even flown a large drone in a small meeting room.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

One of the struggles facing OSM is the lack of gender diversity. We are experiencing the same problem on a local level. Our Meetup group attracts women, but not to our mapping parties. What we should be doing differently to attract and retain more women? I think we could start by getting to know our new users better. I'd like to see OSM start surveying members to try help us learn how to attract and retain new members.

Thanks a lot for this interview, Clifford.

Belgian Mapper of the Month: Olivier Roussel

Posted by escada on 29 October 2015 in English (English)

Olivier Roussel, or Dagou on OpenStreetMap, is originally from Brussels, but lives for the moment in Arlon. He got a PhD in chemistry and works in a research and developement lab of a private company in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. OpenStreetMap is really a hobby for him.

When and where did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

When I was writing my PhD thesis in 2006, I was using LaTeX, which is an open source programme for desktop publishing. Later on, I moved on to GNU/Linux, after that I started to use Wikipedia and finally I started to use OpenStreetMap. But all of this, without contributing back. I only started to contribute to OpenStreetMap in 2013, when I started to travel to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In order to get to my job, I first took the train, followed by a bike ride to the industrial area. One of the roads in this area is reserved to public transport, cyclist and pedestrians. There was a S-shaped barrier, which could only be opened by the bus driver. When I drove by on my bike, I noticed numerous cars and trucks that had to make U-turn at the barrier, even when the "dead-end" was announced at the beginning of the street. People were blindly following their navigation system, which ignored or did not know about the barrier. OpenStreetMap had the same problem, and that is why I decided to become contributor: the small modification I had to make to prevent people from making a U-turn in front of a barrier. From then on, I learned more and more about the different tags and contribute more and more.

Are you using OpenStreetMap yourself ?

I do not have a car with a built-in a navigation system, so I use OsmAnd+ on my mobile phone or tablet. Furthermore I regularly look at the map on OpenStreetMap.org. I use it rarely for my job. I only have to travel two or three times for work, and often to the same places. So I use OsmAnd more often for my vacations.

What type of mapper are you and where do you map?

I am a mapper that prefers to map what I have seen with my own eyes. And often, this are small details such as mailboxes, fire hydrants, benches, picnic tables, etc. but I also map buildings. In order to precisely map my observations, I use aerial images as well as GPS traces that I made with my mobile. The latter often requires multiple traces to obtain a good enough precision. I mainly work in both Luxembourgs (the Grand Duchy and the Belgian province). Furthermore I contribute in the part of the Auvergne where my family comes from, and where I spend several vacations. Finally I mapped a bit in Brussels and the places where I spend my holidays. But all of my contributions start by noticing a difference between the reality and the data in OpenStreetMap.

What is you biggest achievement as a contributor?

I certainly arrived a little late to OpenStreetMap to have made large achievements. The most important parts are already mapped. However, just like rivers are made from small streams, that my modest contributions, contribute to the big achievement, called OpenStreetMap.

Do you have ideas to grow the community?

I believe that a good contributor is a contributor that is motivated to make the map as correct as possible. Hence, the more OpenStreetMap is know, the more motivated people there will be that make corrections for mistakes they notice in their neighborhood. Thus to grow the community, we need more people visiting the OpenStreetMap-website. To accomplish this, we most likely need more visibility in the media.

What is the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?

The greatest strength of OpenStreetMap is the network of contributors: each change is almost immediately noticed by someone that will make the change in the database. OpenStreetMap was very reactive when the pedestrian area in Brussels was enlarged, more reactive than the traditional mapping services. That really showed the strength of OpenStreetMap: the reaction upon changes of the real world.

What is the greatest challenge for OpenStreetMap?

For me, the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap is trying to satisfy the needs of all contributors, from those wanting very precise data to those that only want general information. Another problem is to answer all the special needs without making the map reading too difficult. Therefore, there are several different ways to interpret the data: data for car drivers, cyclists, boat users, hikers, skiers, wheelchair users, etc. We need to find a way to help every visitor to find the right map for her needs, because, otherwise, she might never come back.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

I am not very social on the web, so I do not have a regular contact with other mappers. But, I do contact them in case I want to discuss a particular contribution.

To conclude, is there anything else that you want to share?

In case you have read this and still hesitate to contribute, please do not hesitate anymore: it is very rewarding to see the map, which is visible by the whole world, being updated by your own modifications. Do not forget to refresh the page in your browser though :-)

Mapillary announced Panorama dragging

Posted by escada on 2 October 2015 in English (English)

Mapillary announced improved navigation through the photos in their on line viewer.

I can now click and hold the picture in https://www.mapillary.com/map/im/vYGu9Nsz8VcueZ4-nRvNiA/photo and see this side of the building !

Mapillary UI

Unfortunately, it goes wrong on this sequence: https://www.mapillary.com/map/im/5P7E8NTtYCDJkAoJ8TKk4Q/photo.

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