escada's diary

Recent diary entries

Mapper of the Month: Julien Minet (Belgium)

Posted by escada on 23 June 2017 in English (English)

Please introduce yourself

I am Julien Minet. I come from the Luxembourg province in Belgium, from the border between the Ardens and the Gaume. I have a degree as Bio-engineer and worked for 8 years as a researcher at UCL and now ULg - Arlon. At the moment I work in web development, GIS and digital maps.

Maps of Arlon

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I heard about OSM quite some time ago, via news sites on mapping and GIS. I started contributing in 2012. I have to admit that I did not believe in the project in the beginning. Due to the empty, white map I was really attracted to contribute. Nevertheless, there were some brave pioneers that started the work and mapped the main roads, the villages, etc. J’ai entendu parler d’OSM assez tôt, par le biais de sites d’infos sur la cartographie et le SIG. Je me suis mis à contribuer en 2012. Au début, je dois dire que je ne croyais pas trop au projet et le fait que la carte était toute blanche dans le sud de la Belgique ne me poussait pas à y contribuer. Puis, de courageux pionniers ont initié le travail en cartographiant les routes principales, les villages, etc.

How do you map ? Is this different from your early days ?

I started in 2012, at the moment, several small villages were missing from the map in my neighborhood, which I added since then, as well as some main roads. In the beginning I mapped forestry roads after registering them via GPS traces. Afterwards, I started focussing on points-of-interests, mainly shops, pubs, restaurants, banks, etc. Later on, I moved to mapping the signposted walks in my area. Since a few months, I became addicted to map the landuse. The longer one participates in the project, the more subjects one finds to map! I believe it is always a good moment to get engaged in OpenStreetMap, since there is a always a lot of details remaining to be mapped, especially in rural areas.

In the last year, I started to use the error detection tool Osmose as lot. It is a very good way to learn about the rules, to discover other mappers in "your" area and to discover new features that can be mapped.

Initially I thought that OpenStreetMap was mainly constructed via imports of open data. Later on, I discovered that this was not the case (at least not in Belgium). Since then, I believe in the "craft mapping", mapping of items that one knows or has seen in the real world. Wanting to import open data at all costs, is no longer interesting for me, since 1) in case the data is open, it is available anyhow, 2) official data is not perfect and 3) OpenStreetMap demands some time to be constructed, so let some work to future contributors !

On the other hand, open data can be used in for analysing and validation of our map data, or in some specific cases. For examples, one day I would like to import the traces of the small waterways in Wallonia, because they are often missing in OpenstreetMap and they are difficult to map from aerial images. Since this would require a group of passionate people to follow the course of the rivers and streams, this seems like an import that is almost useful. Although swimming and walking along the streams is a great activity !

How do you map ?

Usually, I map what I know well, and after verifying it on the ground. I do not have a dedicated GPS-device for hiking, I only use my smartphone with the OpenGPSTracker app. I use it for all my outdoor activities, be it on a mountain bike or for walking. The latter happens less and less the past few years. Often, I take pictures of shops, especially of the notes indicating the opening hours and contact information, so I can later on add this information to the map.

Most of my edits where done with ID. I like this editor for its simplicity. I always use it for adding information such as opening hours, contact information, or to repair mistakes indicated by Osmose. Recently, I also started using JOSM for mapping landuse and lancover, using the "contourmerge" plugin, which is a great time saver for this type of mapping. I also use Maps.Me and Vespucci on mobile devices.

Where do you map ?

I mainly map what I know well, thus I work in my immediate surroundings and in the places I visit. I am interested in the helping out humanitarian projects such as HOT, but I hesite to start, because I do not know those places. In the beginning, I found some serieus problems in my neighborhood, clearly made by contributors that do not know the area. There has to be people in each region of the world that have an interest in becoming a contributor. Of course, the number of possible contributors interested in the project is alwayls limited, so we have to start with students following geography or IT courses. But we do not have to reach millions of people to get good results. It could be a surprise to see who is interested in the project and contributes to it. I had the possibility to meet some African students of the ULg in Arlon and I tried to introduce them to OpenStreetMap. They are often exited about the project, since it is valuable in areas where no other digital maps exist. So, yes to humanitarian mapping if one does not forget to involve local mappers, all over the world.

What is your largest achievement so far ?

I am proud of "my area", roughly described as the Forest of Anlier and Rulles, where I made most of my contributions. I am especially happy with the result, as the official IGN maps of the forests are not always up-to-date. Some paths can disappear rapidly under the vegetation and new ones are created by the exploitation of the forest and by mountain bikers.

Why do you map ?

I always loved maps, hiking and outdoor activities. That is what attracts me the most in OpenStreetMap: going out on a bike or by foot and later on edit the map to reflect what you have noticed. I also like the geek aspect, the fact that you have an unbelievable passion to share when you are invited for a dinner on a Wednesday evening.

What is the most difficult part ?

To keep the map up to date ! And to find the motivation to update or improve what is already present.

What are you plans in the near future ?

I talked about that on my blog, mainly the landuse and the sign posted hikes. And why not, mapping the small streams ?

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

I am subscribed to the talk-be mailing list. One warning: this list generates a lot of emails, so set up your mail program to keep them in a separate, dedicated folder. I only visited a few face-to-face meetings, as they are rarely organised in Wallonia. By accident, I met Julien Fastré during one of them and we have met a few times since then. I initiated some people around me to contribute, but they only do this from time to time. And at the State of the Map in Brussels in 2016, I finally met some of the legends of the Belgian community! I think this was the best day of my live ! :-)

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

I use OpenStreetMap on my smartphone, via the OsmAnd and apps. Having the map available offline, is always useful. I also use it to calculate routes. And finally I use it in my activaty as GIS consultant: either as background map or as data source.

Are there other things you do that are related to OpenStreetMap?

I made OpenStreetMap part of my jobs. A project that I would like to develop further is a map of businesses and services in rural areas. A map, where one can rapidly find the opening hours and phone numbers. I have developed a prototype for my village, and I use it often to see whether a shop is open. I would like to present it to other villages and collaborate with local development agencies and trade associations.

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

For me, OpenStreetMap has an enormous potential, one that is not completely known yet. And even though OSM data is not always complete nor accurate, -- which largely depends on the theme and area -- it should not hinder the invention of new applications. There are a lot of professions that use geographical information, often only sporadically, but thet can still have benefit from using OpenStreetMap. The data model of OpenStreetMap and its open tagging system, are both part of the success of the project and contribute to its use in innovative solutions. But there are also disadvantages. One of the challenges is the completeness and the exactness of the data. Maybe, by creating derivations, or mirrors based on the original OSM data, that we can create more easily professional applications or services that are more reassuring to its users.

There are still a lot of features that have to be added or corrected in OpenStreetMap. I hope to encourage new people to get interested in the project and to get them contributing. It does not matter whether one is an amateur or a professional, everybody can contribute.

Mapper of the Month: Marek Kleciak (Poland/Germany)

Posted by escada on 21 May 2017 in English (English)

Marek Kleciak

Who are you?

I'm half German half Polish. I'm living in Bavaria in Germany. I'm a car navigation professional responsible for innovation management. Previously I worked with navigation maps and city modelling. Years before I developed specifications for 3D city models for the German government in Hamburg. Then I started to work for one of the biggest car navigation companies. I made the first trials for 3D data acquisition with laser scanning used now e.g. in Here products. I also taught for 15 years constructive geometry and technical representation techniques at the Technical University in Hamburg. My hobbies are my family, 3D modeling, painting, photography, geography and molecular medicine. I decided to use the polish part of my full name instead of nickname because I believe, I have nothing to hide when I map.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

I heard about OSM already in 2004 because of my professional work and searching after alternatively map sources for car navigation, but I started participating actively only in 2008.

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

I have probably the same story as a lot of mappers: in the beginning I mapped mostly things from my immediate surroundings, then other areas I know. After two years I decided to do mapping in some badly covered areas in developing countries.

How do you map ?

In the beginning I did some surveys but because of my professional and family duties I am now mostly an armchair mapper. I spent a lot of time improving the accuracy of the map.

Which tools do you use ?

For mapping: I use [JOSM](, Potlatch2, OsmAnd, a digital camera and Field papers. For Q&A I use,, OSM Inspector, and ITO World's map showing the last 90 days of edits.

Demo F4 Example

Demo F4 Example in Warsaw

For 3D modeling: Adobe Photoshop, ArchiCAD, and f4map. JOSM PlugIns: Kendzi3D, Kendzi3d_improved_by_Andrei, Shape Tools, CAD Tools, ContourOverlappingMerge, Tracer, PicLayer, Alignways, areaselector, buildings_tools – those plugins are the most important to me. But I use also the following plugins: DFX import, FastDraw, junctionchecking, Mapillary, measurement, merge-overlap, pdfimport, photoadjust, reverter, roadSigns, splinex, terracer, tracer2, utilsplugin2, walkingpapers.

Where do you map ?

I do mapping around the world. Previously mostly in Poland and Germany, but with time more and more in developing countries like Ruanda and Nepal. After the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 I did my mapping mostly there. The help is still needed.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

I have three points. First would be the organization of the Garching Workshop: I suggested there the mapping schema known now as Simple 3D Building. My good friend Kendzi, a very smart guy, developed based on this idea his plugin Kendzi3d. Now we have 3D maps.

Example 3D Building in Kendzi plugin

Example 3D Building in Kendzi plugin

Secondly the lobbying for OSM in Poland and the foundation of the OSM Poland association. As the result the polish mappers got access to the very accurate government aerial images.

Third: Specification of area:highway. Another smart mapper, marimil, has programmed the visualization. Now, we have over 82000 such areas in the map. Why is it so important in my opinion? First: a better look of the map on highest zoom level, secondly: this content can help to develop apps for automated driving.

Visualization of area:highway

Visualization of area:highway on

Why do you map?

I love the idea of open source. I have teached the Kathmandu Living Labs team in Nepal before earthquake. They used this knowledge for production of maps for rescue teams after the earthquake.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

I don´t understand this question :-) In my eyes it is wonderful and easy to understand project. Maybe I´m too long in this business.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

I wish to improve the OSM map of Nepal. I like this beautiful country and nice, friendly Nepali. Especially mapping of forest areas is in my eyes of special value: Where are forests, there are no people. This knowledge is important for disaster management. And new earthquakes are very likely to happen in Nepal.

Map of Nepal

Map of Nepal in Humanitarian Style

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Absolutely. Many of them. I know a lot of nice and addicted friends.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

I use it for navigation and biking.

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

Yes, I try to write some specification for JOSM plugins I miss. Sometimes I find people that realize this ideas, as was the case with e.g. CAD Tools. I´m also working in my free time on the S3DB 2.0 specification. It would be great to have more detailed 3D models. I am also the member of advisory board of I-locate consortium which develops standards for indoor data. I am responsible for OSM content there.

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

Don´t believe everything is already mapped and OSM becomes boring. There is still a lot, a whole lot to do!

After we published the interview, Marek told us another interesting story, which we would like to share:

In 1998 I made my summer holidays in very small city in Krzywin, Poland. I had a lunch with the city major. I told him about my interest in 3D modelling. He asked me, if this could be interesting for teenagers because the city has modern computer lab in the school. I said, "I don´t know, but we can try, never did it with teenagers, only with students at the university." Well, I spent 2 weeks with the kids and as the result we got an nice 3D model of the city. The kids worked hard, because it was their city. This time I learned, cloud projects are cool for people if they have tools and can learn how to do it. This was for me the reason to push 3D in OSM community.

Krzywin, Poland 3D Model of Krzywin

Mapper of the Month: Ben Abelshausen (Belgium)

Posted by escada on 3 May 2017 in English (English)

Can you introduce yourself ?

The last years, my main occupation was OpenstreetMap. I was also one of the co-founders of OpenStreetMap Belgium. I am a self-employed and freelance software developer, usually related to routeplanning.

Furthermore, we love to travel, our daily amusement is often a visit to a pub with some friends or having a nice dinner at a restaurant.

Where and when did you learn about OpenStreetMap ?

I needed data about the road network for my job and soon you arrive at OpenStreetMap. This was in 2009 and it did not look realistic at that moment to use OpenStreetMap data, but I was intriged by the concept and in the following years, it proved to be the right choice.

##Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? I constantly use OpenStreetMap, both for my job and my private life. I never vist a place without an offline map of the region on my smartphone. I use OpenStreetMap daily for my job.

How do you map ?

The past few months I have not mapped a lot. I am more of an "armchairmapper", but I strongly believe in the community, no OpenStreetMap without community. Only individual mappers behind a computer would never work well. From time to time I correct mistakes or small this that are missing that I notice by using the data, but usually I am too late. Occasionally I do some mapping for Missing Maps and Hot, mostly validating tiles.

What do you map ?

I do not really have a speciality, but when I have to pick one, it is everything related to road network and transportation. In my early days I also traced a lot of buildings and mapped quite some landuse.

What is your biggest achievement ?

That we created a real community in Belgium. At the first meetup we organised in Ghent, only one person showed up. Now, a few years later, we organised the State of the Map !

As far as mapping is concerned, I am glad that I fixed the imported landuse on the Belgian-French border, so that we can further improve this ourselves.

Why do you map ?

I am motivated by several aspects. In the first place it's just fun and it also helps that you know are doing something useful when you add data. When I map for Missing Maps, I am mainly motivated by the humanitarian aspect. For my mapping in Belgium, it helps that the work that I deliver professionally has a better quality.

Everybody in OpenStreetMap has several reasons to map, I have some myself. I believe this is the main reason why this project is so succesfull.

Do you help out with other aspects of OpenStreetMap ?

The majority of my OpenStreetMap related activities are "other aspects". I try to make OSM better known by the public, not only OpenStreetMap, but I try to make open-data better known. Therefore I am part of Open Knowledge Belgium, more specifically, the OpenStreetMap Belgium Working Group

This helped us to organize State of the Map 2016 at the VUB in Brussels. We also organize more meetups en Missing Maps events than ever before and we are also working at a number of new projects. I am also a HOT-member and help out with their activities from time to time.

How can we extend the community ? How can we motivate mappers ?

All my activities are based on the idea that OSM is the community and that a healthy community is the most important think to focus on.

It's definitely a good idea to try and make sure everyone feels welcome. Mappers what are personally involved in the project are also by far the best, most productive mappers, both when it comes to mapping itself but also community building. It's also way easier to make descisions by consensus when people meet in the flesh.

There is still a lot of room for improvement, we can try to involve some of the companies that use OSM, for example by sponsoring OSM-BE or by supporting our activities. At the moment we have no budget at OSM-BE to work with, we could do so much more with a small budget.

What is the biggest strength of OpenStreetMap ?

At the risk of repeating myself, but the answer is again the community. I think one of the best things about OSM is the realization that technology is not the answer to every question. OSM data is rich and diverse because we don't blindly use drones, robots or some fancy algorithms. Our competive advantage is just this. The descision people make about what they map is important and it's partly because of this OSM won't be replaced or become obsolete by someone with a big budget.

An important 2nd place, and related to the first, is the fact that OSM is open, you can download the data and you can start doing amazing things. This is not just important just because 'open' is always better, without being open we would have less stakeholders that are interested in keeping the map up-to-date, less diversity and less interest in the project. Waze as a counterexample exists for one main goal, profit, or maybe some strategic advantage, OSM has as many goals and motivations as there are mappers. That's also why discussions about the OSM data license are so important.

What is the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap ?

It's important to keep the community healthy and divers enough. The biggest challenge is to get together and keep together people of various different backgrounds.

It's also important to keep some of the stuff that works now, like some measure of freedom and anarchy while still growing to a reliable partner to work with, and I'm talking about OSM-BE specifically now. I belive in a community like we have to with next to it a group like OSM-BE that places itself at the intersection of the community in Belgium and the outside world.

How do you stay up-to-date on OpenStreetMap news ?

Via twitter, mailing list, OSM Weekly, OSM diaries, HOT, I read everything. Can't get enough of everything that's happening in the OSM community.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

On a regular bases a the events we organize but also via email and the mailing lists. Recently we also have a Riot channel where it's fun to hang out.

Anything you want to add ?

Thanks to all mappers who ever edited the map, who have spoken to someone about OSM or anyone who every helped us organize an OSM related event. Thank you, no OSM without all of you!

Heritage in Flanders and Crowd-Sourced Projects

Posted by escada on 1 April 2017 in English (English)


Distinctive emblem for cultural property

In this article I want to show you how one can add information about immovable heritage to crowd sourced projects such as OpenStreetMap and some of the projects of Wikimedia.

In Belgium, the list of immovable heritage is controlled by three agencies, one for Flanders, one for Brussels and one for Wallonia. In Flanders, the agency is called Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed. They make a catalogue of the items and decide on the protection. They also provide some of their ata as open data. In their catalogue they have churches, abbeys, castles, but also small farmhouses and villas, furthermore it includes small items such as boundary stones and pillories. Occasionally, the list contains important trees on town squares.

Pillory in Aartselaar

Pillory in Aartselaar

What is a crowd-sourced project ? It is a project in which everybody can add data, unlike projects that are run by companies, where only employees can add data. When a company owns that data it can set the rules and price to get access to the data. In a crowd-sourced project, normally the resulting database is free to use and consult. If you want to find out more about crowdsourcing, read the Wikipedia article on the topic.

This also explains why it is interesting to have all the immovable heritage in crowd-sourced project: one no longer depends on an agency or copyright rules defined by that agency to know when a building was created, or use a picture of a watermill in a publication, etc.

The scope of an agency such as Onroerend Erfgoed is also limited to a specific geographic region, the crowd-sourced projects presented below all have a world-wide scope.

Let us now introduce some of the crowd-sourced projects


This is a global database of geographical info. This database can be used to created maps. Wikipedia definition of OpenStreetMap. Note that in OpenStreetMap, we only map features that exist today. We do not map buildings that are completely demolished.


An online encyclopedia about human knowledge. Items are described in articles and illustrated with images, just as in printed encyclopedia. Wikipedia definition of Wikipedia

[Wikimedia Commons](h

A database of media files such as photos, videos sound fragments and maps. Wikipedia definition of Wikimedia Commons


A database about persons, facts, objects. Wikipedia definition of Wikidata

What can we contribute and where ?

The location and the floor plan of the heritage item, together with its name and some basic information can be put in OpenStreetMap. An article describing the origin and history of the item goes into Wikipedia. Photos, 3D-models, a movie taken with a drone are placed in Wikimedia Commons. And finally, a summary of the above information can be put in machine-readable format into Wikidata.

How do we collect information ?

OpenStreetMap is for a large part based on original survey. That means that the contributors go out and collect information about the world while they look at it. Wikipedia on the other hand is largely based on other sources and each article has a list of articles that are referenced. For Wikimedia Commons, one need to own the copyright of the media that one adds, or the file has to be out of copyright. Ideally, each property of a Wikidata item has a source, so just as for Wikipedia, the data is based on the work of others.

How do I collect information ?

My starting point is the list of immovable heritage items on Wikipedia. For Flanders, previous contributors have compiled a list of items per village. I wrote a [Python]( program that converts such a wiki-page into a file with waypoints that can be used on a GPS-device or in navigation programs for smartphones such as OsmAnd.

Garmin Dakota 10 with waypoints Details on Garmin

Garmin Dakota 10 showing heritage items as red and blue flags, as well as some details on the item


In OsmAnd the waypoints are displayed as red circles with white star. Clicking on a star shows additional information at the bottom of the screen. In case there are multiple items close to one another, the details are listed for each item

This allows me to make small detours during my planned walks in order to visit (or view) the historical items. At the location I check whether the item still exists and take pictures of it. When the item no longer exists, I inform the Onroerend Erfgoed agency later on so they can update their database as well. I have the impression that they appreciate this kind of feedback.

How do I process the collected data ?

Back home, I make sure that the pictures get georeferenced by using the GPS trace of my walk and the timestamp of the picture. I use Geotag for that purpose.

The good, georeferenced photos are uploaded to Commons Wikimedia, a name and description are added as well as some categories. This category system is not always easy to understand, but I try to at least add "Onroerend erfgoed in " and the category of the "part-village".

When this is done, I update the Wikipedia page with the list of heritage items in a town with a link to the newly uploaded photo. Of course, only when that page did not had a picture of the item before.

I also add the building layout to OpenStreetMap, and add the necessary tags to mark the area as a historic/protected item, with references to Onroerend Erfgoed. When there is a Wikipedia article or a Wikidata item those references get added as well.

Adding the necessary tags is easy in JOSM, especially when you use the preset for historical objects found in the BENELUX presets.

BENELUX Preset for monuments protected by Onroerend Erfgoed BENELUX Preset for monuments protected by Onroerend Erfgoed

You can also start writing Wikipedia articles for the items and/or create a Wikidata item with some properties. I recently started adding items for churches in Flanders based on information found the in the Onroerend Erfgoed and ODIS databases.

How can you use the data ?


The articles on Wikipedia can be read by anyone and further information can be found through the referenced articles, e.g. the article on the Cathedral in Antwerp.


There are a number of maps based on OpenStreetMap that show those items.


Is a map created by University of Heidelberg GIScience (Geoinformatics) Research Group. More information

HistOsm Map HistOSM, all data (c) OpenStreetMap Contributors

Historic Places

Is a map developed by some German enthusiasts in their spare time. It is available is several languages and has some nice features such as the possibility to display old maps instead of contemporary maps based on OpenStreetMap data.

Historic Places Map Historic Places, all data (c) OpenStreetMap Contributors. Topographical Map Vandermaelen.

Each historic feature has a popup window which shows the information about the item as it is stored in the OpenStreetMap database. The popup can contain links to Onroerend Erfgoed (if there is a tag ...), wikipedia and wikidata. The tag image is recognized and will display the image if it is released under an open license (as is the case for images on Wikimedia Commons). The tag wikimedia_commons is also recognized and the link will bring you to the Wikimedia Commons page displaying the category with all images on the item.

The wikidata tag can not only be explored on the website, but also in "beautified" pages such as Reasonator and Sqid when you click on the icons next to the Wikidata item number.

Reasonator for Q28464643 The Sint-Pieterskerk in Rumst as seen on the Reasonator website with data from Wikidata

If you look at a Reasonator page such as the one for the Parochiekerk Sint-Pieter (Q28464643), you will find a link to "Overpass" under the maps. This will show the item on OpenStreetMap. So it is possible to define user interfaces on either Wikidata or OpenStreetMap and jump to the other project.

The result of clicking the Overpass link on the above Reasonator page, shows the following page in which the Sint-Pieterskerk is highlighted and positioned in the middle of the visible map.

Overpass showing item with Wikidata tag Overpass UI showing the item with Wikidata identifier Q28464643


Since the data in Wikidata is structured, unlike the full text sentences in Wikipedia, one can query the data. This makes it e.g. possible to create a time line with the inception date of Belgian churches, or a bubble chart with their architectural styles. By clicking on the links in this paragraph, you are taken to the query site of Wikidata where you can run the queries and explore the data yourself.

timeline of Belgian Churches A time line of churches in Belgium

bubble chart of architecture of Belgian Churches Architectural Styles used in Belgian churches

You can also make maps that combine Wikidata with OpenStreetMap shapes. The following map retrieves all Belgian churches from Wikidata when they have an inception date. According to this date, they get a different colour. The shape is taken from OpenStreetMap.

Wikidata and OpenStreetMap Combining Wikidata and OpenStreetMap

You can look at the map on my Wikimedia user page and explore the data yourself, or look at the code used to generate the map.


I hope that the examples give you an idea of what is possible with crowd-sourced, open data. I think the possibilities to connect Wikidata and OpenStreetMap are endless and that better integration tools will appear in the future.

p.s. the article is also published on the Belgian OSM website.

Mapper of the Month: Lauri Kytömaa (Finland)

Posted by escada on 20 March 2017 in English (English)

The interview is published on the Belgian OSM Website

Mapper of the Month

Posted by escada on 28 February 2017 in English (English)

Sorry, this month I have no time to publish a Mapper of the Month interview. I am too busy with those 9 creatures.

Moon Orchid Q Litter

I hope to publish a new interview next month, when they have moved to their new homes.

Mapper of the Month

Posted by escada on 20 January 2017 in English (English)

From this year on, the interviews will be published on the new website of the Belgian OSM Community.

I also decided to publish them all under the title "Mapper of the Month" and drop the "Mapper in the spotlight" name.

I will continue to post links here to the interviews. The first interview that is published on is one with Steve All from California,USA.

You can still find the list of all interviews on the osm wiki

I hope you will continue reading the interviews on the new website.

Contributeur du mois: Philippe Verdy (France)

Posted by escada on 22 December 2016 in French (Français)

English text

Niort Jeffdelonge (Own Work) [GFDL ( undefined CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Qui êtes-vous ?

Je vis actuellement près de Niort (centre-ouest de la France) depuis quelques années, mais j'ai vécu dans d'autres endroits : Rennes (lieu de naissance) et sa périphérie nord, Paris et sa proche périphérie nord-ouest, et travaillé dans divers endroits en Europe (dont Londres, Hambourg ou Milan) et dans le proche-orient. Je suis ingénieur informaticien, spécialisé dans le développement et la maintenance des applications de bases de données relationnelles, la conception et la compilation de langages informatiques et l'algorithmique (mais je travaille avec de nombreuses technologies et langages informatiques), et je m'intéresse beaucoup à la localisation/l'internationalisation en participant depuis de nombreuses années au développement d'Unicode et des standards et normes de l'Internet. J'ai travaillé principalement dans des domaines liés aux télécommunications, l'encodage de l'image et la vidéo, la sécurité des plateformes, la presse et les médias, la publicité, la facturation, la gestion et la planification commerciale, et la logistique. Ma langue native est le française et je pratique couramment la langue anglaise, mais je peux lire et travailler avec la plupart des langues actuelles du monde (avec seulement quelques difficultés pour l'Arabe, mais je sais comment travailler avec et suis totalement familiarisé avec la problématique des écritures bidirectionnelles)... et quelques langues mortes aussi (latin, grec classique) Et en dépit de leur apparente complexité scripturale, le chinois ou le japonais sont assez aisés pour travailler avec, et même parvenir à produire des textes simples (les langues européennes sont en fait bien plus complexes, y compris l'anglais ! ). Mon pseudonyme sur le site/la base de données OSM et sur le wiki OSM est simplement une forme abrégée de mon nom réel.

Quand et comment avez-vous découvert OpenStreetMap ?

Je ne me souviens pas exactement, c'était il y a quelques années. Je pense avoir vu quelques liens ou discussions dans Wikipédia ou dans des recherches de cartes sur Internet. Je travaille encore selon les moments sur Wikipédia, le Wiktionnaire, Wikisource, (MediaWiki wiki, Métawiki, Commons, principalement pour structurer et indexer leur contenu et aider à leur internationalisation) et maintenant aussi sur Wikidata.

Que cartographiez-vous ? Y a-t-il des différences depuis vos débuts ?

J'ai régulièrement été intéressé dans des projets cartographiques complexes couvrant de larges zones, mais je vise des endroits plus précis quand je vois de sérieuses anomalies sur la carte OSM. Je n'ai pas d'endroit réellement dédié sur la carte OSM. Parfois je vais faire des ajustement très locaux (corriger certains noms ou ajouter certains noms manquants, accroître la précision, mais je regarde des zones qui réellement ont besoin de beaucoup de travail. J'ai participé à la cartographie de nombreuses frontières en France, Belgique, Espagne, Portugal, et certains pays africains (Maroc, et Burkina Faso depuis plusieurs mois) en cherchant diverses sources et en les compilant et comparant.

Burkina Faso in OSM BoundariesBurkina Faso in OSM Boundaries

Comment cartographiez-vous ?

Je pratique rarement la cartographie sur le terrain. Je vais cartographier certaines zones locales selon ma connaissance locale et mon expérience récente. La plupart du temps je travaille sur OSM depuis chez moi. J'ai trouvé que les GPS ne sont pas du tout nécessaires dans ma région en France, où il existe des sources plus précises (et plus étendues par leur couverture) et avec une qualité plus uniforme (Je pense que la carte du monde sur OSM devrait traiter toutes les zones avec le même niveau (croissant) de qualité et de complétude, mais je pense aussi que des zones moins peuplées et moins développées auraient besoin de davantage d'aide extérieure. Il y a de très nombreux autres contributeurs moins expérimentés qui ne se focaliseront sur des zones plus locales que si la structure générale est déjà présente et leur est déjà utile. Malheureusement dans ma région actuelle (assez rurale), il n'y a pas beaucoup de participants à rencontrer régulièrement (et parfois des conflits temporaires seront inévitables lorsqu'on travaille depuis des lieux éloignés). Pour l'assurance qualité j'utilise plus fréquemment Osmose et le validateur de JOSM.

Comment menez-vous vos relevés sur le terrain ?

Pas de méthode réellement applicable. Cela demanderait des rencontres locales.

Où cartographiez-vous ? Localement, HOT ?

Partout où c'est nécessaire et probablement le plus urgent (pas difficile à déterrer sur la carte !) ou quand il y a des changements récents importants à réaliser.

Quel est votre plus grande réussite en tant que cartographe ?

Comme mon travail est dispersé sur de nombreuses zones, il n'y a pas de choses réellement à montrer qui soit facilement identifiable à mon travail passé. En fait j'ai toujours vu d'autres cartographes participer autour dans les mêmes zones. Je ne tirerai donc pas la couverture à moi seul quand en fait ce que je réalise est de permettre à plus de participants de commencer à mieux travailler et trouver leur voie sur OSM pour continuer le travail (je ne considérerai jamais mon travail fini). La documentation est très importante, mais mon meilleur résultat est sur le wiki OSM que j'ai patiemment rendu réellement international avec plus de langues prises en charge et correctement indexées et navigables, pour faciliter le travail des traducteurs (qui auront moins besoin de régler des détails techniques compliqués), ce qui permet a plus de personnes partout dans le monde de contribuer utilement aux données cartographiques OSM dans leur région en utilisant la langue avec ils sont le plus à l'aise, et de mieux apprendre comment utiliser OSM et ses outils ou simplement trouver plus de coopérations et de soutiens locaux pour leurs activités.

Pourquoi cartographiez-vous ? Qu'est-ce qui vous motive ?

Je cartographie et aide les cartographes parce que je suis excédé de voir les anciennes cartes propriétaires obsolètes et de voir Google Maps prendre la tête sur toutes les choses sur ce terrain et filtrer ses résultats (ou ses propres stratégies commerciales) juste pour promouvoir des choses que seules les sociétés les plus larges et les plus influentes accepteront de payer à Google pour être vues sur sa carte. Et en dehors de ceci, de nombreuses zones dans le monde (et même dans des zones rurales délaissées dans des pays plus développés) ont besoin de cartes précises pour leur développement local, pour une planification améliorée et plus efficace pour pour l'organisation du travail et des activités culturelles.

Quelle est la partie la plus difficile en cartographie ?

Les parties les plus difficiles sont celles concernant de larges zones. Elles nécessitent des outils qui ne sont pas accessibles aux éditeurs en ligne (Potlatch et maintenant iD). Apprendre à utiliser un autre éditeur (tel que JOSM) n'a pas été difficile pour moi, mais il est vrai que je dispose d'un bagage technique diversifié et que je ne suis pas effrayé par certains détails techniques. Rester motivé peut être parfois plus difficile et quelque peu frustrant quand d'autres personnes ne comprennent pas la masse énorme de travail que représente les corrections de détails techniques et qu'ils voient divers petits changements mineurs qui ne leur semble pas utiles dans leurs perspective locale.

Quels sont vos plans de cartographie dans un futur proche ?

J'espère terminer toutes les communes du Burkina Faso (j'en ai délimité la plupart, sommairement sur la base de listes de villages, faute de données plus précises, mais en suivant certains éléments naturels quand ils sont visibles, tels que les rivières ; ces données restent approximatives mais avec une précision qui ne devrait pas dépasser le kilomètre : les contributeurs locaux peuvent toujours affiner, il manque notamment encore des villages non géolocalisés) et finir de lister et géolocaliser plus précisément tous leurs villages (nombre d'entre eux ont été massivement importés avec trop d'erreurs et confusions depuis des bases de données qui n'ont en fait jamais été vérifiées et comparées avec d'autre sources). L'ajout d'éléments naturels importants (notamment les fleuves et rivières) sera aussi très utile. Je continuerai à travailler sur les réformes administratives plus larges. La France restera une zone favorite (mais maintenant que la France a de nombreuses sources de données ouvertes libres à la fois précises et étendues, une plus grande part de ce travail sera réalisé avec des outils spécifiques). Améliorer la documentation me parait plus important pour organiser la façon dont se fera le travail localement et globalement, et pour expliquer pourquoi certaines décisions ont été prises dans le passé et savoir lesquelles pourraient être déclassées.

Avez-vous des contacts avec d'autres cartographes ?

Sur le wiki, sur la liste de diffusion OSM en français, sur les discussions du site OSM.

Utilisez-vous vous-même OpenStreetMap ? Comment ?

Oui pour divers projets (je ne peux pas parler sous mon nom des projets privés), y compris pour aider des associations locales à intégrer une carte sur leur site (sans avoir à payer Google, ni dépendre de la décision de Google de les masquer !)

Faites-vous d'autres choses que la cartographie qui soit liées à OpenStreetMap ?

Wikidata, de la classification géographique et quelques images sur Commons ou Wikipédia.

Pour conclure, y a-t-il autre chose que vous voulez mentionner ?

Parlons-nous quand on a des problèmes ou quand on ne comprend pas certaines choses. Et donnons plus de pouvoirs et de moyens aux contributeurs pour ajouter ce qu'ils veulent voir et promouvoir. Cette carte OSM est pour tout le monde et non destinées seulement à quelques officiels.

Mapper of the Month: Philippe Verdy (France)

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

English translated by P. Verdy himself

Texte Français par P. Verdy

Niort Jeffdelonge (Own Work) [GFDL ( undefined CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Who are you?

I currently live near Niort (central-western France) since some years, but I have lived in other places: Rennes (birth place) and its northern surburbs, Paris and its north-western suburbs, and worked temporarily in various places around Europe (notably London, Hamburg, or Milano), and the near Middle-East. I'm a professional computer engineer, more specialized in relational database applications development and maintenance, computer language designs, compilation and algorithmics (but working with a lot of technologies and computer languages), and I am very interested in localisation/internationalization with participation since many years in Unicode development and web standards. I've worked mostly in domains related to telecommunications, image/video encoding, platforms security, press/medias, advertizing, billing, commercial management and planning, and logistics. My native language is French, and I'm fluent in English, but I can read and work with most current languages of the world (only with more difficulties only for Arabic, however I know how to work with it)... and a few dead languages (latin, classical greek). Despite their apparent script complexity, Chinese or Japanese are extremely easy to work with, and even being able to produce some simple texts (European languages are in fact much more complex, including English !). My nickname on the OSM website/database and in the OSM wiki is just an abbreviated form of my real name.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

I can't remember when, years ago. I think I may have seen some links or talks on Wikipedia or in searches for maps on the web. I still work sometimes on Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikisource, (MediaWiki wiki, Metawiki, Commons, mostly for structuring and indexing their contents and help internationializing them), and now also in Wikidata.

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

I've regularly been interested in mapping complex projects over large areas, sometimes focusing more when I saw serious anomalies on the OSM map. I've no really dedicated places to map. Sometimes I will make very local adjustments (fixing or adding missing names, increasing the precision, but I also look for areas that really need work. I've participated to the mapping of the many boundaries in France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and some African countries (Morocco, and Burkina Faso since several months), by looking for various sources and compiling/comparing them.

Burkina Faso in OSM BoundariesBurkina Faso in OSM Boundaries

How do you map?

I rarely do on-street surveys with tools. I'll map some local areas just based on local knowledge and recent experience. Most of the time I'm working on OSM from home. I've found GPS to be not needed at all in my area in France where there are more accurate sources (and more extensive by their coverage) with more uniform quality (I do think that the world map on OSM should treat all areas with the same (growing) level of quality and completeness, but I also think that less populated and less developed areas need more external help. There are many less experimented users spread around the world that will focus on very local areas only if the general structure is already present and already useful for them. Unfortunately in my current region (mostly rural) there's not a lot of participants to meet regularly (and sometimes temporary conflicts are unavoidable when working from remote locations). For the quality assurance, I frequently use Osmose and the JOSM Validator.

How do you conduct your surveys?

No method really applicable. This would require local meetings.

Where do you map? Locally, HOT?

Everywhere where it is needed and likely more urgent (not difficult to dig on the map!) or when there are recent important changes to do.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

As my work is spread in lot of areas, there's no specific personal achievement that can be easily identified to my work. In fact I've always seen other mappers participating around the same zones. I won't bring the cover on me alone when in fact what I do is to allow more participant to start working better and find their way on OSM, and continue the work (I will not consider my work finished). Documentation is very important, but my best achievement is on the OSM wiki where I've patiently made it really really international, with many more languages supported correctly indexed and navigatable, and facilitating the work of translators (that won't need to fix tricky technical details), allowing more people around the world to contribute usefully to OSM map data in their area using the language they are more confident with, and better learn how to use OSM and its tools, or simply finding more local cooperations and supports for their activities.

Why do yo map? What motivates you?

I map and help mappers because I'm fed up of seeing old outdated proprietary maps and of seeing Google Maps taking the lead on everything on this field, and filtering its results based on user profiling (or its own commercial strategies) just to promote things that only the largest and most influent companies will accept to pay to Google to be seen on its map. And outside of this, many areas in the world (and even in rural areas that are left over in more developed countries) need accurate maps for their local development and better/more efficient planification and organization of work and cultural activities.

What is the most difficult part of mapping?

The most difficult parts are those about large areas. They require tools that are not accessible to online editors (Potlatch, and now iD). Learning to use another editor (like JOSM) was not difficult for me, but it's true that I've a large technical background and I'm never scared about some technical details. Staying motivated may be sometimes more difficult and quite frustrating when other people do not understand the huge work that represent fixing technical details and they see a lot of very minor changes which do not seem useful from their local perspective.

What are your mapping plans for the near future?

I hope terminating completing all the communes in Burkina Faso (I've delimited almost all of them, basically based on listes of villages as there's currently no data available with more precision, but by following some natural features when they are visible, such as rivers ; these data remain approximative but with a precision that should not exceed the kilometre : local contributeurs may still refine these borders, but there are still missing villages to geolocalize, that I've listed as much as possible in their commune), and finishing the job of listing and geolocating more accurately all their villages (many of them were massively imported with lots of errors or confusions from outdated and incomplete old databases that were actually never checked and compared with other sources). Adding some important natural features (notably rivers) will also really help improve the accuracy. I'll continue working on larger administrative reforms. France as whole will still remain a favorite area (but now that France has many accurate/extensive free opendata sources more of this work will be performed with specific tools). Improving the documentation seems to be more important for organizing how work will be performed locally and globally, and explain why some past decisions were made or know which ones could be phased out.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

On the wiki, on the French OSM mailing list, on the OSM website discussions.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself? How?

Yes for various projects (I can't speak about private projects), including to help some local associations integrate a map on their website (without paying Google, or depending on Google decision to hide them!).

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

Wikidata, geographic classification and some images on Commons or Wikipedia.

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

Let's just talk together when we have problems or don't understand things. And let's give more power and means to local contributors to add what they want to see and promote. This OSM map is for everyone et not intended only for some officials.

Mapper of the Month: Sarah Hoffman (Germany)

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

This is my translation of Sarah's text in German. Any misrepresentation is my fault.

Who are you?

My name is Sarah, I am from Germany and live in Dresden. I studied computer sciences and work fulltime as software developer for a small local company. In OSM I am known as lonvia, which is a word play with the Latin form of 'long journey'.


Where and when did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

In 2008, I read a short article about OSM on the German online-service, which made me curious. I lived in [Switserland](( back then. Very little of Zurich was mapped, and the rest of Switserland was mostly blank. I spend a complete summer traveling along and mapping a large part of the railway network in Switserland. After that I started with hiking paths. I always loved hiking and it was great to combine the old hobby with the new one. Mapping brought me in places that I would otherwise never have visited for one-day journeys. I walked the complete Jura-Höhenweg, a very beautiful trail which is more sporty than one would expect from a brief look at the map.

What do you map?

In addition to the hiking trails, I prefer to add basic infrastructure: streets, paths, POIs that are interesting for tourists, as well as an occasional address. This has changed little over the years. I add what I would like to find on the map myself.

Lately, I am getting interested in 3D-building mapping. I think that basic building information such as the number of levels is usefull to form a rough idea how a village of neighborhood looks like in reality.

How do you map?

I am a classical outdoor mapper. I used to go out with a photo camera and GPS-tracker and added the information via JOSM. Nowadays, I track with the Android-App OsmTracker. For small improvements, I like to use Android-Editor Vespucci. I use aerial imagery mainly for the final details.

Where do you map?

I am a rather impatient mapper. Systematically surveying complete neighborhoods is not my cup of tea, neither are long sessions of armchair mapping such as MapRoullette or HOT-activations. My mapping is a result of travelling and hiking journeys. Nowadays, I only find time to map during holidays.

What is the biggest challenge for a mapper?

Working together on the map. It is often more convenient to maintain your focus strictly on your own interestes and only map for those. However, without a certain regard for the interests and work of the other mappers, this will inevitably end in frustration. It starts with making decisions about tag use and continues through every edit that touches existing data. On top of that, there are a lot of unwritten rules to mapping, which we have developped through years of trail-and-error. They may be obvious to long-term mappers but are not always logical to a new mapper.

Why do you map? What motivates you?

I have always been fascinated by maps, but until the arrival of OSM, maps could only be consumed passively. What annoyed me the most, was that there were always two types of maps: on one hand detailed topological maps, with a small scale, and on the other streetmaps, that focussed on car drivers and often left out details that I found interesting. OpenStreetMap offered for the first time the possibility to build maps that I needed: a map that could be used as pedestrian and cyclist that can show the whole picture as well as the smallest detail.

What is the hardest part while mapping ?

For me, the most difficult part is to keep the map up-to-date. As long as one is looking at a blank canvas, it is easy to stay motivated to add new elements. Mainly because one sees the next day what one has done. This is less obvious when one walks through a shopping street and updates all shops. This takes a couple of hours work, while the map seemingly did not change.

What are your mapping plans in the near future?

As I already mentioned, I am not the person that plans her mapping projects. As a software developer I am interested in the project that tries to clean up the so called Old-Style-Polygone. These are multi-polygons, where the tags are not on the relation but on the ways that form the polygon. Those areas are difficult interpret by software. Quite often, one has to guess, because the ways contain conflicting information. Currently there are around 200.000 such objects in the database. I think this can be solved rather quickly, when we join forces. This is also a good moment to bring the data up-to-date, as many such areas are a couple of years old. Maybe I will become an armchair mapper for the duration of this project.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

When I lived in Switserland, I often went to the Züricher Stammtisch and I was also there when the Schweizer OSM Vereins was founded. In the meantime this became an official Local Chapter. Nowadays, I can occasionally be found at the Dresdner Stammtisch Besides that, I have visited several State of the Map-conferences. With the Swiss Mappers

Do you use OSM yourself?

For day-to-day use I have OsmAnd on my smartphone. At my desktop, I basicly use for everything that requires a map. For access plans and the like, umap is very usefull.

Do you do anything besides mapping?

I am involved a lot in the software development around OSM. My most important projects are Nominatim, the software behind the searchbox on; and, which is a website that can display all possible routes that are found in OSM.

Furthermore I am a member of OWG, the Working Group, which is responsible for the servers on which OSM run.

Can you tell us a bit more about Nominatim ?

I came to Nominatim in 2012, when they were looking for a new administrator for the official server of the OSMF. From that moment, I take care of the server and have become the lead developer for its software. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of other developers. The last few years, the only development that was done was to allow it to keep up with the enormous grow of data in the OSM database.


And what about waymarkedtrails ?

I started with, because I needed a map with the hiking trails in Switserland, so I could verify the data that I added myself. Later on, I extended the map to cover the whole world, to motivate other mappers to start mapping routes. That is one of the things that works amazingly well in OSM. As soon as one visualizes data, one finds plenty of mappers that start mapping that kind of data.

In 2012, Guttorm Flatabø from Western Norway Research Institute found out about the map and used the software for a EU-project about tourism. During that project, a mobile version was developed as well as the support for the elevation profiles. We also came up with the name waymarkedtrails during that period as well as the current look and feel of the website.

The Wintersports map and horse riding map were developed together with Michael Spreng and Robert Whittaker.

It might be interesting to note that the map gets more visits from, a German site to visiualize GPS-tracks, than from

... and to end ... is there something else you want to tell?

Happy Mapping!

Mapper des Monats: Sarah Hoffmann (Deutschland)

Posted by escada on 2 December 2016 in German (Deutsch)

Wer sind Sie?

Mein Name ist Sarah, ich komme aus Deutschland und wohne in Dresden. Ich habe Informatik studiert und arbeite hauptberuflich als Softwareentwickler für ein kleine Firma hier. In OSM bin ich unter dem Nicknamen lonvia unterwegs. Das ist ein Wortspiel mit der lateinischen Form von 'lange Reise'.


Wann und wie haben Sie OpenStreetMap entdeckt?

2008 gab es einen kleinen Artikel über OSM beim deutschen Online-Service, der mich neugierig gemacht hat. Damals wohnte ich noch in der Schweiz. Zürich war bereits ein bisschen gemappt, aber der Rest der Schweiz war noch ziemlich weiss. Ich habe einen Sommer damit verbracht, einen grossen Teil des Eisenbahnnetzes des Schweiz abzufahren und einzutragen. Danach habe ich mich Wanderwegen zugewandt. Ich bin schon immer gerne gewandert und es war grossartig das alte Hobby mit dem neuen Hobby zu verbinden. Das Mappen hat mich auch in Gegenden geführt, die ich normalerweise nicht für Tagestouren ausgewählt häte. Unter anderem bin ich den Jura-Höhenweg vollständig abgewandert. Eine sehr schöne Strecke und sportlicher als man bei einem kurzen Blick auf die Karte erwartet.

Was mappen Sie?

Neben den Wanderwegen mappe ich am liebsten grundlegende Infrastruktur: Strassen, Wege, touristisch interessante POIs, sowie gelegentlich Addressen. Das hat sich über die Jahre wenig geändert. Ich trage das ein, was ich gerne auf der Karte vorfinden möchte.

In letzter Zeit habe ich mich ausserdem ein wenig mit 3D-Gebäude-Mapping beschäftigt, weil ich denke, dass einfache Gebäudeinformationen wie Anzahl der Etagen, nützlich sein können, um aus der Ferne eine Vorstellung vom Charakter einer Siedlung oder eines Stadtviertels zu bekommen..

Wie mappen Sie?

Ich bin ein ganz klassischer Draussen-Mapper. Früher bin ich meistens mit Fotoapparat und GPS-Tracker losgezogen und habe dann die Ergebnisse mit JOSM eingetragen. Das Tracken übernimmt heutzutage die Android-App OsmTracker. Für kleinere Verbesserungen vor Ort nutze ich auch gerne den Android-Editor Vespucci. Luftbilder nutze ich hauptsächlich für die Feinarbeiten.

Wo mappen Sie?

Ich bin ein ein eher ungeduldiger Mapper. Systematisch ganze Ortschaften abzulaufen liegt mir genauso wenig, wie längere Armchair-Mapping-Aktionen wie MapRoullette oder HOT-Aktivierungen. Daher ist Mapping eher ein Nebenprodukt von Reisen oder Wanderungen. Heutzutage komme ich hauptsächlich im Urlaub noch zum mappen.

Was ist für einen Mapper die größte Herausforderung?

Gemeinsam an einer Karte zu arbeiten. Auch wenn es oft bequemer ist, einen Tunnelblick für seine eigenen Interessen zu entwickeln und nur dafür zu mappen, wird man bei OSM nicht wirklich auf Dauer glücklich, wenn man nicht auch die Arbeit der anderen im Blick behält. Das fängt bei der Auswahl der Tags an und zieht sich durch jeden Edit, der bestehende Daten verändert. Es macht es auch nicht einfacher, dass wir eine Menge ungeschriebener Regeln haben, die sich durch jahrelanges Ausprobieren ergeben haben, die aber für einen Neuling oftmals nicht logisch erscheinen.

Warum mappen Sie, was sind Ihre Motive?

Karten haben mich schon immer fasziniert, aber bis OSM kam, waren Karten immer nur etwas, was man passiv konsumiert hat. Was mich am meisten gestört hat, war, dass man eigentlich nur zwei Arten von Karten kaufen konnte: entweder exakte topologische Karten, die dann aber einen kleinen Massstab hatten, oder Strassenkarten, die auf Autofahrer zugeschnitten waren und oftmals Details vermissen liessen, die für mich interessant waren. OpenStreetMap bot zum ersten Mal die Möglichkeit, die Karte zu machen, die ich brauchte: Übersichts- und Detailkarten für Fussgänger und Radfahrer.

Was ist der schwierigste Teil beim Mapping?

Für mich persönlich ist der schwierigste Teil, die Karte aktuell zu halten. Solange man eine weisse Fläche vor sich hat, ist es einfach, sich zu motivieren, neue Elemente einzutragen, denn man sieht am nächsten Morgen genau, was man getan hat. Das ist weniger der Fall, wenn man in einer gut gemappten Stadt wie Dresden einfach nur die Einkaufsstrasse herunterläuft und alle Geschäfte aktualisiert. Das braucht einige Stunden Arbeit, ohne dass die Karte sich sichtbar verändert.

Haben Sie Pläne, was Sie zukünftig mappen wollen?

Wie schon erwähnt, bin ich niemand, der seine Mapping-Projekte gross plant. Als Software-Entwickler habe ich Interesse an dem Projekt, die sogenannten Old-Style-Polygone aufzuräumen. Dabei geht es um Multipolygone, bei denen die Tags nicht an der Multipolygon- Relation angefügt sind, sondern an den Ways, aus denen das Polygon besteht. Solche Flächen sind kompliziert auszuwerten für Software. Nicht selten muss man raten, weil die Wege widersprüchliche Informationen enthalten. Zur Zeit gibt es etwa 200.000 dieser Flächen in der Datenbank. Ich denke, dass man sie mit vereinten Kräften schnell bereinigen kann. Das ist auch eine gute Gelegenheit zur Datenpflege, denn die meisten dieser Flächen sind schon einige Jahre alt. Vielleicht werde ich für dieses Projekt doch mal für kurze Zeit zum Armchair-Mapper.

Haben Sie Kontakt mit anderen Mappern?

In der Schweiz war ich viel am Züricher Stammtisch zu Gast und war dort auch an der Gründung des Schweizer OSM Vereins beteiligt, der inzwischen ja auch ein offizielles Local Chapter ist. Heute bin ich gelegentlich auch am Dresdner Stammtisch zu finden. Ausserdem bin ich regelmässig auf den State of the Map-Konferenzen.

With the Swiss Mappers

Nutzen Sie OSM selbst?

Für den täglichen Bedarf habe ich OsmAnd auf meinem Telefon laufen. Auf den Rechner benutze ich hauptsächlich für alles, was eine Karte benötigt. Für Anfahrtspläne und ähnliches ist umap ein nützliches Tool.

Machen Sie bezüglich OSM noch andere Dinge ausser mappen?

Ich bin viel in die Softwareentwicklung rund um OSM involviert. Meine wichtigsten Projekte sind Nominatim, die Software hinter der Suchbox auf, und, eine Website, die alle möglichen Routen aus OSM anzeigen kann. Ausserdem bin ich Mitglied der OWG, der Working-Group, die sich um die Server kümmert, auf denen OSM läuft.

Können Sie etwas mehr zu Ihrem Projekt Nominatim / waymarkedtrails sagen?

Zu Nominatim bin ich 2012 gekommen, als ein neuer Administrator für den offiziellen Server der OSMF gesucht wurde. Seitdem betreue ich die Server und bin auch nach und nach zum Hauptentwickler der Software dahinter geworden. Leider gibt es nicht sehr viele andere Beitragende. Die Entwicklung der letzten Jahre hat sich deshalb hauptsächlich darauf konzentriert, dass die Suche mit dem enormen Wachstum der OSM-Datenbank mithalten kann.

Nominatim begann damit, dass ich für mich selbst eine Karte brauchte, die die Wanderwege in der Schweiz anzeigte, damit ich meine selbst eingetragenen Daten überprüfen konnte. Später habe ich das auf die ganze Welt ausgeweitet, um andere Mapper zu motivieren, ebenfalls Wanderwege einzutragen. Das ist eine der Sachen, die wunderbar funktioniert in OSM. Sobald man die Daten sichtbar macht, finden sich auf fleissige Mapper, die Daten ergänzen. 2012 ist Guttorm Flatabø vom Western Norway Research Institute auf die Routenkarten aufmerksam geworden und hat die Software für ein EU-Projekt zum Thema Tourismus verwendet. Dabei sind die mobile Umsetzung der Karte, sowie die Höhenprofile entstanden und die Karte hat ihren heutigen Namen waymarkedtrails und ihr Aussehen erhalten. Über die Jahre sind dann weitere Karten hinzugekommen. Die Wintersportkarte und die Reitkarte haben Michael Spreng und Robert Whittaker mitentwickelt. Übrigens werden die Routenkarten heute gar nicht mehr in der Hauptsache auf angesehen, sondern die meisten Zugriffe kommen von, einer deutschen Seite zum Austausch von GPS-Tracks.

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

Happy Mapping!

Contributeur du mois : susvhv (Belgique)

Posted by escada on 17 October 2016 in French (Français)

Qui es-tu ?

Sus Sus est mon alias ordinateur, le “ç” de François ne m'a causé que des ennuis au début des PC's. Né en 1933 ( comptez vous-mêmes ) en région bruxelloise, j'ai émigré à Mol pour y travailler au Centre d’Études Nucléaires comme technicien. Lors d'une restructuration le CEN m'a viré en prépension et depuis plus de 25 ans je me la coule douce. Lors de mes études je n'ai jamais entendu parler d'ordinateurs. Heureusement au CEN j'ai eu la chance de pouvoir, dans mon coin, me familiariser tant avec le matériel qu'avec les logiciels et concevoir de l'appareillage à base de microprocesseur et de microcontrôleurs. Jusqu'à présent j'ai acheté tout mes desktop en pièces détachées. Le dernier tourne sous Ubuntu. Les laptops, je les achète. Au début, au boulot, les émulateurs pour microprocesseur coûtaient la peau de fesses, mais quelques années après la mise en pension je me suis aperçu qu'un microcontrôleur ATMEGA8 ne coûtait plus que quelques euros et était parfaitement programmable à partir d'un port série (maintenant USB) de PC avec des programme gratuits. Actuellement à la période du IOT on a des modules Wifi (Nodemcu, ESP8266) bardés d'interfaces, programmables sous Arduino. Un de ces modules transmet la température de la véranda à la toile et je peux la consulter par smartphone. J'ai mon propre nuage, Owncloud, avec un disque dur d'1 TB piloté par un Raspberry Pi, vous savez, cet ordinateur pour enfants.

Comment et quand as-tu découvert OpenStreetMap ?

De par mon passé de pilote ULM, rallymen, promeneur et géocacheur j'ai toujours manipulé des cartes et dès son apparition je me suis intéressé au GPS, d’où le besoin de cartes, de préférence gratuites. Depuis 2008 j'ai un compte OSM, mais j'utilisais les cartes bien avant malgré les grandes zones blanches sur OSM à cette époque. Mes débuts de mappeur datent seulement de 2011. Le seuil à gravir me semblait trop grand. Par hasard, une ligne haute tension s’arrêtait au pylône de ma rue et j'ai tenté de la prolonger en recherchant la suite des pylônes. Lorsque la ligne haute tension ainsi complétée est apparue sur les cartes OSM, l'élan fut donné et par la suite tous les sentiers pédestres ont suivi, puis les nouvelles rues, les noms des rues, les maisons, les numéros des maisons, les zones, etc, etc. Résorber les zones blanches.

Utilises-tu OpenStreetMap au quotidien ?

Sur le Garmin Dakota20 et sur le smartphone sous Android se trouvent les cartes de toute l'Europe, régulièrement mises à jour. Lors de nos voyages en car - nous ne faisons plus de voyages en voiture - je sais mieux que le chauffeur où l'on se trouve. D'Andorre j'ai toutes les pistes de ski en poche. Sur le smartphone avec 32 GB de mémoire j'utilise OsmAnd, Locus et Oruxmaps. J'ai testé Vespucci pour ajouter les numéros des maisons, mais c'est inutilisable en plein soleil avec des mains moites.

Quelle sorte de contributeur es-tu ?

Luie Zetel Pour mapper, je ne quitte plus mon fauteuil. Comme éditeur, j'emploie JOSM. Je l'ai rangé quelque temps lorsqu'il me remplissait tout le disque dur, mais ces défauts ayant été résolus, je l'ai repris car on y intègre de plus en plus de facilités tel que les liens vers les images photos et AGIV pour la Flandre. À [Anvers j'ai assisté à une réunion principalement orientée vers HOT, j'ai donné suite à la dernière demande de Jorieke et j'ai rempli quelque carrés. Il faut bien un peu s'adapter et j'ai difficile à me tenir strictement aux instructions, ce qui n'arrange pas l'uniformité de la carte.

Que cartographies-tu ?

Actuellement on dispose d'une imagerie nettement supérieure et des informations de AGIV et CRAB pour le numéros des maisons ; c'est une nette amélioration par rapport aux anciennes données de Bing. Je charge d’abord avec le tool de Sander les informations par numéro de code postal, généralement dans la région autour de Mol, mon point d'attache, et je corrige la forme des maisons, les rues, les noms de rue, zones, etc. Jusqu’à compléter la zone au maximum. En fonction des conditions atmosphériques, cela peut prendre quelque semaines à quelques mois. J'essaie de ne pas faire trop longtemps la même chose mais j'ai horreur des relations lorsqu'il s'agit d'apporter des corrections de noms.

Quelle est ta plus grande prouesse en tant que contributeur ?

De pouvoir suivre. Mais j'aurais préféré qu'on me demande: quelle est ta plus grosse bévue ? Dans JOSM le '”Q” (forme orthogonale) m'a déjà joué de vilains tours lorsque par hasard toute une zone résidentielle est sélectée et que l'on ne l'a pas remarqué car elle se trouvait en dehors de l'écran. On voit soudainement pendant l'envoi défiler un grand nombre de modifications, parfois plus de mille, et pas moyen de l’arrêter. Le seul moyen que j'ai trouvé pour corriger la bévue est de d'utiliser le smartphone et OsmAnd et de remettre tout en place. Mais cela peut prendre quelques jours s'il s'agit de tout une ville ou d'un village. Cela a quand même un avantage, les zones sont adaptées à une situation plus récentes et réduites. Il est remarquable de constater le nombre de bois rasés, de quartiers entiers qui ont surgi de terre et combien de prairies ont été labourées. Une ligne haute tension y a également été construite. Mais excuses s'il n'y a plus la bonne tension et si certaines caractéristique ont disparu. Si vous trouver un pylône sans fil et sans son ombre, n’hésitez pas à le supprimer. Que personne ne m'ait fait de remarque à ce sujet m'étonne, mais j'ai remarqué que certains font des zones résidentielles beaucoup plus petites, ou ai-je faux ? En fait, je trouve que dans JOSM, pour le “Q”, on devrait insérer une sécurité comme celle qui demande confirmation lorsque l'on déplace une route ou une zone avec trop de nœuds sélectés à la fois. Un compteur signalant le nombre de corrections ou d'additions serait également souhaitable car cela limiterait le nombre d'entrées à jeter lorsqu’on se retrouve avec une erreur qu'on ne parvient pas à corriger.

Pourquoi cartographies-tu ?

C'est toujours gai de se promener par un sentier qu'on a mis soi-même sur la carte. Depuis longtemps je soutiens tout ce qui est “open” et gratuit. C'est aussi une bonne forme d'occupation et une manière de rester à jour. C'est mon SUDOKU à moi. Peut-être inconsciemment le désir de laisser quelque chose à la postérité et d'aider l'humanité. Mais ne philosophons pas trop.

Fais-tu d'autres choses liées à OpenStreetMap ?

Je suis régulièrement les messages du mailgroup pour savoir ce que pensent les autres mappeurs, mais encore entreprendre et entretenir, je ne le fais plus. J'admire le travail des tous ces programmeurs et de ce qu'ils réalisent avec toutes ces données. Mais beaucoup de choses me dépassent.

As-tu des idées sur la façon dont nous pouvons étendre la communauté OpenStreetMap, pour motiver plus de gens à contribuer ?

Ne comptez pas trop sur ceux de mon âge, j'ai essayé mais sans succès. Le problème c'est que la masse de données à introduire est énorme et les connaissances en informatique que cela requiert. Le seuil à franchir est énorme pour la plupart. On trouvera probablement plus d'intéressés parmi les nouveaux pensionnés. Leur connaissance en informatique sont meilleures. Cela doit venir des jeunes en attirant leur attention sur l'énorme quantité de données mises à leur disposition gratuitement comme programmeur, mais les données doivent aussi être introduites. Je suis parvenu à convaincre un prof de géographie à soumettre à des élèves des travaux à l'aide de OSM, mais entre-temps il est lui-même en pension. Il y a des sites comme ; ils ont des groupes notamment sur les ordinateurs et Linux ; quelqu'un peut démarrer un groupe.

Quelle est, selon toi, la plus grande force d'OpenStreetMap ?

C'est qu'il fait fi des frontières et qu'il aide à faire un monde meilleur.

Quel est le plus grand défi pour OpenStreetMap ?

De rester comme il est et de résister au piratage et au vandalisme. Heureusement, c'est gratuit et il n'y pas grand chose à gagner. Pourtant je me demande parfois si ce que je mappe ne peut pas être utilisé par des groupes malveillants dans des zones troublées. Bamako et ses environs par exemple.

Comment restes-tu au courant de toutes les petites nouvelles liées à OpenStreetMap ?

Essentiellement via le mailgroup Belge.

As-tu des contacts avec d'autres cartographes ? Comment restes-tu en contact ?

Mon premier contact a été avec Lodde1949 ; à mes débuts nous étions tous deux par hasard à mapper dans le même patelin, lui en JOSM et moi en Potlatch, ce qui peut donner pas mal d'ennuis. Nous avons convenu que j’irais mapper ailleurs, mais il m'a fait remarquer qu'avec JOSM il suffisait de “deux ou trois clics” pour faire une maison. Non sans peine je me suis mis à JOSM. Par curiosité j”ai assisté à une réunion à Anvers où il était surtout question de HOT. J'ai aussi participé à quelques Hangouts. Pour le reste c'est très peu. Il y en a deux près de Mol, mais ils sont très irréguliers.

Sus' profile by Pascal Neis

Pour conclure, y a-t-il encore quelque chose que tu souhaites dire au lecteur ?

Puis-je insister auprès de tous de ne pas effacer ce que d’autres ont introduit, même si c'est bâclé. Effacer peut signifier un adepte de moins. Les images sous-jacentes sont actuellement bien plus précises et mieux alignées que celles utilisées il y a quelques années. J'ai moi-même tendance à effacer et à redessiner, mais je ne le fais qu'avec ce que j'ai auparavant introduit moi-même. Dans JOSM un Ctrl H est vite fait et peut rappeler de bon souvenirs. Parfois je m'exaspère quand je vois que l'on a ajouté des détails alors que la base est mal placée, détails dont je ne vois pas l'utilité. Pourquoi ne pas s'assurer que la base est convenable ?

Bon, j’arrête, car je commence à radoter.

Mapper van de Maand: Sus (susvhv) uit België

Posted by escada on 17 October 2016 in Dutch (Nederlands)

Wie ben je ?

Sus Sus is mijn computer bijnaam, met de “ç” van François had ik in het begin van de PC's altijd last. (glimlacht) Ik ben geboren in 1933 (tel maar uit ;-) ) in het Brusselse en was technieker op het StudieCentrum voor Kernenergie in Mol, waar ik nu verblijf. Op het SCK heeft men mij bij een herstructurering op brugpensioen gestuurd en ondertussen zit ik al meer dan 25 jaar thuis te genieten. Toen ik school liep was er van computers nog geen sprake. Gelukkig heb ik op het werk de kans gekregen door zelfstudie hardware en software onder de knie te krijgen en met microprocessors en microcontrollers eigen te worden. Tot heden heb ik al mijn desktops in stukken gekocht en zelf gemonteerd. De laatste draait onder Ubuntu. De laptop is onder win10. Laptops koop ik. De ontwikkelingsapparatuur voor microprocessors koste in het begin op het werk peperduur. Enkele jaren na de opruststelling heb ik vastgesteld dat een microcontroller ATMEGA8 nog enkele euro's koste en volledig gratis vanaf een gewone seriële poort van een PC (nu USB) te programmeren was. Nu in het IoT tijdperk kan men onder Arduino Wifi modules (Nodemcu, ESP8266) met allerhande randapparatuur programmeren. Hier draait er één om in de veranda de temperatuur te meten en op het net te zetten zodat ik deze vanaf het net kan uitlezen. Ik heb ook thuis een eigen 1 terabyte Owncloud bestuurd door een Raspberry Pi, ge weet wel, de bankkaartcomputer ontwikkeld voor kinderen (lacht).

Wanneer en op welke manier leerde je OpenStreetMap kennen ?

Mijn verleden van ULM vlieger, rallyrijder, wandelaar en geocacher heeft mij met allerhande kaarten in aanraking gebracht en van in het begin het nut van een GPS laten inzien, en dan heeft men kaarten nodig, liefst gratis.
Sinds begin 2008 heb ik een OSM account, maar de OSM kaarten gebruikte ik al een tijdje. Toen waren er nog grote witte vlakken op de kaart. Pas in 2011 ben ik beginnen mappen. De drempelvrees was groot vooral dat ik er op mij eentje mee bezig was. Per toeval staat er in mijn straat een hoogspanningsmast waar de hoogspanningslijn eindigde. Ik heb die lijn uiteindelijk zover ik kon doorgetrokken. Toen de hoogspanningslijn op de OSM-kaart opdaagde, ging de bal aan het rollen met het opnemen van wandelwegen, foto's nemen van huisnummers, nieuwe straten en straatnamen invoegen en verkennen, gebieden aanleggen,enz., enz… De witte vlakken wegwerken. (glimlacht)

Gebruik je OpenStreetMap ook zelf ?

Op de Garmin Dakota 20 GPS en op de Android smartphone staan de kaarten van heel Europa en ze worden regelmatig bijgewerkt. Wanneer we nu een busreis doen weet ik steeds waar we zitten, soms beter dan de chauffeur. Zelf reizen met de wagen doen we niet meer.
Van Andorra heb ik al de skipistes op zak. Op de smartphone met 32 GB geheugen gebruik ik OsmAnd, Locus en Oruxmaps. Ook Vespucci heb ik gebruikt om huizen te nummeren maar in volle zon met zwetende vingers is dat niet bruikbaar.

Hoe map je ?

Luie Zetel Ik map nog enkel vanuit mijn luie zetel.
Als editor gebruik ik nog enkel JOSM. Toen JOSM nog geheugenvreter was ben ik daar wel even mee gestopt, maar de meeste kinderziektes zijn er nu uit en er zitten hoe langer hoe meer faciliteiten in, o.a. de links naar de onderliggende kaarten en AGIV voor Vlaanderen. In Antwerpen ben ik al maar een HOT bijeenkomst geweest en heb een gunstig gevolg gegeven aan de laatste oproep van Jorieke en enkele vakjes ingevuld. Het is wel even wennen. En ik heb het soms moeilijk om mij aan de voorschriften te houden, wat de algemene kwaliteit van de kaart niet ten goede komt.

Wat map je zoal ?

Tegenwoordig beschik men over veel betere onderliggende beelden en de AGIV en Crabbestanden voor het nummeren. Wat een verschil met de vroegere uitgerekte beelden van Bing. Eerst laad ik een zonenummer in de tool van Sander, vooral rond Mol, mijn thuisgemeente, en verbeter de huizen, straten, gebieden, huisnummers, gebieden,enz. Tot het hoogst mogelijk getal huizen op de kaart staan. Naargelang het weer buiten kan dat wel enkele weken tot maanden duren om een zonenummer af te werken.

Ik probeer van niet te lang hetzelfde te doen en heb een hekel aan relaties, vooral als men naamfouten oplost. (kijkt triest)

Waar ben jij als mapper het meest trots op?

Dat ik het nog een beetje kan volgen. (lacht)

Vraag eerder waar ben jij niet trots op ? De “Q” van JOSM (rechthoekig maken) heeft mij al dikke parten gespeeld wanneer een residentieel gebied per toeval geselecteerd is en men het niet opgemerkt heeft omdat gans dat gebied buiten het scherm ligt. Men ziet dan plots tijdens het opladen op het scherm duizenden punten die veranderd worden en daar is geen stoppen meer aan. Het enige die ik gevonden heb in dat geval is er de smartphone met OsmAnd bij te halen om de gebieden terug op de goede plaats te leggen. Dat kan soms enkele dagen duren als het een volledige stad of gemeente is. (kijkt sip) Het heeft ook wel een voordeel, de gebieden worden aan de recentere situatie aangepast en gesplitst. Het is opmerkelijk hoeveel bossen er gekapt werden, hoeveel wijken uit de grond gestampt werden en hoeveel weiden in akker omgeploegd werden.
Ook met een hoogspanningslijn heb ik al prijs gehad. Dat heeft ook tijd gekost. Mijn excuses als de spanning er af is want er zijn wel enkele gegevens verdwenen. De lijn is nu ook regelmatig doorgeknipt. Al de masten heb ik niet teruggevonden. Wie een verloren hoogspanningsmast zonder schaduw terugvindt mag hem gerust deleten . ;-) Dat niemand mij hiervoor op de vingers getikt heeft vind ik een wonder. Maar ik vermoed dat nog anderen het al meegemaakt hebben want ze maken nu veel kleinere residentiële gebieden. Of ben ik mis ? In feite zou men voor de “Q” in JOSM een melding moeten inbouwen, zoals er een bestaat wanneer men een groot gebied of highway wil verplaatsen, wanneer te veel nodes geselecteerd zijn. Ook een teller van de aantal ingevoegde of gewijzigde nodes zou nuttig zijn om te vermijden dat het opladen te groot wordt en dat men in geval van een niet oplosbare fout te veel in de vuilbak moet kieperen.

Waarom map je ? Wat motiveert je ?

Het is plezierig de paadjes nog eens af te lopen die ge zelf op de kaart gezet hebt en ze te verbeteren indien nodig. (glimlacht) Al lang steun ik al wat “open” en gratis is en het is zeker een goede vorm van vrije tijdsbesteding en een manier om IN te blijven. Dat is mijn SUDOKU. Misschien ook wel onbewust om iets achter te laten en mijn steentje bij te dragen aan het mensdom. Maar laat ons niet filosoferen.

Doe je ook nog andere dingen i.v.m. OpenStreetMap ?

Ik volg regelmatig de berichten van de mailinggroep om te weten hoe anderen de zaak bekijken maar nog iets plannen of onderhouden op langer termijn doe ik niet meer. Ik bewonder wel het werk van al die programmeurs en wat ze met al die gegevens verwezenlijken. Maar dat gaat nu mijn petje te boven.

Heb je ideeën over hoe we de OpenStreetMap gemeenschap kunnen uitbreiden? Of meer mappers kunnen motiveren?

Op mijn leeftijdgenoten mag men niet veel rekenen, ik heb het geprobeerd met enkele maar dat viel tegen. (kijkt sip) Het probleem is de grote massa gegevens die moeten ingebracht worden en de computer kennis die dat vereist. Die instapdrempel is voor de meesten te groot. Bij de actuele op rust gestelden zal men waarschijnlijk meer kandidaten vinden, die hebben al meer computerkaas gegeten. Het moet komen van de studerende jeugd waarbij men moet wijzen op de geweldige database die men gratis tot hun beschikking stelt en waarmee ze kunnen aan de slag gaan als programmeur, en hun vaardigheden kunnen uittesten, maar die data moet dan eerst ingegeven worden. Ik heb wel een leeraar aardrijkskunde kunnen overtuigen om aan zijn studenten enkele opdrachten te geven op basis van OSM, maar ondertussen is die ook al op rust. Er is ook , die hebben allerhande mailgroepen o.a. over computers en linux, misschien kan iemand van de jong oprustgestelden daar een mailgroep opstarten. Ikzelf zie dat niet meer zitten.

Wat is de grootste sterkte van OpenStreetMap volgens jou?

Dat het ruim de grenzen overschrijdt en meehelpt om een betere wereld te maken.

Wat is de grootste uitdaging/moeilijkheid voor OpenStreetMap ? Heb je nieuwe ideeën om OpenStreetMap naar het volgende niveau te trekken ?

Om onaangeroerd te blijven en niet gepirateerd of besmet te worden. Gelukkig is het gratis en is er weinig rechtstreeks aan te verdienen voor de krakers. Toch vraag ik mij soms af of het niet kan misbruikt worden als ik in onveilige gebieden dorpen zit te mappen, bv. in Bamako omgeving.

Hoe blijf je op de hoogte van nieuwtjes i.v.m. OpenStreetMap ?

Via de BE mailgroep.

Heb je contact met andere mappers ?

Mijn eerste contact was jaren geleden met Lodde1949, toen waren we allebei in Meerhout aan het mappen, hij met JOSM en ik in Potlatch, en dat kan rare gevolgen hebben. Na afspraak ben ik dan ergens op een andere plaats gaan mappen maar hij heeft mij toen JOSM aangeprezen. “Een huis in 2 of 3 klikken”. Ik ben toen naar JOSM overgestapt, maar dat ging niet zonder moeite. Uit nieuwsgierigheid ben ik eens naar Antwerpen geweest naar een vergadering waar het vooral over HOT ging. Ik heb ook aan enkele Hangouts deelgenomen.
Voor de rest is dat heel weinig. Rond Mol ken ik er een tweetal, maar die doen het tamelijk onregelmatig.

Sus' profile by Pascal Neis

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

Mag ik aandringen bij al de mappers het werk van anderen niet te schrappen, ook al is het slordig. Iets deleten is soms een mapper minder. De huidige onderliggende foto's zijn veel nauwkeuriger en liggen beter op hun plaats dan de foto's die men voor enkele jaren gebruikte. Ikzelf heb ook de neiging om iets af te vegen en nieuw te zetten, wat sneller gaat, maar dat doe ik enkel met zaken die ikzelf ingetekend heb. In JOSM is een Ctrl H rap uitgevoerd en het brengt soms herinneringen mee.
Ik erger mij ook soms aan zaken die bijgevoegd werden op een slordige ondergrond of misplaatste details waarvan ik het nut niet inzie. Waarom niet eerst de ondergrond aanpassen of verbeteren ? Allee, ik ben weer aan het zagen. (lacht)

Mapper of the Month: Sus (susvhv) from Belgium

Posted by escada on 14 October 2016 in English (English)

Who are you ?

Sus Sus is my computer related nickname. In the early days of the PCs I always had problems with the ç of François, my real name (smiles). I was born in 1933, (I leave it to you to calculate my age) in Brussels and I was a technician at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center or SCK in Mol, where I live at the moment. I was sent on early retirement during a restructuring at the SCK. I have been enjoying home life for over 25 years since that moment. When I went to school, there were no computers. Luckily, I got the opportunity at work to spend time to learn about hardware and software and get familiar with microprocessors and microcontrollers. Until now, I have bought all my desktop computers as parts and assembled them myself. The last one runs Ubuntu. My laptop runs Windows 10. Unlike the desktops, I buy my laptops. The hardware for the development for microprocessors we used at work was very expensive in the early days. A few years after my retirement, I noticed that a microcontroller, such as the ATMEGA8 costed only a few euros and they were freely programmable from the serial port (now from USB) of a PC. Today, in the Internet of Things area, one can program Arduino computers with Wifi modules (Nodemcu, ESP8266) to control all kinds of peripherals. I have one running that measures the temperature in the veranda and sends the data to the net, from where I can read it. I also have a 1 terabyte Owncloud server running on a Raspberry Pi. You know, those bankcard-sized computers developed for children (smiles)

Where and when did you learn about OpenStreetMap ?

My history as a pilot of ULM aircrafts, rally driver, hiker and geocacher brought me in contact with all kinds of maps and made me see the usefulness of GPS systems. Those systems requires maps, preferably free maps. I have an OpenStreetMap account since 2008, but I was using the maps already before that time. There were plenty of empty areas on the map back then. I only started mapping in 2011. The initial hesitation was big, especially because I was doing it on my own. Accidentally there was a power pylon in my street where the power line ended in OpenStreetMap. I continued that line as far was possible. When that power line became visible on the map, the ball kept on rolling. I started recording hiking paths, taking pictures of house numbers, surveying new streets and their names, started mapping land use etc. I was busy filling the empty areas !

Are you using OpenStreetMap yourself ?

I have the maps of the whole of Europe on my Garmin Dakota 20 GPS and the Android smartphone, and update them frequently. When we now make a trip with the bus, I often know better where we are than the driver. We no longer travel with car. I also have the ski pistes of Andorra in my pocket. On the smartphone with 32 GB memory, I use OsmAnd, Locus and Oruxmaps. I also tried Vespucci but found it hard to key in the house numbers in full daylight and with sweaty fingers.

How do you map ?

Luie Zetel The only mapping I do at the moment is from my lazy chair. As editor I only use JOSM. When JOSM was a memory hog, I switched to other editors, but most problems from the early days are fixed and it contains more and more useful features, a.o. the links to aerial imagery for Flanders. I visited a Missing Maps party in Antwerp, and I also "filled a few squares" when Jorieke recently asked for help for a HOT task. It took some time to adapt. I sometimes have difficulties to follow the rules, but this does not always help the overall quality of the map.

What do you map ?

Nowadays we have access to aerial imagery of much better quality. Furthermore we are allowed to use AGIV and CRAB data for house numbers. This is a big improvement compared to the low quality imagery from Bing. I use the tool developed by Sander for importing house numbers. I work mainly around Mol, where I live. I try to improve the houses, streets, land use and house numbers. I keep going until all buildings are mapped. Depending on the weather, it can take from a few weeks to months before I finish a post code area.

I try not to do the same type of mapping for a long period. I also hate relations [associatedStreet relations], especially when I try to fix naming errors.

What is your biggest achievement

That I can keep up (smiles)

The question should have been what is your biggest mistake ? The "Q" in JOSM (making square corners) have given my several bad experiences, e.g. when I accidentally selected a residential area without noticing because the whole area is outside the screen. Then during upload, you notice that you have modified thousands of points, but there is no way back. The only way I found so far is to grab the smartphone with OsmAnd and reposition the nodes of the area. This can take several days when it is a complete town or village (note: We have informed him about the reverter plugin for JOSM after reading the first draft of the interview). The good things is that the land uses get updated to the current situation. I also split them in more manageable areas. It is remarkable how many trees have been cut, how many new residential areas are build and how many meadows are used as farmland nowadays. I had similar problem with a high voltage line. That took also quite some time. My apologies when I accidentally removed some tags. The line is now also cut into pieces. I could not find all pylons back, so when you find an isolated one, please remove it. That I did not receive complaints about my mistakes, is a small miracle. I assume others have encountered the same problem, because nowadays the residential areas are mapped with smaller polygons. Or am I mistaken ? It would be nice that the "Q"-key in JOSM gets the same warning one receives when a large number of objects is moved. An alternative is a counter that keeps track of the new or updated nodes. This would allow one to avoid large uploads or that one has to throw away a lot of work in case of unrecoverable mistake.

Why do you map ? What motivates you ?

It is nice to walk along the paths that you have mapped before and improve them where needed. (smiles). I support everything open and free for a long time, it is a useful way to spend your spare time and you stay young. This is my form of SUDOKU. Maybe it is also because I want to leave something behind and help humanity a bit. But lets not get philosophical.

Do you do anything else besides mapping ?

I frequently read the messages on the mailing list to understand other people's views, but I no longer plan or maintain anything on the long term. I do admire the work from all the programmers and what they accomplish with the data. But I do not know how they do it.

How can we extend the OpenStreetMap Community ?

You should not count too much on the people from my age group, I have tried, but the results were disappointing. The problem is that huge amounts of data have to be entered and that it requires a good knowledge of computers. Most of them find it too difficult to get started. The current group of people that retires will contain more candidates, as they are already familiar with computers. I think we have to look at the students, and point them to the great database that is freely available to them and which they can use to test their skills as a programmer, with one caveat: the data has to be added first.

I did succeed in convincing a geography teacher to give his students a couple of exercises based on OSM, but he's already retired now. There's a lot of mailing list activity on (note: a social network website for retirees), also about computers and Linux. Maybe some of the younger pensioners among you want to start a mailing list there. But I won't do that.

What is the strongest feature of OpenStreetMap for you?

That it goes beyond boundaries and helps to improve the world.

What is the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap ?

To stay pure and not attract "pirates". Luckily it is free and there is no direct gain for hackers. However, I sometimes wonder whether is can be misused when I am mapping in dangerous zones, e.g. in the area of Bamako.

How do you stay on top of OpenStreetMap news ?

Via the Belgian mailing list.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Years ago, I met Lodde1949, while we both were mapping in Meerhout . He used JOSM and I was using Potlatch, and that had weird results. After mutual agreement, I started mapping elsewhere, but he recommended JOSM to me. "A house in 2 or 3 clicks". I made the switch to JOSM then, but that was not without effort. Out of curiosity I once visited a Missing Maps party in Antwerp. I also participated in some hangouts. For the rest I do not have a lot of contact with other mappers. I know some around Mol, but they contribute infrequently.

Sus' profile by Pascal Neis

To round up, is there anything else that you want to mention.?

Can I insist that no one simply removes the work of others, even when it is sloppy ? Deleting something, might mean that you loose a mapper. The current aerial imagery is much more detailed and better aligned than ever before. Even I have sometimes the tendency to wipe out something and replace it with a new object, because that goes faster. But I will only do that when I have added the item myself. In JOSM, you can easily use CTRL-H (show history) and that might bring back memories. I am sometimes annoyed when I see objects that were added to a sloppy background or details that do not seem useful to me. Why did the mapper not improve the background first ? Allez, I am whining again (laughs)

State of the Map : Some BoF sessions

Posted by escada on 14 October 2016 in English (English)

Until now, I did not find the time to report on some of the Birds of a Feather sessions in which I participated during the State of the Map in Brussels last month. A Birds of a Feather (BoF) is an informal session which can be filled in by the presenters as they wish. I visited two BoF sessions on Sunday, one about PT-assistent and one about Kartotherian.


PT-assistent is a JOSM-plugin for the validation and correction of public transport routes. It was developed during a Google Summer of Code project, mentored by Polyglot and implemented by Darya. Hence, it was not surprising that they lead the session. Polyglot is a long time member of the Belgian community and is responsible for a lot of public transport mapping in our country. He started by introducing some of the problems he has with maintaining public transport (bus and tram) routes and the repetitive correction work for routes running over the same OSM ways.

Since someone in the audience was an avid public transport mapper in the Dortmund area, Darya started the demonstration of the plugin in that area. And low and behold, several problems where detected. We tried to find solutions for the problems, but for some one needs to do a local survey. Others were easily fixed, either manually or by the plugin.

The main power of the plugin is that a fix (done manually or automatically) can be repeated for all other routes that have the same problem in the same spot. One comment was that some of the automated fixes was too much "magic", but even without it, the plugin is great for locating problems.

The plugin only works for public transport routes of version 2. The people interested in the plugin know what this means.

Great tool to put in your belt ! And great presentation as well, thanks Polyglot and Darya.


The session was lead by Yuri Astrakhan, the lead developer for Kartotherian. This is the framework that is used to deploy all the components needed to make maps for Wikimedia. The session started very technical by describing the software architecture behind their server. I found this very interesting, probably because of my software developer background :-)

There was a lot of interaction with the audience, which included some people that wanted to setup a similar cluster of processes and computers themselves. But it seems that the documentation of the framework is not ready yet for primetime.

At the end of the session many interesting examples where shown using this technology, or better the technology that is configured by Kartotherian. It is great to see what can be accomplished in combination with SPARQL from the Wikidata Query Service. (A nice video tutorial about SPARQL in the Wikidata context by Ewan McAndrew and some examples).

You can check out some examples from the BoF here and here.

What can we, OpenStreetMappers do in the meantime ? Add wikidata tags to objects, because that is the glue between all those components.

Maybe one day, we will be able to combine OverPass and Wikidata SPARQL queries. Imagine what we can do with all that information...

You felt the passion of Yuri for this project in his presentation. And he knows his stuff. It was a pleasure to follow this session.

I do hope others will be inspired by this little write-up and provide some insight in what was presented during the other Birds of a Feather sessions.

Ramblings about State of the Map

Posted by escada on 26 September 2016 in English (English)

This was my first State of the Map. That is if you do not count my virtual visits to all previous ones via the video sessions I have seen afterwards.

In this diary entry I will not write about the individual sessions, I keep that for another entry.

Let me start by congratulating the organisers and the volunteers for a great experience. Furthermore a big thank you to all people that did a presentation. I found the talks that I followed of a high level. That is they were informative, entertaining and brought by passionate people. Something I have not seen in other (non-OSM-related) conferences that I visited.

What I did wrong was that I visited too many sessions that are recorded and not enough bird of a feather (BoF) sessions. The ones that I visited (Public transport plugin for JOSM and Wikimedia's Kartotherian) were very interesting.

It was good to see people that I only met virtually before, either via a forum, a Mapper of the Month interview or as part of the Weekly OSM team.

BTW, a big applause to my colleagues of the Weekly OSM/Wochennotiz team for winning the Influential writer award. It's a pity that the SOTM team nor the OSMF team made more publicity about the winners of the awards (e.g. live via Twitter). Because I was in a BoF at that time, I still don't know the other award winners.

Update: They are now listed on

I should also have been braver to talk to more people, but what do you say to famous people like Andy Allen or Frederik Ramm? Anyhow, if I would have talked to you, I would have thanked you for your hard work for OSM and for the "courage" to continue with your work for carto-css or "promotion" for craftmappers despite all critiques.

As for the OpenStreetView team, I love to have discussed the de-blurring in the website. For what I do (mapping destination signs), it's a necessity and should take far less time than in Mapillary.

The social event had good food, but was missing beer. Not for me (I had to drive home), but an event in a former brewery with almost no choice in beer is strange, especially in Belgium. During the event, I had a nice talk with the woman that made the winning design for the SOTM logo and her partner, an American journalist.

I had a great time and feel sorry I missed the first day due to other obligations. And as Gregory sang at the end, we now will continue to "map, map, map".

Mapper of the Month: SomeoneElse (United Kingdom)

Posted by escada on 9 September 2016 in English (English)

Mapper of the Month: SomeoneElse

Who are you ?

I'm Andy, and I live in Derbyshire, in England. Since leaving college many years ago I've been working in the computer software industry (mostly development and implementation). The "SomeoneElse" name came from the music site - it was just an alternate playlist to the normal one (as if literally "someone else").

Staffordshire new year 2015 mapping walk.jpg Photo by SK53 License: CC BY-SA

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I've always done quite a lot of walking, including "long distance walks a bit at a time", and while on one of those the display on the GPS that I'd been using was failing. I was looking for somewhere to store the POIs that I had (villages, pubs etc.), and found OSM.

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

It's still mostly footpaths, bridleways and pubs :)

How do you map ?

It's usually "collect a GPS trace with lots of waypoints" and then fetch combine that with imagery and whatever other information's available back home. I use a small Garmin handheld for collecting waypoints and tracks and (when it's not raining) collect other details on a phone. Various bits of software to glue them together are at In terms of OSM editors it's mostly Potlatch 2 (because of better GPX waypoint support)

Where do you map ?

Mostly places that I've been. is as usual startlingly accurate.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

It's not really a personal achievement - but together with other East Midlands mappers any OSM-based map locally is significantly better than the alternatives whatever you're looking for (does anyone else show whether a country road's safe to walk down because it has a roadside footpath, or what sort of trees are in a wood?).

Why do you map ?

It started out as recording the stuff that I needed when I was going from A to B that wasn't up to date elsewhere (where I live a lot of the landscape has been opencasted - Ordnance Survey maps used to have large white "we have no idea" areas).

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

OSM has always been a story of "map it from less perfect sources now, but use better ones next year", but sometimes the process of improving what's already mapped is more time-consuming than just mapping from scratch.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

I'll be going walking in South Wales in a month or so - that always generates a lot of mapping work.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

The local East Midlands mappers meet up in a pub once a month, and have a wide variety of mapping priorities and different backgrounds. It's always interesting to get different points of view...

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

I've created "maps of things that are useful to me" based on OSM data for the car satnav, Garmin handheld and for something to glance at on the way to somewhere on the phone The idea that people would rely on something that could change at any minute for that (and then complain when e.g. Google changes their map UI) seems very odd to me indeed. Example of self created map Image CC0

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

I'm also fairly active on the help site, and was asked to join OSM's Data Working Group a couple of years ago. The latter is probably wrongly named; we deal with "people" issues far more than "data". "Data" problems are usually just mistakes or misunderstandings (I'm amazed that compared to other online spaces OSM still has so little real vandalism and organised trolling); but the "people" problems such as "what language(s) to use for the name of X" are often rooted in real-world disputes and are much harder to resolve.

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

Despite the "people" problems mentioned above, and despite the cultural differences, most OSMers get on just fine - just check the comments on any day of the week. New mappers (even if they're phone application users who didn't even know they were adding to OSM) generally get welcoming messages and offers of help. That's not to say that there isn't more that we can all do here, but (as with the low vandalism rate) I'm sometimes surprised that things work as well as they do.

Andy, thanks a lot for the interview and enjoy your hikes in South-Wales !

Mapper of the Month : Jorieke Vyncke (Belgium)

Posted by escada on 20 August 2016 in English (English)

Jorieke, a 28 years old Belgian, has spend a lot of time the past few years to support local OpenStreetMap communities all over the world. She worked on several projects in Africa, Europe and Asia to train people and to promote OpenStreetMap by local and international players.

Jorieke at the  Mapfugees in Duinkerke

Where and when did you discover OpenStreetMap?

I discovered OpenStreetMap at the end of 2010, "you will enjoy it", and YES ! I showed OpenStreetMap to my two brothers and together with them I mapped our village Wechelderzande Thanks to my student job as mailman, it was very easy, I knew half of the house numbers in the village by heart! Some time later, I discovered HOT, the Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team, and Map Kibera. As social agoge, who had the ambition to work internationally and who was enormously interested in participation and spatiality, it simply had to interest me. My studies in 'Conflict and Development' gave me the opportunity to delve deeper in this type of mapping. I even got the chance to work for 6 weeks in Bangladesh for my master thesis. It gave me the possibility to talk with students and professors in architecture and spatial planning, the local OpenStreetMap community and a lot of people living in slums. And yes, it was them who really convinced me to use OpenStreetMap as a tool in humanitarian and development contexts. Precisely because they can put their neighborhood on the map themselves. After this project, everything went fast, a few months later I flew for the first time to Africa for the Eurosha project, in which HOT was one of the partners. And it never really stopped since then...

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself?

Of course ! The apps OsmAnd and Maps.ME have "saved" me several times when I am abroad. You should see the faces of the taxi drivers in Bamako or Abidjan, when I can navigate them without problems to my destination. And when you show them the apps, their surprise is complete. "OpenStreetMap for taxi drivers", would make a nice little project :-) Those apps also give me confidence when I walk around in an unknown neighborhood, because now you know where you are and where you want to go.

Besides this personal use, I also often use OpenStreetMap for my work. For example, during my last project in Côte d'Ivoire, the complete logistic planning was based on OpenStreetMap. Check out one of the maps I made with Umap for this purpose.

I was very gratefull for HOT's Ebola activation! The western part of the Côte d'Ivoire is about perfect! With a few corrections by people that knew the region very well, we got the logistics running smoothly. Other parts of the country were harder, driving around for 40 kilometers to get in that particular village, was not uncommon.

GisDay 2015 met OpenStreetMap Mali

How and where do you map?

Most of the time I map were I am or were I have been. This means a lot in Belgium, but also in places where I had worked or had spend a vacation. Most of the time, I map the basics: roads, buildings, residential areas or points of interests. I leave more complex stuff such as relations or boundaries to other mappers. [JOSM]( is indispensable for me. The main reason is that this editor does not require a constant internet connection! One can download data and aerial images, work for a few hours without network and electricity, and upload the data afterwards. This comes in handy when you are somewhere remotely in Africa! I am also a fan of less popular projects on the Tasking Manager. During a sudden natural disaster, a lot of attention goes to that one area at that particular moment, but there are a lot of countries with a forgotten crisis, such as Tchad, Mali or [South Sudan( There is a gigantic need for maps in those countries as well.

What is your largest accomplishment as a mapper?

Bangui! I lived and worked there for 3 months, participating in the Eurosha project at the end of 2012. Bangui is the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Before my stay, Bangui was hardly noticeable on the map. When I had to leave the country, it was there, and the data could be used by humanitarian organisations in times of crisis. The adrenaline was pumping through my body when we got a phone call in Cameroon from UN OCHA on the day of the coup when the whole city was looted, to ask whether we could help them. Of course we could!!!

At this moment there is a map of Bangui, which includes all health facilities and also in other parts of the country the map is improving via HOT remote mapping projects.

I am also very proud of the week I spend in Lubumbashi with Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF): . Although I did not map a lot myself during that period, I instructed people to map for me :-) At the end of the week, around 15 students were walking around to collect data and we got tremendous help from remote mappers. After 4 days more than 60 people from around the world helped us. This synergy with Ivan Gayton of MSF, myself and the students in the field and the remote mappers, was the first seed from which the Missing Maps projects was born a few months later.

Data collection in Bangui

What is your motivation to map?

The community and the enormous passion of the people, which shows in small things. Some examples: Someone visiting a meetup with a bus that takes him 30 minutes more, simply because he had not mapped that particular route yet. The sparkle in someone's eye when her first edit appears on the map. The fire in the email discussions on the mailing lists, ...

But also how all this chaos, somehow coordinates to the result we see today on OpenStreetMap. A database build by ordinary people, but feeding economic development, and a key stone in some humanitarian projects.

OpenStreetMap is for me a great example of the inspiring "commons based economy" of Michel Bauwens.

Besides mapping, do you do other OpenStreetMap related tasks?

Since the spring of 2015, I am in the board of HOT. Besides that, I spend quite some time to answer all kinds of emails and to bring the right people in contact with one another. From time to time I do some translations, update the wiki and make a post on . I also speak on conferences, co-organise meetups and mapathons. At this moment I am busy with the organisation of the HOTsummit and the State of the Map conference.

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

Do not be afraid, just make that first edit. Everybody can participate in OpenStreetMap, I am the living proof of that!

Mapper van de Maand: Jorieke Vyncke (België)

Posted by escada on 20 August 2016 in Dutch (Nederlands)

Jorieke ( , 28 jaar en Belgische, spendeerde de afgelopen jaren veel van haar tijd aan het ondersteunen van lokale OpenStreetMap-gemeenschappen overal ter wereld. Ze werkte voor verschillende projecten in Afrika, Europa en Azië om mensen te trainen en OpenStreetMap te promoten bij lokale en internationale actoren.

Jorieke bij de Mapfugees in Duinkerke

Waar en wanneer ontdekte je OpenStreetMap?

Ik ontdekte OpenStreetMap eind 2010, "je gaat dat wel leuk vinden", en ja hoor! Ik toonde OpenStreetMap vervolgens aan mijn twee broers en mapte samen met hun ons dorp Wechelderzande. Dankzij mijn studentenjob als postbode, was dit enorm gemakkelijk, ik kende de huisnummers van half het dorp gewoon uit m'n hoofd! Een tijdje later ontdekte ik HOT, het Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team, en Map Kibera. Als sociaal agoog die ambitie had om internationaal te werken en enorm geïnteresseerd was in participatie en ruimte kon dat niet anders dan mijn interesse opwekken. Mijn studies Conflict en Development gaven me vervolgens de mogelijkheid om dieper te graven in dit soort mappen. Ik kreeg immers de kans om 6 weken veldwerk te doen in Bangladesh voor mijn masterproef. Het gaf me de mogelijkheid om te spreken met studenten en proffen architectuur/ruimtelijke planning, lokale OpenStreetMappers en vele sloppenwijkbewoners. En ja, het zijn zij die mij echt overtuigden van OpenStreetMap als tool voor het mappen in humanitaire en ontwikkelingscontexten. Net omdat je met OpenStreetMap je buurt zelf op de kaart kan zetten. Nadien ging het snel, enkele maanden later vloog ik voor de eerste keer naar Afrika voor het Eurosha project waar HOT één van de partners was. En eigenlijk is het sindsdien niet meer gestopt...

Gebruik je zelf OpenStreetMap in je dagdagelijkse leven?

Jazeker. De apps OsmAnd en Maps.ME hebben me al meermaals 'gered' in het buitenland. Je zou de gezichten van de taxichauffeurs in Bamako of Abidjan eens moeten zien als ik ze zonder probleem kan navigeren naar de plek waar ik moet zijn. En als je dan de apps toont, zijn ze vaak helemaal verrast. "OpenStreetMap voor taxichauffeurs" het zou nog een mooi projectje zijn :-) Ook maken de mapping apps me zelfzekerder als ik weer eens ergens (doelloos) rondloop op een plek die ik niet ken. Je weet waar je bent en waar je naartoe gaat. Daarnaast gebruikte ik OpenStreetMap ook al heel vaak in mijn werk. Zo hing voor mijn laatste project in Ivoorkust de hele logistieke planning af van OpenStreetMap. Check één van de Umap kaartjes die ik maakte maar eens: Ik was héél dankbaar voor HOT's Ebola activatie! In het westen van Ivoorkust is OpenStreetMap gewoon top. Met enkele correcties door mensen die de regio goed kenden, kregen we de logistiek vrij gemakkelijk geregeld. Andere regio's in het land waren beduidend moeilijker: 40 kilometer rond rijden om toch maar in dat ene dorp te geraken, het gebeurde verschillende keren.

GisDay 2015 met OpenStreetMap Mali

Wat voor soort mapper ben je en in welke zone map je?

Meestal map ik waar ik ben en geweest ben. Dat wil zeggen in België, maar ook de plekken waar ik werkte of op vakantie ging. Meestal zijn het basisdingen die ik map: wegen, gebouwen, woongebieden of points of interest. Ingewikkeldere dingen zoals relaties of grenzen laat ik liever aan anderen over. Onmisbaar voor mij is [JOSM]( Dit voornamelijk omdat deze editor geen constante internet verbinding nodig heeft. Je kan je data en luchtfoto's downloaden, voor een paar uur werken zonder internet en elektriciteit, en nadien de data uploaden. In Afrika kan dat al wel eens handig zijn! Ook ben ik fan van de 'minder populaire' projecten op de Tasking Manager. Tijdens een plotse natuurramp gaat veel aandacht vaak naar dat ene gebied op dat ene moment, terwijl er in landen met vergeten crisissen zoals Tjaad, Mali of Zuid-Soedan ook een gigantische nood is.

Wat is je grootste verwezenlijking als mapper?

Bangui! Ik woonde en werkte in het kader van het Eurosha project eind 2012 drie maanden in Bangui, de hoofdstad van de Centraal Afrikaanse Republiek (CAR). Bangui stond voordien amper op de kaart. Maar toen ik het land moest verlaten stond het er wel, en kon de data ook gebruikt worden in de crisis door de humanitaire organisaties. Adrenaline ging door m'n lijf toen we in Kameroen telefoon kregen van UN OCHA op de dag van de staatsgreep toen de hele stad geplunderd werd, kunnen jullie ons helpen??? Ja, dat kunnen we!!! Er is nu een kaart van Bangui, mét alle gezondheidsinfrastructuren en ook de rest van het land zijn we met HOT (remote) aan het mappen! Ook ben ik supertrots op mijn week in Lubumbashi met Artsen Zonder Grenzen (AZG) . Al heb ik zelf zo heel veel toen niet gemapt, ik heb de mensen eerder voor me laten mappen ;-) In Lubumbashi liepen er aan het einde van de week een 15-tal studenten rond om data te verzamelen, en ook werden we enorm geholpen door remote mappers. Na vier dagen hadden al meer dan 60 mensen wereldwijd ons geholpen. Uit deze synergie; van Ivan Gayton (AZG) en mezelf met de studenten op het terrein en de remote mappers, groeide het Missing Maps project enkele maanden later.

Dataverzameling in Bangui

Wat motiveert je om te mappen?

De community en de enorme passie van OpenStreetMappers die vaak blijkt uit kleine dingen. Iemand die naar een meetup komt met een bus die er een half uur langer over doet, omdat hij deze buslijn nog niet gemapt heeft. De twinkeling in de ogen van iemand die zijn eerste edit op de kaart ziet verschijnen. Het vuur waarmee er soms gemaild wordt op de mailinglijsten. ... Maar ook hoe al deze chaos zichzelf op de één of andere manier coördineert tot het resultaat wat OpenStreetMap vandaag is. Een database gebouwd door gewone mensen die zorgt voor economische ontwikkeling, maar ook een stevige steen bijdraagt aan onder andere humanitaire hulp. OpenStreetMap is een prachtig voorbeeld van de voor mij toch wel inspirerende 'commons based economy' van Michel Bauwens.

Doe je ook nog andere dingen in verband met OpenStreetMap? Sinds de lente van 2015 zit ik in de raad van bestuur van HOT. Daarnaast spendeer ik heel wat tijd aan het beantwoorden van allerlei mailtjes met vragen en de juiste mensen met elkaar in contact brengen. Af en toe vertaal ik, update ik de wiki, doe ik een post op, spreek ik op een conferentie of organiseer ik mee meetups of mapathons. Momenteel ben ik ook bezig met de organisatie van de HOTsummit en de State of the Map conferentie.

Om af te sluiten, is er iets dat je de lezer nog zou willen meedelen? Laat je niet afschrikken, doe gewoon die eerste edit. Iedereen kan OpenStreetMappen, daar ben ik het levende bewijs van!

Mapper in the Spotlight: Jinal Foflia (India)

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

Who are you ?

I'm Jinal Foflia from Bengaluru, India. In my free time you'll see me playing with words which turn into poetries, an amature baker and always trying to make something creative out from the waste. I'm an engineer and currently work at Mapbox as a Data Analyst.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I heard about OpenSteetMap from a friend, there was a discussion about how precise can a map be and that's when my friend pointed out to OpenStreetMap and stated that 'you can make this map as precise as you want it to be'. I was curious about it and tried to research about it. Coincidently, after a while I joined Mapbox where I was given a broader perspective about OpenStreetMap and also got a chance to meet some very interesting folks who have immense passion towards OpenStreetMap and have been contributing for years. With all the guidance I started my mapping journey.

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

I begun by adding points of interests in Bengaluru, then eventually jumped into tracing roads and understanding their hierarchy and classifications. It was very interesting to know that what we see in reality is no different from what we map. This gave me a lot of understanding about how cities are planned and how different each city is from the other in terms of planning and road networks. Currently I have started mapping turn restrictions and turn lanes. With my experience in OSM, I must say that relationships are complicated here too ;-)

How do you map ?

I'm lucky that my profession allows me to map, other than the mapping that I do with the team, I go for field mapping using field papers in and around my neighbourhood, trying to collect ground data and add that to the map. We also started our first mapping party on the world environment day (5th June), currently there are just two members, but we are hoping for more people to get involved and be a part of it.

Mapping trees in Basaveshwaranagara

Mapping trees in Basaveshwaranagara

Which tools do you use (GPS, Apps, Editors, QA-websites) ?

I have used OSM tracker for adding traces to the map. Also I make sure to use Mapillary app to capture images where ever I travel. Also MAPS.ME has been a handy application for adding some common POIs and addresses. I use JOSM editor for major part of mapping in OpenStreetMap.

Where do you map ?

I map locally and quite often for HOT. It feels great that the data that is added to the map, pre or post disaster can be of such great use. Nothing can be better than contributing for saving lives.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

It has just been a year since I started mapping, I feel that I don't have anything in particular that could be mentioned but looking forward in making the best out of it.

What motivates you ?

OSM has become an integral part of my life. The whole idea of a map being open source was the thing that attracted me towards it. I was reluctant at first to add anything to the map as I realised that all these edits would go live in sometime, but this is what makes OSM a special map! This gives me an opportunity to understand different people and the cities they live in. It's astonishing to see how each city is different from the other but yet the same. Also working with people who have some great experience with OSM makes my learning experience even better.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

Mapping involves a lot of intricate work, like understanding the right combination of tags, as each city/country has it's conventional way of tagging a particular entity. I often get confused with the current tag that is being used and the deprecated ones. Although each of them will have a good number of instances but choosing either of them is difficult. One fact that keeps me motivated is the OSM community, it's amazing to see the passion and the enthusiasm that everyone shares to make this map, what it is.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

Right now i'm very keen in mapping my neighbourhood - Basaveshwaranagara. Adding various POIs, trees, gardens, buildings and turn restrictions in this area.

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

The OSM community is huge, it's astonishing to see how everyone is connected to each other through OSM. I have had interactions with a lot of mappers since I started mapping. Notes in OSM are a great medium to ask for help or seek attention of a fellow mapper to an issue. OSM diaries is an amazing platform to communicate with everyone on what are we working on or seeking help for. I'll be attending the SotM Brussels this year, this will be a great opportunity for me to meet and interact with the folks with whom I have interacted virtually. Looking forward to be a part of this.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ? How ?

I use OSM for a lot of things like for my daily travel, to find places and to share locations. This is done using various applications like and OsmAnd.

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

The OSM community in India is growing. Through Mapbox and individually, we are making efforts to make this community stronger. We do this by conducting OpenStreetMap related workshops for small groups, colleges and universities across India. This is to introduce them to OSM and help them get comfortable with mapping.

Taking a session on OSM for the university studentsTaking a session on OSM for the university students

I'm also a part of the English editorial team for the WeeklyOSM, a blog which gives a summary of all things happening in the OpenStreetMap world. There is great team behind this and it has been a very delightful learning experience in being part of this team.

I have started working in localising iD editor, that is translating various intructions of iD into my mother tongue, Gujarati using transifex. I plan to complete the core translations very soon.

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

I'm glad that i'm a part of such an amazing community which is always ready to help and support. It makes me feel proud to be doing my bit in contributing to the making of the best map in the world! There is one thing that I would consciously do is to encourage women to participate and start contributing to OpenStreetMap. It would be great to see a diverse OSM community :)

Thank you for reading it :)

Thanks a lot for the interview, Jinal.

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