A Mapper in the Spotlight: Lutz Lange (Germany)

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

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

Lutz Lange

Who are you?

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

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

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

What you map?

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

How you map?

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

Where you map?

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

What is the biggest challenge as a mapper?

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

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

Why do you map, what are your motives?

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

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

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

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

There are still many historical objects to be rediscovered.

Do you have any contact with other mappers?

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

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

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

OsmAnd is my loyal companion on my smartphone.

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

Can you tell us something about this map ?

Historic.places map

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

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

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

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

The first historical map

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

Milestone Map

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous interviews

Comment from DaCor on 14 December 2015 at 21:59

great interview

Comment from Super-Map on 15 December 2015 at 08:31

Hi escada,

Thanks for the “translation”. Effectively it’s a “great interview”, but not only. It’s a great project, great map, great goal… great contributors equally when those contributors take care about them own work and respect the work of the other and… the goal of this project. ***************************************** To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ??

Do not take yourself and your OpenStreetMap hobby too seriously, because actually we’re all just farts in the wind. ***************************************** Good question, interesting answer.

However and it’s my point of view, several project work around OpenStreepMap, like: “Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Missing Map project… It’s will be useful for the community, and not only, for those who endure and will endure the effect of “climate change”… those who endure too often the barbarities around the world! However, and it isn’t the weak, those map can be used by those persons (the extremists!!!!)! So when you work on the project like yours: “Historic places map”, that great! But when we work all on other project, unfortunately, we must be conscious we live all on the same planet we have huge work in front of us, not only on this project, but on all project for to improve the human being, his behaviors, ideas… we aren’t one nation but we are one WORLD! We have the obligation to prepare the world of tomorrow for the children for the sustainability of the humanity. And we must be conscious there exist the opposite of our philosophy, of the “democracy” of the FREEDOM! We are in “fight” against climate change, but not only… and it’s far to be the end. But all together we can improve the world, it’s will be not easy, it’s will be long. We must change a lot of thing, in the beginning and the “cheaper” our own behaviors, in, the interest of all of us. Christmas 2015 is coming soon, I’m alone all Christmas since too long time, because the human stupidities and his stupid “jokes”. Nobody’s perfect, but we have the life for to improve ourself a little bit each days and the human life are very short than the rest of the universe… We have all “skills” in our luggages, we mustn’t use it for to “humiliate” somebody or take the life!… Computer scientist you have a lot of abilities, but don’t us it for to mocking somebody, because it’s all, except “funny”… We have a huge work in front of us for to improve this world and in the same time the human have the abilities to disappear this “planet” and this planet have a name: “Planet Earth” and a nickname: “BLUE PLANET”!

The planet where the life appeared a day… So for a mapping party on: “planet Mars”, we must be patient and we have the obligation to prepare the future of the next generations, for us, the children.

This is a great project, but we must fix the “priorities”, one this project and in the rest of our “day life”. I repeat, nobody’s perfect because we are “HUMANS”!

Personally, I prefer to love the life and the “women” than to “take the life” rape the WOMEN! And I love the TRUTH and the “fidelity”…

Comment from lutz on 24 December 2015 at 16:03

Unfortunately, big words, cannot answer on it, because I must go:

Comment from Super-Map on 5 January 2016 at 09:07

@lutz : Hi lutz, I don’t understand “german”, you must go where? USA? So, your “lucky”… For Christmas and several “reasons” I was “alone” one more time… I’m unlucky, sad…

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