Summer is around the corner, and reading annoucements about this year's SoTM brought back memories about last year's blasting experience in Amsterdam. I realize how attending the State of The Map conference has radically influenced the way I view both the Openstreetmap project in particular, and Internet community collaboration endeavors in general. I was given the opportunity to gather the ideas, experiences, and insights of hundreds of contributors and data consumers alike, and take this wealth of information and the open geographical data cause back home, where I have been for the past few months echoing the message back to the local community.
Furthermore, the conference provided me with a unique networking opportunity, putting me in touch with contacts that have greatly enhanced my ability participate and provide informed guidance to local parties interested in using or contributing to the data. Lastly, my presence at the conference presented a platform that allowed me to broadcast the special challenges and opportunities for open geographical data that exist in my country, which has resulted in several parties approaching me to offer different types of support for important local OSM-based projects, that have since been turning into a reality.
Cairo is an extremely dynamic city, and a lot has happened since I showed its then-current OSM map. New areas previously non-existent have now made it into the map. Countless streets & address information has been added. Roads & bridges have been built in different location, with OSM being the first to include the updates, all thanks to a slowly-but-surely growing local community.