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joost schouppe

Mapper since:
September 14, 2008
Last map edit:
June 20, 2024


Here’s why I like OpenStreetMap.

Started mapping after using OSMAnd in the Dominican Republic, now a heavy mapper. Have been mapping based on GPS, local knowledge and sat images in Belgium and the countries I’ve traveled to. Here’s more about my early mapping life in my Belgian Mapper of the Month interview.

Apart from mapping, I actually use the data in real life, for example during my one year road trip through South America. Using Osmand on the road. I’m always adding POIs, GPS tracks and corrections. I add Notes mostly to remember where I have to fix things. Also Mapillary user, to help provide an open StreetView alternative for mappers. I used to be a real Potlatch mapper (even as that was going out of style), and switch editors a lot. JOSM reminds me a bit too much of work, so I was slow on the uptake of that. But for some more repetitive or advanced tasks, I do use it.

I’m active on twitter as @joostjakob and on the OSM Reddit.

I’m a sociologist specialised in developing geospatial indicators, aimed towards local government employees who want to understand the neighborhoods they are working for. Usually, this info is made available to the general public too through our websites. I did this for 7 years at the City of Antwerp, and was part of the development of the content of their geostatistical website. Towards the end, I was also working for the GIS department there. Since 2017, I am doing largely the same work for a the Data & Analysis cells of the five Flemish provinces. I work full time on the public data playground Provincies in Cijfers. Software is provided externally - I mostly coordinate data management and develop our content. Though I’m one of the more technical people on the team, a big part of my job is to facilitate the cooperation of five organizations with quite diverse corporate cultures, all working together on one common dataset with a flexible datamodel. Sounds vaguely familiar, right? :)

Community building & humanitarian mapping

I believe OSM is a swarm, in the sense Falkvinge describes in his book Swarmwise. That philosophy implies what you contribute yourself is probably less important than the effect you can have by direct community-growing efforts. So OSM has forced me to step by step become a networker.

I see Missing Maps Mapathons as a tool for community building, hence I’ve been involved in the organisation of many of them. I also like the international aspect of building mapping communities. Since January 2017, I’m one of the founding board members of OSM Belgium. Join the Belgian OSM community :) I joined the OpenStreetMap Foundation in 2015 (you should too! and was involved in organizing State of the Map 2016 in Brussels. I first ran for Board in 2017, and joined the MWG during that election cycle. Mostly of my work there was on policy. I ran again in 2018 and became an OSMF board member. I was also deeply involved in the relaunch of the LCWG as the LCCWG (the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group) and remain an active member there.

As a Board member, I don’t get around to write as much as I used to. I’ve been working a lot on Microgrants though, and as Secretary, I get to work on Local Chapters.

Getting the basics right & working with governments

As a mapper mostly interested in getting the basics right - I used to mostly trace new roads and footways. That evolved into an interest in how we can use open data to stay up to date. I’m interested in tools that make it easier to contribute, probably because I’m one of the heavier non-JOSM mappers. Then I’m also interested in how OSM data can be used in a better or more extensive way.

OSM data analysis

I’m interested in community dynamics and simple statistics of Openstreetmap evolution. Not that they are simple to make. A good introduction is this diary post

Related OSM accounts

(If you add this section to your profile page, your HDYC-profile will show some stats for all your OSM related activity. Putting a link to your personal HDYC page, will allow anyone to see it without logging in to OpenStreetMap. Also, you have a profile page. Use it! How else are we supposed to know who you are?)

And yes, you can send me a postcard