lyx's diary

Recent diary entries

access to / re-use of public sector information - EU survey

Posted by lyx on 10 September 2010 in English (English)

The European Commission plans to rework its directive on the use of public sector information and has published an online survey soliciting comments and suggestions. The survey is accessible at
The directive will influence under what conditions e.g. geodata will be made available by the public sector in EU member countries in the future.

Surprised at low Pakistan mapping activity

Posted by lyx on 15 August 2010 in English (English)

I'm a bit surprised how little mapping activity I see for Pakistan currently. Apparently last weeks "Project of the week" has largely failed at getting people interested in mapping the flood affected/threatened areas. For most of Pakistan there is only low res imagery currently, but even for that nine parts of the country that have hires Yahoo! imagery coverage the mapping activity has been pretty low.
If you somehow managed to overlook the news about the Pakistan flood disaster until now and want to help, please have a look at

Location: Loralai Road, Fort Munro, Bārkhān District, Punjab, Pakistan

TIGER review done for Billings MT

Posted by lyx on 27 July 2010 in English (English)

In the last couple of weeks I've reviewed the TIGER imported roads in Billings, Montana. While there is still a lot of stuff not yet mapped, the roads that we DO have on OSM are now hopefully in the right place.

Location: Parkhill Drive, Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana, 59101, United States of America

Montana Map Cleanup

Posted by lyx on 22 June 2010 in English (English)

The last couple of days I have tried to get the Montana map into a better shape: I have connected the unconnected road segments across county borders and removed duplicated ways that ran in parallel to county borders; both apparently artefacts of the TIGER import. For a few small areas I have also reviewed some of the TIGER imported roads using yahoo aerial images; unfortunately the imported data has only a remote similarity with the imagery, so that is going to be a lot of work. Is anyone else working on the Montana map at the moment?

What to do about spam on diary / user pages

Posted by lyx on 5 March 2010 in English (English)

In the last couple of weeks there has been an apparent increase in spam entries on the diary and user pages. I'm under the impression that spammers are "testing" the community at the moment, checking how long a spam stays alive depending on it just being spam, containing some map related content, if the spammer claims to be female, if a location is given, etc.
Most of the spams appear to be handcrafted, so tools to keep out automated spams will not help much. So lets think about what the spammers hope to gain: The number of potential victims in the OSM community that might buy spamvertized products appears to small to make much profit for the spammers, so they are probably after something else. My guess is that spammers try to boost their page rank by creating links from this trusted community site to their pages, so they are placed better in search engine results.
I suggest to change the site software so that users can only create links to some whitelisted websites on their diary and user pages. All other urls in those pages would only be displayed as text, so any interested reader could still copy/paste them in his browser address bar to view the page, but there would not be a clickable link.

Osmarender does not like my changes

Posted by lyx on 24 January 2010 in English (English)

Yesterday I changed the tagging of several lakes and rivers around and including Lake Skutari from natural=coastline to natural=water or natural=riverbank. Today the Osmarender layer in the map shows most of the area around these lakes and rivers as water, see
I can find no leftover coastline objects with josm search, and I checked again my lake/riverbank areas and find they are closed, non-self-overlapping ways. Any ideas what else to look for?

Shkoder area, cleanup of coastline import

Posted by lyx on 24 January 2010 in English (English)

Skutari lake, the river Drin and several assorted lakes and riverbeds had accidentally been imported as part of the coastline. I think i have managed now to clean up all the inland features and re-tag them as lakes, riverbeds etc.

Location: Alibegaj, Shkodër, Bashkia Shkodër, Shkodër County, 4001, Albania

Arabic documentation, help wanted

Posted by lyx on 11 October 2009 in English (English)

In the last few weeks the main Map Features templates have been partially translated into Arabic. Now there is also an Arabic version of the main Map Features wiki page. Currently there are still some untranslated parts on all these pages, and as I speak only a little Arabic, there are probably some errors in those parts that I translated myself. So if you can, please help translating the missing parts. There are Arabic versions of the KeyDescription and ValueDescription templates available; see for an example how to use them.

Ferry line in the mountains?

Posted by lyx on 2 August 2009 in English (English)

If you ever encounter a strange looking road in the mountains, don't look to close: You might find it's a ferry route where no-one has traced the lake yet. I did look and now some 3000 nodes later the lake (and the neighboring lake as well) are on the map!

Location: Iballe, Bashkia Fushë-Arrëz, Shkodër County, Northern Albania, 4403, Albania

Buggy software around?

Posted by lyx on 5 July 2009 in English (English)


in the last few days I'm seeing many "large" changesets, where for either min or max the lat and lon values appear to have been swapped. At least some of them contain a few nodes where this swap seems to be present as well. I first noticed when watching the OSM live view at that dots popped up in the antarctic or in the indian ocean that something was not right. Any clues what's causing these problems?

Missing tiles in Mapnik layer?

Posted by lyx on 28 March 2009 in English (English)

Is it only me? For a few days now the slippy map has holes with missing tiles in the mapnik layer. Apparently it is not a problem with loading the images, but the images in these spots are never requested (so I don't get a "broken image" icon in those spots but only the blank background). Could it be a browser problem? I'm using SeaMonkey 1.1.15 on FreeBSD.

Farmland not rendered by mapnik?

Posted by lyx on 14 February 2009 in English (English)


I'm wondering why a particular piece of farmland is not rendered by mapnik, while osmarender does not have any problem with it. In this case the farmland is on a clearing between two forests and in the center is a village with village green and pond inside. So the farmland is "outer" part in a multipolygon relation, the village is in the "inner" role and is itself the "outer" part in another multipolygon where the village green and the pond are inner parts. Maybe I messed something up here or could it be just the renderer being at fault?

Location: Leonberg, Mitterteich (VGem), Landkreis Tirschenreuth, Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, 95666, Germany

Fluß Wondreb in der Oberpfalz

Posted by lyx on 15 December 2008 in English (English)

Nachdem das bayerische Landesvermessungsamt jetzt probehalber Luftbilder der Oberpfalz zur Verfügung stellt, habe ich mich mal daran gemacht, ein paar Teile meiner alten Heimat abzuzeichnen. Insbesondere arbeite ich mich gerade am Fluß Wondreb entlang von Waldsassen aus flußaufwärts. Da ich selber nur die Gegend um Waldsassen aus eigener Anschauung kenne, sind mir aber ein paar Dinge unklar, die vielleicht jemand mit mehr Ortskenntnis beantworten kann:
- Bei Leonberg bin ich mir beim Blick auf das Luftbild nicht sicher, ob der Fluß wie gezeichnet nur am Ort vorbeifliesst oder eine Schleife durch den Ort macht.
- Im Bereich der Themenreuther Mühle ist mir nicht ganz klar, was nun Fluß und was (evtl. ehemaliger?) Mühlkanal ist.
- Bei dem Bereich in der "Waldschneise" westlich der Ortschaft Wondreb bin ich inzwischen mit zeichnen angekommen; bei näherer Betrachtung bin ich mir aber gar nicht sicher, ob dieser Bereich wirklich eine Sammlung von Extrem-Mäander zwischen lauter Teichen oder nicht vielleicht ein zum Zeitpunkt der Aufnahme teilentleerter Stausee ist.
Wenn ihr euch in der Gegend auskennt, bitte Bescheid geben oder ggf. gleich berichtigen.

Two weeks of relaxed mapping

Posted by lyx on 5 December 2008 in English (English)

I had always wanted to try out OSM since I first heard of it, but never found the time to get started. Now I used the opportunity and took my Laptop, GPS-Receiver and assorted cables with me on vacation to the up to then basically unmapped island of Pantelleria. OSM had up to then the coastline, a place marker for the main village and the two radio beacons at the airport.

During my eleven days on the island I took a walk in the village in the morning and again in the afternoon, writing down street names, directions of one way streets and stuff like that in a small (paper) notebook and spent some time before lunch and in the evening to draw maps from the GPS logs, using JOSM for that.

After two days of trying I found it no longer hard to use JOSM, but fought a while with what seems like a server bug at that time that prevented the upload of delete operations.

One day I had someone give me a ride around the island, so I could see (and map) a bit more than just the main village; and I took a GPS Log on the way to the airport on my way back. I also took a few photos of the harbor area from the plane.

After returning home, I installed the WMS extension in JOSM and used Landsat images to add the airport runways and the shape of the small lake (by the way, is there a tag for a lake fed exclusively by hot springs?) and used my own photos to fix up a bit more of the coastline in the harbor area.

All in all I spent about two weeks of very relaxed work on the map of that island, learning how to transfer GPS logs from the receiver to my Laptop and how to work with JOSM in the process. Main obstacles were a) I don't speak Italian and most people there don't speak anything else, so I could not simple ask people what the name of a street was when I could not find a sign with a street name, b) not finding a bicycle that could cope with my weight, so there where a few streets that I didn't find the time to take GPS logs of. I marked these streets as stubs, hoping someone might complete them eventually.

I talked to the few people that did speak some english about what I was doing there in the hope of generating some interest locally in joining the project, but without much success I'm afraid.

Location: Via Madonna del Rosario, Pantelleria, TP, Sicily, 91017, Italy

Ich hab den Lösch-blues ...

Posted by lyx on 24 November 2008 in English (English)


ich habe jetzt knapp eine Woche lang das Dorf in dem ich gerade Urlaub mache ver-"mappt" und in der Zeit haben sich auch ein paar Artefakte angehäuft, die ich gerne wieder loswerden würde (bzw. eines stammt aus dem Coastline Import). In JOSM kriege ich die Teile auch (relativ) problemlos gelöscht, aber jeder Versuch die entsprechende Änderung hochzuladen wird mit langer Wartezeit und danach "400 Bad Request" quittiert. Was mache ich da verkehrt? (JOSM Build 1081)

first steps in virgin territory

Posted by lyx on 20 November 2008 in English (English)

I have been making my first steps, apparently being the first one to map at the island of Pantelleria. At least I see no other data except the coastline imported from somewhere.
That brings me to my first problem: The coastline has some kind of triangular inland pond that doesn't exist in reality and happens to overlap with the local castle. I can't get rid of this "pond"; every time I try to delete it, upload of the change fails. Any hints on what to do here?

Location: Via della Torre, Pantelleria, TP, Sicily, 91017, Italy