The Flash Map Mob

Posted by mvexel on 12 September 2015 in English (English).

Looking for new ways to get people out to map, I started a new initiative in our local Salt Lake City OpenStreetMap group: The Flash Map Mob. Inspired by the Flash Mob, the idea is to descend on a local commercial area, spread out and map all the businesses in an hour or less. We tyically meet at a coffee shop, divide up the area, and go out and map! Most people use their smart phones or tablets with apps like Pushpin, Vespucci or OSMAnd. This way, everything you map gets added to OSM right away and there is no work to be done after. But you could also use pen and paper, or GPS + camera.

Here we are checking out Pushpin on an iPad:


Here are the results of the first Flash Map Mob we did a few weeks ago, where we mapped 80+ businesses with three people:


(Here is the Overpass Turbo request that I used to create this result overview.)

For now we do these Flash Map Mobs on a weekday after work. The next one will be in the Murray Historic Downtown area, just south of Salt Lake City. Previous ones were in the suburb of Holladay and in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City. So far it’s only been 2-3 of us, but it is a lot of fun so I expect more people at future Flash Map Mobs!

It’s really easy to organize a Flash Map Mob. Just go to OSM, pick an area that could use some POI love, announce on Meetup or whatever channel you use to announce your local OSM events, and off you go!

Comment from pedrito1414 on 14 September 2015 at 15:49

Nice idea!

Comment from Harry Wood on 15 September 2015 at 13:12

It’s like a mapping party but with restrictions on how you input the data.

Quite an interesting idea though. One nice thing about everyone putting their data in as they walk around, is that you’ll get very rich meta-data about how the mapping party happened (timestamped edits corresponding to when the person was actually there) I imagine Derick’s mapping party videos might look different. Otherwise his videos like this one: have distinct before, during, and after phases, and the ‘after’ phase has to last several weeks to give everyone chance to get around to inputting their data.

In general I guess it’s better as a short satisfying feedback loop for newbies to see their data and everyone else’s appearing all at once on the day. Trouble is, I would find it dissatisfying poking my smartphone to type in tags when I could be surveying three times the area with my normal techniques (which leave more work to do later)

Comment from mvexel on 17 September 2015 at 15:13

Harry - yes, it is really just a slimmed down mapping party :)

I am hoping that it will appeal to the more casual type mapper, the folks who have 100 other hobbies and OSM just blends into their focus from time to time. For those folks, a quick ‘flash mob’ style party with immediate results may make more sense to participate in. And who knows, they may catch the bug.

Comment from Super-Map on 12 October 2015 at 08:37

All ideas are welcome for to “attract” new future “contributors”. When you ride throughout a town or city with a team or alone, don’t forget to take a maximum of informations we need in OSM for to have a map more “dynamic” and useful. This his below a picture with several tag we can use on an element like a building:

And an other example below of map we can use for to see “quickly” what shop or restaurants… are open or not (concerning the key tag: “opening_hours”):

Have a nice week and: “future mapping party” or: “Flash Map Mob” ‘-)

Login to leave a comment