nmixter's diary

Recent diary entries

OSMAND coming along nicely

Posted by nmixter on 6 December 2012 in English (English)

For those who haven't seen OSMAND recently released version 1.0. Congrats to the developers. Recently added are fields for adding websites and phone numbers for each object. A good start, but it still needs a good way to add addresses. That would make the ap even better

Currently it is a little chunky to add the addr:housenumber or addr:street tags to an item but can be done. To add addresses, you have to scroll down to advanced mode > add tag > then type in the addr field in a window that is only a couple centimeters wide. The good thing is if you type "A" it goes right to the addresses and you can type in the value. If you remember the position, you can select it each time from memory.

I would like to see the address information on the home screen like the new web and phone number fields are. The extra fields would make it scroll, but I view it horizontally anyway to use my keyboard on Motorola Droid for typing in information.

There could be an option to expand or collapse the screen based on people's phone size or for people who don't care about address information. Or there the submit and cancel buttons could be repeated on top of the screen so people wouldn't need to scroll down.

I created a sample screen shot at!topic/osmand/RwlfOihhe1M. The developers are doing a great job and are open to new ideas. What do you think? Do you use the ap? What could be done to make it better?

What's the point?

Posted by nmixter on 19 October 2012 in English (English)

I just noticed that there is a new plugin in JOSM called no_more_mapping. The description is "Disallow using JOSM forever (WARNING: this plugin prevents JOSM from loading and is hard to rid of)" Really? Is this some type of joke? Why would the JOSM maintainers even allow such a ridiculous item?

Scanaerial plugin

Posted by nmixter on 7 September 2012 in English (English)

I tried out the external script for JOSM called Scanaerial. It shows a lot of promise. It is supposed to be able to scan features from aerial imagery and automatically create polygons for them. It hasn't gained a lot of popularity yet because it isn't included in the default extensions to download. It is one of the few plugins to use Ext_tools. Scanaerial replaces fuzzer and can be found at

I originally tried it with Python 2.4 under Windows XP but received a syntax error when running it. Once I upgraded to Python 2.7 with the new libraries it works fine. That version of Python is the newest version that Python Imaging Library is supported on.

You need a imagery layer and a blank data layer. Once you have the plugin installed, you just click on the map where you want it to survey. The script tries to match the area to the color you clicked on. It will even create multipolygons. By default, it is designed to find lakes, but it could be used for other areas also since you can configure the Python script using a text program. The default tags are source:position, source:tracer, source:zoomlevel and natural=water.

There is a lot that can be done with the plugin, but the developer said he currently doesn't have the time to work on it. He did a good job of documenting his progress in the code itself, so it should be easy to pick up where he left off. It would be a great project for someone with Python knowledge to jump into. Ideally it could be integrated into josm and include an editable popup box to input values. Maybe eventually it could replace Spacial Analyst for ArcGis, which scans features like buildings from photos and translates them into building footprint polygons that can be edited.

Slowly but surely ...

Posted by nmixter on 14 August 2012 in English (English)

I have begun cleaning up the area around Kern County, California. It is starting to not only look better but be less cluttered.

I originally imported landuse data from both Kern County and the City of Bakersfield. Some areas from these two agencies overlapped around Bakersfield, and I have been going through and trying to remove these. The city data were quite good and included landuse areas, buildings, parks and even individual trees within the city. The county data tended to be generic in several places. It also was slightly misaligned in spots particularly in the rural areas, possibly due to the projection it was created with by the county.

I have been going through and systematically deleting the redundant areas and breaking down the over used landuse=farm and landuse=residential tags into more specific areas. And in the process, I have been covering some of the ugly white space that has remained empty.

A lot of the areas are now natural=heath. There is not really any good way to differentiate between meadow and heath areas. Still seems like they can be used interchangeably sometimes. I've been trying to use meadow for an area that can be used for grazing. I just started using the heath tag for open areas generally on areas east of Highway 5. It's not a perfect option but at least it kind of matches the work others have done around Las Vegas and in the desert.

I've been trying to integrate the existing Kern County data with the FMMP farm data, which I have imported for other counties around the state as well.

If anyone is interested in helping out cleaning up Kern County or has any suggestions, feel free to jump in or let me know.

Location: Rancheria Road, Bakersfield, Kern County, California, 93306, United States of America

Delta riverbanks

Posted by nmixter on 23 July 2012 in English (English)

Just finished updating some of the riverbanks in central California that got deleted in the redaction. It was sometimes hard to tell if the areas were fixed properly because the riverbanks contained some relations and stretched on for many miles. Some of the nodes had been deleted and there were gaps in the area of polygons so the water appeared to go across the land or was incomplete in some areas. It was kind of tedious but not too bad overall. I still need to make another pass on the northern section to finish it up.

Location: Foote Road, Jimtown, Sonoma County, California, United States of America

GIS Day 2012

Posted by nmixter on 25 June 2012 in English (English)

Nov. 14 2012 is GIS Day. It is a day when thousands of people around the world will demonstrate mapping applications. Although osm is not strictly a gis application, it is becoming more popular with gis professionals. It would be a great day to promote osm either by hosting an event like a mapping party or by coordinating with other events to give demonstrations. It is a great time to show the world all the possibilities of crowd sorce mapping. The site lists events already being held that may be possible to join with. Maybe we could turn it into international mapping party day, where there are mapping parties in many areas across the world. For more details, see

Swimming pools

Posted by nmixter on 22 September 2011 in English (English)

Let there be swimming pools. Leisure=swimming_pool is finally being rendered and used. It was a long time in the waiting. Now if we can only get amenity=winery to render as an area or node. Also while we're dreaming, maybe we can finally get place_of_worship corrected so it can be attached to areas like other landuse tags like schools, hospitals etc...

Location: Hughes Center, Paradise, Clark County, Nevada, 89169, United States of America

Hidden homes

Posted by nmixter on 29 July 2011 in English (English)

Don't even think about trying to hide your home in the middle of trees. Watch out, when I find it your going to get a big fat building=yes!!!!

Converting a geodatabase file

Posted by nmixter on 17 July 2011 in English (English)

Has anyone had experience converting geodatabase files like the ones imported in Canada? The city of Roseville, California has opened up their data to be used in OSM. Most of their layers are in shapefiles, which is fine. But one of the potentially most valuable layers is the building layer which includes all the city's buildings. The problem is that it is only in geobase format meaning it can only currently be viewed with ESRI's proprietary software. Would anyone be able to convert the building file at to either a shapefile or an osm file using and email it to me so I can review it? Thanks in advance

Bing WMS not working

Posted by nmixter on 1 July 2011 in English (English)

The Bing WMS layer in josm just stopped working. There is no error message. Just nothing shows up. It was working fine until recently. Anyone else had any trouble with it?

California farm data

Posted by nmixter on 7 May 2011 in English (English)

The California State Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program (FMMP) has started releasing its 2010 farm data that we have received permission to add. It is sorted by counties. Alameda County is the first county out. I have already converted it to OSM format and have reviewed it. But I would like to get one or two other people to review each county for quality control before they are uploaded. If you are interested let me know your email and I can send it to you for review. For more on this import see the page on the wiki at

Wineries needed

Posted by nmixter on 22 March 2011 in English (English)

California transportation data

Posted by nmixter on 20 February 2011 in English (English)

I just finished adding the areas for all the rest areas and travel plazas in California from the caltrans website. The data was in points, and I added the area for each item based on bing imagery. They have some good data sets that might be useful for reference. One other one that I have started adding is the caltrans maintenance station area. There are about 400 so if anyone wants to help add the areas especially for southern cal let me know and I can send you the josm file for the area you are interestedin adding.

Added North Wilderness trail

Posted by nmixter on 14 December 2010 in English (English)

I added the North Wilderness Trail at the Pinnacles and updated some other trails that were a little rough. Most trails have been added there, and that was one of the few trails left to OSMify. It was a good hike even if the trail is no longer maintained.


Posted by nmixter on 2 November 2010 in English (English)

November 17 is GIS Day. Look at what area community groups and colleges and universities are doing. There may be an opportunity to present speak to one of those groups on OSM and how it is changing the mapping world and maybe even get some more local recruits. For more see

California farms

Posted by nmixter on 18 October 2010 in English (English)

The California State Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program (FMMP) has given OpenStreetMap permission to use their farm data under a public domain license. They just request attribution. To comment about the proposal, go to

We should import the new 2010 data when it comes out hopefully by the end of the year. Currently just the 2008 data is available. The data can be posted and then people who are familiar with the areas can download them, clean them up in JOSM and then upload. They should compare the FMMP data with the existing data and then replace the old farm data with new farm data when possible.

We should use this data set for importing just the farmland. The other land areas, urban lands and grazing areas could come in handy when needing to add a zone to a city that hasn't been zoned but in general shouldn't be used. The water layer should also be avoided because the NHD import is better.

This data is included in the California Land Cover import, but this data is more accurate and should be done first before that import is attempted.


Updating- The data is updated every two years. FMMP is looking for a way to be able to update the data when it is changed and also to see what changes have been made. They would also like to be able to contribute back to OSM and in turn be able to reference the data from OSM when it changes. There currently aren't any good methods to be able to sync the data.

Alignment- FMMP data is slightly misaligned and appears to be off when viewed with aerial photos or OSM data. FMMP is saved in NAD27 and would need to be converted to WGS84. While the data is generally good, it's almost as if the whole layer needs to be shifted slightly to make it align. It could simply be a matter of the projection conversion. Maybe there is another way to automatically convert it.

Crossing layers - Some layers may cut across a field that looks like it should all be one area. FMMP classifies farm data as prime farmland, farmland of statewide importance, farmland of local importance or unique farmland.

Lack of details - OSM is detailed when it comes to farms. There are vineyards, orchards and farmland among some of the variations in farms. FMMP makes no distinction between what the land is used for, with the exception of grazing, which isn't useful in OSM because it is too general.

Existing data- Some counties such as Fresno, Kern and Santa Cruz already have farm data imported on the parcel level. If the FMMP data was added here, it would have to be combined with existing data.

Location: Miami Mountain Road, Nipinnawasee, Madera County, California, 93601, United States of America

Using filters

Posted by nmixter on 14 September 2010 in English (English)

The filters in the newer versions of JOSM are great. Check them out if you haven't used them. For instance, if you need to change a tag or add a tag for several items at once.

First create a filter with the tag you want to find and click add to selection. Then select all three check marks. If all went ok, you should see just the items you selected. Now you can highlight all the items you selected easily. You can add tags all at once.

This may add the tag to individual nodes as well. If you want the tags on just the ways, use the filter "type:node whateverthetaghere". Now you can select the nodes easily and delete them all at once.

Poi collector for Droid

Posted by nmixter on 19 July 2010 in English (English)

Check out OsmAnd at It is a pretty good point of interest collector for the Droid phone that even does routing. Since Mapzen just has an iPhone version, this is a good alternative.

San Jose Mercury article

Posted by nmixter on 10 April 2010 in English (English)

Check out the San Jose Mercury story about OSM in the Bay Area.

Arizona water

Posted by nmixter on 3 January 2010 in English (English)

I am uploading some of the National Hydrography data in Arizona. I created rules to use with the Java shp-to-osm script that I posted on the wiki page. I wanted to at least get the major bodies of water in. There is a lot of good data in the files, and I can't upload everything. So if anyone is interested in uploading any of the files, i.e. points, lines, etc., please let me know and I can email or post the osm files.

Location: Buck and Doe Road, Mohave County, Arizona, United States of America