WhooTS a small wms to tile proxy – WMS in Potlatch

WhooTS is a small and simple wms to tiles proxy / redirect system.

Essentially it enables the use of WMS in applications that only accept Tiles (google / Openstreetmap scheme) – WMS is now in Potlatch!

How to use it?



a mapwarper map:


viewing it in Potlatch, the OpenStreetMap editor:

Goes to:


Its’s quite simple, does not do any caching, it just redirects a tile url to an equivalent WMS request. It would only work with WMS servers that accept EPSG:900913 projections, and at the moment, it outputs OSM / Google Tile scheme, not a proper TMS tile scheme.

It’s written in Ruby with the Sinatra micro web application framework. The code is available on GitHub too. http://github.com/timwaters/whoots

GpsMid j2me online midlet utility

Heres a little online utility to help make custom j2me GpsMid midlets for your phone. GpsMid is a vector based tracker and viewer of OpenStreetMap data, I’ve covered it some more here, it’s rather good.

I like how you can search for streets and places, and it adds it as a virtual waypoint to help you navigate to that street. It also has good zooming support.

For my phone Nokia 6023i, I choose the no-obex option, and turn the routing off (it’s not quite working correctly for me).


Code is available on request, written with python, it’s designed to run the java conversion on the server. However, Java is quite memory intensive, and my host (dreamhost) hasn’t enough to run it. Offers glady received 🙂

gpsmid j2me gps and osm

Wow, now that’s an acronym filled title! Way back last summer, I shared my impressions about a range of J2me software for your mobile phone, that did GPS stuff, with Openstreetmap. GpsMid has improved since then, and works lovely. Highly recommended!GpsMid maps on your j2me phone

Vectorised, compressed, it can also record tracks from bluetooth GPS. In active development, so get involved with it. Also there is a routing engine built into it, that shows nice blue turn arrows, which may work for you (I had some trouble using it, or perhaps I didnt read the doc)

Here are links to the precompiled jar and jad file, of Leeds centre, so give it a go, or compile your own, if it doesn’t work. http://geothings.net/osm/leeds/GpsMid-leeds-0.3.01.jar

Also, in the pipeline is a simple app to make compiling the files much easier… watch this space.

A few firsts at Brighton

The Mayor of Brighton toasted the completion of the map of Openstreetmap, alongside Mikel, Chris Corbin, the Fire Brigade Commander, myself and about twenty others. It marked the successful completion of the Openstreetmap map for Brighton and Hove.

With perfect timing, it also saw at the same event, the launch of a new book, the first commercially published book (for sale) with Creative-Commons licensed, Openstreetmap maps in the back!

The book is entitled, “The Deckchair Guide to Brighton and Hove” by Queenspark Books. In conversation with the QueenSpark book folk there, they said that the cost of other maps meant that they would have not been able to include good street maps in there, then along came Openstreetmap, and they were able to include (full colour) streetmaps.

Next thing, would be a nice way to produce a list of street names, points of interest to help make an index/gazetter (i.e. South Street, Page 233, col2, row D), if more people were wanting to include a collection of free, high quality maps in their books.

It’s a great use of Openstreetmap data, and something that can be championed for other areas! As Mikel says, holding a “1.0” completion event is a great way to increase visibility, and encourage discussion of *uses* of the map with the community.

The other first was the public unveiling of a locative Locomatrix Fruit Chaser game (PacMan in other words) for mobile phone and gps. Richard Vahrman took us around the block in the search of fruit! The idea is to get kids out and about running around. Although there were not enough for teams, the game is meant to be played with teams, and can also be played over other geographic areas, so people running around in San Francisco, and Brighton, hunting for the same fruit. It also comes with an api so its easy to make your own games! Something to looks out for. (It was my first time playing a locative game)

So, full kudos to Mikel and Chris and others who mapped Brighton, and great news that people are using it, and getting engaged with it, lets look forward to seeing more Mayors toasting more completed towns throughout the world!

googlemaps for mobile cell location database

Google has announced their “My Location” feature for the google maps for mobile. No GPS needed for the application to be able to locate you. You can see a blue dot with a transparency buffer around that dot representing accuracy. Now,

The my location feature was not able on my Nokia 6230i with j2me. From the mailing list, it appears that it can work if the application can see the cellid. This then leads to the indication that Google has a database of all cell id locations. This database is in turn created by other users that do have GPS whilst using the application. It also means that Google doesn’t have to buy expensive datasets of cell tower locations, or bother about making sure the external datasets are up to date.

User created geodata, done without any conscious participation. Ed says it’s a great example of (Unconscious) crowd sourcing

I wonder how long it would take for someone to hack something useful from the database 😉

j2me, GPS, Mobile Phone #4 The Open Data effect

This is the fourth look at the current state of j2me mobile phone mapping with gps focusing at applications with openstreetmap. We are seeing the development of new mobile applications, because now there is data and it is free, and available. A lot of this would be covered by the presentation I made at the State Of The Map Conference, Manchester July 2007, you can see my slides and the recorded audio too.

Viewing Recording Editing Other Stuff

Trekbuddy : Talked about this in an earlier post, and it’s going from strength to strength, The next version will have routing based on gpx, rte, rtept, wpt – so one to look out for. Also, Tom Higginson’s application enabling you to easily create a TrekBuddy map, allows mapnik and osmarenderer.

J2memap : I finally got this working, but requires a hack to get osm on there. However, j2memap does provide a library, so you can built an application that uses osm images, and the j2me engine. Quite smart. Network costs are for me, the main reason why I don’t use this. Zooming in and out of the map takes up far too much money. (you can disable the network access, but then you don’t get any maps).

GpsMid : Is a really cool opensource application for use with openstreetmap data. Talked about this before. What this does is read a downloaded .osm file and packages it into a precompiled midlet for the phone. It compresses 3mb osm into 244k midlet, code and data! It works really smoothly, zooming and connecting with the gps to get your position. It displays the streetnames, and POI /Nodes, and because it’s vector, you can search the data for names and it will zoom in to that area, and give a line from where you are to where it is. It is open source, and needs developers! I’d like to see nice gps recording, and overlays of tracks, or the loading of gps traces from the server. or the correction of road names instantly… (more on this later)


Getting a GpsMid midlet is reasonably straightforward too.

java -jar Osm2GpsMid-0.2.29.jar manc.osm propertiesfile

bundle.name = manc
region.1.lat.min = 53.326
region.1.lat.max = 53.626
region.1.lon.min = -2.592
region.1.lon.max = -2.052

you can have it churn over the huge planet.osm or use JOSM to get a smaller .osm file.

Vgps – Vietnamese GPS : Similar to GpsMid, but you gotta pay them and give them the osm to compile the midlet. However, the rendering looks nicer, and there are one way arrows, etc. Nice search and waypoints too. Uses gps to get location. Worth a look. You can download a load of applications for free from their site, including Cambridge and London. Couldn’t get it to work on my Nokia 6230i – but have a look to see what people are doing with osm data.

Mobile Trails Explorer : Briefly mentionned in an earlier post, I really like MTE. It’s the other open source project, and one where openstreetmap can really lend itself to. It basically records and displays tracks (both before and after). I’ve written some code to import a gpx track and then you can display as a greyed out ghost track. The good thing for openstreetmap is that this is useful when keeping track of whats already been mapped. and it would be a short step to download and import traces from the osm api too. Again, it needs you. would love to see some osm background map. They have a google groups discussion list.


Whereami: By Adam Boardman. This is a great S90 and S60 Mobile application using Openstreetmap Data.whereami.jpg

This actually downloads osm data from the server, and renders it on the fly. It keeps areas in a cache, so if you got to the same area, it doesn’t have to download the same data. You can zoom in and search and annotate things too. Great stuff! Haven’t got a link to this yet, but will update.


So we are seeing openstreetmap data availability increasing the development of mobile applications. Proof indeed of the argument that National Mapping Agencies keeping hold of the nations data stifles and stunts good development and enterprise. Now people, are using osm data, as that’s what is available, and are doing the work with that.

We also had quite a lot of discussion about the type of mobile applications and what we want. At the moment, we are creating the data from scratch, but soon we will be editing and annotating existing data, should our tools reflect this change?

I record tracks on the phone and then use my desktop to correct and edit openstreetmap data, add tags, straighten out the wobbly roads etc. I also use the phone is display map of where I am or want to go to.

I would like to be able to edit names, add in points of interest, maybe not edit the geometries of roads on the phone, but add in tags, maybe flag a road up that’s wrong. I want to see the tracks being made on top of existing osm data, so we can check for accuracy.

In the future, our phones will be more powerful, adding in photos, voice, etc, we can have quite a powerful application. We also need to make it simple enough for my mum to use!

State of the Map

Back from State of the Map, Openstreetmap’s first conference in Manchester. It was a very good, full two days. I think everyone was left with the feeling that OSM is maturing, growing and suceeding. Getting entire countries now, Netherlands, Spain. We will see a domino effect where National Mapping Agencies will be being increasingly eager to donate their data.

Plus we are in a new place, asking each other “what do we do when the map is complete?”. This new step was mentioned in a few talks, Muki Haklay’s and Sean Phelans, we will be evolving from working with creation, the nuts and bolts, to editing and maintaining, with abstractions of the inner workings, and that also the types of users will also change. Tools should be developed to help the newbie, the OSM wives and school kids to be able to easily and accurately work with OSM.

some initial highlights:

  • Mainly, meeting people from online mailing list, putting faces to names.
  • Muki Haklay’s talk about usability concerns (I own up, I have trouble pronouncing osmarenderer too!).
  • Seans energetic talk about the UK mapping space. Multimap has a lot of goodwill from openstreetmappers.
  • Barry Crabtree’s wiggly puslating maps. Wonderful!!
  • Licensing panel debate – still not totally convinced either way, but I do feel the need for people to be able to use osm and their own copyrighted data.
  • Mapnik’s live linux CD
  • The excellent organisation. It went so smoothly
  • The Rails book, cheers Steve, I solemly promise to use it for osm.
  • The realisation that I need a cycle now 🙂
  • Great beer and curry and chats and laughs! (see pic below)

My talk went alright (i get a bit nervous) , I’ll be posting about some of the ideas in more detail later, but the Open Source J2me / mobile mapping space is starting to take off now. Whether its because of the increase in GPS ownership, or the new mapping API’s, what we are seeing is projects springing up that are using Openstreetmap data because its out there, and free. Plus, people are developing cool applications towards openstreemap data now.

All the recorded talks will be found online, and some were also videoed. In the meantime you can view my presentation via slideshare.

Oh, Leeds Mapping Party! September 15th-16th 2007!

Come get Openstreetmap manchester for yer phone!

Made using GPSMid , and in preparation for the State of the Map Conference this weekend, download and install this free j2me application for your phone!

jar and jad files:




Lost? Cant find that street? Use the built in search to find and zoom to the streetname!

If you have a Bluetooth GPS it can connect to it and update your location on the map.

Havent got a phone? no worries, get the emulators from: http://java.sun.com/products/sjwtoolkit/download-2_5_1.html  and open it up in “run midp application”

open source j2me GPS- Mobile Trail Explorer

Came across Mobile Trail Explorer  which has released v 1.4 – a new and opensource j2me gps tracker – which looks like 1/2 of what I am looking for regarding making OSM maps on your mobile phone

There’s a small mailing list  for support. So far I’ve not had chance to delve into the code, and, alas, it doesn’t find a bluetooth GPS device on Nokia 6230i phones yet… so when it does, I’ll write a full review. But it being open source is definitely the right way to go for this, there seems to be no other software out there, and many many people want to use their GPS with their phones.

j2me, GPS, Mobile Phone #3 – odgps .odg convert to gpx & TrekBuddy

Nuno Bettencourt commented on a previous post about working on an “engine” to convert odg files from the freeware odgps j2me gps program (written about here). GPSBabel is probably the way to go, but C is outside my knowledge! (The pda version apparently supports gpx)

Possibly pre-empting that, but heres a php program on the Ning platform to convert from odg to gpx. It puts any waypoints at the beginning, and the track-log afterwards. The timestamps are also converted from Unix to the iso format. Add in the name of the exported .gpx file in the form, and it should run and give you a new file. Hope you find it useful! Oh, its on Ning, so, if you feel the need, you can view the source, clone it, and develop upon it.

I like odgps application a lot, although it has crashed a couple of times, after say an hour logging, probably a memory thing. There’s no new development on this freeware version of the app. One of the key features for my use is the easy way it can record waypoints, as its logging, and the nice navigation, satellites, and compass. However, whilst it can display a track, it doesn’t show a track as its being made.

TrekBuddy allows you to make your own maps and can help navigate around these maps. The interface works well, however I found, for my use (openstreetmap tracks), it didn’t record the tracks on the map, and only had a recording interval around 12 seconds or so, which is much too high. EDITS:: we can get 1 second intervals through setting nmea format for track recording. Very Nice!!. Although there was a little coloured dot showing the GPS reception, it was not that clear, on my small screen. However the trekbuddy Forums are friendly and active, and development is very active (albeit closed source), there’s even a post about OpenStreetMap, so we may see something develop in future releases, if so, let me know!