Free Headingley A-Z Map with MapOSMatic

MapOSMatic creates lovely maps with an index from OpenStreetMap maps. Click on the thumbs to get the full size PNG images.

You can also download them as PDFs here:

Headingley

Headingley_index

And for the curious, the MapOSMatic page : http://www.maposmatic.org/jobs/5493

It’s very very awesome. I hope to do a whole series for Leeds.

A tale of a mapper from Uganda.

Picked this story from the OpenStreetMap IRC room – it’s is this very well written blog post by Rich about his thorny experiences in Uganda collecting data for OpenStreetMap.

http://blog.wonderfullyrich.net/2010/01/uganda-treats-you-right

At the time I thought it was ludicrous that they would suspect a white umuzungu as a terrorist, especially one with such as bad cover story that it took hours to explain what openstreetmaps was, that it was a volunteer activity, and that my reasons for doing this was primarily altruistic and maybe I can make money off selling it later

In keeping with some earlier posts:
Indian Nokia map collectors imprisioned
Mapping as a Terrorist Activity

WhereCampEU is a go! March 12-13 London.

We’re having a European WhereCamp in March 2010 – its in London!  The venue is the Guardian offices! It will be excellent!

WhereCampEU is a free unconference for geohackers, mappers, developers, mobile location folks, augmented reality enthusiasts, traditional geographers, neogeographers, psychogeographers, cartography geeks, romantic mappers and geo-hippies  (amongst others!).

Register now for early bird tickets!

Follow the twitter account at @wherecampeu and keep an eye with your RSS readers on http://wherecamp.eu/

If you would like to be a sponsor, and we’d like that very much please contact me at: tim@wherecamp.eu

just some words

Before a few posts about Psychogeography in Leeds here are some nice words:

geo-tagging
guided walks
volunteered geographic information
ephemeral cities
social history
short cuts
psychology
imaginary urbanism
altered maps/radical cartography
travel writing
psychogeography
marxism
place based photo blogging
urban exploration
site specific sculpture
land/earth art
neogeography
old maps
architecture
situationism
hauntings
green space
performance art

mainly ripped off from neogeography.net

Tracks in Time – Tithe Maps for Leeds

Popped along to the official launch of West Yorkshire Archive Service’s (WYAS) Tracks in Time website and their new online mapping application, held at the City Museum. Earlier the prototype was leaked onto Secret Leeds to an enthusiastic response. I’d always been interested in this project, having been made aware of it when I was asked for some advice about it in the very early days of the project, by me living in Leeds, and recently with our work with the New York Public Library georectifiying and digitizing their historical map collection – so it’s really good to see it out there and completed!

Its a nice application (even if it has a bit of an old fashioned/council GIS feel to it) and works well, that used the code from a similar Cheshire Project.  The project is the culmination of some Lottery funding and although the Archive service is for the whole of the county, the project was restricted to Leeds. Gardline Infotech were contracted to do the offline GIS portion, and the folks at WYAS, with Leeds City Council and Cheshire Shared Services who put together the online version.

The system has two map panes, on the left tithe maps and on the right some more modern reference maps.

leed tithe map application

There is also  layers for land use and who owns what. Users can search for people and get these selected on the map – it’s a great resource. Searches can be exported as CSV file, which gets marks from me. Unfortunately, both these exports and the maps miss out the land value data, which had been transcribed, apparently due to a technical limitation in the software, which is a great great shame. I’d love to be able to compare the price of land as it was then to house prices now.

I think it was Stephanie? from WYAS, who was describing how it was not only people that can be searched, but corporations or other owners. A search for “railway” for example gave results for all those portions of land taken for new railways. Railway companies such as Leeds & Bradford Railway Company and North & Midland Railway are recorded, with land also taken for railway stations. On the map we see that the present day lines of the railways, before the lines were built. Its a particularly good resource for that time of the industrial revolution, and is strong in the north of england where a lot of the industry was taking place.

leeds west yorkshire tithe map

The 58 hand drawn tithe maps were scanned, georeferenced and digitized. The digitized vectors were tied together with volunteer transcribed apportionment information – over 29,000 records!

The maps are hand drawn.
The maps were scanned by the Coal Authority in Nottinghamshire. They have the largest facility in its kind in Europe. Some of the maps took up the entire table – they were over 3m long!

Tithe maps were not meant to be definative maps of boundaries or for navigation, they were never meant to be a record of rights of ways and roads. As a consequence, these maps have parts where some areas are out by 60m or more. Its also important to remember that the maps are hand drawn. There were only ever 3 copies of each made – one sent to London, one to the Diocese and one to the Parish. The Archive Service had a copy of all of the maps but sometimes only one of the were found – and some were in poor shape.

We had a chat with the representative from Gardline Infotech whose name I didn’t catch and Peter Lythe, the project manager for WYAS – and discussed some of the challenges.

Georeferencing the maps proved troublesome – in particular where maps had folds and some where the original surveys were inaccurate. The side by side panes help to disguise some of the inaccuracies where they occur. They used the historical buildings data to help pin point some of the areas on the maps, and then used OS MasterMap to get the tie points. Yes, I can hear alarm bells ringing too – by using OS Master Map, the georectified maps are derivative works of Ordnance Survey, and so you’d need to have an OS license to use them.

Gardline used Cadcorp and FME mainly to vectorize the data, and they did a good job.  I don’t think the vectors can be downloaded either – if they were the digitized land parcels vector GIS files would also be under this same license. There was never a requirement to make available these files available to the public at large for free – so nothing wrong happened, just another missed opportunity. The good news is that the transcribed data is separate from the maps and can be accessed and downloaded (without the land values field) – and the scanned source imagery would be free of OS tie-in and it wouldn’t take too much to georectify the source maps (and even remaining ones for the whole county) and vectorize them in a collaborative and open manner, as we’ve seen.

Overall it’s a plus to the city and a marvelous resource of the past for the future.

AGI North’s Where2Now Conference

Yesterday we had a great one day packed geo-conference in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Cheers to all the sponsors, the AGI, Rollo for organising it and GeoPlan for hosting it. Folks from Yahoo, Google and Microsoft were present.

Presented about Open Historical Maps – with the example of the collaborative georectification and digitization application being built for the New York Public Library. You can see the slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/chippy/open-historical-map-at-agi-norths-where20now-conference

Some things of note:

  • Theres nothing geoSpecial about geoSpatial.
  • GI is just bits on computers.
  • Google does testing of their cartography and maps live on users and have metrics to see how these groups interact with them.
  • Any successful geo presentation must either have a Vermeer’s Geographer painting or Snows infected pump.
  • Microsoft Bing maps are looking bling with the OS stuff.
  • Ordnance Survey looking to release toolkits in a box using OpenLayers, Geoserver etc. No vendor locks ins there!

All the presentations were filmed,
and should be able to be viewed here: http://www.geocommunitylive.com/
also  keep an eye on http://www.slideshare.net/tag/geocom for some more slides as and when.

Cool new Static Maps API for OpenStreetMap – GSOC Project

Pawel Niechoda, the student I was mentoring as part of the Google Summer of Code OpenStreetMap projects, has passed with flying colours by developing a very cool way to put OSM maps on your website, quickly and easily and with no javascript!

The Static Maps API helps with embedding map images into any website, and it has a wide range of markers and configuration options.

Simple one-line example: http://dev.openstreetmap.org/~pafciu17/?module=map&bbox=69.2,-47.2,71,-50&width=400&height=250

For example: a map with transparent polygons:

and ones with markers

I think the scale bar rocks too.

You can get the code here:
http://gsoc-os-static-maps-api.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/

OpenStreetMap had 6 projects this year with GSOC:

  • Preprocessor to add altitude info to OSM data
  • Android navigation application using OSM data
  • Profile based traffic routing
  • OSM direction too for visually impaired
  • Automatic street sign detection and reading
  • Static Maps API

http://socghop.appspot.com/org/list_proposals/google/gsoc2009/openstreetmap

I really enjoyed being a mentor, and was very fortunate to have a very capable student to work with! Cheers Pawel!

We’re making the world we’ve always wanted to live in. SotM09

State of the Map 2009, was probably the best conference I’ve been to all year. Full of energy, excitement, new things and drive, it felt like a BarCamp should do – one where all the conference goers contribute and give!

Yes, I got a bit emotional at the third OpenStreetMap conference, held in the CCC, Amsterdam last weekend – mainly because this globe we are on is the only one we know – we really are mapping our universe, doing it our way. Creating the world we want to live in. I thought it worth while to say “Thanks” to some people. Being British, the feeling of being a bit foolish stopped me from being too effusive!

Presented about Open Historical Map, as Shekhar and Schuyler couldn’t make it – which, given that my laptop was broken and I couldn’t take it with me to write it went okay. Thanks to Chris and John for letting me use their computers. You can get the slides to open historical map on SlideShare, and the video at Vimeo later.

Whilst the presentation didn’t shine much amongst a lot of other much beter sessions, it was placed within a good theme about history and temporal issues – a lot of people are thinking about these things now.  Repeating what I talked about at Wherecamp 2009 in May, Frankie Roberto showed us that mapping the past (buildings) is not easy – an object may have a start and and end_date, but is it always the same object. What happens when just the facade remains? If half of the building changes land use, if the building changes name? It’s a tricky subject! At the very least we can start mapping now to record changes later. On a walk over and beside canals, I chatted to Andrew Larcombe, also keen on solving these problems – he gives the example of “So you map the Twin Towers… then the next year, what do you do? Just delete them from the database?”. OpenStreetMap is gradually looking from collecting and representing Now, to storing Then, both in the Past for the Future. (If that makes sense!).

Andrew also talked about a geo-philosophical problem with tracing over old maps. Maps were made with a view of reality – not everything was recorded. And these views change over time. Recording changes over time by using different base maps therefore, may reveal less detail. We hope to form a little group to start working through these issues.

SOTM: Presentations, Vimeo, Slideshare

Some general notes and highlights:

  • The Secret Geo Celebrity was “us”! Here’s some slides of #LazyOSM
  • Peter Batty: Navteq 18M km roads. OSM 24M km.
  • Aaron Cope, Flickr – Wishes to make the locations into a “blunt object”
  • German work map, “I certify that this square is complete”
  • Peter Stoner, Peter Miller Traveline & ITO – Lovely PDF bus stop maps. OSM teaches them about their own stuff.
  • James Rutter. Inertia in mapping in UK. 
  • Michal Migurski – Walking Papers. Plus a UNSDIT form?
  • Nick Black, Editors for vertical. i.e. an editor just for skiiers.
  • GeoVation – champions@geovation.org.uk
  • geobabes
  • Steve in Antigua
  • Geocommons releasing their geocoder. V. Cool.
  • Conflux festival – map warper as tool for art.
  • Muki Haklay – OSM quality evaluation. Better than meridian. Participation inequality. OSM  = £500
  • Motivations of OSMers. Values, fun, exercies, ideology. similar to wikipedia.
  • Gary Gale – Yahoo going open source for place data for 2010.
  • Lulu Accessiblilty – map ramps, features. Also tactile maps!
  • Cartagen & general Jeffery Warren stuff, nav by stars, sun.
  • R. Soden – AFRICOVER africa imports. data silos bad. OSM maps organisations more effective.
  • Egypt – mapping slums is tricky
  • Geowiki, halycyon, potlatch, tufte.
  • Italy – mapped Pompeii, better than anywhere else.
  • Kiya’s beautiful castle maps and funny presentation
  • 3D Mapping in Japan.
  • Cake
  • “The Romantic Mapper”!

GeoExt BaseLayerContainer and OverlayLayerContainer together

If you want to use  GeoExt widgets BaseLayerContainer and OverlayLayerContainer in the same tree, like this:

geoext baselayer and overviewlayer containers

GeoExt BaseLayerContainer and OverlayLayerContainer

var layerRoot = new Ext.tree.TreeNode({
text: "All Layers",
expanded: true
});
layerRoot.appendChild(new GeoExt.tree.BaseLayerContainer({
text: "Base Layers",
map: map,
expanded: true
}));
layerRoot.appendChild(new GeoExt.tree.OverlayLayerContainer({
text: "Overlays",
map: map,
expanded: true
}));
var layerTree = new Ext.tree.TreePanel({
title: "Map Layers",
root: layerRoot,
enableDD: true,
collapsible: true,
height: 200,
expanded: true
});

GeoExt is now at 0.5RC1 and it is rather good!

Where 2.0 & Free our old maps!

Well over a month ago I went over to the Bay area for Where2.0 and Wherecamp 2009.

Presented at the Ignite Where on the Thursday evening, after the workshops, about Map Warper.

Map Warper Ignite Slides on slideshare.

Video is here!

I’m near the end at 34:15 minutes in.

In fact, http://where.blip.tv is where to go for all the presentations.

Ignite format was fun, the lights were quite bright on stage so it appeared that I was scowling!

Scowling, and not from slagging off the Ordnance Survey too. Rather I think the OS deserves the love that it’s maps generate – it’s the people who use them that deserve the criticism.

I gave the example of an anti-pattern used in local governments in the UK:

  • Councils have old map archives.
  • Councils have Ordnance Survey mapping.
  • Councils have statutory obligation to look at contaminated land, and the history of land for planning and development etc.
  • Councils use OS mapping to georeference and rectify old maps using OS mapping. Often at great expense, sometimes outsourcing to other countries.
  • Resulting rectified maps are derivative works from the OS, and cannot be shared, or given away for free because of this.

As a response to this, and knowing that all the councils probably had digital collections of (unrectified) out of copyright maps, I am proposing “Free our Old Maps” project.

Lets use crowd sourcing techiques to free these old maps get layers and layers of old historical maps for the UK.

The rest of the conference was good.

Michal Migurski had a nice slot entitled “Flea Market Mapping” where he  showed off his own attempts at a map warper, but was mainly highlighting the love of old maps. He was unaware of and didn’t see Map Warper or my talk before at the very same conference! (But liked it when he did see it later)

Wearabale Haptics talk captured my imagination.

The horizonless map from Autodesk was v. cool too. Can’t find the relevant link though…

Ugotrade writes up a nice review: http://www.ugotrade.com/2009/06/02/location-becomes-oxygen-at-where-20-wherecamp/

OpenStreetMap was a given, no longer a new thing that people didnt know about, it was pretty much mentioned casually throughout. The Stamen fellas did a nice workshop with mapnik, cascadenik and OSM data, which was very well attended.

Also over from Leeds was my buddy Mohsin, fresh out of Leeds Met, and presenting at Wherefaire his Snapture project. Using Leodis images, location on a mobile app, we can view Leeds through time. V. cool project.