december updates & talk-gb-thenorth

Busy couple of weeks, two BarCamps in Sheffield and Liverpool, AGI North in Leeds, and announcing today, the creation of Talk-gb-thenorth OpenStreetMap mailing list for the North of England.

With a lot more active users, interested people and mappers up north here, we’ve started a mailing list. A place to discuss local relevant issues, announce and plan events. We hope to start a few social / say trips out events around the region in the new year. All welcome to sign up!

Location and mapping technologies were in evidence at both BarCamps, with myself doing the OSM session at Sheffield, written about earlier. And John doing one in his home town of Liverpool. John brought a big A1 printout of Liverpool, with stickers so people could stick on the map the location of points of interests. A good idea. Oh, I came second place in a pitching competition for a pet (non-geo) project of mine, thanks Katie and sponsors for the prizes. For those who went to Sheffield, there’s a “viral” competition open, I made a slightly embarrassing entry, click & share the link, help me win and it may even make you laugh! 🙂

Geocaching, Iphone & location, GPS Art, Mobile & geo games, slippy maps were amongst the sessions held, there was quite a noticeable geo theme to the events. TheGeoWeb would be proud!

Recently in Leeds, I went to  poorly attended but very very good (and free) presentations of the AGI North SIG. Three presentations were from Neil Bendel representing the AGI Health SIG, Nick Armitage with the NHS Info Centre, and Andre Britten from Dotted Eyes (the winner of the new NHS Digital Mapping Agreement).

Interestingly, Dotted Eyes won the DMA from Ordnance Survey… they also offer NAVTEQ products and some additional products such as maintaining list of obsolete postcodes. They don’t have any data that shows footpaths, however, but only have cyclepaths – not really great for a Heath service that wants people to go out and be healthy. Also, there’s no direct way for ambulances out in the field to submit corrections to road networks (and they really need up-to-date maps), but they can send their DMA agent an email, and then the company would tell Navteq, and then they would have to request an update of the correct data. That’s really really un-easy.

Another interesting project from the NHS folks was about “Fruit & Veg Deserts” (not desserts!) project. The idea here is that you can map where shops have fresh fruit and veg available (oases), and see where there is a dearth of fresh food (deserts). Makes it easier to approach the smaller shops and say “look, here’s a gap in the market”.

Hathersage at Barcamp Sheffield

On the Sunday, a cold winters morning after partying, nine barcampers, including a family, headed off to the Peaks in Derbyshire to Hathersage – a pretty town, that was quite unmapped (before we went there!). We split up into groups and wandered around the village – our traces can be seen below:

hathersage

We took the train from Sheffield to Hathersage, which gave allowed some time to get used to the gps units.

Wandering along quaint, but cold tracks, to mark those points!

Some of our group, being filmed by Bill:

of course, we met up in a pub, The Little John for extremely large plates of food, and beer.

All photos copyright Ian Ibbotson