State of the Map Europe 2014 – Pure OpenStreetMap.

Karlsruhe

State of the Map Europe 2014 was in the German city of Karlsruhe. The city was a planned city – designed and built around 1715 – pre motor car, but with wide avenues, and half of the city seems to be a park. It’s also famous for being the home of the Karlsruhe Addressing Scheme – an example of a folksonomy tagging convention that everyone pointed to and adopted, due to the great mappers there – including the folks from Geofabrik.de who also organised the conference. Here are some notes from the conference:

Nature of the conference

The European conference seemed much more intimate with a focus on developer and contributors  – compared to the US Conference which I think had more end users and people sent there by their bosses for their company. Pretty much every single session was on topic (except for the closing buzzword laden keynote!)  – and as such there were no enlightening talks about psychogeography, general historical mapping, or other geospatial software. It was pure OSM.

All the talks are online and the video recordings are on youtube and I encourage you to view them.

3D maps

3D Maps, such as Mapzen and OSMBuildings were prominent – and both showed off some very creative ways of representing 3D maps.

Geocoder and Gazetteers

The only track in the conference – this was full of gazetteers with an announcement from OpenCage and MapZen – all appear to be using ElasticSearch – same as we (Topomancy) did last year for the NYPL and Library of Congress. Check out gazetteer here.

Other stuff

Trees – Jerry did a talk about mapping trees – about how they were represented in historical maps previously, and how we can use SVG symbols to display woods and trees in a better way. Jerry lead an expedition and workshop on the morning of the hack day to show participants the different habitats, surface types and variance in the environment that mappers could take into consideration.

Mapbox WebGL – Constantine, a European engineer of Mapbox did a fascinating talk about the complexities of the technical challenges with vector tiles and 3D maps. I really enjoyed the talk.

Image

OpenGeoFiction – using the OSM stack to create fictional worlds  – not fantasy or science fiction, but amazing experiments in amateur planning, utopian visions and creative map making. OpenGeoFiction.net

The fictional world of Opengeofiction is thought to be in modern times. So it doesn’t have orcs or elves, but rather power plants, motorways and housing projects. But also picturesque old towns, beautiful national parks and lonely beaches.

I love this project!

Vector Tiles – Andy Allan talked about his new vector tile software solution ThunderForest – being one of the only people to know the ins and outs of how Mapbox do the Mapnik / TileMill vector magic. ThunderForest powers the cycle map. Vector maps has lots of advantages and I think we’d probably use it for OpenHistoricalMap purposes at some stage. Contact Andy for your vector mapping and online cartographic needs!

POI Checker – from the same house as WheelMap.org comes POI Checker – it allows organisations to compare their data with data in OSM  – and gives a very neat diff view of Points of Interests. This could be a good project to follow.

Historical Stuff

OpenHistoricalMap There were a few things about historical maps in the conference, although in my opinion less than at any other SOTM previously. I did a lightning talk about OpenHistoricalMap and completely failed to mention the cool custom UK centric version of the NYPL’s Building Inspector.

Opening Keynote  – this was peppered with the history of the city and gave a number of beautiful historical map examples. Watch the video.

Map Roulette v2 – Serge gave a talk about the new version of Map Roulette  – it is being customised to be able to run almost any custom task on the system. We chatted a the hack day to see if the tasks from the Building Inspector could be a good fit into the new Map Roulette – I will look into this!

 

 

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Settle Mapping Party, Sat 15th May

Here follows a blog post that’s written like a press release, sorry.

A group of volunteers from around the North of England on Saturday 15th May 2010, will attempt to map the entire North Yorkshire town, from every street, bridge, footpath and chip shop – in order to create a free and open map of the town. All welcome, no experience or technology required!

The Association for Geographic Informations Northern Group and the OpenStreetMap Foundation are running a mapping party – a cross between an informal fieldtrip and a hands on workshop. OpenStreetMap is the wikipedia of maps – it’s open, free and anyone can edit and contribute.

Organiser Tim Waters said: “OSM aims to create free geographic data, like street maps, that can be used by anyone, anywhere, and over the Saturday we aim to have a complete map of the streets of Settle and many other features in the town.”

With the announcement of the Ordnance Survey releasing a lot of mid scale mapping data for free, the chances of having a top notch detailed map is greater than ever. By making a free and open map, anyone can edit and correct details, making sure the map stays up to date and relevant. It’s also free to copy and change and distribute, which is impossible to do with almost every other map.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend, families and children are also welcome! No previous experience needed, and no GPS units needed either. GPS units will be available for people to borrow, but people can contribute a lot by using a pen and paper. It’s an open organisation with no membership requirements.

People will start assembling at 10 – 10:30 a.m at Ye Olde Naked Man cafe in Settle’s central Market Place, and spend the morning mapping the area. Then they will come back and have some lunch, meeting at 1pm at Thirteen Cafe Bar and either head out again to fill in the gaps, or start editing their notes into the map system. The day comes to an end around half 3pm to 5pm, where volunteers recap on the days mapping, and have a natter over a pint of beer

More information to sign up:

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Settle_Mapping_Party

http://www.agi.org.uk/north/

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

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”!

Leeds OurMusic OurCity Launch & Tour

The day after UnSheffield (which was very good,  some people have some further thoughts on the format) I popped along to the launch of Our City Our Music, rather embarrassingly still wearing my large-logo’d OSM t-shirt!

The Our City Our Music launch comprised of the Saturday night with bands playing (which I missed, due to Sheffield) and on Sunday, the tour, at NTI Leeds / Old Broadcasting House.

Our City, Our Music will be a location-based album on the streets.  Its first project will be realised in Leeds and experienced using Global Positioning enabled handheld devices.  It uses mscape software developed by Hewlett-Packard, which packs up audio and media files with GPS into one platform.  Therefore it provides the opportunity for located experiences, in our case music videos filmed on location, re-experienced in situ using a handheld device.

The goals of the project are to support emerging musicians and filmmakers to create the content of the album, to create an archive of  local talent, and to encourage people to explore the city through music and narration

our city our music outside OBH

Using HP Mscape platform, and some nice headphones, people could wander around two areas of Leeds, and discover the sounds and watch music videos. The music were written with the locations in mind, and can only be seen on the devices, when you are in the very same locations where the music videos were taken. V. Good.

Two tours were taken during the day, I went on the one through city, which lasted a good hour, and we walked throughout the City. It was quite a nice wander, chatted with a fellow geographer and had a bit of a psychogeographical look at this City.

our city our music in millenium square leeds

They plan on porting the software to run on windows mobile devices, and possibly make a web based version of it too.

The team, Ben, Ben and Megan were supported by the b.Tween. They used OpenStreetMap  on the units themselves, and on the supporting paper map guides.

Reuters AlertNet Mapping Workshop

In June, at a special Reuters AlertNet workshop, designed for (mainly UK based) humanitarian organisations, I  presented about OpenStreetMap and was on the panel for a discussion. The talk was an introduction to OSM, followed by announcement of the Africover import from DevelopmentSeed, a detailed look at Gaza and a talk about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

The theme of the day was “looking at how the aid world can use maps to communicate, advocate and plan for disasters.” – and was a general and gentle introduction on how geographic information, mapping and maps can help “showcase their work, advocate around areas of need and plan during emergency responses”.

Organisations such as Mines Advisory Group, UNHCR, Save the Children were present, and on the panel there was Nick McWilliam from MapAction, Vincent Casey from WaterAid, Herbert Hansen from KeyObs and me representing OpenStreetMap. Attendees could tweet us questions, and one was asked about “What moral obligations do data collectors have when they encounter human rights abuses”….The moral maze being, by keeping quiet and collecting data, the map can be completed, and possibly help those in need. By making noise, the map may not be completed and thus, less help may be applied.

The event was webcasted, and archived, and you can access it by clicking the image at the end of the post summarising the mapping workshop from AlertNet. You may need to register quickly to view the video.