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/

OSM Slides At AGI North.

Yesterday for the AGI Northern Group I talked about OpenStreetMap, with a focus on how to use, contribute. About the tools, services and people that surround the project. There were two talks, an OSM talk and a MapAction talk. We had a good turn out.

It touched upon the new Ordnance Survey OpenData and it’s impact on OSM, and how we may change the way map in the UK, and then I talked about Haiti too – how what we did “changed disaster response forever” – but only briefly as Anne-Marie Frankland from MapAction gave a great presentation about her work in Haiti, she was one of the first to deploy to the area. Really astonishing and inspiring work they did over there. Hope to be able to see those slides later.

In case you were wondering, MapAction send volunteers out at the very early days of a crisis to provide mapping support and services to responders. During Haiti they produced maps, installed data on GPS devices, trained search and rescue teams how to use them, produced search and rescue sector maps, locational awareness maps, helped identify locations for camps, and a whole host of other things, with not much sleep.

My slides can be found here: http://geothings.net/presentations/osm_agi_north_april2010.ppt

and also at slideshare.net and below

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.

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!

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2151800&dest=-1] 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.