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”!

“would you just look at the state of that map!”

Back from State of the Map 2008, Openstreetmap’s second conference, this year held in Limerick, Ireland.

Chaitanyakuber, was live blogging many of the sessions, so go there for some more detailed commentary. Also, all the sessions were recorded, so watch out for video and accompanying presentations.

It certainly seemed more professional this year, with a high standard of talks being presented. No panel discussions though. Thanks to the sponsors for the BBQ and for the hosts and volunteers for making everything go smooth. Also, if you are looking for a good Bed and Breakfast in the Castletroy area of Limerick, I can very much recommend Castle Moor.

Some quick notes:

Many State of my Country presentations got round of applauses. Everyone is amazed at the progress that a few folks can do.

In particular, Japan, with Hiroshi Muira speaking about progress to date, and the particular challenges. he showed the 3D plan of Tokyo station – one multi levelled, underground street complex.

The Italians had a really funny video. They also had a Month of OSM, where each day, they were interviewed on the radio about what they did. In one year, their data increased from 15mb to 216mb!

ITO announced a kind of map inquirer, enabling you to subscribe to areas, and query who is doing what, and how much etc. Very nice.

John must have done his last public thing for Multimap before going freelance. He’s written up his review too. Good luck!

Frederick Ramm gave an interesting presentation about the Threats to OSM. And warned about the community developing a FIC, or Feted Inner Core. OSM is a “do-ocracy”. OSM doesn’t have unlimited labour – it competes with wives and girlfriends!

Cloudmade announced custom styles for map tiles, and another tile server, with 64×64 tiles for mobile devices – this is worth keeping an eye on. I wonder if they are making any profit, or if the business plan is all “disruptive” – it’s certainly worth it for an investor to shake up the market, and make it cheaper for their other investments to benefit from shaking up the market, and lowering the price of geodata in general. They also announced that they had the whole of the Isle of Man, and offered it to Google, but under CC-by-SA, so G declined. Since only 3 users made it, I’m wondering if they should licence this as public domain, and re-offer it.

Ed Parsons showed up and talked about Map Maker – no big surprises, except he did repeat that the vast majority of G map users couldn’t care less about open data, so there’s no user requirement to open the data. For commercial data, i.e. data from Navteq etc, availability is driven by needs of car sat needs. G has more structured taxonomy behind scenes.In India, the “employees” added more POI’s and landmarks, as these, they thought were more important for navigation.

Robert Barr suggested that if we import more and more gpx files, then the statisticians may take notice, and start on the automatic feature extraction from them.

Netherlands. Here they have the whole country pretty much complete. Community wise, some early active pioneers have left, now that the main shift is on maintaining, rather than creating.

Hiroshi gave a presentation about sexy GPS. tiny attractive GPS units for ladies, hot off the news from Taiwan (“GPS Island”). Hiroshi also mentioned that it was crunch time in Japan for geodata companies. There are many at the moment, and competition is going to be very high. Only three will survive, he said, and OSM will be one of them.

Oh, and go here -> http://www.pledgebank.com/osmfieldwork and sign up to the pledge. 1 hour and £10 – and you’ll have a 1 in 60 chance of going on a (hard working mapping) holiday to Grenada in the West Indies.