State of the Map

The United States has the State of the Union and perl has the State of the Onion. We will have the State of the Map.

In 2007, OpenStreetMap will have its first user and hacker conference. You’re invited.

Before we get on to that, what is the state of the map? Let’s have a look at London.

RandomJunk has been producing some awesome images like this animation. The slippy map is getting lots of improvements and in the not too distant future should be showing Europe and then the whole world.

Most people have paid up for the month of OSM (where OSM users clubbed together to pay my wage so I can work on OSM for a month) and it will start as soon as a I have a webcam to show I’m at my desk. (How do you define OSMonth anyway? I’ve spent most of today on OSM already :-))

I’m acutely aware that our friends in Europe and elsewhere don’t always see the best of OSM. The UK being the starting point of OSM, it has a lot of the focus. EU language mailing lists are helping, and what I think was the first EU mapping party got Munich mapped:

Talking of mapping weekends, 2006 has seen a bunch of them

  • Isle of Wight
  • Manchester
  • Bath
  • New Forest (* two)
  • Reading
  • Brighton
  • Rutland
  • Munich
  • Surrey Hills

Have I missed any? There have been 30-40 talks on OSM given all over Europe and the US by myself and others. There have been more and more local pub/social meetups like the one coming up in Oxford. It’s one of the more surprising things about OSM to me, the social nature is very much at its core both at mapping parties and on the ever increasing mailing list message counts.

FreeThePostcode continues to grow and spawned to some extent the excellent NPE maps with postcode derivation. Non-UK postcodes will be coming soon.

The OSM Foundation has been set up and whilst a little dormant at present does get funds through Etienne’s excellent work in getting commissons on things like GPS units. More will happen as we ramp up the membership side of things… which brings us back to the conference.

A number of people like Andy and Etienne have brought up the idea of a conference and it seems like mid 2007 would be an excellent idea, probably somewhere in central England that’s cheap and easy to fly in to. We’ll try and make it a 2 or 3 day affair and get some mapping in too. There’s a wiki page to discuss and firm ideas up – it’s very much down to you to help make it happen.

I would however like to put down a theme. A grand challenge. Something to focus on in discussions and presentations at the conference.

People have stopped asking me if OSM will ever work. They’ve stopped telling me that it will only work in this or that circumstance. What I’m being asked now is when will OSM map the UK. I’ve been semi-flippantly retorting with ‘mid-2008′. Its not that far away (30 months or so?) so it’s a little daunting but it’s also achievable by looking at what’s happened in the last 2 years. Whether or not it’s realistic or not, I propose it as a challenge. A grand challenge for OSMers in the UK and a general focus for the conference – how are we going to map the planet in a reasonable timeframe?