Another Week on the OSM Mailing lists…

Happy first birthday to Osmarender. As Blackadder/Andy Robinson pointed out this week Osmarender is now a year old. Before Osmarender there was nothing that generated maps from OSM data, and right from the start it performed well. Over the year Osmarender has added support for layers, areas, symbols and bridge/tunnels to give the Osmarender we have now. Compare the two maps below of Weybridge from the first to the latest incarnation of Osmarender. Also, Osmarender is the rendering engine in the times@home project which turns round updates to the map very quickly. It will be interesting to see what the next year will bring. Great inspiration Etienne & great work to all the collaborators ….

Weybridge by Osmarender

Mapping and rendering tunnels came to the fore this week with Steve Chiltern starting a discussion around just how do you really map out a tunnel (the astute of you will realise that GPS coverage is not the best in a tunnel). Various solutions were proposed with video-based surveying & inertialmeasurement units sounding promising. Not sure about the wire-guided missile idea though! Mind you, with a tunnel engineer amongst the OSMers some progress should be made. The issues of layering and tunnels was also covered here.

The question of how to get tiles updated on the map seems to come up again and again. Well, for the Osmarender view go to zoom in to level 12 on the area you want, and click ‘request update’. There’s talk of getting this implemented as part of the slippy map too. On the dev list there is discussion of a JOSM patch to allow the same kind of thing.

A great discussion kicked off by Andy Allen on tagging MBR trails (Ed: he really meant MTB trials). Should they be covered by a route tag? Should they be given grades? Should there be an ascii-art description of the route surface ( nnn=cobbles, __~~~___=flooding etc.). Looks like there will be crossover from the MTB community to get some mapping done. Great!

SteveC’s thread on Finding new stuff while mapping points to the joy of getting out on the road. Being ‘forced’ to go down every lane/track/path brings out lots of things you’d probably never noticed about your local area. So what are you waiting for? Get out there & see your place in a a whole new light!

This gets my thread-of-the-week award: The set of problems thrown up by the question of maximum segment length by Scott Walde. It started off by problems with things not rendering properly and segments being missed because the start/end of the segment was out of the area being rendered (though it did cross the area). Adding a point in the area ‘fixed’ this. Being a global discussion it brought up a whole range of issues on road networks – a 50K straight road is not uncommon in some places, as are grids of roads running north/south & east/west. And what happens with different projections – well worth a look. So how long is the longest stretch of straight road in the world?

There were a few things of general note on the dev list this week. Thomas Lunde brought up the US TIGER import problem. TIGER is a database of all the streets in the USA. Lets say that again: TIGER is a database of ALL the streets in the USA. And there are no copyright restrictions on using the data. Handy eh? There was an import of the data running for quite a while, but it had to be purged because of data cleanness problems. A new version of the TIGER data has come out (as of the 6th March) and there is discussion of re-running the import, and how best to do this given the existing mapping that has happened in the USA. Separately on dev Andreas Voltz asked about Writing an OSM map application and received a bunch of useful information about OSM data & appropriate databases.

The number of mapping parties is growing like topsy. Last year there were seven. There are three this March, and ten so far either happened or planned this year to June. These parties have given step changes in the mapping around Manchester, Bath, Reading, Brighton, The New Forest, VāsterÃ¥s, Rutland, Munich, Val Thorens, London, Toronto, Bristol, South London, Amsterdam (last weekend), and planned for Sheffield, Karlshrue, Madrid, Southampton and North Wales. This doesn’t include the recent funding where 12,000 euros have been earmarked to subsidise another ten mapping parties in the Netherlands this year. Way to go!

Don’t forget: If you want to submit something to OSM’s State Of The Map Conference, you had better get your skates on. The closing date for submissions is the 30th of March.

Legal-talk has been strangely quiet this week…..

by Barry Crabtree.