OpenStreetMap – Weekly Review

Lint is a tool that checks for errors in C code, taking its name from fuzzy fluff that accumulates around us, getting in our way and making us sneeze. Map’s have lint too; misplled tgs, orphan segments and untagged ways all cause problems when people want to use OSM’s data. Maplint does for OSM data what Lint does for C code, it looks at an OSM XML file and generates an error report, which can then be rendered by OSMarender, giving visual clues to the location of rogue data:

The Maplint Layer In

With the extension of the Tiles@Home server to support multiple layers, Maplint reports can now be viewed at There’s also a plugin for JOSM – JosmLint – that will highlight potential errors whilst you are editing a map, which can be downloaded from here.

Wii have an interesting approach to mapping underground networks developing on the dev mailing list. GPS units are pretty lame underground, and there haven’t been many volunteers to survey the Blackwall Tunnel on foot. A solution being discussed at the moment is to use accelerometers to detect motion and produce a map, specifically the motion sensors that are integrated into the handset of the Nintendo Wii console. The handsets also have integrated Bluetooth, meaning that they could communicate with another device that is connected to a GPS, and through the use of a process like Kalman Filtering, could produce usable results. This is very much a theoretical discussion at the moment – but highlights the inventiveness and resourcefulness of the OSM community. Read more here.

Nick Whitelegg has produced a browser-based editor for OSM data using the new vector support features of OpenLayers. The modest developer begins his mailing list post, “Not that the world needs yet another OpenStreetMap editor…”, if this is what you are thiking, think again. This is the first time that we have had a browser-based tool that can edit OSM-data without requiring the installation of additional plugins, like Java or Flash. OpenLayers is built entirely upon open source Javascript libraries, with the vector editor making use of SVG to render the data. Having another opensource editor on the OSM horizon is bound to accelerate the pace of development of the other editors. OpenLayers developer, Chris Schmidt says that he had planned to start working on an OSM editor in the next few weeks. Its going to be great to see what further collaboration between OpenLayers and OSM can bring.

If you want to get hold of raw OSM data to play with, you probably want to get hold of a Plant dump – a weekly snapshot of the OSM database. As the data in OSM grows in size, planet.osm also grows. The last planet.osm was 3.5GB when decompressed – thats a whole load of XML that has to be shipped around the place each week. Jon Burgess has produced a set of tools that produce a diff – a file that contains information about changes to the dataset, so all you have to do is apply the diff to your existing OSM data to have the latest version. Very nice work.

And finally, just when you think you have the whole tagging thing nailed down, something like this happens:

Read more about tagging streets like this one here

By Nick Black

One thought on “OpenStreetMap – Weekly Review

  1. Richard Fairhurst

    “This is the first time that we have had a browser-based tool that can edit OSM-data without requiring the installation of additional plugins, like Java or Flash”

    While this is strictly true, it’s worth noting that the install base of SVG-supporting browsers is hugely lower than of browsers with a Flash player installed. J Random User’s new computer probably ships with Flash (no installation required) but not SVG, not least because JRU has probably bought a computer where IE7 is the sole browser.

Comments are closed.