Monthly Archives: June 2008

Google Want to be TeleAtlas

Google have launched MapMaker, a kind of faux OpenStreetMap where they own all the data and you’re only allowed to map in certain Freedom Of Speech Zones.

Like Knol, the mooted ‘wikipedia killer’, Google refuse to acknowledge existing communities, trample on their hard work and lack the mindset to engage with an open project.

But, this really doesn’t matter.

What’s fascinating is that they haven’t set themselves up against OpenStreetMap so much but rather TeleAtlas/TomTom, NAVTEQ/Nokia and AND. This is really a swipe at things like TomTom’s MapShare(TM) and ANDs Map 2.0. The question is now going to be, when do they switch on editing of existing data markets, if at all? Only those with intimate knowledge of the contracts will know.

The fundamental reasons for OpenStreetMap remain intact and if anything are now stronger. At first glance it sounds like OpenStreetMap, until you realise that Google own that data you give them, there’s no community and you are unlikely to see use of the data in ‘creative, productive, or unexpected ways’.

The terms of use are hilarious – the bottom line seems to be that Google ends up owning excusively the entire aggregate work, but it is your fault if anything goes wrong.

Some things MapMaker lacks might include our awesome open RESTful API (before REST was sexy), Osmarender (the open tile rendering distributed stack), cycle maps (showing how powerful community data can be), Community events list longer than your arm, dumps of all the data and of course Germans.

If you contribute to Google MapMaker, you are contributing to one single map view that looks how Google wants it to look. If you contribute to OpenStreetMap, you are contributing to a myriad of possibilities … most not even thought of yet. The cycle map is a good example.

Google very kindly sponsored our first conference (and you should come to our second which they didn’t) but if they wish to turn it in to an us or them, then it is us!

OSM for traffic data

Check out eworld, a tool which imports and visualizes OSM data and allows the adding of events that are interesting for traffic simulation, e.g. weather conditions or road works. All this data are passed to the traffic simulator SUMO and is used for traffic simulation.

London to Brighton

A bike, yesterday

Everyone has their own reasons for enjoying OpenStreetMap, but for me, cycling is the “killer app” – in that OSM gives you the best cycling maps in the world (on the web and on your GPS), and mapping is also a great excuse to get out there and cycle.

This weekend, four intrepid OSMers are taking it a stage further by entering an OpenStreetMap team in the famous London to Brighton Bike Ride. Andy “Blackadder” Robinson, Etienne Cherdlu, Simon “Welshie” Hewison and Graham Seaman together form the OSM team. Another intrepid OSMer and keen cyclist, Gregory Williams, is also doing the ride though not officially as part of the team.

It’s a great fundraising event for the British Heart Foundation, and our riders are also seeking a little extra sponsorship to fund the printing of flyers explaining OSM – which can then be given out to other cyclists on the route. And with 27,000 other cyclists taking part, there’s plenty of opportunity for publicity.

Of course, the main route is already mapped… but rumour has it that our riders might be tempted to detour “off piste” to two unmapped villages, Crawley Down and Ditchling, if enough sponsorship comes in.

Find out more about the ride, and pledge your support, on the wiki page.

Volunteers needed now. OSM for Myanmar disaster relief.

Are you familiar with setting up Mapnik and TileCache, and other components of the OSM stack? Do you want to volunteer time to help support disaster relief in Myanmar?

We’re urgently looking for one or two developers with time, right now, to help set up OpenStreetMap infrastructure in Myanmar.

Due to network constraints, to start they require tile rendering locally. They’ll be collecting data for OSM too, to provide very up to date maps of impacted areas. OSM will be integrated with Sahana. This system could very well be crucial in the relief and recovery efforts, and a great benefit to the people of Myanmar.

Brett Henderson has been working hard setting things up. But we can definitely use more help here. If you are interested to volunteer your technical skills, get in touch with me at “mikel at osmfoundation dot org”.

Apple PND

If I get frustrated with Dash, can you imagine the abuse it would get from Steve Jobs? He must just throw the damn thing out the window, be it a Dash, TomTom or whatever.

Wouldn’t the iPhone make a perfect PND platform (if it had a GPS)? Roughly a good size, thin, onboard wifi and cell network. It gets it in the car, so more music playing / revenue for iTunes.