Monthly Archives: March 2010

The first week of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team on the ground in Haiti

Robert Soden has written a detailed updated on the first week of HOT in Haiti

In many ways, our outreach efforts been far easier than we anticipated. The GIS teams here have all heard of OSM, and most of them are using the data already in some fashion. Many of the people we’ve talked to over the last week have expressed sincere gratitude to the community for all of its hard work and been more than willing to take time out of their days to talk to us, connect us to the right people, and participate in our training sessions. It’s not because they’re kind people (though they are). The GIS and Information Officers on logbase have a real incentive to work with us because OSM has become such a key dataset here. So they want to learn how to use the data more effectively, give us feedback on how we can improve the tools available to them, and strategize with us about to best fit OSM into their workflows.

Project of the Week 2010Mar28 – Swimming in data

Many of the coastlines in OSM came from an import of the PGS coastline
data. It was a fantastic benefit to be able to add this coastline
data to OSM, and we’re better off having had it. And there are many
places that have aerial imagery that is now good enough to improve on
PGS coastlines. So that is the project of the week for 28 March,
2010, check your favorite bit of coastline and improve what you can
with overhead imagery.

Those without a favorite bit of unimproved coastline might take a look
at the crenelated coasts of North America for examples of what can be
improved. This is a
portion of Long Island with aged PGS coastline that fails to meet our
current standards for Good Coastiness. Sure, it will be fixed up by
the time the second reader gets to it, but have a look at that area in
the original bulk import form, . Okay, perhaps
we can make our current imports a little friendlier to view.

And now a sea change

Let’s improve the Project of the Week while we’re improving the map.
Let’s increase participation. If you are participating in potw,
consider posting some of your before and after shots of the areas you
are mapping. Reply with your comments and links to your good work.
Consider adding “potw” to your changesets. It’s nice to know if you
find a project of the week interesting.

Propose a Project of the Week.

Write it up and add it to the Proposals page, or email me directly.
Make general or specific suggestions regarding potw on the discussion page.

Share your project!

Detailed, written potw proposals are very warmly welcomed. Tell us
what you are doing, show us how it is making a difference, and let us
know how we can help you with your project locally, or by replicating
it in our neighborhood. Give some example tags and guidelines if you

The massively successful Image of the Week project has been running
since 2006, and is now a flipbook history of What Was New In OSM.
Plus a couple of entertaining April Fool images. Part of the strength
of the IotW is the indefatigable leadership of User:Ojw who has kept
it running for five years. Much of the strength of IotW comes from the
community interest. Folks do something interesting, make an image,
and share it with IotW.

Let’s see if we can make potw at least half as interesting and
informative as IotW. Join in, won’t you?

If you haven’t seen IotW (What? Is that possible?!?!) You must see it
now. Prepare to spend an hour learning the visual history of OSM.

The Beautiful fish on the reef photo is cc-by Alain76 on Flickr.
The Crashing waves photo is cc-by Wonderlane on Flickr.

Announce: OpenOS

As you’ve probably heard the Ordnance Survey is going to open some data next week. We don’t exactly know what data or what license it will be under but there’s a reasonable chance it won’t be importable in to OSM because either the data will be low scale or released with an incompatible license.

If that’s the case then I propose we start, separate from OSM, an OpenOS project. I basically see it as either a clearinghouse for putting up converted formats for the data and/or a full OSM stack, mapnik, potlatch and all for editing and fixing it. Because as Russ Nelson keeps saying, datasets without a community are dead.

I propose that until we know it’s compatible, usable and so on in OSM that no OSM resources are spent/used on something like this. Thus, I’ve bought the domain to host it and set up a google group which you’re welcome to join to help discuss what to do if/when we get some data.

I think this data will need a community, tools and editing and who better to build all that than people from OSM?


WhereCamp 2010 is going to rock the world


Tell your 500 best friends to come to WhereCamp because with free, unticketed entry WhereCamp 2010 is set to be the best yet!

Just as with previous WhereCamps, this is an unconference, anyone and everyone is welcome to come and discuss local, maps, augmented reality, open standards, open ecosystems and more! 

Join us for two days of fun and participate as much or as little as you wish. Sessions are organized in a bottom up way where any participant can propose a talk, topic or discussion which are held in multiple streams in multiple rooms. 

Expect late night werewolf games, music, geocaching and more tomfoolery should be expected and encouraged.

* Check out the blog:
* We’re twitter-literate!

WhereCamp is at teh gooooooooooooogolz:

April 3/4 at Google Campus
1300 Crittenden Lane, Mountain ViewCalifornia 94043

This is right after Where 2.0 ends.. ..and then the party really starts.

Please let us know you’re coming so we can gauge how much food we need over here.

Time is Curious

Time is Curious

March 24th, 2010 § 0

Erica and I have been back in Nairobi 50 days. The entire first phase lasted 60 days. Just before holidays, Map Kibera had completed the first public map of one of Africa’s largest slums, around which grew a super excited community in Kibera, Kenya, and globally. And we were exhausted. After a similar length of time, what do we have to show? … eh, not as much! There are plans, plans in motion … but it kinda looks like we’ve been idle. Hardly. The pace is only a little more suited for a 6 month run. The activity has been intense, but more behind the scenes. It wasn’t our strategy to start, but this shape seems to work. A quick, high visibility output demonstrates the full potential, and actually produces something useful. This visibility is the great part of OpenStreetMap’s immediacy, and has brought aTON of interest. Now we’re taking this interest and building something comprehensive.

We haven’t blogged as much, and we’ve resolved to get back on the wagon. Please now allow for a quick bit of narrative gleaned from twitter, gcal, and fading memories.

Lots of talking. First it was great to reconnect with everyone after the break — now they know we meant it when we said we’d come back. The mappers have been meeting once a week, all minuted. The discussion is often on what form the group will take, and what it can possibly do, the vision, and the structure. A couple opportunities immediately came up, including organizing user testing in Kibera for Movirtu, unfortunately not followed by a mapping of phone infrastructure after funding fell through. From Acumen, Suraj arranged trainings for mappers in skills like public speaking and email.

With SODNET, Kipp and Philip, now formally part of the team, we’ve conceived concept, strategized, and budgetted, at the program level, and with the mappers directly. Priceless guidance from them.

We’re very happy to say we’ve started working with UNICEF on phase 2. Josh Goldstein has joined us here in Nairobi, so great. We’ll have more to say on the plan soon.

To take on all the new relationships, we had to have a new entity. We are GroundTruth and Map Kibera is our first project.

We’ve also had great ongoing conversations with Digital Democracy on training techniques, curriculum and overlap in Haiti. Lots of discussion with Ushahidi and KpK on potential expansion of Map Kibera like projects for the long term development of Haiti.

With Melissa Tully and Jamie Lundine from Ushahidi, we are planning trainings within the Kibera media network to manage Voice of Kibera, and we’ve been actively discussing other aspects of Map Kibera and Ushahidi in Kibera and Nairobi. Caleb has started on a redesign of the site, should be sweet.

On the tech side, we’ve been joined by Primoz Kovacic, buccaneering Slovenian mapper. Primoz has been focused on map printing, rationalizing our tagging scheme, and change analysis of satellite imagery. He’s also spent weeks walking steep hills and mapping in Wongonyi (we’ll have more to say there soon too…).

Data is actively being gathered for a map of locations from Togetherness Supreme, the feature film shot in Kibera and produced by our friends Hot Sun.

We’ve launched a WordPress MU install, and set up nearly a dozen sites for community groups in Kibera that lack an easily configured web presence. We’ve had a couple of trainings at our weekly geek meets. KCODA has already switched over their official site, and Kibera Journal has started posting.

KCODA’s premises themselves have undergone transformation, with the preparation and installation of 15 computers from the Zoo Foundation. That will provide a venue for our work. That includes key training in video journalism using Flip cameras.

The project itself has had some video coverage during a great visit by Ory, and later on by Ben from Hivos. Later today we host a visit from the Acumen Fellows.

In the media, we were interview and profiled by Technology for Transparency Network, and mentioned in the landmark OSM profile in the UK Guardian. We’ve gotten mention in talks and discussions all over.

We’ve gone out to spread the word. The mappers took it to 1% Club. I gave a talk for to ICCM, from the outside deck at the iHub launch. Earlier in the month webcast to TacticalTech’s Maps for Making Change event. Philip is right now in Rio at the World Urban Forum, presenting Map Kibera at a forum organized by the Woodrow Wilson Institute. I’m flying to San Francisco in a couple days to present at Where 2.0. And next month, Erica is off to South Africa to present at the World Bank Innovation Fair.

A couple weeks ago we participated in the elections technology week, both with NDI and Hivos. Erica took in the spectacle of the Pan African Media conference.

Finally, and most importantly, Josh gave us the idea to start a happy hour, which we dutifully participate in every couple Thursdays at Smart Village. Get in touch for the details!

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keep up with mikel’s miraculous mapping adventures at

SotM 2010 – Call for Papers – OPEN


Do you have something to say to an audience of mappers, hackers and
community activists who have revolutionised the way maps are made and
used?Yes? Then this is your opportunity to speak at The State of the
Map 2010 – the largest gathering of OpenStreetMappers in the world –
attracting hundreds of members of the OpenStreetMap community from
around the world to three days of talks, workshops and discussions.
Previous speakers at State of the Map conferences have included:

* OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast talking about all things OSM
* Humanitarian mapper, Mikel Maron, talking about mapping Palestine
* German community leader Frederik Ramm talking about German map development
* Stamen Design founder Mike Migurski talking about paper mapping
with OpenStreetMap.
* University College London senior lecturer Muki Haklay talking
about OpenStreetMap data quality

And many, many more great talks like these.This year the State of the
Map is inviting talks, posters and workshops on the following
themes:Mapping for the massesOpenStreetMap has come a long way in the
last 5 years. But how can we make sure OpenStreetMap continues to
grow and thrive for the next 5 years? “Mapping for the Masses”
invites speakers to present about their thoughts, opinions, projects
or tools that will help OpenStreetMap grow and help its open map
become the richest and most detailed in the world.Living the mapMaps
have long been a source of power, control and wealth in the world.
How is OpenStreetMap’s free map changing the communities that you live
in or work with? What are the social implications of a free and open
map in different countries around the world? How can OpenStreetMap
help make the world a better place.OSM TechtalkOpenStreetMap has a
vibrant community of hackers, systems administrators and app
developers whose work keeps OpenStreetMap going and growing. Maybe
you are working on a new OpenStreetMap editor, plugin, renderer, API
or application that you’d like to share with everyone. If you hang
out on OSM-Dev, dream in bash syntax and know OpenStreetMap’s API
structure off by heart, this is the place for you to share your
knowledge and ideas.

Powered by OpenStreetMap

In the last 12 months, OpenStreetMap powered apps have appeared in app
stores and on the web like never before. More organisations from
governments to universities, NGOs, navigation providers and web
portals are using OpenStreetMap than every before. This session
invites any users of OpenStreetMap to share their experiences creating
OpenStreetMap powered applications and services.
Open Floor

OpenStreetMap moves at a very fast pace. If you are working on a
project or have any idea that doesn’t fit into the themes above, we
still want to hear from you.Who Attends State of the Map?Last year’s
State of the Map attracted 300 attendees for three days of talks and
workshops from organisations and companies including:

* OpenStreetMap mappers, developers and organisers from around the world
* Open source developers: OpenStreetMap, JOSM, Mapnik, OpenLayers, Ubuntu
* Universities and academic institutions around the world:
University College London, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge
* Designers and cartographers: Stamen Design, OpenCycleMap
* GIS Industry professionals: FortiusOne, ESRI, Carmenta, Cartotype
* Web Portals: GeoCommons, Yahoo, Google, Bing, Nestoria
* Navigation and LBS: TomTom, TeleAtlas, Nutiteq, skobbler,
Navteq, CloudMade
* OEMs: U-Blox, Nokia
* NGOs: MapAction, UNHCR
* Governments: Surrey Heath Borough Council, Amsterdam City Council
* Heritage: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Oxford Archaeology

Sign Up to Give a Talk, Poster or Workshop

Do you have something to talk about at The State of the Map 2010?

This year’s conference will be held in Girona, Spain from the 9th – 11th July.
Press Contact:

Spurt in potlatch 2 development

There’s been a spurt recently with PL2 development.

* You can count no less than 5 authors checking in code recently

Which is all wonderful stuff!

And the graphic is a joke, like the 5 1/4″ diskette logo on the PL2 save button.