Monthly Archives: November 2010

Project of the Week: Memorials and monuments

November 11 is the 92nd anniversary of the end of the First World War,
and is marked in many countries by religious and civil ceremonies to
remember those who lost their lives in this and other conflicts. It
therefore seems appropriate to have a related Project of the Week.

Add memorials, monuments and historic plaques to OpenStreetMap with
help from the instructions on the Project wiki page.

This guest Project of the Week is from Jerry Clough (SK53) who started
contributing to OpenStreetMap in 2008. Thanks, Jerry!

This is your Project of the Week. Make suggestions. Inspire other
mappers. What is it about contributing to OpenStreetMap that
interests you? Postboxes? Bowing alleys? Share your OpenStreetMap
interests by contributing a Project of the Month.

Vimy Ridge Memorial photo by Mark Kilner
is licensed CC-By-NC-SA

Government institutions and OpenStreetMap in practice


This is a guest post by Andrzej Zaborowski and was posted before on in Polish. It provides an overview of the existing approaches to sharing resources between OSM and government institutions.

At this time the whole topic of cooperation between governments and OpenStreetMap, can at most belong in the future considerations category in the OSM community in Poland. Partly this is a result of the shape of the local geodesy law that forbids distribution (as well as collection) of geographic information forming part of the cartographic & geodesic resource outside of some very strict procedures, and partly because the local OSM community is still so small. It seems, however, that this sort of cooperation has full support, here as well as in the world-wide OSM community. Obviously we’re mainly talking about government institutions that have something in common with the project, like, making maps. When two groups work for a similar goal, why not co-work. In fact why not do something once instead of duplicating efforts. But how, in practice, can this cooperation work is really an open question. Both bodies will usually have their existing datasets and joining two geographic datasets is no easy task (the existence of OSM in Poland parallelly with a very similar, older project called UMP has also spurred thoughts on this) — a subtask of it will be determining the more precise source of the two for every area, and this in turn is best done using a third, reference dataset. Later how do you deal with the edits done in live datasets, how do you synchronise. How do you estimate the accuracy of an edit, to know if it fits the quality requirements of a particular database.

This is why cooperation is often understood unidirectionally: just like recently in the UK, Australia or NZ, and since ever in the US, governments publish their data (through sites like, or and then OSM contributors use it where they see fit. In the UK additionally the OSM Foundation was one of the bodies consulted when drafting the ways of sharing the government data — this was already an element of a different type of cooperation. Similarly the city of Paris council announced that it would publish data under the new ODbL license that was created (at least partially) with OSM in mind.

In Germany a number of government websites started using interactive OSM slippymaps, because even if the administration has access to much more accurate data, OpenStreetMap comes with easy tools and web technologies ready to use. Official data is in the first place created for tasks like city planning, determining land value and taxes etc., and any web use is completely secondary. This is similar to how the US website once used an OSM map widget.

From some discussions on the OSM communication channels this year it seemed that the US Geological Survey (USGS) went a further in these considerations and had been ready to accept improvements to map data directly from OpenStreetMap contributors had they made them available under a suitable license. This license requirement came only from the US law regulations on government-created data. But, since OSM has its terms of use pretty well established for the last couple of years, the whole topic of USGS cooperation seems to have gotten stuck and the agency has even made comments about starting a similar community project using OpenStreetMap’s software stack, with the difference of the data licensing. At this point we would be back to the government sharing its data and OSM using it if needed, but it would be possible to cooperate on the software development maybe.

What lead me to make these comparisons though, is a relation from the meeting two weeks ago held between three institutions in Spain, which you could later read on the mailing list of the OpenStreetMap Foundation chapter there. The project was represented by the local chapter president Iván Sánchez, with three representatives of National Geographic Institute (IGN — an organ of one of the ministries in Spain) and two people from an independent body tasked with the distribution of IGN’s publications (CNIG — National Centre for Geographic Information). The meeting was, understandably, described as very successful, here’s a summary of what had been concluded:

  • The terms of use for OpenStreetMap and IGN data are essentially similar, but not 100% compatible. For clarity it is desired that IGN issues an appropriate declaration mentioning OSM explicitly and concerning in the first place the aerial imagery for the entire country. It was suggested that the declaration takes the stance that OpenStreetMap data based on the imagery is an independent work — this is often discussed in the project.
  • CNIG expects that data created in OSM with those imagery layers be tagged with the date of acquisition of the imagery (something that is almost always done today).
  • The CNIG would like to obtain an additional license, compatible with that which is mandated by Spanish law for government institutions, for data collected during Mapping Parties (literally) organised by the OSM Spain chapter. This would concern the GPS traces collected and the participants’ notes. CNIG would also like the local chapter to consider Mapping Party locations suggestions made by CNIG for a given year.
  • CNIG wants to encourage distribution of OSM maps through traditional GIS protocols (WMS, WMS-C, WMTS).
  • Some data may be made available by IGN / CNIG under a stricter license terms than those required by OSM, but lose enough that the data may be used for verification and other tasks.
  • CNIG wants to try to adapt the Walking Papers service, made primarily for OSM contributors use, to its internal needs and data models.

I must say some of the points made surprised me, but at the same time are a very interesting way to see how cooperation between the project and organisations can look practically. Fortunately the demands made of OSM are all real and satisfiable (mostly already satisfied today). And it seems that both sides have clearly stated requirements and expectations, which is difficult to find elsewhere: for instance there are various companies that made vague statements that the ongoing OpenStreetMap license change process may help them better use or cooperate with the project, but nothing concrete has been publicly confirmed or committed to.

Makes me wonder what this process should be like in an “ideal world” because it’s still not clear, let alone what it could look like locally. (Hopefully the currently-consulted and long overdue Polish implementation of the information re-use European directive is going to change something in that area, so we can even talk about it in the local context).

OSMF Working Group Summary


The second summary of OSMF Working Group summaries is up at the OSMF
site. This summary includes details from 5 working groups, the OSMF
board and about a dozen meetings.


Don’t miss a minute of the fun.


Also included in the OSMF Blog today is the announcement of the dates
for State of the Map 2011 in Denver.…


“Be there or be square”


Meeting room photo by David Boyle
is licensed CC-By-SA

Working Group Summary

Working Group Summary from 19 October to 04 November 2010

The second instalment of these periodic OSMF updates includes information from five Working groups and the OSMF Board.

Summary of License Working Group call of 19 October 2010

Meeting shortened due to only four in attendance.  Previous minutes approved.

Group discussion of “Scope 2” item from “Open Issues” page on the wiki.  Potential solution to be considered by entire group on next call.

Summary of Data Working Group call of 20 October 2010

The parties in a tagging dispute and endless mutual edit reversions requested intervention by the DWG.  The community advised the parties to behave.  Further edit-wars will be met with sanctions in the form of account blocks.

Suspected use of OSM data without proper attribution was brought to the attention of DWG. Assigned for contact by a DWG member.

Summary of SotM Working group call of 20 October 2010

Continued selection process from 06 October 2010 meeting.  – Vienna, Addis Abbaba, Cuba, Denver and Tallin submitted bids. Denver was selected.

Summary of License Working Group call of 26 October 2010

LWG considered a major revision to CT 1, potentially reducing it to some equivalent of the wikipedia terms, “Content that violates any third-party copyrights will be deleted.”

The discussion of “Scope 2” was raised with the LWG and discussed.  The proposed solution of user acceptance and per-changeset opt-out was met with general approval.  Further reflection and discussion to consider how this interacts with potential change to CT1.

Summary of OSMF Board call of 29 October 2010

The OSMF board will meet in person in Pisa, Italy on the weekend of 16 December 2010

The board meetings will be held weekly from next Wednesday onwards to increase throughput and reduce reaction times.

The initiative of a SOTM-EU for next year is welcomed by the board but it is unlikely that active support can be expected from the board or the working groups due to limited resources, which will focus on the main SOTM in Denver. The recent (main) SOTM conferences have provided a net income to the OSMF financials and therefore the board does not see a need to provide funding to any regional SOTM.

Summary of Communication Working Group call of 01 November 2010

Analytics configured and implemented for (this blog)

CWG approached for link from to  Deferred until larger conversation on front page revisions.  Existing link to OGD from with other community blogs.

CWG still seeks guidance from theme / style -knowledgeable folks in mediawiki and WordPress.  Do you know about these things?  Help point us in the right direction!

CWG to continue to solicit other WGs to assist in these summaries.

Summary of License Working Group call of 02 November 2010

Further discussion of reducing CT 1 to a very short clause somewhat similar to Wikipedia’s “Content that violates any third-party copyrights will be deleted.”

LWG notes the prompt reaction to and resolution of a license issue in Colombia.  Thank you to all involved in this resolution.

A use of OSM data in a television commercial without attribution was brought to the attention of the LWG.  Requires community input.

Summary of Data Working Group call 03 November 2010

Previously mentioned contact (Oct 26) still pending.

Continued encouragement for DWG to take responsibility for moderation on mailing lists, etc.  Members of DWG have little enthusiasm for this proposal.

DWG are monitoring the response of company regarding improper attribution of OSM data in Chile.

DWG are following up an offer for improved data regarding an official source of 12nm data.

Summary of OSMF Board call of 03 November 2010

Backlog tasks were assigned for resolution.

Summary of SotM Working group call of 03 November 2010

Introductions between Denver local team and OSMF team.

Summary of Strategic Working Group IRC Chat of  04 November 2010

Initial working meeting for the Strategic Working Group was held on IRC in #osm-strategic.  With a full dozen in attendance discussion was lively on the matter of setting a policy for including additional tile layers on the front page.  This conversation will continue at the next meeting.

State of the Map 2011: September 9-11, 2011

November 4, 2010

The State of the Map (SotM) organizing committee announces the dates for the 2011 International conference for OpenStreetMap (OSM). An anticipated number of over 250 attendees will meet September 9-11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.

“September is a delightful time of year in Colorado! The typically mild weather allows for plenty of extracurricular activities to enjoy; from a Rockies baseball game or touring a local microbrewery to hiking or taking a late summer drive in the mountains, there’s so much to do.” says Ariann Nassel, volunteer with the SotM local organizing committee.

The dates were chosen to be before the FOSS4G conference held in Denver, September 12-16. It will allow people interested in both events to enjoy both SotM and FOSS4G within one trip.

A fun competition for the the 2011 SotM logo will be announced soon. The call for papers, sponsorship details, volunteer opportunities and more information will be available before the end of the year.

Follow State of the Map:

Twitter #sotm

Project of the Week: Pharmacy

Have a toothache and the dentist will see you tomorrow? Perhaps a
mild analgesic will help you sleep restfully. New shoes are a little
tight? This bunion cushion might take the pressure off while your
shoes and feet adjust to each other. The pharmacy might not be your
first choice of a place to be but you’ll be happy to find a pharmacy
that’s open late, in a strange town, when you need one. Let’s add the
local pharmacies to OpenStreetMap.

Learn more about this Project of the Week and how to add pharmacies to the map in your neighbourhood.

This is your Project of the Week. Make suggestions. Inspire other
mappers. What is it about contributing to OpenStreetMap that
interests you? Postboxes? Bowing alleys? Share your OpenStreetMap
interests by contributing a Project of the Month.

Farmacia photo by manfrys
is licensed CC-By-SA

Image of the Week: Aerial photography


This Image of the Week includes two images for the same great price.
OpenStreetMap contributor Mala holds the OSMcopter, a kite used to
collect aerial imagery. OSM contributor balrog-kun took the photo and
created the imagery server.

The OpenStreetMap logo printed on a 350 cm (11.5 ft) Sutton
Flowform-type kite made for making aerial imagery. These kites are
produced by IKAR in Poland (among others). On the right is an example
picture taken on 2010-10-20 over Praga district of Warsaw

See more details in the full size photo or on the aerial imagery
server. I keep looking for the pilots on the ground.

This is a Featured image, which means that it has been identified as
one of the best examples of OpenStreetMap mapping, or that it provides
a useful illustration of the OpenStreetMap project.

If you know another image of similar quality, you can nominate it at