Monthly Archives: September 2011

Using OpenStreetMap data

OpenStreetMap has always made geographic data available for use in
interesting and unexpected ways. As OpenStreetMap grows, the data
becomes more difficult for some users to consume purely because of the
volume of data.

The World at once

To have the whole World in your hand, download and use the planet file.
Planet files are published every week. As mentioned above, some uses
find this file large and cumbersome to deal with, especially if their
interest is limited to a small portion of the data set.

In September 2011, the planet file was 18GB when compressed and about
250GB when loaded into a spatial database.

Smaller portions

If your interests are limited to a portion of the planet, then you’ll
want to know more about planet extracts. Extracts are a portion of the OpenStreetMap data

Extracts are provided by third-parties for single countries and and
also for regions that range from cities to states, provinces and

State of the Map 2011 wrap up

State of the Map 2011 group photo

The fifth annual OpenStreetMap conference, State of the Map, wrapped up in Denver, Colorado recently. Even if you were not able to join the fun in Denver, you can still enjoy parts of the event. Conference sessions were recorded by our friends at FOSSLC and many of those recordings are already available. You’ll also find audience video for some of the sessions.

Tagging a conference

If we were tagging SotM11 to add it to the OSM database, we might consider tags like:

  • conferencename = State of the Map, 2011
  • attendance = 273
  • attendance:prepaid = 258
  • attendance:walkin = 15
  • attendance:attendee_countries = 34

State of the Map 2012

The call for venues for State of the Map 2012 is expected in November 2011. The SotM 2012 venue will be announced early in 2012.

ODbL permission granted logoThe Licensing Working Group has obtained explicit special permission to incorporate geographic datasets from in the OpenStreetMap project database published under any free and open license, including ODbL, provided that…
a) we provide primary attribution in a reasonable manner (currently the Attribution wiki page), and…
b) that we explicitly list there each dataset used to give useful feedback within the Australian government on how folks are using open data.

We have been careful to point out that (under ODbL) we are not asking folks who make visual maps from OpenStreetMap to provide secondary attribution to each and every contributor, so would not be in compliance with the CC-BY Australia 2.5 and 3.0 license their data is normally provided under. They have raised no objection to this.

The LWG would like to publicly thank both for providing open geographic data and for providing this permission.

(Message on the talk-au mailing list from Grant Slater of the License Working Group)

Weekly OSM Summary #26

September 5th, 2011 – September 18th, 2011

A summary of all the things happening in the OpenStreetMap (OSM) world.

  • The elections for the new board members of the OSM Foundation (OSMF) are over: “Congratulations to our new board members: Richard Fairhurst, Matt Amos, and Dermot McNally. Mikel Maron was also re-elected for the board.
  • Several slides and videos of the State of the Map (SotM) 2011 in Denver are online. You will find everything here.
  • Some notes from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Meetup at the SotM 2011 in Denver are listened here.
  • “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is currently investigating the use of OSM for the capital of the Guinea-Bissau“. Read the full announcement here. You can help here!
  • Blog Post about MapKiberia and the accident in Mukuru: „Building community resilience, because it’s not if but when“.
  • Interesting article at iRevolution about „OpenStreetMap’s New Micro-Tasking Platform for Satellite Imagery Tracing“. Read the full blog post here.
  • Nice video of the mapping progress in Georgia, watch it on Youtube.
  • „The OSM-US GeoBus is back!“ WTF? Read more here 🙂
  • A new mailing list has been created for the development of the “Ruby on Rails-powered“ OSM webpage.
  • If you want to create OSM maps with the Adobe Illustrator, you can find a nice tutorial with seven steps here.
  • The new OSGeo-Live DVD with a bunch of geospatial open source applications has been released.
  • Osmo is a free tool which can import OSM data into a MongoDB collection.
  • The Main OSM website is now running with OpenLayers 2.11. With this change it has improved mobile support.

Did we miss something? You can contact us via

Authors: Pascal & Dennis – (thx @ “Wochennotiz”)

Here be Dragons


So what’s with the Dragons? As OpenStreetMap grew, and acquired more
computers to run the OpenStreetMap services, those computers needed
names. These server names provide a way to refer to a specific piece
of computer hardware, regardless of the services that device might
currently provide. Naming servers according to a theme has a long
tradition in IT circles. Typical server name themes include planets,
constellations, characters from specific books or plays, and other
popular culture references.

In 2008, the OpenStreetMap community decided to use dragon names as
the theme for OSM server names. Dragon names were chosen as a tribute
to the “Here be Dragons” marked on unexplored portions of maps and globes.
Several other themes were considered including the names of
cartographers and explorers.

And now we have even more dragons.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, and the Operations Working Group, would
like to thank Nokia UK Limited and
for their recent donations of hardware to the OpenStreetMap
Foundation. You can read more details about their generous donations on the OpenStreetMap Foundation Blog.

Dragon bridge photo by Dani_7C3
is licensed CC-By-SA

More new servers

Dragon sculpture on the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana. Photo CC-By-SA, dani_7C3

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, and the Operations Working Group, would like to thank Nokia UK Limited for the donation of some of their redundant server hardware. This hardware has found new purpose in the form of “soup“[1] and “fiddlestick“[2], two new web front end servers. A third server “eustace“[3] will be used initially as a trial web statistics server.

The web front-end servers, soup and fiddlestick, replace puff and fuchur who had performed that role since 2008. Web front-end servers in OpenStreetMap provide the data browser and data layer, as well as user diaries and other “social” functions.

Eustace will debut in a new role for OpenStreetMap by collecting web statistics. The OpenStreetMap Foundation wants to know more about how users experience the OSM web site in an effort to improve the way that OSM services are delivered.

[1] Character from The Clangers, a UK children’s TV programme.
[2] Strangewood (1999): Fiddlestick, a small musically emotive dragon.
[3] Turns into a dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia) after slipping on a gold bracelet.

Introducing Zark

Zark, during installation.

Zark is the newest OpenStreetMap server. Give Zark a warm welcome. Continuing the in the tradition of naming OSM servers after dragons, the name “Zark” is taken from the Eidolon Chronicles/Shadow World books by Jane Johnson.

The first task for Zark will be to serve as a trial / evaluation server for the OWL – OpenStreetMap Watch List service. OWL’s popularity on the dev server has lead to performance problems and long update delays. After more than a year of development and increasing popularity of OWL’s ability to follow local changes without distracting “Big” changesets, moving OWL to Zark will make this service even more effective for mappers.

Many thanks to for donating this server.

New Board Members

Final votes were cast today at the Foundation AGM, and the results are in. Congratulations to our new board members:

Richard Fairhurst, Matt Amos, and Dermot McNally

Mikel Maron was also re-elected onto the board.

[Update] : The votes tallied up as follows: 98 votes for Richard Fairhurst, 81 Matt Amos, 74 Mikel Maron, 68 Dermot McNally, 47 Kate Chapman, 44 Eugene Usvitsky, 42 Derick Rethans, 41 Niccolo Rigacci, 27 Serge Wroclawski.

Thankyou to all of our candidates. This year we really had an excellent group of highly dedicated OSMers to choose from, and the choice was a difficult one. The relatively even spread of votes is reflective of this. We hope and expect that you will all play an active role in the foundation in 2011-2012.

Vote for OpenStreetMap Foundation candidates for the Board

The 2011 election is under way for members of the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board of Directors. Further to our previous post, there’s now nine candidates to choose from, which is great! Members of the OSMF can vote in person at the annual general meeting at State of the Map or by proxy via email. Probably many people will be doing the email option. The list of candidates and voting details are found on the wiki.

Please read the email instructions carefully. Note that the deadline for voting by email is coming in a couple of days time: Thu 8th at 17:00 UTC.

If you need to join the foundation first then time is definitely running out! (There’s a delay for processing by the membership secretary) Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation here.

Questions to candidates and discussions can be found on the OSMF-talk@ archives and on the Election discussion page on the wiki.

Vote photo by Marc Tarlock is licensed CC-By-SA