Author Archives: Richard Weait

State of the Map – Call for Papers

The call for papers for State of the Map-Birmingham is now open.

Rob Nickerson, of the State of the Map organizing committee, sends the following information for you.

It’s that time of year again when we look to you, the mind-bogglingly creative OpenStreetMap community, to tell us what you’ve been up to. That’s right – it time to submit your presentation ideas for the annual State of the Map conference.


State of the Map 2013, to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, from 6 to 8 September is calling for presentations.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Change” so we are particularly interested in presentations addressing this theme. Our programme will cover a wide range of topics that will interest everyone from the new OpenStreetMap contributor to the old hand to the professional contemplating using our data.

If you have something interesting to present about your work with OpenStreetMap and would like to tell the world, we would love to hear about it. Simply fill out the Call for Presentations form explaining the topic of your presentation. To keep things easy, at this stage we just need a few words, not a full presentation. :-)

Who can present?

We are seeking presentations from businesses, the public sector, charities, and individuals.

Poster Exhibition

This year I personally want to try and get as many people involved as possible. We are therefore hoping to have a Poster Exhibition for people who may not be able to attend in person (we can print them locally). If this sounds interesting to you, please use the same form and specify “Poster” as the “Session Format”. Posters can be mainly pictorial, or include text. You can bring it yourself or send an electronic copy for local printing

Sponsor the poster exhibition

Sponsorship to cover printing costs would be much appreciated.

If you have something to say, for example, about switching to OSM, barriers to its use, apps for mobile mapping, changing community organisation or behaviour, historical mapping, or just anything that you want to present, then make sure you register your proposal with a a few words to describe the topic.


Tutorial sessions are especially welcome!


Call for Presentations closes on Monday, 10 June 2013.

About State of the Map

The State of the Map is the official, annual, international, OpenStreetMap conference. Founded in 2007, previous State of the Map conferences were held in Manchester, Limerick, Amsterdam, Girona, Denver and Tokyo.

Bulk GPX track data

Last year, at about this time, the OpenStreetMap Foundation made a big splash when it released the first Bulk GPS Point dataset. That may have been the largest publication of GPS point data ever. Many users were thrilled to have that raw data and to put it to good use. But they also wanted more. They wanted the track file details.

In fact, requests for bulk OpenStreetMap GPX track files go back to 2007 or earlier. Now, the combined talents of the OpenStreetMap community and the resources of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, make that dream a reality.

Announcing the GPX Planet

The scale of this dataset is fairly large.

  • 848,000 GPX files
  • 2.6 Trillion GPX points
  • 260GB of GPS data (uncompressed)

Not everybody will be able to manage all of this data at once. It is likely, as with planet files and planet extracts, that somebody will offer GPX extracts.

What is this data good for?

Well, it’s interesting and there is a large quantity of it. Many OpenStreetMap contributors have been asking for it for years. Previous uses for this type of data have included

  • artistic organic trip data as maps
  • confirm turn restrictions
  • confirm one-way restrictions
  • confirm speed limits
  • and many more of your ideas in the comments

The future

There are hopes and plans to improve this service over time, including

  • quarterly updates
  • addition of vdop / hdop precision data, where available

You can help

You can help to improve this service by contributing your GPX track data. Upload your GPX files through your OpenStreetMap account. Collect new track files as you survey.

You can also help by using the data for something interesting and / or by publishing some code. OpenStreetMap user Zverik has started the ball rolling by creating gpx2pgsql to put the gpx data into your rendering tool chain.


Thanks as always to the million-plus OpenStreetMap contributors over the eight years of the project so far. Especially, thanks to the thousands of contributors who collected and uploaded their GPX track files, and to Lars Franke, who wrote the first Java GPX dump code in 2010, and to Ian Dees who rewrote that into the current Python code, and to the many others who were involved in ways large and small.

So, where is it?

Find the GPX planet on the planet site and mirrors.

The image in this article is a visualization of some of the GPS point data in Europe. The image is licensed CC-By-SA and was created by Dave Stubbs.

Database maintenance

Updates included below the original post.

OpenStreetMap database unavailable on 31 March 2013

There is a current problem with the OpenStreetMap database and so the data API is currently unavailable due to hardware failures.

The current issues were first observed early on 31 March 2013 when the primary database server became non-responsive. The system administrators are aware of the problem and will resolve it as soon as possible. A complicating factor is the observation of a holiday at the hosting facility that prevents physical access to the server until Tuesday morning.

With the database unavailable, editing is not possible. Other database-related activities, such a new-user-signups, are also unavailable.

Other non-database-related services should operate normally. Tiles are being served with current data.

The system administrators will continue to take steps towards the return of normal operation. Given the aforementioned holiday at the hosting facility, normal operation may not return until some time Tuesday, 02 April 2013.

2013-03-31 1810 UTC – Admin on site

One of the OpenStreetMap Foundation hard working system administrators is currently on-site at the hosting location and working on a solution.

Thank you to the facility and everybody involved for permitting access during the holiday.

Corrective actions are in progress. Services are not yet restored. Stay tuned.

2013-03-31 1900 UTC – Return to normal operation

The database has been returned to normal operation. All OpenStreetMap services should be operating as expected.

Thanks again to the admin team and our hosting providers for the prompt resolution to this unscheduled outage.

Scheduled Maintenance – 08 March 2013

Some OpenStreetMap services will be off-line on 08 March 2013 for scheduled maintenance.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, Operations Working Group advises that on 08 March 2013, scheduled maintenance of OpenStreetMap services will occur from approximately 0900H to 1600H UTC. The following service changes are expected:

  • API read-only from 0900H to 1500H UTC
  • Diffs off-line from 0900H to 1500H UTC
  • Wiki off-line/read-only from 1000H to 1600H UTC

The scheduled maintenance includes upgrades for the database server and improvements for the wiki server. Some more specifics given on the wiki. Actual service times may vary within the service windows described above.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience and understanding during the maintenance window.

Thank you, as always, to the Operations Working Group, for their tireless efforts that keep OpenStreetMap services working smoothly.

Two More New Tile Servers

Thanks to generous donations and active members of the OpenStreetMap community, OpenStreetMap infrastructure continues to grow.

A new tile server, Trogdor, has been added to the OSM tile cache network. Located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Trogdor is currently serving tiles to IP addresses from The Netherlands, Belgium and several other central European and central African countries.

A second new tile server, Ridgeback, has also been added to the OpenStreetMap tile cache network. Located in Oslo, Norway, Ridgeback is currently serving tiles to IP addresses from Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and several others.

The list of countries served by any tile server will change over time due to expansion of the tile server network, loading, maintenance activities and other factors.

Map tiles are delivered to users based on their GeoDNS location. The OpenStreetMap Foundation seeks additional distributed tile servers. If you would like to donate a tile server and hosting, please see the Tile CDN requirements page on the wiki.

We would like to thank Blix Solutions AS for this generous donation to OpenStreetMap infrastructure.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, formed in the UK to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project. You can support OpenStreetMap by donating to the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Photo Credit. This photo of the Oslo tile cache server is kindly provided by Blix Solutions AS, licensed CC-By-SA and used by permission.

State of the Map 2013 – Birmingham

State of the Map logo

The OpenStreetMap Foundation, State of the Map Working Group, (SotM-WG) announced today that State of the Map 2013 will be held in Birmingham, England, from 6th – 8th September 2013.

The State of the Map 2013, in Birmingham will be the 7th edition of the official OpenStreetMap conference State of the Map (SotM). State of the Map conferences include:

  • Birmingham, England – Friday through Sunday, 06 – 08 September 2013
  • Tokyo, Japan – 2012
  • Denver, USA – 2011
  • Girona, Spain – 2010
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 2009
  • Limerick, Ireland – 2008
  • Manchester, England – 2007

After more than five years, State of the Map is back in England. The country where not only the project started, but also the country where the first SotM was held.

The Birmingham bid-team are excited to host State of the Map. “We will work hard to ensure we have a memorable State of the Map 2013″ Brian Prangle, the local team lead, says.

More information about the program, sponsoring, etc. will be made available in the coming months.


Toronto OpenStreetMap Developer Weekend

Come one, come all, to the Second Canadian OpenStreetMap Developer Weekend, eh? 

As last year, Ryerson University is providing a dry roof overhead, lots of space, and rock solid wifi for the software development portion of event. 

There will also be a public event, possibly an expert panel, Friday afternoon at Ryerson.  Details to follow.

Also as last year, there will be a ton of socializing and meeting and greeting with the local OSM community Friday night and Saturday night. 

Last year, attendees travelled to Toronto from England, The Netherlands, USA and even the Toronto suburbs.  Join the fun!  See you in Toronto. 

Sign up now on the wiki so we can plan for your arrival and the requisite Red Carpet.  

And there are sponsorship opportunities!  Want to sponsor a core developer who could otherwise not participate?  Want to buy the coders dinner and a few drinks?  Let me know. 

Songs about maps


What is the best song for your music player while you survey data for OpenStreetMap? Can you keep yourself entertained and inspired with a great playlist while you survey, or is the music too distracting? Are there songs that remind you of mapping? In past, some have suggested specific songs as anthems for mappers.

The following songs each have the words open, street, and map in them, though not in the string we prefer.

  • Map of Tasmania – Amanda Palmer
  • Soldier – Destiny’s Child
  • Movies – Lil’ Boosie
  • Home to Me – Jimmy Robbins
  • My Crew – Jean Grae

Are there more songs with the words Open, Street, and Map in them?  Which songs or music would you suggest as a mapping anthem, or to inspire and motivate your surveys? Use the comments below to discuss. I’ll add some CanCon suggestions tomorrow.