Author Archives: Richard Weait

Project of the Week: At a Crossroads

They are the literal markers along a way; we can go three blocks then
turn north. Crossroads are also the metaphorical points of decision in
our lives; we can come to a fork in the road in deciding between two
job offers. Crossroads are all about decisions; left or right; hold,
raise or fold; ketchup or mustard. This week we map our decisions.

Feel free to map your literal or metaphorical crossroads.

Details and suggestions on the Project of the Week wiki page

This is your Project of the Week. Submit your own projects or offer

Signpost photo by Matt Brown
Licensed CC-By-SA

Chair of OSMF Data Working Group Steps Down

Mikel Maron has resigned his position of Chair of the Data Working
Group at OpenStreetMap Foundation. The Data Working Group assists OSM
contributors in matters of vandalism, copyright violation, editing
disputes and data policy. Mikel has served as Chair since the
formation of the DWG. OSMF Board thank Mikel for his service on DWG
and his continued service on OSMF Board. See Mikel’s announcement on
the OSMF Blog.

Mikel Maron steps down from DWG Chair

In an email to the OSMF Board, on 06 October 2010, Mikel resigned from his post as Chair of the Data Working Group.


I am resigning from the Chair of the DWG. My time commitments with other Foundation duties, Kibera, and HOT, are already more than full time. Steve has generously offered to take the helm from here.

Thanks everyone for the extremely hard work over the past 2+ years. I first became interested in these issues with the edit war in Cyprus, and we’ve gone very far in defining how the Foundation, reluctantly, gets involved in copyright, vandalism, and conflicts. Fortunately, OSM has been much less plagued by these issues than we might have imagined. Anyone can do whatever they want in OSM, and it turns out most everyone cares deeply about making the map the best map out there.

There’s still lots of work for the group to do, especially in widening participation in the group to ease the work load, effectively communicating the procedures, defining the limits of community license enforcement, and getting OTRS fully operational. Thanks again for keeping up with this work, and much thanks for Steve for stepping up.


The OSMF Board thank Mikel for his service as Chair since the founding of the Data Working Group and for his continued service on the board.

OSM Founder Steve Coast Leaves CloudMade


OSM founder, CloudMade co-founder and founder of OpenGeoData, Steve
Coast has resigned from CloudMade. Announced moments ago on his blog,
Steve said, in part:

I’d like to thank everyone I worked with in any capacity
at CloudMade, and I wish CloudMade, it’s employees, investors Sunstone
& Greylock and it’s operating companies Progression Partners &
Cogniance all the best in the future and I will continue to support
the company as a shareholder.

As for me, I’ll be taking some time off to think about the future and
perhaps get some more hangliding in.

But you should really read his full announcement.

I’m envious of his hangliding opportunities and we all know that
whatever is next on Steve’s list will be Fantastic.

I wish you “good lift” my friend.

Photo of the former CloudMade team by Shaun McDonald
is licensed cc-nc-sa

New OSM Quality Tool


Jochen Topf has announced his latest project. It is a tool to explore
the OSM database, inspired by Tagwatch, Taginfo and OSMdoc. This is a
nice addition to the tools we use to check and improve OpenStreetMap
data quality. His announcement, in part, reads:

For the last months I have been working on a software called Taginfo that
brings together information about OSM tags from the OSM database, the wiki
and other places. Somewhat like Tagwatch, Tagstat, and OSMdoc, but more
ambitious. 🙂

I am happy to announce that the beast is now available at

There are still some bugs and lots of missing features, but its already
usable. Updates are currently done manually, but I will do automatic daily
updates soon.

More details and background in Jochen’s blog entry at:

He’s made taginfo entirely Free Software / Open Source. You can find
the Taginfo code, under GPL v2 at github:

Image of the Week: Marburg Mapping Party


Mapping Party Marburg, Germany, 28.2.2010. Blind and seeing mappers
discover a tactile model of the Elisabethkirche.

See the full size image here.

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

Project of the Month: Drinking Water

How about a nice drink of water? Refreshing on a warm day, especially
nice when one has worked up a sweat by collecting information for
OpenStreetMap. We can sometimes forget that we need water to live.
Sadly, not everybody can take for granted reliable access to safe
drinking water.

On 28 July 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that
declares “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as
a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all
human rights.” In 2005, more than 3.5 Million people died of
water-borne illness.

This Project of the Week is also the first Project of the Month. Add
drinking water locations to the map. In some places we’ll be adding
public water fountains as a courtesy to outdoor exercisers, in others
we’ll be adding the critical public water access points.

Put drinking water on the map.

Find out more about how to add drinking water locations to
OpenStreetMap on the project wiki page.

This is the first Project of the Month. Project of the Week returns
next week, while PotM will continue until November. These projects
inspire mappers to contribute data they might not have considered
previously, and allow us to be inspired by the projects of other

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

Water glass photo by Kyle May
is licensed CC-By

Image of the Week: Merida Venezuela


OSM map of Merida, Venezuela. Data by Fundacion GeoHorizontes de
Venezuela. Data collected by HernanRamirez.

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

Mapnik Code Sprint: Committers and Cartographers


The first Mapnik Code Sprint, dubbed Committers and Cartographers, got
underway a few hours ago, during the English morning. After a few
hours of introductions, background discussion, planning and lunch, the
audio feed has been reduced to the tapping of keyboards. As the
voices became less frequent, the updates on the #mapnik IRC channel
became more frequent with changesets and trac comments in abundance.

So the code sprint has started in earnest now.

A code sprint is an in-person meeting to collectively tackle
programming problems that are more difficult to solve individually.
Committers and Cartographers is focusing on removing bugs from the
current Mapnik code base, adding advanced cartography features and
planning for the next releases of Mapnik.

Attendees have traveled to London to participate from as far away as
Ukraine, USA and even Charlbury. Online participants are expected,
time zones permitting, from many other countries as the code sprint
continues this weekend.

Mapnik is a map rendering library that is used to create map images
from geographic data. Many web sites use Mapnik to render
OpenStreetMap data including the main OpenStreetMap web site which has
a layer called Mapnik.

Committers and Cartographers is only possible because of the generous
donation of time and expertise of each of the participants. Thank
you! We can’t wait to see all of the improvements in Mapnik.

Thank you, CloudMade, for hosting the Mapnik Code Sprint in your
London office.

Thank you Development Seed, for the awesome Committers and
Cartographers logo. The logo is © 2010 Development Seed,
OpenStreetMap and Contributors and is licensed CC-By-SA.

MapQuest adds four more Open countries and an OSMer.


MapQuest announced a beta open map using OSM data and tools from the
OSM stack during State of the Map in July 2010. The initial
announcement was only for England, but you could still see that they
had the full OSM planet available at the

Now they have announced the domains for Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

In July MapQuest also announced that they were earmarking $1 Million
for investments that will improve OSM data in USA. They have now
hired somebody to manage that investment fund, and it is OSM
contributor Hurricane Coast.

See the details in the press release and coverage on TechCrunch Europe.