Author Archives: Richard Weait

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.

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.

Vote for OpenStreetMap Foundation candidates for the Board

The 2011 election is under way for members of the OpenStreetMap
Foundation Board of Directors. Members of the OSMF can vote in person
at the annual general meeting at State of the Map or by proxy via email. You can join the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The list of candidates and voting details are found on the wiki.

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

OpenStreetMap Foundation AGM and board election

Henk Hoff, Secretary of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, announced today that the next Annual General Meeting of the OSMF and election for board members will be held at State of the Map – Denver.

To all members of OpenStreetMap Foundation,

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the 5th Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation will be held at the State of the Map 2011 conference, Auraria Campus, Denver, Colorado, USA, at 12:30 MDT, Sunday, 11 September 2011.

You do NOT have to join the conference to attend the meeting. Attendance of the AGM is free. However, if you would also like to join SOTM 2011, you can still register at

OSMF AGM Agenda:

Nominations are also now open for three OSMF board positions at the AGM. Nominations close on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 at 1700 UTC.

To add a nomination or your own name please see the instructions at or send an email to secretary [AT] .

All (at the start of the AGM) paid-up members of the Foundation are eligible to stand for election to the Board. If you are not already a member of the Foundation then you can sign up via
If you have questions concerning your membership contact membership [AT] .

All (at the start of the AGM) paid-up members of the Foundation are eligible to vote at the Board election.

Proxy voting by email opens on Thursday, 01 September 2011 at 0900 UTC. Details on proxy voting by email can be found on the wiki at

The final vote will be taken at the AGM itself.

Henk Hoff
OpenStreetMap Foundation

Name & Registered Office:
OpenStreetMap Foundation
132 Maney Hill Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1JU
United Kingdom
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales.
Registration No. 05912761.

Sent by Henk Hoff to the osmf-announce mailing list