Category Archives: talks

Podcast: BCS

I spoke at the BCS a few weeks ago about OSM and open data. Ian made the good point afterward that you can get around the database directive by requiring your license contractually in order to access the data in the first place. More investigation needed. Anyway, here’s the pdf and mp3. The questions at the end are hard to heard, if you have time to process it and make them audible then I’ll happily update the mp3. Update: links fixed.

FOSS4G – First Report

The FOSS4G conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, is almost over. There has been a lot of talk about Free, Open, geo-data and quite a lot of interest in OpenStreetMap. Much of the interest is generated from the restrictive geo-data licensing that we are all too familiar with – it seems that people across the world share the same problems with accessing data. There is also an interesting case of “grass is always greener” that exists between people in the USA (where the government provide basic geo-data for free) and most of the rest of the world where we pay for the map data. The US representatives point out how crude their geo-data is, and also that private geo-data vendors supply data under licenses that are equally as restrictive as those of the Ordnance Survey or other European mapping agencies.

So there is a lot of discontent within the Geo and wider community, which catalyses projects like OpenStreetMap and is also drawing the attention of larger organisations. OSGeo have had a massive presence at the conference. They are an organisation that have been recently set up to support open source geospatial software – products like GRASS, Mapserver and GDAL are all benifitting from their assiciation with OSGeo. In a discussion session about open geodata, OSGeo expressed a lot of itnerest in helping grass roots projects, possibly by providing legal advice or by providing contact with a wider community and also by providing representation Governments and administrators who pull the strings. They are definitely worth taking a look at.

OSGeo themselves are partially supported by Autodesk, who have just made the move into Open Source with their Map Guide Open Source product. For a proprietery software house like Autodesk to release an open source project may have been unimaginable a few years ago and demonstrates the turning of the open source software tide. How long will it be until the open geo-data tide turns the same way?


This week on the OpenStreetMap list…

OpenStreetMap is growing. There are now around 2,800 users, with a Wiki, a forum, four English speaking mailing lists, a German list and as of today, a French list. With such a quickly growing community we thought it would be cool to sift through the map talk, flames and legal debates and put together a highlight of the best bits from the week on the list. So here we go.

There has been lots of talk about the new phenomena of “Mapping Parties” that is sweeping through the OSM community. Last weekend OSM people were mapping Bath, and there are planned events comming up in Reading, Brighton, Rutland and the New Forest. If you live in the North and feel left out, then don’t. Chorley doesn’t have a map, and it seems that OSM are the perfect people to make them one.

Free The Postcode, OSM’s sister project which is all about making a free database of UK postcodes, hit it’s 1000th postcode recently. With a Geocoder and now with each postcode linked to an editable discription (eg SW1A 0AA, you can leave feedback about bad postcodes, or start a thread about your favourite one.

FreeThePostcode’s not the only thing that has been updated in OSM world. OJW has written a nice web-based app that lets you upload and edit waypoints before uploading them to the OSM database. Check it out here.

Thats all from the list for this week…

Podcast: reboot 8

Here is an un-edited, powerbook-recorded mp3 of my talk at reboot 8 in Copenhagen. Here is a PDF of the slides so you can follow along. If someone wants to edit out the ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ or link the slides in to a proper podcast with garageband for video ipods please do! :-) here is a mind map someone made and here is the reboot wiki page relating to the talk.