Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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

Usabilla shoutout

I want to give a shoutout to who’re helping OpenStreetMap with visual feedback on our user experience testing and design.

The concept behind usabilla is super simple, throw anything from full fledged designs to mockups in front of potential users and get click-based feedback. Users get to click on things and leave notes around specific features and parts of a page. So rather than trawling through a list of feedback, you get a more visual and engaging experience from both the testee and the testers perspective. And a whole lot more, check out the intro video below:


OSM User Testing

I’ve written previously about OSM usability studies, and now it’s happening. Nate Bolt from the fantabulous Bolt|Peters is going to help OSM run usability tests and we need your help.

The timeline looks something like this: This week or next we’re going to switch on some javascript on the OSM signup page that invites a percentage of signups to help OSM run a user survey. Those people fill out a form and are invited later to use some simple online screen capturing software while asked to do some simple tasks and this is where you come in. We need to think of some simple tasks for new users to complete, and we’ll put them together over on this wiki page. Add a street? Find a mailing list? Add a point of interest? What should they do? That’s up to you.

Also, if you’re running a mapping party we can give you a super secret link where you can send new users to do the same tasks with screen recording. You mustn’t help them on the first go, as that’s exactly what we’re trying to find out – what goes wrong.

Then on December 8th (tentative) at the Bolt|Peters office in San Francisco, OSMers together with the UX wizards will analyze the videos and make some joint suggestions on how to push things forward. Anyone in SF, or can be in SF around then, please drop me a mail.

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.