Category Archives: Uncategorized

Atlanta Mapathon

I’m SUPER excited about the Atlanta Mapathon being held this weekend. Not because I care about Atlanta all that much even though my in-laws are from Atlanta. No, because I suspect that a huge mapping party, like a code sprint, is the most efficient way to get an entire city mapped. There are only 30 big cities in the USA. If we can withstand the surge of new OSM mappers, and we have enough experienced mappers to be able to scale the process, we can get an (open) street map of the USA finished within a year.

Probably not necessary to explain why it’s so important to have it be open. Probably is necessary to explain why the public domain doesn’t suffice. There are maps of the US already, produced by the USGS, in the public domain. The trouble with the public domain is that it’s not enough. You need a community who cares enough about the data to keep it up to date.

I’m a board member of the Open Source Initiative. We spend a lot of time dealing with licenses, to ensure that the code is “free enough”. We actually have a definition of “free enough”, which is the Open Source Definition. But free isn’t enough by itself. We have over a decade of experience, all of which tells us that free isn’t enough. Free software, or free data, or public domain data, isn’t sufficient. You need an open community of contributors.

And hopefully this weekend’s Mapathon will jumpstart that community within and without Atlanta! now owned by OSMF

Thanks to some great work by Grant Slater and Andy Robinson all those people who mistake openstreetmap for openstreetmaps will now get directed to the right place.

But here’s the downside – we snapped up the domain to avoid the price going up and now we have to cover the costs of it. So make sure you feel good about yourself today by donating something toward the £800 that was needed over here on the donation site! Already about 10% has been found, so help out 🙂

Californian county fined for not releasing data

Nice wired article:

A California county’s three-year battle to prevent a nonprofit group from obtaining public mapping data has ended disastrously for the county after it was ordered by a court to pay the group $500,000 in legal costs.

Last February, Santa Clara County, the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, was ordered to hand over the public records to the California First Amendment Coalition for a minimal duplication fee after initially trying to charge $250,000 for the data and then appealing to the federal government to designate the data a national security secret that couldn’t be released. This week the county paid out to the coalition twice the amount in legal fees that it had once hoped to rake in as profit for the data.

BBC Article on OSM!

The BBC news website has a popular story on OSM over here. Money quote:

Atlanta, the capital of the US state of Georgia will soon be the world’s most digitally mapped city, according to organisers of a massive “mapathon”.
OpenStreetMap, or OSM, is behind the effort to produce a map more accurate than anything else on the market.

The story has been in the top shared box (look on the right) for most of the day. Awesome!

Google bids fare-thee-well to TA in the US of A

Google says up yours farewell to TeleAtlas in the US, see this blog post. Europe has to be next what with the unknown (wink wink) patron which caused the AND share price jump (press release).

I’m sure Google will now want to release this data due to popular support given their own want to know “… why do they [Transport for London] make it so difficult to license their schedule data..” (link) and thus the clear problems surrounding closed map data.

So have a click around on Google Maps and see what it’s like to have (c) Google at the bottom right instead of (c) TeleAtlas 🙂

update Lots of comments on a post by James Fee

Google didn’t pay shit for this crap. They roll into city/county with “free” google earth pro licenses and the city/county gives them everything for free.

Happened to us and I know someone out on the left coast who had the same sales pitch.

Which sounds eerily familiar to the way they hoovered up transit data to the exclusion of others. Also see a post by Peter Batty

Cheap streetview


Check out this wired article

Using eight cheap webcams, a GPS receiver and open-source software, West Point graduate Roy D. Ragsdale built a rig that can do what Google’s Street-View cars do: take images of the world around it and stitch them together into panoramas. The difference? This version can be carried on your head and cost just $300 to make. The hacked-together software suite can even throw out files that can be viewed in Google Earth.

OSM now in 26 more languages

  • El WikiMapaMundi libre
  • La wiki-mappa Libera del Mondo
  • Die freie Wiki-Weltkarte

OpenStreetMap now recognises a total of 51 languages for the main website and is available over at TranslateWiki if you want to help with the effort of refining those or adding more!

Check out the clear progress for each language and also chart of strings added per day.

As avar says, “with a week more of Translatewiki we should have as much translation activity as we’ve gotten in all the time since the site was made translatable in May”.