The brilliant part about crowd sourcing mapping data is that, unlike Wikipedia articles, there’s less of a chance of bias. There’s no opinion involved. Either a road is there or it isn’t. The only issues have been over road naming in the disputed area of Northern Cyprus and the odd bit of accidental map graffiti.
The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) has it’s annual elections coming up this weekend. Here’s the fun facts:
London (Cloudmade Ltd, Suite 1.06 Enterprise House, 1/2 Hatfields, London, SE1 9PG, UK) (map)
Saturday 22nd August 2009 at 14.30 BST
Check out the AGM wiki page and especially the crucial election of board members. The entire OSMF board is up for election as well as some new faces. Each has a manifesto, lists their affiliations, race and pet cat ownership. Who you vote for ultimately helps set the direction of parts of the project and continues to support almost all aspects of it, from the SOTM conference to running the servers.
Then afterward, we have the 5th anniversary OSM meetup with much food, drink and merryment!
Venue: The Porterhouse (map), same venue as the 2nd anniversary party
5pm ’till late
Please do come, and note down yourself on the wiki page because it’s going to be at least 23% more awesome than any other OSM event you’ve been to!
But this is an international effort so be sure to check out the Toronto party and run your own near you if you can’t make it!
I’m at WhereCamp5280 in Denver, Colorado. 5280 refers to the number of feet in a mile since Denver is the mile high city. There are some great talks here and the conference is free and extends to tomorrow, Saturday 16th August so come along.
I did a talk about OSM of course and then Peter organised a group discussion on OSM in the USA (see above). It was really quite something as it was the first time we had a group of people who are already doing things with OSM. People from USGS, ESRI, universities and companies who are using the data and running events like mapping parties. Of course we’ve had impromptu groups like this in Europe for the some time, and BOFs at things like Where 2.0 in the US. But, from my experience so far the ones in the USA have mainly been people new to the project. So, it’s a milestone for the US community, and it’s great!
Unlike some crowdsourced projects that have fizzled, OSM has managed to attract a large following of enthusiastic contributors who constantly “trace” routes they take by car, bike or foot. Users tag points on their routes, and share the resulting places of personal interest on the maps with other users. Some of the bigger map providers also offer such geo-tagged metadata, like Google’s MyMaps.
Thus, three strategies are now in play in India: a high quality solution which is a public goods effort (Openstreetmap), a good solution which is owned by a corporation (Google) and a poor solution which acts like a corporation (Survey of India). The users of maps are flocking to Google, Nokia and Openstreetmap.