Category Archives: Uncategorized

Some changes to OSM

With the upcoming API 0.6 the technical team have made several discoveries of the overall performance of Ruby, MySQL and the code used to run OSM. They’ve found that with MonetDB and the cherokee webserver we can speed things up considerably, and reduce the CPU count. This system has been reliably tested by Tom Hughes and Matt Amos as hundreds of times faster than the current setup. The speed increases are incredible to the point where the DB almost seems to know map edits before they happen and the HTTP and DB transactions tend to 0ms over time, and 0% of the XML API transaction itself.

Of course partly this is because it’s been re-written in C++ and all clients, particularly potlatch, now will be using the new binary protocol. Richard Fairhurst, the potlatch dictator, has been in close and positive contact with the authors of the new system to make this shift and has been working openly to encourage new developers to help rework potlatch. Improvements will include basic usability.

Unfortunately some of the work has pushed back the API switchover and a working group has been set up to decide on a date to announce the new date for switchover.

To counterbalance this bad news however, there is a silver lining – the license process has completed. From today the OSM database is available under the NDL [1], a variant of the original ODbL and closely similar in purpose and intent of the Duke Nukem Forever release process, which has shone industry-wide as an example of best practices.

[1] – NilDesperandumLicense

OSM WordPress plugin

Michael Kang writes:

faktor is a group of photographers, we started an open photoproject in 2004, to collect one photo for each location. Last month we decided to add geo data and geo links on this site. To handle this I wrote a plugin and after some lines I thought it could be usefull for others, too.

To add a map into your wordpress blog you just have to install the plugin and use the shortcode like:

[osm_map Lat=”37.5665″ Long=”126.9779″ zoom=”5″ width=”450″ height=”300″]

in your post/page (no configuration is needed).

Details and the plugin is here:

Also see geopress

SOTM needs a logo!

From stateofthemaporg:

The SOTM working group is pleased to announce a call for logo designs. Our existing logos have served us well and the time is right to look further afield to make sure we have the best design possible. We’ve put together a Design Brief which outlines what we’re looking for in a logo. We invite you to either build a logo yourself, rope in some friends/co-workers or use a site like and a spare £/$/€50 and get a freelancer to have a go.

The logo must be licensed CC-BY-SA and received by email within two weeks (by midnight Wednesday 8th April UK time). The team will decide by vote the logo to go with.

The winning entry will be rewarded with a full weekend ticket to SOTM!

The SOTM team can’t wait to see your entries!

OSM passes 100,000 users!

A great day for celebration! Sometime during Monday 16th March 2009 OpenStreetMap gained it’s 100,000’th registered user account!

It’s been a fantastic journey since 9th August 2004 when User:Steve registered the domain and started the project. Today we have a fantastic set of sysadmins keeping the OSM clockwork going, brilliant developers and a massive and stunning community building… the map.

Our map goes from strength to strength with such fantastic detail being built it’s unreal. Check it out!

Now, roll on our 1,000,000’th user please! Help OSM get there by submitting a talk to our upcoming conference – it’s going to be a blast!

Hardware Upgrade Appeal: Thank you

Wow, what a week. We launched the Hardware Upgrade appeal last Thursday to raise £10,000. And just 2 days 15 hours and 20 minutes later in the small hours of Sunday morning we reached that target.

Cray X-MP/48 Supercomputer

This all happened so quickly we were astonished and totally humbled by the generosity and goodwill towards the project. It happened so quickly in fact that we felt that a lot of people wouldn’t even have had an opportunity to donate, so we decided to keep the appeal open a bit longer.

So after exactly a week we are formally closing the appeal having raised £16,222. The donate site will still stay up but we’ll change the wording so that it’s for general fund raising and not focused on any particular need.

We have some very big thank yous to make. Firstly, we are enormously grateful to Google. The guys from the Google Open Source Programs Office really appreciate what we are doing and donated £5,000. Awesome.

Second we have to thank CloudMade. Steve and Nick are always the first people to dig deep and support the project, whether it’s tile hosting for cycle maps, organizing mapping parties or sponsoring the State of the Map conference. Once more they didn’t hesitate and donated £2,000. Thank you CloudMade.

Third, Richard Weait deserves mention. Richard does a lot for OpenStreetMap. Running mapping parties in North America, talking at countless Linux User Group meetings, coordinating mass geodata imports and, um, designing curling icons. On top of all this he donated $1,000 out of his own pocket. Props.

And last, but definitely not least, we need to thank every single other person who made a donation. Collectively you raised all the rest – in true crowd sourced style. Your roll of honour is here. Each and every single donation is really appreciated. Thank you guys.

3U server

We’ve raised enough for a new database server. It will probably be a better spec than we had planned or hoped for, so it should see us good for some time.

And with the remaining funds? Well I think everyone agrees that the wiki server could use some better hardware so we’ll be able to take care of that. Beyond that, if the community has any ideas then we’d really like to hear suggestions for what else needs a bit of a boost. Please tell us which other core services you think would benefit from a bit of help.

OSM needs new servers

Our first set of ‘real’ servers was installed by me (SteveC), Nick Black and Nick Hill utilising the latest in safe server transport – Nick Hill’s overloaded Peugeot. Here they are being modelled:

Today we’re kicking off a funding drive to raise £10,000 to buy new API database servers for the upcoming new API and server software which we call “0.6” as it’s the 6th version. Specifically we’re after a 3U Rackmount server, 2x Quadcore, 24GB RAM, 10x SAS 15kRPM disks.

OpenStreetMaps exponential growth since day one has led to increasing demands on the hardware and software clockwork which make it tick day and night, and this funding drive will put us in a fantastic position to cross the next hurdles of mapping the planet. We have incredibly dedicated volunteer sysadmins and coders building OSM today, so let’s give them the best tools for the job to continue building the most detailed map of the planet.

So please consider heading over to and chip in some cash for the cause. We’ll keep you up to date with the process of buying, setting up and installing the new hardware.

Donate today!