Category Archives: Uncategorized

A week on Open Street Map Mailing lists.

Mailing lists are great. Don’t you just love it when an innocently titled OSM layer into Adobe Illustrator post breaks out into a storm? Phil Barnett, who wanted to use OpenStreetMap data along with imagery from Google Earth in an ITN news cast asked, “…and I presume there’s no problem with broadcasting this composite…”. There followed plenty of IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) prefixed comments, but the crux of the problem is this (from Mike Collinson) – OSM needs to make it crystal clear what constitutes a derivative work from OSM data, otherwise all this fantastic content is not going to be used to anywhere near its full potential. The debate continues on the Legal Mailing list.

If you are thinking of getting involved and wondering what type of gps unit to get (Tom-tom? Garmin? ….) take a look at the disucssion promped by David Stevenson on which sat-navs log, which specifically discusses Tom-toms, or look at the advice on the freshly updated wiki. That should give you a good round up of the pros and cons of the different devices that are around and set you off in the right direction (groan!).

The open tagging system that OpenStreetMap adopts always causes a lot of debate. This week, David Earl tried to finalise a new set of tags that the community have almost agreed on, which soon became a village-green discussion and a plea from Ben Robbins to be less flame-war-ish – its about critical discussion – don’t take it personally. It turns out that, village greens are not commons. OK, true enough but do you really care? Get off the fence and join the great OSM tagging debte. How exactly do you tag a fence?

A great subway-station vs. subway entrance discussion kicked of – do you put a node where the subway is, or mark each of the entrances? The weight of opinion was that you mark all the entrances, with the view that the routing/rendering engines will do the right thing and produce a detailed map. This does the discussion so much injustice – as with most of these kind of things, the devil is in the detail. Check here for the details.

There was a good talk about presenting the splippy map starting from other locations than Europe – country/IP based mapping was discussed, as was a view of the whole world (you know, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best 🙂 ).

Don’t you just hate it when…. opened up a vein by Nick Whitelegg to vent all those frustrating things that can happen once you start that addictive thing called mapping. If you do nothing else today just read the thread. Did you really spend a few hours mapping and forget to check that your gps was logging? Wasn’t it really frustrating when your train took a detour down all these new unmapped tracks and the coating on the windows interfered with GPS reception. I was on the floor by the time I read Ivan Sanchez’s comment! You need to go there… I’m waiting for an OSM-dev version to appear….

Osmarender4 has been up and running for a week or so now – (beautiful bridges) and should be running on all tiles@home clients now. There are a whole new set of icons as well. Looks like there will be some occasional confusion with the tiles on the slippy map util they are all osmrender4’d.

Looks like an Amsterdam Mapping Weekend is on the cards for the 17th/18th March. Who’d want to go to Amsterdam eh? 🙂 The things we’ll do for our art!

Oh, and we made it to the UK East Anglia Evening News, or David Earl did with an article on his and other OSM contributor’s great efforts to cycle and map the whole of Cambridge. There’s a brief item here.

By Barry Crabtree

OpenStreetMap Baghdad

OpenStreetMap Baghdad is happenning. This is incredible and exciting. And we need your help. Please read on.

OpenStreetMap is an free and open collaborative map of the entire world. We gather GPS tracks and draw maps over them, in an editable wiki style database. And recently we added aerial imagery to our toolbox, thanks to Yahoo!, so dense urban areas and remote locations can be mapped just by tracing streets in the web browser.

This means that OpenStreetMap has the most comprehensive map of Baghdad among any of the web mapping services.

Yahoo has great coverage over Baghdad, and we’ve been tracing. But since we’re physically just about everywhere else in the world but Baghdad, we don’t know the names of the streets or the neighborhoods, and especially what’s changed and still changing during these years of conflict.

So we’re reaching out to find people who could help .. people in Iraq now or have been in Iraq. Data sources, like any old maps or geographic names databases that are permissible to use would be very useful. Or crucially at this point, people who might know people who might know these people and sources. Maybe that’s you.

Our core belief is that open and accessible geodata helps people. The BBC reported on Iraqis using Google Earth to safely travel and avoid violence.

We are well aware of the huge challenges here, culturally and technically. There’s been discussion on how to handle the multiple names of streets .. the old names under Saddam, new names under different factions, and the government. OpenStreetMap can handle all endonyms .. names should exist by use not prescription. And that’s just scratching the surface of the issues. But right now is the right time for proving the open collaborative model for geodata, in the places that need it the most, and OpenStreetMap is ready to take it on.

So any help is welcome .. forward an email, blog post, CNN .. anywhere closer to people that can make OpenStreetMap Baghdad take off. And any comments or discussions, positive or negative, are welcome too.

Good new year from Imi

Hi all,

to fall into line with Steve, I wish you all a good new year 2007.

Although nobody found me at the CCC this year (what a bummer.. but I didn’t prepared any cookies anyway ;-), I still did some coding on JOSM and also made a very small tutorial to demonstrate some of them. Not enough for a new version, but postponed is not abandoned! 😉

The tutorial is flash this time, so you can watch it online too (anyone knows a flash player for firefox/linux/AMD64?)

Get the tutorial at




Dr Muki Haklay from the Geomatic Engineering dept of UCL has very kindly organised with the The Royal Geographical Society some funding for further work on OSM.

I’ve known Muki from when I worked at CASA one summer long ago. OSM started as some conversations with his colleague Martin and also Matt. Muki did a great talk at the first asklater nights about map usability (or lack of it) online. Unfortunately the recording broke but I remember him pointing this gmaps query out and the fundamental lack of DPI problem with showing maps on computers.

A few people on the mailing list are graduates of either UCL or the GE department, and it’s great to be supported by the community, a map company and academia.

SIS OSM Support

Cadcorps big GIS thing, SIS, now has an OSM plugin. You grab data with a fancy dialog box:

and can then overlay it with whatever other data you have, like this:

Neat, huh? Big thanks to Martin Daly at cadcorp for the work. SIS users should be able to get a copy of the plugin soon from here