Since my initial move into mapping house numbers, I haven’t been mapping in Durham that much recently. In fact a lot of the house numbers I added were when I was delivering leaflets for the Christmas Funday that my church ran last year. It’s come that time again, and I wanted to help out delivering leaflets but I again I was keen to do it while noting down the house numbers.
The people organising the Funday (Operation Joyful Bombardment as it gets called), stuck up some maps for people to highlight the roads they will leaflet. The maps were OpenStreetMap print outs. The person who organised it last year, and left lots of instructions, had lived with me and of course learnt the best maps to use. But the maps were a year old. I knew because the houses of High Grange Estate were missing, and I had spent ages mapping and leafleting that area last year, through treacherous snowy conditions. The Funday leafleting instructions should probably include how to print off fresh maps or make use of Walking Papers.
I wanted to pick an area to leaflet that was unmapped. I could have chosen the nice area around Mackintosh Court/Musgrave Gardens and fill in a gap. Instead I thought it was more important to tell the people in Gilesgate/Sherburn Road about our free fun day. If it wasn’t scary enough going around there surveying, approaching letterboxes required me to really challenge my fear of dogs.
Three trips later, approximately 5 miles walked and 3 hours spent (not counting the cycling to get there each time), and The Woodlands has house numbers mapped. With data relations to match them to roads so if you search for a specific address it will point you to the right house (especially helpful for the corner houses). The estate next to it was leafleted by someone else, and I think I might save mapping that for the Summer Funday. I forgot to note the locations of all the surveillance cameras watching the roads.
In March 2011 the Communication Working Group tried to make the OSMF accessible to more people by posting in more languages. As a test we added German and French to the OSMF Blog. We’re still working on improving this by making each article available. But this experiment is already a success based on the feedback that we are getting from you.
It has been successful because of the volunteers who add the translations. Thanks go to Daniel Begin and Michael Schulze for helping us reach out to more mappers in French and German.
Shortly we’ll add Russian translations as well thanks to Eugene Usvitsky. Our web statistics tell us that Russian speakers are the next-most-frequent visitors to the OSMF site. The OSMF wants to reach out in other languages as well. Would you like to help? The workload is irregular and you can work from home. If you are interested, contact the Communication Working Group at email@example.com
We will consider adding translations to the site for any language except perhaps Klingon; we’re undecided on Klingon. If you can help with some of the languages that are more-frequently used in OpenStreetMap, please let us know.
If you would like to test us out first, and see how you like working with the Working Groups on a smaller, temporary project, the License Working Group has a small translation project that you can help with right now. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help with Czech, Chinese, Swedish, Finnish, Japanese, Hungarian, Romanian, Norwegian, Slovakian, Greek, Korean, Turkish or Croatian.
On 5th – 6th December 2011, HOT came to Bali for another training. Here we were working with Australian Community Development and Civil Society Strengthening Scheme (ACCESS) and their partners. The training was held in Puri Dalem Hotel, Sanur. This time we trained 17 people from 4 different areas. They are from Bali, Lombok, Sumba, and Selayar Island. These people are facilitator and they wanted to map their areas based on their needs. So we taught them basic OpenStreetMap things such as how to collect data using GPS and Walking Papers, then how to edit data with JOSM, and upload it to OpenStreetMap. We also taught them step-by-step what they can do with the data that they already collected with GIS software Quantum GIS (QGIS).
All training materials are collected from learnOSM.org with additional things that still are to be added on QGIS tutorial such as how to join spreadsheet file with the shapefile and using eVis plugin for adding pictures into attribute.
Based on our experience for training people around Indonesia, we expect that there will be some unexpected problem that would occur during the training. This time, we were struggling with windows virus when we tried to distribute all software and copies of training materials. We would recommend ourselves for next training to make another media for transferring all materials besides using USB sticks, either a CD or DVD.
Anyway, the training went pretty well, even we though our time was short because there were a lot of materials that we had to go over. Our QGIS tutorial experience was teaching in Sumba, in each district (Bima and Dompu) spending 2 days with 4-5 participants. But this time, we did one and a half day for OpenStreetMap basics and 4 hours for QGIS. We were glad that they feel these OpenStreetMap and QGIS are very useful and applicable for mapping their area based on their needs and interests.
People from Lombok are more interested to map social and economic map. The only problem that they have is accessibility to some villages because the roads are still bad and they do not have good satellite imagery in several areas. People from Sumba and Bali more or less will do the same thing with different number of villages that they would like to map. But, people from Sumba wanting us to comeback for attending their follow-up result in next year. They want to apply OpenStreetMap with QGIS for mapping then they will present the map result to their local governor.
There is one area that has problem, that area is Selayar Island, which has more than 10,000 km2 sizes. It does not have any point, line, and polygon on this island. Both Bing and Google do not have good satellite imagery. So, they are willing to propose a budget to their local governor to buy satellite imagery. We are really curious what would happen to this island after we gave them training. We hope that our efforts would keep their spirit to map the whole island.
Moreover, there is still a lot of work to support their mapping activities; we will keep in touch with them for technical issues and adding more guidelines in learnOSM.org.
Would like to announce an update to the walkers’ Android OSM app OpenTrail. Other than the augmented reality stuff (now separated out, see recent posts), I haven’t really had the chance to add any new features to OpenTrail until now; the last release back in March included Freemap and OS out of copyright maps and the ability to add annotations in the field.
However I’ve made a start on adding new features to OpenTrail with a view to developing it into a full-featured walkers’ app. You can now search for selected nearby points of interest (pubs, restaurants, places and peaks); the POIs are downloaded from the Freemap server and then cached on the device. Also, existing annotations and walk notes are also now overlaid on the map.
I’m hoping to do some more work on OpenTrail in the coming weeks/months, the long-term aim being an open-source version of something like Memory Map. One feature I’ve had in mind for a while is for the app to display annotations and notes to the user in the field as alert boxes (probably accompanied by some form of alert sound) as they pass its location. This should be fairly simple to implement and could have a number of uses, for instance, a user could be presented with some information about a view or a place of historical interest as they pass it, or could be presented with directions at a location where it’s easy to get lost. I can envisage this working as follows. Someone follows a path, loses their way temporarily, finally finds the path, and then records instructions in OpenTrail and uploads them to the server. A later walker could then be presented with the same instructions automatically as they pass the same spot.
I’m also aiming to integrate with Freemap walking routes, so that, for example, a user could search for walking routes in their area. However, I’m planning (time permitting of course, as always) on overhauling walking routes as part of a new and quite significantly different “development” version of Freemap (running alongside the main site) in which I aim to experiment with client-side rendering using kothic-js (see last post), so addition of walking routes to OpenTrail will be in conjunction with this. The current walking routes code in Freemap is slow and inefficient, particularly now that the volume of data has increased. So I started looking round for pre-built solutions and came across pgRouting, which adds routing functionality to a PostGIS database. Got step one done here: it’s built and installed successfully and I’ve managed to import some OSM data using osm2pgrouting. Next step will be to see if it actually routes between two points quickly and efficiently; if so I plan on using it to work out a walking route of underlying OSM ways given a set of user-specified points. However, to avoid the DB getting too big (and thus, possibly, slow) the walk route functionality might be restricted to selected areas of the UK initially.
Anyway, where is OpenTrail? It’s available here, if you find any bugs let me know.
This blog post isn’t a formal evaluation of the usability of OSM’s software or the equipment used for mapping. It is not meant to attack particular software; The software and implementation of OSM deserves many medals with equal amount of recognition.
This post is about things I noticed while mapping in Tandale, there is no statistical analysis, I have no dependent or independent variables, it’s based mainly around anecdotes and conversations with people. Though this doesn’t exist as a formal ethnography, it could serve for some useful pointers in future.
As we had netbooks with a small-ish (11″) screen-size and a trackpad, mice are essential for mappers getting started. In month spent in Tandale the designated editors have become JOSM gods with the majority of students and community members having fair literacy within JOSM’s processes. However when starting, the software was made accessible to the mappers purely through using a mouse. Most of the mappers were familiar with mice, whereas a trackpad was a piece of technology that wasn’t commonly used.
Conflicts commonly occurred within JOSM, in that groups where editing and uploading areas that they had mapped independently. This was difficult to control at first, as we had started with a blank slate, however boundaries of the sub-wards was relatively well known and demarcated by physical boundaries. Regardless groups wandered into areas which weren’t theirs to map. With the division of labour, in that roughly half were mappers undertaking the bulk of the surveying and with the others editing. When conflicts occurred the process was occasionally esoteric, especially if the group in question had been editing for a while.
To counter this I requested that each of the different sub-ward teams follow the mantra of save, upload and download often. Unfortunately this, on many an occasion, fell on deaf ears. This just meant conflicts were a laborious process, how could they be made better? Also JOSM’s autosave feature was a godsend, inevitably something would crash, causing people to start again.
Within the final presentation to the wider community and stakeholders, one of the points raised was incorrect spelling. There is autocomplete in JOSM, however it seems that if a spelling mistake got in first, like ‘Madrasah’ (an Islamic school, with debate on its correct spelling anyway) this would filter down, with the new mappers believing that the system is right. This would start adding clunky bits of software onto something that was never designed for spelling correction, but should plugins be created to improve this?
Due to the informal economy within the slums formal medical advice and dispensing is very rare. The community-at-large simply cannot afford ‘professional’ medical care. This has led to ‘dawa’ – medicine – shops dispensing everything from medical advice to prescription medication. Formally defining these structures into OSM is difficult, we could just create custom presets, it’s something done within Map Kibera and Map Mathare.
The issue here is that we are using the same ‘custom’ presets repeatedly. It surely would be better to include the commonly used attributes (common when mapping in environments such as Tandale/Mathare/Kibera) in the JOSM package itself? Is this feasible?
Satellite Image Tracing
One of the experiments that ‘failed’ was the tracing of satellite imagery. Bing were very kind in releasing their imagery to the OSM community to derive data, and our initial idea was to derive building outlines from this imagery. Initially it was perceived that tracing went well, some buildings weren’t quite perpendicular but using JOSM’s built in ‘q’ function fixed this. When map completeness was approaching, validation errors were caught informing that pathways were going through buildings and vice-versa. There are three explanations for this;
These factors are a combination of human and technical problems, in this case I believe it is a culmination of each of the factors. Some of them, especially with image quality and GPS accuracy would presumably need some sort of best practice to be implemented. Other sources of human error in the editing process are harder problems, especially without a comparable dataset, this is a more open ended problem.
When I joined OSM I was a student in a foreign city, with no map with which to explore with. A massively pro open source friend recommended the OSM project. I already had a GPS from my time working at a camping store during summer holidays so it was a match made in heaven really. My first edit was of the D400 road from Nancy to Lunéville around 2007/8 then I set to work in the area.
The community was very small and so, presumably was the power of the servers; it would take a few days for anything to be rendered on the OSM homepage. Now something uploaded can take anything from five minutes to an hour. The server administrators deserve more recognition in their services, so if you meet them, buy them a drink – they deserve it.
In summary, I believe that the tools we use in OSM are great, none of what I’ve written is a slant at a particular software or person. I believe that we should however consider certain points about widening access to the software in making it more usable. I also welcome comments below!
Written and submitted from the World Bank Offices, Washington DC (38.899, -77.04256)
This is a guest post from Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz.com and the editor of BikeHub.co.uk. He writes here about the great new facilities in the Bike Hub app, which uses our routing and OpenStreetMap POIs feed.
The latest version of the Bike Hub cycle satnav app is 2.2; I’m currently testing 3.0, due for release soon. The new version will be packed with extra features, many of them suggested by app users.
I’m conflicted by all the additions. On the one hand I’ve always wanted to keep the app plain, simple, focussed. But users have said they want it to be feature rich.
2.2 – released at the end of October – was enriched with a GPX download feature so plotted routes could be emailed to a user for later use, perhaps in a route visualisation programme, such as Google Earth.
I’ve used this feature a couple of times but it’s not what I’d consider the app’s core function: this core function is to be a cycle-specific satnav. We have also been asked to include other ‘performance monitoring’ features but there are many other apps out there that do this well.
It’s a fine balancing act: making the app feature-rich but not so complex that it becomes hard to use or worse, buggy.
The app is a standard satnav in that it routes from A to B. Version 3.0 adds what could be a world exclusive and that’s A to A routing. This makes the app into a touring tool: arrive at a railway station with your bike, fire up the app to guide you on a three hour trip sticky to country pubs and off you go.
Part of this functionality was added to 2.2. You can navigate to and from Points of Interest: ATMs, places of worship, parks, castles and many other PoIs.
Version 3.0 uses this growing database as a tour suggester.
Also in version 3.0 – and a much requested feature – is dynamic route recalculation. Stray from the route and the app will suggest you make a u-turn. Stray a bit further and the app will create a new route, on the fly. This is standard on car satnavs, and it’s finally on Bike Hub version 3.0, thanks to app coding work from app developer Tinderhouse and routing tweaks by CycleStreets.
Version 3.0 also has tighter integration with CycleStreets, adding a box to input a CycleStreets journey number. This will be useful if you prefer to pre-plan your routes via desktop and then want to transfer the same route to your smartphone.
The most requested feature from users is added in version 3.0. This is map cacheing. Map tiles can be downloaded to a smartphone when in range of wifi or a good 3G signal. Users will still require a phone signal to call down the route from CycleStreets but maps – which can take a while to download in a poor signal area – can now be stored locally. (And deleted later, if wished).
I know I’ll use this feature for cycle tours in Northumberland.
The app has evolved greatly since launch and will continue to evolve, thanks to funding from the Bike Hub levy fund. If you have other features you’d like to see added, get in touch. editor at bikehub.co.uk
During HOT’s time working in Indonesia we’ve met with many different groups doing different types of mapping. One of the more common types is poverty mapping. This week we returned to Sumbawa for the third time to work with groups from Dompu and Bima.
The first time we were on Sumbawa in June was to teach the basics of OpenStreetMap as part of our pilot program with the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR). Here we were working with Australian Community Development and Civil Society Strengthening Scheme (ACCESS) and their partners. Everyone was excited after this first two day workshop, but the need for more hands-on and practical knowledge was needed. Jeff Haack and myself returned in August each to work separately with a group on the goal of mapping an entire village. The four days of hands-on work got everyone very comfortable with mapping and near the end we discussed further possibilities. It was interesting to return again this week and see where the groups had taken them. Each group had taken their mapping even further but in different ways.
SOLUD is an ACCESS partner and a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Bima, they were primarily concerned about health data. Much of the data however could not be uploaded into OpenStreetMap. Since we had left the last time they had begun making their own presets in JOSM (xml files that configure forms for editing). In these presets were health indicator data for households. Once the data was added it was saved as an OSM file and then imported into QGIS,files were shared between individuals on USB sticks. Our goal in this training was to help create a more robust data collection strategy. One of the major points that came out of our previous training was the need for a way to link private data to public OpenStreetMap data, so we were prepared for that.
During our two day training we focused on two things. The first was using Quantum GIS to create maps and perform analysis of the data that was already collected. One component of this was taking a spreadsheet with OpenStreetMap ID’s and linking it to a shapefile downloaded from GeoFabrik’s download site.This allowed thematic mapping of individual buildings by indicators. For example in the spreadsheet was listed those families receiving “rice for the poor.” This cumbersome workflow allowed us to end up with the specific type of map we wanted at the end, but was labor intensive.
After going through the process and showing what was possible with the data we introduced the private datastore. This was to show how workflows could be improved if the linking process was made more easily. We created a form with the indicators they were interested in using. Next it will be key to create useful downloads of data of the private data they are collecting. Additionally after going through both of these lessons we also showed how to link pictures to information.
Our second stop in Dompu had much of the same questions and issues. They had come up with a completely different way to get around the problems though. First they mapped all the buildings and roads in OpenStreetMap, next they manually took screenshots of the data and imported it into Corel Draw. Once the map was in Corel Draw they traced over all the buildings and colored them based on their poverty level. With this method they were redo’ing a lot of work. This group had begun using QGIS some by manually typing all the IDs from OpenStreetMap into their Excel files. They had already done this for the entire village of Lanci Jaya (the one that Jeff worked with them to map in August). The main goal of this workshop was to use QGIS instead of Corel Draw to create a poverty indicator map. This way as the data is updated it could automatically update the map.
Now with a better workflow more analysis and decisions can be made. I can’t wait to see the results as we progress.