Getting OpenStreetMaps out in London

How could the Greater London Authority, Southwark Council or tenants on estates use OpenStreetMap? I regularly use it to get around, but of course I’m an OSM nerd. Most people have never heard of it, which is a shame because they could really benefit from it.

This evening I introduced the Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations to the project, handing around some printouts showing how OSM has many estates much better mapped than Google, and how we have nice (but very incomplete) public transport and cycling maps which are much more useful for your average tenant than a map for car drivers.

Everyone seemed really enthusiastic, which was lovely! One lady thanked me for getting the name of her estate right; it changed in 1979 but lots of maps still have the old name.

So I’m going to do some workshops with tenants on a couple of estates to get them started, probably using Walking Papers, and we’ll see where we go from there.

In a different world, I’ve been talking with Emer Coleman who heads up the London Datastore, a fantastic Open Data initiative. She’s enthusiastic about making public data available for OpenStreetMap, about entering OSM data sources in the Datastore, and collaborating where public authorities struggle to gather information like cycle parking stands or building accessibility.

On Tuesday evening Emer and I met up with Gareth who leads on GIS in the GLA, Christopher Osborne from ITO, Muki Haklay from University College London, and Harry and Shaun from OSM, to discuss all this. We aren’t gunning for paradigm shifts overnight, but it’s good to start developing a relationship and talking about how to get those ideas right. Gareth is also going to broker us into the world of London Council GIS bods.

That’s quite enough OSM for one week. Now back to getting elected and holding down my job!


  1. MJ Ray said:

    I have a GPS that I think exports as GPX and XML. I don’t have Adobe Flash or Sun Java. How do I send my GPS data to OpenStreetMap? I’ve tried a few pieces of software that haven’t worked and I’ve not got copious free time these days… merkaartor is next on my list of things to try: will that work?

    26th February 2010
    • Tom Chance said:

      If you just want to send your raw GPS data, you can just upload it to the web site using the normal HTML forms.

      As for actually tracing on your GPS data to add stuff to the OSM database, so far as I know Potlatch (the flash-based editor) works with some of the free flash implementations, unless it has regressed, and Merkaator works well.

      26th February 2010

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