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.