I met up with two map/GIS officers from Southwark Council this evening to continue a discussion about OpenStreetMap; they’re very interested in it. The obvious starting point, with some help from ITO, will be to use OpenStreetMap for the new web mapping service on all zoom levels up to the very detailed Ordnance Survey master maps (which have exact road shapes, buildings, etc.). That’s right – they might replace the commercial stuff with maps that were made by the community and shared for free!
Southwark has some pretty well known landmarks – Tower Bridge, the Globe Theatre, Peckham library and Nunhead Cemetery to name but a few. It will be exciting to have OpenStreetMap data of these on the Southwark web site.
But wait – it gets better. They’re also interested in discussing real, actual collaboration. To begin with, they might be able to provide data for OpenStreetMap and help us keep it up to date, for example sharing the street gazetteer so we can check if we have missed anything, seeing if they can let us know when roads change, and putting in all the cycle parking & recycling points they’ve gone around the borough finding themselves. They’re even interested in getting officers across the council to use and contribute OpenStreetMap where it is easy and helps them do their job.
It’s very early days, but look out for a hack or mapping party with Southwark Council later this year. Some of this might just come true, and establish a really interesting experiment where council officers and people in the community collaborate for their mutual benefit.