Tag: OpenStreetMap

According to my profile, today marks my fifth anniversary of OpenStreetMapping. When my friend Robert introduced me to this useless web site I wasn’t too excited. It only really showed about half of the British motorway network if you waited long enough for the very basic map to load, and editing, well, that took a lot of patience. But curiosity and Rob’s enthusiasm got me hooked, and in August 2008 I organised my first mapping party. Here is a blast from the past showing us adding in the first coverage of Reading, England: What followed were five years interspersed with many pleasant hours mapping parts of Reading and the surrounding countryside, St Albans, Criccieth, south east London, Hackbridge, Shrewsbury, Dumfries & Galloway and countless little excursions for walks. As a keen cyclist, I particularly enjoyed entering some of the first London data to create a really useful web map for…

Read More Five years of mapping (and why I started)

Following past discussions with staff at Southwark Council and the Greater London Authority, I helped organise a technical  workshop in City Hall this weekend. We brought some key OpenStreetMap geeks together with some keen potential early adopters from the GLA, Southwark and Brent to talk open maps and hack on data & tools. Harry Wood will post a useful rundown of some of the stuff people hacked on over the two days. The only practical thing I did was to work with Rob Scott (OSM) and Scott Day (Southwark Council) to try and extract buildings from the open Ordnance Survey maps so we could merge them into OpenStreetMap without having to manually trace every single one (yawn). For the nerds, I’ve written up our initial results on the wiki. Talking with Scott, it was clear that Southwark probably have a lot of data we could benefit from, and that they…

Read More Map geeks in the bowels of City Hall

After a week speaking at a digital rights demonstration, a free map meeting, a 600-strong Critical Mass and lots of electioneering capping off days at the office it was quite a relief to complete the weekend with a spade, wheelbarrow and several tonnes of soil. Growing Southwark, who I first came across last September, have been running a community food growing project on the Cossall Estate in Peckham. I planted my broad beans at the event in February – here’s a pic of me with my pots – but this time the work was much more heavy going. Residents, Growing Southwark volunteers and a team from Veoila with 2 master carpenters worked together from Thursday-Sunday to erect a 18×1.5×0.6 meter raised bed. When I got there on Sunday they were filling them up with 16 tonnes of organic soil and soil improver. After a couple of hours lugging large quantities of soil around…

Read More Growing the Cossall Estate

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…

Read More Map geeks collaborating with Southwark Council?

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…

Read More Getting OpenStreetMaps out in London

Way back in July – goodness, that seems a long time ago! – I went on holiday near Kircudbright in Dumries and Galloway, which is in south west Scotland (I had no idea either). The landscape is actually quite beautiful. Not breathtaking like the higher Scottish peaks, but almost deserted beaches with warm seas for swimming and really gentle hills for walks. We went for a hike up one and I put some basic details into OpenStreetMap when I got back. But now somebody has scanned in a set of OS 7th series one inch maps from the 1950s and the results are very clear. Maps go out of copyright after 50 years so it’s fair game. I’ve spent a few evenings winding down from work by tracing streams, forest, woods, salt marshes and correcting the coastline. Given that the “no names” map style is currently very out of date,…

Read More Tracing OS maps in Scotland

Last night’s Growing Southwark meeting was graced by British-Armenian designer Vahakn Matossian, who explained his Fruit City project and his beautiful picking tools. When I first got involved with OpenStreetMap I started to make my own private map of apple trees and blackberry brambles in public places. I spent one or two summers eating about four fruit crumbles a week! I love his map, and although it might lead to some sources drying up due to demand, that will hopefully just lend weight to public calls for more fruit trees and bushes to be deliberately planted in our streets and parks. I’ve started to enquire about the chances of getting some fruit trees in small parks like Warwick Gardens and Holly Grove in The Lane part of Peckham/Bellenden/Camberwell. Jenny Jones has been doing the same in her ward – South Camberwell. Maybe Vahakn will get the production line going for…

Read More Urban fruit freebies in Southwark

Gavin Baker, a really fantastic free data activist from the US, nudged me recently about his post on the position of different European parties on open access to research. Scott Redding, one of our Green Party candidates in the elections and also doing amazing work getting more online activism for the party, gave a fairly strong statement on his intention to support the cause of open/free data. So where do we stand? It’s easier to explain by talking about our wider policy and activism around intellectual property. So here’s an update on a previous post: The Green Party in England & Wales has very strong, explicit policy on intellectual property with specific statements on open source software, public data (especially maps) and open data generally. Lots of Green MEPs and candidates have signed the Free Software Pact; In Liverpool City Council, Greens have passed a motion encouraging the use of…

Read More European Parliament elections, the Green Party and free stuff

In preparation for the Peckham Mapping Party this Wednesday evening (3rd June) I tried out the house numbering system in OpenStreetMap known as the Karlsruhe Schema around the south east corner of The Lane area of Peckham. Well, mapping and leafletting again with the all-important Euro elections on Thursday. With all the buildings, points of interest and house numbers it’s getting pretty crowded! It will be good if this is picked up by the search function on the OpenStreetMap homepage, so one could search for “15 East Dulwich Road” and get at least the right end of that rather long road. All that time in the sun left me completely wiped out, though. I’ll be glad when the elections are over so I can spend a few consecutive weekends and evenings with no leafletting on the horizon. Just the Exec meeting in June, and lots of local events to do…

Read More Addressing Peckham