Archive for the ‘OpenStreetMap’ Category

OpenStreetMap Nears Ten

Monday, July 7th, 2014

OpenStreetMap – What’s next for the ‘Wikipedia of mapping” as it turns 10? by Ed Freyfogle.

From the post:

OpenStreetMap (OSM) has come a long way. After starting almost 10 years ago in London, OSM is now an entrenched part of the geo/location-based service toolchain and one of the leading examples of crowdsourcing at a massive scale.

Since 2004, over 1.5 million volunteers have signed up to contribute terabytes of geo-data to the project often referred to as the “Wikipedia of mapping”. What began as one guy wandering around London with his GPS has now turned into a global movement and spawned countless spinoff projects (see: WheelMap, OpenCycleMap and OpenRailwayMap).

Ed details the amazing progress that OpenStreetMap has made in ten years but also mentions diversity, governance and licensing issues that continue to hold OSM back from greater adoption.

Another concern is breadth of coverage:

A recent study found that just five countries make up 58% of OpenStreetMap’s data coverage. It needs to be asked what dynamics are preventing local communities from forming around the world. Is OSM just a ‘rich world’ phenomenon?

A difference in perspective. I would be thrilled to have the level of participation for topic maps that OSM has, even if it were mostly limited to five countries.

My question would be what is it about mapping physical terrain or the interfaces for mapping it, that makes it more attractive than mapping subjects and how they are identified?

Is there a lesson here for topic maps?

On the licensing issue, I hopeful OSM will adopt an Apache license. The rosters of Apache projects with their corporate sponsored participants and commercial products based on those projects are the best evidence for Apache licensing on a project.

That is, assuming being successful is more important to you than some private notion of purity. I recommend successful.

Mapillary to OpenStreetMap

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Mapillary to OpenStreetMap by Johan Gyllenspetz.

From the post:

We have been working with the OpenStreetMap community lately and we wanted to investigate how Mapillary can be used as a tool for some serious mapping.

First of all I needed to find a possible candidate area for mapping. After some investigation I found this little park in West Hollywood, called West Hollywood park. The park was under construction on the Bing images in the Id editor and nobody has traced the park yet.

If a physical map lacks your point of interest, you have to mark on the map or use some sort of overlay.

Like a topic map, with Mapillary and OpenStreetMap, you can add your point of interest with a suitable degree of accuracy.

You don’t need the agreement of your local department of highways or civil defense authorities.


I first saw this in a tweet by Map@Syst.

Updating OpenStreetMap…

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Updating OpenStreetMap with the latest US road data by Eric Fisher.

From the post:

We can now pull the most current US government index of all roads directly into OpenStreetMap for tracing. Just go to, click Edit, and choose the “New & Misaligned TIGER Roads” option from the layer menu. “TIGER” is the name of the US road database managed by the Census Bureau. The TIGER layer will reveal in yellow any roads that have been corrected in or added to TIGER since 2006 and that have not also been corrected in OpenStreetMap. Zoom in on any yellow road to see how TIGER now maps it, verify it against the aerial imagery, and correct it in OpenStreetMap.

This could be very useful.

For planning protest, retreat, escape routes and such. 😉

State of the OpenStreetMap [Watching the Watchers?]

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

State of the OpenStreetMap by Nathan Yau.


Nathan reminds us to review the OpenStreetMap Data Report, which includes a dynamic map showing changes as they are made.

OpenStreetMap has exceeded 1,000,000 users and 1,000 mappers contribute every day.

I wonder if the OpenStreetMap would be interested in extending its Features to include a “seen-at” tag?

So people can upload cellphone photos with geotagging of watchers.

With names, if known, if not, perhaps other users can supply names.

The OpenStreetMap Package Opens Up

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The OpenStreetMap Package Opens Up

From the post:

A new version of the OpenStreetMap package is now up on CRAN, and should propagate to all the mirrors in the next few days. The primary purpose of the package is to provide high resolution map/satellite imagery for use in your R plots. The package supports base graphics and ggplot2, as well as transformations between spatial coordinate systems.

The bigest change in the new version is the addition of dozens of tile servers, giving the user the option of many different map looks, including those from Bing, MapQuest and Apple.

Very impressive display of the new capabilities in OpenStreetMap and this note about OpenStreetMap and ggmap:

Probably the main alternative to OpenStreetMap is the ggmap package. ggmap is an excellent package, and it is somewhat unfortunate that there is a significant duplication of effort between it and OpenStreetMap. That said, there are some differences that may help you decide which to use:

Reasons to favor OpenStreetMap:

  • More maps: OpenStreetMap supports more map types.
  • Better image resolution: ggmap only fetches one png from the server, and thus is limited to the resolution of that png, whereas OpenStreetMap can download many map tiles and stich them together to get an arbitrarily high image resolution.
  • Transformations: OpenStreetMap can be used with any map coordinate system, whereas ggmap is limited to long-lat.
  • Base graphics: Both packages support ggplot2, but OpenStreetMap also supports base graphics.
Reasons to favor ggmap:
  • No Java dependency: ggmap does not require Java to be installed.
  • Geocoding: ggmap has functions to do reverse geo coding.
  • Google maps: While OpenStreetMap has more map types, it currently does not support google maps.

Fair enough?