Brighton Press Release

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OSM Brighton Mapping Workshop Press Release from OpenStreetMap.org 09/09/2006

International Project puts Brighton on the Map

This Saturday, 9th September, the OpenStreetMap team of volunteers will be adding another city to the global mapping revolution. Contributors to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project are meeting in Brighton with the aim of completely mapping the streets and other major features of the beautiful seaside city.

The OSM project was started in 2004 to enable anyone to use maps in creative, productive or unexpected ways. The use of traditional maps is hampered by legal and technical restrictions that severely curtail their use. The aim of the OSM project is to create free geographic data, like street maps, that can be used by anyone, anywhere.

Mikel Maron, orgnaniser of the Brighton mapping effort, said: "Exisiting Ordnance Survey (OS) maps are covered by restrictive Crown copyright. The idea is to create an alternative map created by the people for the people, which everyone can freely use."

OSM contributors, will be driving, cycling, and wandering the city with GPS (Global Positioning System) units recording the routes of as many streets, cycleways and footpaths as possible. The tracks recorded will be put online in the OpenStreetMap.org database where anyone in the world with access to the internet can browse, name, reference, edit and use the data in any way they want.

Mikel Maron, continued: "On Saturday 9th September, volunteers are needed to walk, cycle or skate the streets of Brighton with hand-held global positioning system (GPS) devices and note down road names. Just come along and choose an area of Brighton to map. GPS devices will be provided but if you have your own, bring it along. No prior mapping experience needed - equipment and training will be provided!"

Collaborative mapping is an emerging and rapidly growing activity which is being driven in part by new available technologies (cheap GPS equipment and online collaboration tools, like OpenStreetMap.org). What makes projects like this stand out is their public access ethos for knowledge. The maps are produced collaboratively and are held as a common resource, rather than the private property of a few. This means that the maps can be copied, shared and re-used without the restrictions associated with copyright. Opening up maps in this way has real potential to empower the people of Brighton to create and own knowledge of their city, and it encourages novel and creative uses of the data produced.

The map data produced over the weekend will contribute to OpenStreetMap.org, one of the leading projects in the open-source mapping field. Currently, OSM has mapped large portions of the UK, including all the motorways and most primary roads, as well as many other places around the world. The Isle of Wight, Bath and Reading are almost 100% mapped after recent mapping weekends. We hope that an intensive effort to build a map of the whole of Brighton in a weekend will inspire others and help to build momentum across the country. As an open organisation with no membership requirements, we welcome the participation of anyone, young or old, who will be in Brighton on Saturday the 9th September. Anyone interested in taking part in the activities should contact Mikel Maron (mikel_maron at yahoo dot com)

Further information can be found on the project web site http://www.openstreetmap.org

For more media enquires contact Mikel Maron at mikel_maron at yahoo dot com or 07742584943.

What you need to know for the day

  • Just come along to BrightonWeb (http://brightonweb.com) Offices at James House, 2 Brunswick Terrace, Hove at 10am Sat 9th September where we'll meet, introduce OpenStreetMap and choose areas of Brighton to map
  • Head out with a GPS device and notepad to record street names and other notable features
  • You can map for the whole day or just for a few hours
  • No prior mapping experience needed - equipment training will be provided
  • GPS devices will be provided - but if you have your own, bring it along
  • Registration: email - Mikel Maron at mikel_maron at yahoo dot com or add your name to this Brighton wiki.
  • or call Mikel Maron on: 07742584943

More Background

What is OSM?

OpenStreetMap is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation that anyone, anywhere can join. The goal of OSM is to provide free map data that can be used by anyone. All of our maps are freely available on the internet at www.openstreetmap.org. Why would anyone want to do that? Aren't there are lots of free maps out there? Most of the maps that you come across on the internet or in your home are protected by very stringent copyright laws. These rules stop the maps from being used in unique and unexpected ways, stifling people's creativity and imagination. www.openstreetmap.org

So how does OpenStreetMap work?

Anyone with a handheld Global Positioning System receiver can start mapping straight away. You need to set your GPS to record tracks and then go for a walk or for a bike ride or a drive creating a paper trail on the GPS unit every second. Walk around some streets in your neighbourhood, making some notes about the street names and any one way streets or round-a-bouts that you find. When you get home, plug your GPS into your computer and upload the tracks that you recorded onto the OSM website. In under an hour, you tracks will appear on the website. You can then use the online tools to map roads and street names that anyone in the world will be able to see.

Why did you come to Brighton?

Apart from Brighton being a beautiful city, we wanted to demonstrate that it is possible for quite a small team of volunteers to achieve a lot in a small period of time. Over the weekend we hope to map as many of the city’s streets, cycleways and footpaths as possible.

Who can be involved?

Anyone with access to a GPS unit and a computer with an internet connection can join in. Even if you don't have a GPS, you can see what maps have been made of your area and improve them. Add street names and points of interests and make the maps even more useful. If anyone in the world can see the maps, will people be able to see where I live and where I work? When you upload a track onto the OSM website you can choose to do so publicly or privately. If you choose to upload private tracks, then only the site administrator will know they came from you. Because of the strict copyright laws it is important that the site administrator knows who contributed what.

What is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The system is made up of around 24 satellites that are constantly orbiting the earth, transmitting information about their position and time. The information they transmit is a type of radio wave, and can be picked up and understood by handheld GPS units or Satellite Navigation systems in cars. By comparing the signals from at least four satellites it is possible for a GPS unit to work out its position anywhere on the earth to within 5 to 10m. GPS units are not tracking devices. They only have receivers not transmitters. It is not possible for someone to track you if you are using a GPS receiver.