Put Birmingham on the map
Time to put Birmingham on the map
Text of an email sent October 2011 to cabinet members, senior councillors and departments of Birmingham City Council:
Time to put Birmingham on the map.
For OpenStreetMap 2-3 days is all we need to have major changes to Birmingham's cityscape surveyed and displayed on a globally-recognised online digital map. You also have the base data available for producing maps in any cartographic style and highlighting any geospatial data you choose. AND IT'S FREE of all royalties.
It's a great example of what citizen volunteers can achieve who passionately care about how their neighborhoods are portrayed. Birmingham organisations can demonstrate how up to date they are in the digital world by making use of this resource.
For example the flagship highway improvement of the last few years has been the Selly Oak Relief Road, representing a multi-million pound investment for the City Council, and the removal of a notorious bottleneck affecting tens of thousands citizens and visitors. It was available to the world on OpenStreetMap the same week it was opened. See here for our map
You'll search in vain on the big mapping providers for this change: none of Googlemaps, Bing, Mapquest, the AA, the Ordnance Survey,or Multimap had this change on their maps today as I write this email. And this is repeated across the city for other developments.
TIME TO PUT BIRMINGHAM ON THE MAP: COMMERCIAL MAPPING PROVIDERS TAKE MONTHS IF NOT YEARS; OPENSTREETMAP TAKES DAYS
Several dozen volunteers, including residents, UK and global visitors have achieved this. If we could collaborate with Birmingham City Council in a structured way, together we could achieve far more and really put Birmingham on the map! In fact we could lead the world in community-based digital city-mapping where a City administration and its population work together to produce something faster,cheaper and better than what's available commercially.
We look forward to working more with you - you already use our winter gritting maps on your website and we have a wealth of other data ready for use.
We are favourably identified as a successful "Big Society"project in a research paper written by the Office of Civil Society in the Cabinet Office. (Appendix A1)
NOTE: our maps are not designed to replace or compete with the Ordnance Survey-based mapping used by the City Council for detailed planning design- they are designed for use in digital and print media for public consumption.