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- This is a transcript of a talk given by Mikel Maron in November 2006
Hello. I'm Mikel Maron. I'm a web developer, and I work a lot with maps. And here I'm going to talk about OpenStreetMap.
OpenStreetMap is a project to create a free, global map. It is created entirely by volunteers and allows you to view edit and use geographical data, in a collaborative way, anywhere on Earth.
With cheap, consumer-level, Global Positioning System units, we walk cycle and drive streets and countryside and collect data.
We upload those traces in a common database. This image show tracks contributed by a London courier company over two days.
And we trace over those GPS tracks to make a map. Editing is completely open and all revisions are saved, like Wikipedia.
So you might ask .. Why?
Licensing mapping data is expensive, and out of range of average developers and users.
There are Google Maps and other free mapping services, but it's a red herring. You can't use it as you wish.
For instance, you can't use "free maps" in print .. so every group and gallery must design their own.
And you can't use "free maps" on navigation devices. That costs money.
And there's problems with the data. This applies to all the "free maps", not just Google Maps. Here we're looking at the area below Brighton Station, the New England Quarter. None of the new roads there are shown. Mapping providers are always a year or two out of date.
And they're selective with what they show. Usually they're automobile focused. Here's the Lanes and the Pavilion Gardens .. many pedestrian lanes are missing, and the Pavilion missing entirely.
And most of the developing world is completely out of luck. Mumbai is just a white blob, with no greater detail.
The larger answer to why .. geographic data is so core to how we understand the world, by necessity it must be in the commons.
And doing OpenStreetMap is fun. You find places you'd never see otherwise.
How are we doing? It's exponential growth. This is OpenStreetMap for the Isle of Wight. We held a workshop in May and mapped 100% of the island in one weekend.
This is Copenhagen Denmark. The entire city, even the airport, is mapped.
We have more than 3000 users, about 40 million GPS points, and 4 million streets. It looks like the UK will be complete in 2008.
And just so you realize we are serious .. multimap is funding OpenStreetMap development, nestoria (a UK real estate web site) is using our data, and the Guardian started a campaign, Free our data, inspired in part by OpenStreetMap.
In September, we kicked off OpenStreetMap in Brighton with a workshop of about a dozen people.
Since then, we've collected GPS tracks over a large portion of the city.
This is the map before we started in September. Only bits of the major roads were mapped.
And as of a couple weeks ago, this is what we've mapped.
The central wedge of Brighton is completely mapped. Down London Road and the Old Steine, across the sea front, and up Montpelier Rd to Seven Dials. Below the station, you see that OpenStreetMap is the first map of the New England Quarter. All the pedestrian lanes are mapped. And all the green space, parks and gardens.
This is Preston Park. I went a little overboard with detail here, including the cycle track and bowling greens.
We're on track to complete Brighton this Spring, from the Downs in the north and east, to the River Adur in the West.
This will be a community resource .. available for use by schools, community groups, and local business.
And we hope that Brighton and Hove Council will help maintain it by keeping us updated with notifications of changes in the streets and city.
Thanks very much! There's links to OpenStreetMap and my contact details.