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I map the Washington, DC area along, with MappingDC, a local mapping group I helped found.

I'm one of the founders of OpenStreetMap US, the US Chapter of the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

I'm a member of the EWG, the TWG, and have been a member of the LWG in the past.

I created the DC Sidewalk project (now ended) which was designed to help make mapping DC Sidewalks in the US easier by creating a customized background layer as well as a customized Potlatch 2 instance.

I also made a series of introductory videos to OpenStreetMap, and I continue to work on this project.

General Interest

My general interest in OSM is making the world a better place by providing a free, powerful collaborative geographic resource which can be shared and improved upon.

You can also find me on

  • Email: emacsen (at)
  • Twitter/
  • Facebook
  • Jabber
  • AIM

GSoC OSM Moderation Queue Project Description

OpenStreetMap works much like a wiki, in that anyone is allowed to sign up, make edits, etc. We occasionally have need for intervention by either moderators or administrators to take action on problems such as vandalism or spam (as well as other problems). To this end, we currently have several ways to contact the moderators, or the administrator.

We would like to integrate this into one a "moderation queue" that would support multiple people reporting on the same issue, allow for review/resolution, and integrate directly with OSM messages as well as changeset discussions where necessary.

The website is written in Ruby on Rails, so knowledge in RoR would be necessary. I'd also assume that a student applying to GSoC would have a solid working understanding of Git and be comfortable communicating in email and IRC.

Other skills/backgrounds given high consideration would be some knowledge of the codebase and possibly other similar/existing systems (such as ticketing systems). In addition, it would be great to see applicants having been active OSM editors, if not before the application, then at least during the application process.

GSoC OSM Anomaly Detection Project Description

As OSM grows in contributors and prominence, we have a larger number of edits which need to be detected and acted on, such as vandalism, new user error and imports/mechanical edits which have not been vetted by the community. In order to help address these issues, I've begun working on an anomaly detection engine for OSM. The frontend uses Javascript but the backend can use /virtually/ any technology, so I'm open to alternate languages, though I'd give preference to languages that I know well, such as Python, Javascript, Ruby, Perl or Clojure. If you can make a strong case for another (such as Julia) I'd be open to it

The requirements for this student project wanting to work on the frontend would be very strong experience in Javascript, HTML and CSS, and either Javascript (node.js) or Python for the server. The server is currently in Python, but I would be willing to change it if there is a compelling reason. For the backend (ie the anomaly detection itself), the requirements would include a lot of experience editing OpenStreetMap, as well as experience analysing OpenStreetMap edits. You would need to be able to demonstrate a deep knowledge of what kinds of edits would and would not be acceptable in OSM, as well as demonstrable experience that you yourself have edited OSM over time and can measure the quality of your own and others' edits.