User:LA2/Diary for Q1 2007

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LA2's OpenStreetMap Diary for the 1st Quarter of 2007

March 31, 2007: More places in norther Russia: Onega, Mezen.

March 30, 2007: Arkhangelsk and some other places in north-western Russia mapped from old, existing tracks.

March 27, 2007: Murmansk, now in the Osmarender layer of the slippy map, thanks to Tiles@home.

March 26, 2007: Every now and then, some tiles in the slippy map turn up in the wrong place. In the screenshot below, half of the city Linköping is duplicated. This happens a lot nowadays and I suspect that my web browser is at fault. Firefox 2.0.0.2 is not the most stable version I've seen.

LA2-slippy-duplicate.png

March 25, 2007: It works fine to use informationfreeway.org to request updates of Tiles@home, but you need to do that manually. So let's look at Planet.osm what areas need to be addressed. As usual, I'm mostly concerned with Scandinavia. The easy way to cut out Scandinavia is to take everything north of 54.5° (to cut away Germany) and east of 3° (to cut away Scotland). This way, we include the Baltic states and northern Russia, but exclude Iceland. It turns out 1.8 million out of 8.6 million nodes fall into this sector, or 21 percent of the nodes in Planet.osm.

Planet.osm for date 2007-03-21 2007-03-14
Ways 473,055 456,670
Segs (members of ways) 7,722,115 7,570,369
Segments 9,109,592 8,971,543
Nodes 8,679,722 8,553,207
Nodes north of 54.5° and east of 3° 1,864,495 1,850,970

March 23, 2007: I start to play with Tiles@home. It's interesting to look at the request queue. On the page Tiles@home/Install Guide are instructions for how to run the tilesGen.pl program. Its arguments are X and Y tile coordinates at zoom level 12. Here is a shorthand, mostly for northern Europe, with Linköping in boldface:

Longitude X
-180 0
-90 1024
0 2048
1 2059
2 2070
3 2082
4 2093
5 2104
6 2116
7 2127
8 2139
9 2150
10 2161
11 2173
12 2184
13 2195
14 2207
15 2218
16 2230
17 2241
18 2252
19 2264
20 2275
21 2286
22 2298
23 2309
24 2321
25 2332
26 2343
27 2355
28 2366
29 2377
30 2389
35 2446
40 2503
45 2560
50 2617
55 2674
60 2731
65 2787
70 2844
75 2901
80 2958
85 3015
90 3072
180 4096
Latitude Y
-85 4096
0 2048
25 1728
30 1664
35 1600
40 1536
45 1472
50 1376
51 1368
52 1352
53 1328
54 1312
55 1288
56 1272
57 1248
58 1232
59 1208
60 1184
61 1160
62 1136
63 1112
64 1088
65 1064
66 1032
67 1008
68 976
69 944
70 912
71 880
72 840
73 808
74 768
75 720
80 448
85 0

March 22, 2007: I give a 30 minute presentation of OpenStreetMap at Kartdagarna in Jönköping, the annual congress of the Swedish Cartographic Society. My presentation was placed in session #33 "new business models", in one of half a dozen parallel tracks. Among the competing sessions were one on Web 2.0 that touch on Google Earth. I did not choose this session, but it turned out to be pretty good. Some 100 people were listening. Even though OSM is not a business and doesn't directly generate revenue, it is a new phenomenon that impacts how others can do business in the future, much like e-mail was 15 years ago or Wikipedia 5 years ago. Mine was the first of six presentations in this afternoon session. After me came a guy from ESRI and then various government agencies, so it went gradually downhill. I don't think OSM got any new contributors from this session (but who knows...), but the message that we exist reached out to some people who would otherwise have doubted this. One listener asked "but they aren't doing this for free...?" and was surprised to learn that "yes, they do". My presentation was in Swedish and there is no recording of it. I started out to show the Swedish Wikipedia entry, which shows the OSM map of Stockholm in its old appearance: thin white lines on the NASA satellite backdrop, and then went on to show the current zoom=17 map of Falköping. I flipped between the Osmarender and Mapnik layers, and zoomed and panned all the way to Copenhagen. This was quite an eye-opener. These maps look good. I had managed to download this demo in advance, so I didn't depend on OSM server response time. I had also prepared to demonstrate JOSM, editing a map from tracklogs, but circumstances stopped me from showing this and I could easily fill the half-hour without this detailed demo. Here is an English translation of the blurb that I wrote for the conference program:

Free software (open source) is nothing new in the world of maps. Mapserver, Grass, GDAL and whatever they're called are much used. But it's crucial that you also have some content to process, the maps themselves. For they are not as free as the software.
Cartographers and the general public alike know that maps come from the Ordnance Survey, just as natural as all telephones only twenty years ago were gray and came from the Telecom and that Eastern Europe was ruled by communists. Along came Perestroika and the Telecom was exposed to competition, but the Berlin Wall of maps is still standing. However, the liberation is now approaching fast. The rebels are attacking the wall with their hammers.
In the summer 2004 the web programmer Steve Coast started to collect GPS tracklogs from his biking in London and drew them into a street map on an open web server. OpenStreetMap.org was founded. When the development is described as expoential, it means the early stages were very humble. The project's goal is to provide mapping data covering the whole earth, being good enough to find practical application, and that can be distributed without the burden of copyrights and licensing fees.
I joined OpenStreetMap in the summer 2005 and at that time it was still about drawing simple lines between points. A single road was mapped in Sweden, so it was easy to make great progress. Only in the beginning of 2006 was it possible to indicate different kinds of roads and have these rendered in different colors.
Today the project covers mainly England, France, and Germany. Copenhagen is the best mapped city in Scandinavia and the best in Sweden is -- Falköping. A single individual can still make a huge difference.
Strictly speaking OpenStreetMap doesn't produce maps, but a database with information about roads, not unlike the Swedish National Road Database (NVDB). The data model is really simple, but is gradually extended as demand and resources increase.
One of the more important issues, as always on the Internet, is copyright. The goal of OpenStreetMap is that maps should be free, in the same sense as free software. A license from Creative Commons is used for the results. It is important that the project is not accused of copyright infringement. That's why it's forbidden to copy from the satellite images of Google Maps or borrow names from printed maps. That could lead to a great risk of including some hidden errors (easter eggs) that map suppliers plant as a means to discover piracy.
OpenStreetMap might be cartography's equivalent of Wikipedia, but it turns out to be much harder to draw maps on amateur basis than to write an encyclopedia. This development has only started.

And the original version in Swedish:

Fri programvara (open source) är ingen nyhet i kartornas värld. Mapserver, Grass, GDAL och allt vad de heter används flitigt. Men det vill till att man har något innehåll att bearbeta också, själva kartorna. För de är inte lika fria som programvaran.
Såväl kartografer som allmänheten vet att kartor kommer från Lantmäteriverket, lika naturligt som att alla telefoner ännu för tjugo år sedan var grå och kom från Televerket och att Östeuropa styrdes av kommunister. Sedan kom perestrojkan och Telia utsattes för konkurrens, men kartornas Berlinmur står fortfarande stadigt. Nu är dock befrielsen nära, rebellerna har börjat gå lös på muren med sina hackor.
Sommaren 2004 började webbprogrammeraren Steve Coast att samla in GPS-spårloggar från sina cykelfärder i London och renritade dem som en vägkarta på en öppen webbserver. OpenStreetMap.org var grundat. När man säger att utvecklingen har varit exponentiell, så betyder det att den var ofattbart blygsam i början. Projektets mål är att tillhandahålla ett kartunderlag som omfattar hela världen, som är så bra att det är praktiskt användbart, och som får spridas fritt utan hinder av upphovsrätt och licensavgifter.
Jag kom in i OpenStreetMap sommaren 2005 och då handlade det fortfarande om att rita enkla streck mellan punkter. En enda väg fanns kartlagd i Sverige, så det var lätt att göra stora framsteg. Först i början av 2006 blev det möjligt att ange vilken typ av väg det handlade om och att få dessa uppritade i olika färger.
Idag omfattar projektet främst England, Frankrike och Tyskland. Köpenhamn är den bäst kartlagda staden i Norden och främst i Sverige ligger -- Falköping. Fortfarande kan en ensam individ göra en stor skillnad.
Strängt taget framställer OpenStreetMap inte kartor, utan en databas med information om vägar, närmast motsvarande vägverkets Nationella vägdatabas. Datamodellen är väldigt enkel, men utökas gradvis i takt med behovet och möjligheterna.
En av de viktigare frågorna, som alltid på Internet, är upphovsrätten. Målet med OpenStreetMap är att kartorna ska vara fria, i samma betydelse som hos fri programvara. En licens från Creative Commons används för resultatet. Och då får man inte riskera att anklagas för att ha kopierat någon annans karta. Det är därför inte tillåtet att rita av satellitbilderna från Google Maps eller låna beteckningar från tryckta kartor. Då är nämligen risken stor att man råkar kopiera in dolda felaktigheter som kartleverantörer smyger in för att kunna avslöja piratkopiering.
OpenStreetMap är kanske kartornas motsvarighet till Wikipedia, men det visar sig mycket svårare att rita kartor på amatörbasis än att skriva ett uppslagsverk. Utvecklingen har bara börjat.


March 8, 2007: Richard Fairhurst announces the first trial of Potlatch, the Flash editor.

March, 2007: an article in the Swedish magazin Tidningen Vi, Framtiden tillhör amatörerna (The future belongs to the amateurs).

January 18, 2007: Tim Payne presents (and Thomas Walraet improves) a nice GIF animation of OSM's coverage of Europe.