WikiProject Rutland England/Press Release

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International mappers come to Rutland

A group of volunteers from a worldwide mapping project is descending on Rutland - and they want your help.

Armed only with bikes, outdoor GPS sets, pens and paper, the volunteers for OpenStreetMap will be attempting to map Britain's smallest county on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October.

These 'citizen cartographers' will pedal or walk along every rural road, cul-de-sac and cycle track in the county, recording their path as they go. From this, they will build up a detailed map of the county free of copyright restrictions, so that anyone can use it without paying a royalty. For example, their maps are already in use in Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopaedia.

Previous UK mapping events have taken place on the Isle of Wight, in the New Forest, and urban areas such as Bath and Reading. Across the world, OpenStreetMap volunteers are doing just the same in Finland, Slovakia, the Philippines, Chile, India and many more.

But the Rutland event will be the first time in the mainland UK that anyone has tried to map a whole county in just two days. To help the volunteers reach their goal, OpenStreetMap co-ordinators are appealing for local cyclists or walkers to come and join in the fun.

"You don’t need any experience or special equipment," explained Richard Fairhurst, an OpenStreetMap volunteer and former Rutland resident. "All you need is a good eye for what's around you. We'll even lend you a handheld GPS set if you don’t have one."

The mappers' headquarters will be the study room at the Rutland County Museum, Catmose Street, Oakham (open 10.30am-5pm Saturday, 2pm-4pm Sunday). To get involved, simply turn up to the headquarters, or visit wiki.openstreetmap.org for more details.

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Notes for editors

  • OpenStreetMap is a non-profit-making foundation which aims to provide free geographic data for the digital generation. It does for maps what Wikipedia does to encyclopaedias.
  • Most maps in Britain are sourced from the Ordnance Survey, a Government organisation which charges users for reproducing map data. In contrast, anyone can use OpenStreetMap maps and data without charge.
  • OpenStreetMap was established in 2004 by Steve Coast, a student at the University of London. It now has over 3,000 registered contributors, all of whom give of their time freely - there are no paid employees.
  • Media coverage to date has included local TV airtime, a full page in the Guardian, and extensive reports on Internet technology news sites.
  • For more information, see wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Press .


Media enquiries (not for publication)

Richard Fairhurst, 07812 686279, richard(at)systemeD.net

OpenStreetMap representatives are available for interview.


Attached photograph

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