WikiProject Surrey Hills England/Press Release

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Mapping revolution heads for the hills

A group of volunteers forming part of a global mapping revolution are heading for the Surrey Hills - and they need your help.

Armed only with bicycles, GPS (SatNav) units, and cameras, the OpenStreetMap volunteers will be making a map of the Surrey Hills, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October.

These 'citizen cartographers' will drive, ride or walk along every road, cul-de-sac and cycle track in the area, using GPS (SatNav) units to record their path. From this, they will build up a detailed map that is free of copyright and license usage restrictions, so that anyone can use it without paying a royalty. For example, their maps are already in use on Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopaedia.

Previous UK mapping parties have taken place on the Isle of Wight, the New Forest, Rutland and urban areas such as Bath and Reading. Across the world, OpenStreetMap volunteers are doing just the same in over 25 countries including Finland, Slovakia, the Philippines, Chile, India and Australia.

"You don’t need any experience or special equipment," explained Richard Fairhurst, an OpenStreetMap volunteer. "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 base for the mapping party will be Reigate to the east of the Surrey Hills. To get involved, simply turn up at 21 Monks Court, Monks Walk, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0SR 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, when a student at the University of London. It now has over 3,500 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)

Etienne Cherdlu, 0793-032-0241, 80n80n@gmail.com

OpenStreetMap representatives are available for interview.