Washington DC/National Mall

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What's already done?

Around the National Mall, we already have (or will have, courtesy DC GIS) building footprints for the museums, monuments, along with all other buildings. There also are some walkways (though they may not be correct in OSM).

Things to do

Overall, what is already in OSM needs to be checked and verified by on the ground observation.

Here are some specific things to address with the National Mall, West Potomac and East Potomac Parks:

Around the Mall and the reflecting pool area...

  • There are various statues and pois; I think what's in OSM now is mostly the GNIS data, much of which looks wrong or misplaced to me. But, I'm not sure enough about them being wrong or can correct them without actually going out and seeing them in person.
  • There are benches, food, souvenir kiosks, information kiosks, informal sports field areas (some appear already tagged in OSM), bike racks (bicycle parking), perhaps water fountains
  • There are pedestrian areas, but I only see footways in OSM now
  • Some of the footways look questionable to me, including around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Part of the issue though might be the way they render (red dotted lines on green). I think some field checking is needed to see if perhaps some of the footways should be tagged instead as highway=pedestrian or something else.

In West Potomac Park...

  • The FDR Memorial is just a point right now (from GNIS data)
  • I see something near the FDR memorial, called the "United States Department of the Interior Museum". Really??? Is there such a museum? where actually is it?
  • There are paddle boats, in the tidal basin

Near the Jefferson Memorial and in East Potomac Park, there are some parking lots, there is a tennis/sports facility, and there is a golf course.

I know it's been mentioned to rip out the GNIS data. I wouldn't do that without dumping all of it into a database, so that it can be systematically gone through and verified. Many of the GNIS pois are valid pois/attractions that we may want, but are just misplaced. Others are historic and I can see uses for that data.

Around the entire National Mall and parks area, I would like to see us tag all the footways and pedestrian ways with the surface and smoothness tags. As a rollerblader, I know all too well that some of the footways are paved with cobblestone type material and are completely unsuitable for skating, others are just rough and cracked, and some are excellent. It would be totally awesome to be able to use OSM to plan routes for rollerblading.

Other tags available for walkways include "narrow", "wheelchair" = yes/no, and we can mark where steps are. Such details are important if we want to build some pedestrian routing application.

For the more technical people, we need to think about what needs to change with Mapnik/OSM to make the rendering respect the start_date and end_date tags, so that time specific features like the Solar Decathlon and the National Christmas Tree are displayed when the event is going on and not before/after.

At the data entry part of the process, another thing that Wikipedians might be interested in is filling in the description tag for pois/ attractions. A short, in-a-nutshell, description would be neat to have, to make interactive maps with popups and such.

Beyond the Mall, if we need more cake pieces, there are still plenty of POIs (restaurants, shops, amenities ...) to add in the Penn Quarter and Metro Center areas. I have done some, but still much to do. The Capitol Hill neighborhood appears almost untouched and void of POIs.

It would be a totally touristy thing to do, but it would be neat to have people ride the tourmobile, open top sightseeing tour bus, and the sightseeing trolley thing (what's it called?) and collect the routes for OSM.


There are many smaller monuments and memorials, statues, etc. around the Mall area. Some might be missing from OSM, but may have articles (with geocoordinates) in Wikipedia. Because of licensing/copyright issues with the Wikipedia coordinates, we can't just import them to OSM, and they might not be totally accurate and need verification.

So, let's make a list of Wikipedia articles with coordinates in the downtown DC / National Mall area, and setup a sort of scavenger hunt to make sure the missing ones are added to OSM.

Another thing to do while out is take photos for Wikipedia. Most articles have photos, but some may still be needed for Wikipedia.

Meeting spots

  1. Ask around at the museums... I know there are meeting rooms at the Natural History Museum, with botany groups and such holding meetings there. But, I don't know anyone at that museum.
  2. If that doesn't work, then let's specifically scout out the Smithsonian Castle. I know there is a cafe, and they have free wi-fi. Let's ask if they have a meeting room or if we could reserve some space for our group at the cafe for duration of the event. We need to ensure there are adequate power outlets.
  3. if that doesn't work, I am fairly confident that we can meet at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (by the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro) The courtyard is a super awesome place to hang out, with numerous tables, free wi-fi, and a place to get coffee/snacks. The trick with the courtyard is to figure out the power outlets. I know there are power outlets in the floor, but you have to pull small covers off of the floor to access the power. I think it might be okay to do that, but we really want their blessing to do it for a mapping event and have power strips. We might be able to arrange a meeting room with them, instead of the court yard.
  4. If the Smithsonian American Art Museum does not work, then for certain, we can get a meeting room at the DC public library, which is across the street from the art museum. It's not near as nice of a place to be though adequate; meeting rooms are a sure bet and there is free wi-fi.

Inclement weather

In event of inclement weather, we could do an OSM workshop / import party type event at the same meeting spot. We can have some datasets ready to go into OSM, and with JOSM and Potlatch, people can help out.

See also