28 December 2007

Openstreetmap.org

I've spent the best part of today with a friend walking the streets of my village holding a GPS, then using the trace to add the missing streets on openstreetmap.org. I have to say that although it took a bit of getting used to how to enter the data, it's actually very easy once you get to grips with it. There are more sophisticated ways of adding/editing data available but I was just using the flash-based editor that works within a suitable browser, such as firefox. My own street now appears, and some others are at the time of writing sitting in a render queue and should appear in the next couple of hours. This is just a small step towards keeping high-quality information available for all to download/use as they see fit.

However it's clear that while larger cities are fairly well covered in openstreetmap.org, small villages often have only through-routes on them, so there is a lot of work still to do. I also notice that many roads are shown but which still required labels (such as a name!), even in the cities. It's actually very easy to edit the information so I would encourage people to head on over, create an account and update any omissions/errors in their area. Adding information such as street names requires nothing other than local knowledge, whereas adding roads really requires walking them with a suitable GPS device to get an accurate track. If you're walking down the middle of the road to get an accurate track you might get funny looks from people (especially motorised tin-box occupants), I now wish I had worn my yellow high-visibility jacket and just said that I was 'surveying', rather than try to explain things to people!

Just think - if even only 10% of people add just one street (such as the one they live on), we'd have the whole world covered pretty accurately. I'll try and find the time to seek out places in need of further details and walk/cycle them, it's a good excuse to get out and get some gentle excercise, then share its virtues with the rest of the world!

1 comment:

SteveC said...

Welcome to OSM, feel free to get on the mailings lists and add more data :-)