Map the Carribean with OSM

When OSMer Gervase Markham heard the news from Google’s Ed Parsons about their mapping activities in the Carribean he had an idea.

Why let Google users have all the fun mapping Carribean islands?  Why not send OSMers out to remote and exotic islands to map them and evangelise about OSM?  Gervase has set up a pledge at PledgeBank which goes like this:

“I will spend an hour OpenStreetMapping features on Caribbean
islands from Yahoo! aerial imagery and will also donate £10 to the
OpenStreetMap Foundation
but only if 60 other people will do the same.”

Sign up for the pledge here pledge at PledgeBank

Saturday Night BBQ and Socialising

Here’s the plan for Saturday night at SOTM:

17:00 – 20:00 Socialising and catch up time in the bar of the Kilmurry.  The speakers room and lobby areas will be available for ad hoc discussions – but the bar is where the action will be.

20:00 – 22:00 BBQ Time!  There’ll be a BBQ for all delegates – served from the “Nightclub” area of the Kilmurry Lodge.

22:00 – late Whatever you make of it.

Registration on Saturday Morning

The final preparations are being put in place for The State of the Map:


The registration desk will open at 08.30am on Saturday morning in the lobby area of the Kilmurry Lodge hotel. The talks start at 09.30am sharp – so please aim to be seated by 09.15am.

Schedule Changes

There’s been a few last minute changes to the schedule, so please check the schedule page for full details. Robert Barr will be giving the keynote on Saturday morning and Steve Coast will be opening Sunday’s festivities.

More Info

For tips, info and news, track sotm or follow me on twitter.

Workshops at The State of the Map

We’re got a couple of workshops scheduled for this year’s conference:

Saturday 14:30 – 16:30 – Tiles @ Home and Osmarender Workshop – This workshop will look at the tiles@home stack and Osmarender, the rendering engine behind it.  We’ll be looking at the overall architecture and how all the pieces fit together.  Particular focus will be on the unrealised potential and opportunities for making it even better.   Hosted by the creator of Osmarender, 80n.

Sunday 14:30 – 16:30 – Relations Workshop – Everything you ever wanted to know about OSM’s most mysterious data type. What is a relation, what do they do, what can they be used for. Frederick Ramm provides answers to your questions.

To register you interest in any of the workshops, please add your name to the wiki.

Saturday Night Meal – Free BBQ for all delegates

Its only one week until the State of the Map 2008 kicks off and we’ve got a last minute surprise bonus for all of the delegates. On Saturday night there’ll be a BBQ held at the conference venue, the Kilmurry lodge, which will be free-as-in-BBQ for all delegates. All the usual vegetarian and non-vegetarian BBQ feasts will be on offer.

If you still haven’t signed up for the conference, there are still a few places left but we strongly advise you to sign up soon as places are extremely limited.

The State of the Map 2008 would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors:

Gold Sonsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:

Nick Black, SOTM08

Disclosure: Nick Black is Director of Cloud Made Ltd who are sponsoring the State of the Map

Schedule Released for SOTM08

We’ve just released the schedule for this years SOTM – take a look and see what takes your fancy.

After the success of the lightning talks last year we’ve set aside even more time this year. Visit this page to sign up to give a talk.

Help Promote the State of the Map 2008

Now everyone can join in the fun of promoting SOTM08 with a great poster which you can download and print:

Thanks for Dave Stubbs for the background image which is based on data from OSM contributors. Other images are from Nik Doof and Andy Allan.

We’ve also got the official SOTM08 logo, right here:

SOTM08 Logo

Interview with Jani Patokallio, Wikitravel Press

Jani Patokallio is the managing editor of Wikitravel Press, a company who produce print on demand travel guides based on content from Wikitravel and recently, from OpenStreetMap. I caught up with Jani to ask him a few questions about publishing, open content and OpenStreetMap.

What first got you interested in Wikitravel?
I’ve contributed to collaborative knowledge projects like Usenet, Everything2 and Wikipedia as long as I’ve been hanging around on the Internet, but Wikitravel was finally the one that managed to synthesize most of my interests together: I get to read about weird and wonderful places, travel to them myself, take pretty pictures and then write about it for all the world to see! And the comprehensiveness and immediacy of Wikitravel just blows away any traditional guidebooks.

Tell us a bit about what Wikitravel Press do?
We publish printed guidebooks using Wikitravel (and OpenStreetMap) content. Our books are updated every month and printed on demand, so you’ll always get the latest copy, and the information in that copy will be much more up to date than your average guidebook.

You recently published a guidebook that included OpenStreetMap maps. What made you choose OSM and what did you find the most difficult challenge you faced trying to integrate OSM maps?

As an open-content project, we needed maps that were Creative Commons-compatible, and OpenStreetMap is by far and away the best source of such map data. The hardest part of the integration was just figuring out how it all works and setting up all the necessary software: there just isn’t that much documentation on how to select the bits of the database you’re interested in, manipulate the resulting XML, turn it into an SVG and finally spool it out to PNG, especially if you’re coming into this with minimal mapping experience and if you have to do quite a bit of customization to the output. My hat’s off to our Paris editor Mark Jaroski, who had the background and persistence to figure out many things I initially found perplexing.

Where do you see wikis going over the next few years? Will there be one travel-wiki and one map-wiki to rule them all, or do you think we’ll see lots of specialised wikis emerging?
The network effect means that it’s to everyone’s advantage to contribute to the same site, and also that it’s very hard to achieve critical mass as a competitor. Wikitravel has always explicitly aimed at all travellers: there are tips on where to find the best 10-baht noodles in Bangkok’s backpacker district and there are listings of resorts in the Bahamas that cost $1000 a night, and there are specialized travel topic pages for people who golf and for people who climb volcanoes. What I do see more of in the future, though, are sites like that syndicate and mash up Wikitravel (or OSM) content, not just as mirrors but as part of a larger whole.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business based on publishing open content?

Remember that being “open” in and of itself is irrelevant. On the web, people will contribute to open projects out of idealism and because they can, but to survive in the marketplace, your product also has to be better than the “closed” competition if you expect the general public to pay for it.

Early Bird Registration

There’s just over a week to go for early bird registration for OpenStreetMap‘s second international conference in Limerick, Ireland on the weekend of 12-13 July 2008. It is a great opportunity to meet your fellow mappers from all over the world. Register Now!

You can also receive a further discount by joining the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Your support helps us keep the OpenStreetMap  servers going and promote the OpenStreetMap cause across the world.  Join today.

Interview with Ed Freyfogle, Nestoria

In the run up to the State of the Map 2008 we’re going to be talking to some of the speakers to see what they’re up to. This week I caught up with Nestoria’s founder and CEO, Ed Freyfogle to see what he thinks of OSM:

You’ve been involved with OpenStreetMap for a while now. What first
drew your attention to the project?

When we started Nestoria, our property search engine, in 2006 we
needed geodata to do things like geocode properties and show relevant
content on maps. I was blown away to discover how much this type of
data (which, like most people I assumed to be in the public domain)
typically costs, especially in the UK, so we started looking for
alternatives. I’ve used open source software for many years, so I
knew the benefits of the opensource model, and it’s something we
actively try to encourage – at Nestoria we do our best to support the
perl community for example.

So we discovered OSM and immediately saw the potential, even if it was
a bit rough around the edges at that time. It’s clear that OSM
attracts an amazing international community of talented people doing
very innovative work with geodata.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in OpenStreetMap over the
last few years?

Two major issues: usability and comprehensiveness. As the project has
gained momentum, comprehensiveness is becoming less and less of an
issue. I now see usability as the major bottle neck. Even for tech
savvy folks it can be unclear how to put data into OSM and more
importantly how to take it out and use it.

Tell us a little bit about your talk at SOTM 2008.

I’ll be going over some of the examples of ways we’ve experimented
with OSM data at Nestoria, what has worked well, what could be
better. If commercial use of OSM is a goal (and possibly for many volunteers
it isn’t) there are still a few barriers.

How have Nestoria been using OSM’s data? What are your plans for
using it in the future?

So far much of the work we’ve done with OSM has been more experimental
or proof of concept rather than mission critical. We’d like that to
change in the future.

What in your opinion, are the biggest barriers to wider commercial
usage of OSM data?

Beyond a doubt the biggest barrier is usability (not
comprehensiveness). OSM is an amazing dataset, that gets better every
day, but the learning curve to play with the data is still too steep
in my opinion.