Cat in a tree

State of the Map US: OSM in Biz and Map Roulette

Finally, it is spring. What better way to wake up brain cells than spending the weekend with maps, map nerds and ideas.

For the morning sessions, I attended sessions to consider the true potential of business and technology in the OpenStreetmap community and the wider network.

Eric Rodenbeck of Stamen Designs uses OSM for half of their map projects. Giving back to the community, Stamen provides some of their beautiful designs for free (eg. Watercolour). They served 250 million free tiles in March 2014. An example of the extensibility of OSM is the potential to add a layers of useful information on a map highlighting the park than just the roads. (They did a National Park project which used OSM which included custom pins.) The potential of OSM in business, according to Rodenbeck, is to financially viable, more exposure and paying it forward.

If I was a funder or a developer with spare time, I would invest ASAP into helping MapRoulette.org build a mobile and localized process to grow it internationally. Imagine the potential in a very mobile, global space. Every community should learn from them: easy interface, small task, clear and solid mission. The tool serves easy errors/bugs to fix. They focus on accomplishment and rewards. As we think about how to grow community and support for OSM, the window to success can be seen from the recent Connectivity errors map Roulette. The tool served up 40 000 map errors which messed up the intersections and the ability to create routing maps. The community repaired these within 6 weeks. In the future they may do a leaderboard or better stats in the future. Right now there are two core developers and they could use help

Martin of MapRoulette advised that the following are key to creating a good challenge:

1. make it armchair: Tasks that can be resolved by just looking at data no local knowledge

2. Small ask, brief time allotment: Tasks that can be easy to fix -taking seconds not minutes

3. Watch the tangents: Fix one thing, load and move onto the next task


About the Event: Stateofthemap.us

All the sessions are being recorded so you can watch the talks after Monday.


(Photo: cat in Cherry Blossom trees (Washington DC), April 2014)

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