Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Code Sprint Photo

OSM hard at work

I am sitting on a plane flying eastbound at 37,000 feet over middle of America. A few hours ago we left San Francisco the host city for State Of The Map US 2013. State of the Map US is the American regional conference for OpenStreetMap participants and enthusiasts. A common theme for the weekends events was building community.


Slides from my 2012 PGCon presentation Making your Own Maps are now available

The presentation covered

  • Common reasons people render their own maps
  • Where to get OpenStreetMap data and how to load it into your PostGIS database
  • How to use Tilemill to design your own map style
  • How to render map tiles, both statically and dynamically
  • How to use OpenLayers to display your map

The presentation was recorded. I will update this post when the recording comes online.

I’ve been a regular attendee of PGCON since the first year it was held in Ottawa. Like past years I enjoyed the conference and I would like to thank Dan Langille for putting together another first-rate conference. My favourite part of PostgreSQL conferences is meeting and reconnecting with users people in the community.

Updated: The video is available here

Peninsula Lake Map

Peninsula Lake, Huntsville Ontario

I have published a new version of the Peninsula Lake map. This edition includes new cartography and map updates based on my survey work last summer.

I had written the previous map style in Cascadnik, a CSS like language that translates to mapnik XML. Cascadnik has since been replaced by Carto so I have decided to rewrite the map style using TileMill (Map design software that uses Carto and Mapnik).

One of my goals while redesigning the map was to put to use what I have learned about cartography over the past year. The original PenLake map style was based on a sample Cascadnik style adapted to my colour scheme, nautical features and a print scale. The new style was designed by me from scratch to focus on

  • The lake and nearby rivers, streams and marshes
  • Recreational attractions around the lake including hotels and golf courses
  • Roads near the lake
  • The water depth of the lake including suspected rocks

This style is much smaller than the previous one ( the style is less than 300 lines of CSS) and it behaves well at different zoom levels between 12 and 18. I suspect the number of layers can still be further reduced for faster rendering times.

I have made a web version of the map available on Peninsula Lake Map my map hosting site. The map tiles are currently being served by MapBox.

Some of the water depth data in this version of the map is based on observations I manually made while kayaking on the lake in the summer of 2011. I have tried to correct this data to match the sounding datum used by the CHS in their observations. I don’t expect the observations taken by me with a kayak, rope and a tape measure to match the accuracy of the CHS with their fancy sonar but we have to work with the equipment that we have available to us. The depths on the map should be based on a datum of 913 feet.

The Source code is still available from github

Yesterday (It is still the 10’th in my timezone) was my 3rd OSM birthday. Pascal Neis has built a site that shows you your OSM signup is anniversary and how you rank (in terms of signup time) with respect to other OSM contributors that have made an edits.

I am contributor 17,540 (out of about 143,000 and growing).

In the summer of 2008 I bought an Openmoko Freerunner, an open cellphone running Linux (with xterms and vi). The phone includes a GPS, I needed a source of map data for it to be useful. The first GPS application that I installed (tangogps) used OpenStreetMap tiles. The OpenStreetMap was missing many streets in Oakville and it wasn’t long before I was taking summer walks with my Openmoko and notepad collecting data for OpenStreetMap.

A little over a month later on a friday night I drove to a cafe in Hamilton where I nervously climbed up a set of creeky old stairs. I walked into a dark room illuminated by an overhead project and laptop LCD backlight. The room was filled with a handful of people sitting around a table. Glancing at the people in the room I was pretty sure that I hadn’t just walked into a meeting of the local chamber of commerce, which was fine since I was attending my first OpenStreetMap mapping party and not my first chamber of commerce meeting.

During the evening and the mapping party the next day I met some interesting people, learned some new mapping techniques and made it out to do some mapping. The trend of meeting cool people and learning new things (and not just about OSM), has continued for the past three years.

During the past three years in addition making friends and attending mapping parties I have

  • Conducted an import of GeoBase roads in Alberta and Ontario. I am proud of and happy with both the process we used for the import and the results of it. The imported roads aren’t perfect ( no map is ever perfect) but resulting map is a lot more than the map we had before
  • Given presentations on OpenStreetMap at a number of conferences
  • Seen looks of delight on peoples faces when I’ve handed them a free ledger sized colour map of there local area made with OpenStreetMap data
  • Perhaps made a few enemies along the way

I’m looking forward to meeting more mappers next month in Denver at StateOfTheMap and many more years of mapping.

Over the past few months I have been watching the reaction people have when I have introduced them to OpenStreetMap. I have noticed a number trends worth commenting on.

Describing OpenStreetMap as a free wiki-editable map doesn’t excite them. The problem is that when most people think about an online map they picture a slippery map, and google maps is free enough for them. When I tell them that OpenStreetMap is like the wikipedia of maps they seem to understand what I am talking about. Typically, these are people who have used wikipedia to look something up, but have never seriously considered editing an article. To most people wikipedia is a free source of information on a wide variety of topics. The ability to edit and contribute to those articles isn’t at the front of their mind.

Peninsula Lake, June 2011

The June 2011 version of the Peninsula lake map is ready. You can download a PDF or get the SVG and the map styles from github

This version includes more buildings, docks and rocks traced into OpenStreetMap from Bing imagery along with a few bay names and some cleaner text. My next step is to try and collect depth data in some areas the that the Hydrological service skipped. I’ve already been out in a kayak with a weighted container and rope trying to develop techniques.

Tonight, I gave a short talk at OpenData, Waterloo Region on ‘Consuming & Presenting OSM Data‘. A discussion on how to use OSM data followed. The audience had a range of OSM experience. Some people had heard of OSM but never used it, a few people had used the data in applications or while traveling and some experienced mappers were also in attendance. The talk was geared to give an introduction to drive an informal discussion/Q&A versus as a ‘how to’ tutorial.

The meetup was held at ‘Mitsy Mountain Coffee‘. Mitsy Mountain is a spacious coffee shop that has room at the back with a meeting table and large screen that can be used by groups such as ours for meetings. Mitsy wasn’t around when I moved out of Waterloo, but seems like a nice place and is worth visiting again the next time I’m in KW.

My slides from the talk are available here