The Toronto OSM hack weekend (2012) started on friday with an introduction to OpenStreetMap presentation at the Ryerson Geography department. Experienced OpenStreetMap presenter, Richard Weait gave a talk to a room of Geography students, staff and faculty. After Richard explained the basics of OpenStreetMap A.J. and Tristen gave a short presentation on some of the work that they have been doing for MapBox.
After the presentations we did a QA session with the audience. The OSM ‘experts‘ in the room tried to answer the questions from the audience. Most people in the audience were geographers and GIS people who had already heard of OSM. A number of the attendees already had worked with various components in the OSM stack. We had questions on projections, layers, TileMill, Mapnick, tagging and an assortment of other topics.
After the Q/A I went with A.J and Tristen to Chiplote for some Burritos. At Chipotle we learned three things. 1) Chipotle in Washington does more of the meat preperation in the back room than they do in Toronto; Toronto should take a hint. 2) Keeping the Burrito in the tinfoil wrap it in keeps it from falling apart as you eat it. 3) Next time I need to remember to bring Buritos back to my fellow hackers. Friday night we had a social at the hack weekend social HQ, there was plenty of beer and the room was packed.
Saturday morning I took the train back downtown for the first day of hacking. We had local OSM developers and out of town hackers from three different countries participate along with a group of Ryerson Geography students. I spent some time Saturday morning helping someone get the rails port working on their OSX laptop. The part they seemed to have the most difficulty with was getting PostgresSQL running. This tells me two things. First that the work people in the OSM community have done to make the rails port easier to install has paid off and some PostgreSQL binary distributions could make their user experience a bit better.
I had suggested the EDB one-click installer for OSX but they opt’d for the KyngChao binaries. They were okay installing the package but they weren’t clear how to startup PostgreSQL and connect to it. I feel that the EDB installer makes it easier for an inexperienced PostgreSQL user to get up and running.
In addition to helping people with installing PostgreSQL I also helped some people with SQL queries and helped with changes to the website look cleaner for users logged in but haven’t uploaded any GPX traces.
Saturday night we had another party at social HQ. Party highlights included beer with ingredients from seven continents, comparision of political systems, talk of election rigging. Thai food, wine and beer were also spotted. Most of the geography students from the hack sessions were able to make it out and saw how fun OSM parties can be. I hope to see them at the regular Toronto OSM pub nights.
The GO train back to Oakville was pretty full. This was St. Patricks day and the streets of Toronto were filled with drunk people in green. The 11:43pm train to the suburbs is a bit too early for serious leprecons. Many of the riders had been at a Van Halen concert, it didn’t seem like many of them were interested in making maps.
There is a saying in the OpenStreetMap world that if you want to build an local OpenStreetMap community you should import a bunch of Germans. If you can’t import some Germans the next best thing is to import Richard Weait. He almost single-handedly organized the Toronto hack weekend, secured a venue and provided food, drinks and social entertainment. I also want to thank the Ryerson Geography department and Claus Rinner for letting us use their facilities and providing eager GIS students.