Tag Archives: open data

Fourth Open Source GIS Conference

The Nottingham Geospatial Institute (University of Nottingham), Open Source Geospatial Foundation (UK chapter) , ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies and the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE)  are organising the Fourth Open  Source GIS Conference in the UK on 4th - 5th Sep at the University of Nottingham.

We are  pleased to announce the keynote speakers and workshops for OSGIS.

OSGIS Keynote Speakers:


  • Prof. David Martin (University of Southampton)
  • Steven Feldman (KnowWhere Consulting and FOSS4G Chair)
  • Ian James (Chief Architect, Information Systems, Ordnance Survey & Technical Architect, UK Location Programme)

OSGIS Workshops:


Sep 4th

  • AM- "GeoNetwork for dummies, or how to setup and use an SDI in 3 hours"-  Geocat (Netherlands) 
  • PM- Getting started with GeoServer and INSPIRE services",  GeoSolutions (Italy) 
  • All day  "Educational use of OSGeo Live", Ari Jolma, Aalto Uni (Finland)

Sep 5th

  • PM - "Advanced GeoNetwork" - Geocat (Netherlands)
  • PM-  "OSM-GB services and data"- NGI


The key aims of OSGIS are:

o hear presentations from government, academic, industry and policy makers on open source, open standards and open data geospatial technologies

o To understand current developments in open source GIS

o to act as a focus for open source, open standards, open data GIS research

o To provide platform to network and develop ideas for future collaborative work in open source GIS


Registrations are  open at        Early bird registrations ends on July 25th.  Places for workshops are limited. The provisional agenda for the main conference is also available at the website.


We are look forward to welcoming you to the University of Nottingham for an interesting conference and building future research collaborations in this exciting and rapidly developing research theme.

Best wishes,


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Ten Things You Need to Know About OpenStreetMap and SofM Registration

DM yesterday published an article named Ten Things You Need to Know About OpenStreetMap. While you probably already know all this if you're a regular reader, it still constitutes an excellent refresher.

Follow the provided link for the details, here's the ten items:

  1. OpenStreetMap's definition; "OpenStreetMap is a free worldwide map, created by people like you."
  2. OSM’s Name is Singular
  3. The OpenStreetMap Foundation Manages and Supports the Effort
  4. OSM is Changing its License from Creative Commons to ODbL
  5. Mapping Parties are Events to Expand OSM
  6. Google’s Recent Decision to Charge Heavy Users of its Google Maps API is Pushing Developers to OSM
  7. Where to Get OSM Tiles
  8. Many Apps Offer OSM Data as an Option
  9. Some Countries are Heavier OSM Contributors and Users than Others
  10. OSM has an Annual Conference, The State of the Map

Also announced earlier this week is the opening of the registration for State of the Map conference, to be held in Tokyo September 6-8th, just before FOSS4G at the same location. [correction: rather same "region" of the world... FOSS4G being held in Beijing, sorry]

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OpenStreetMap’s Growth Accelerates in

Analysis of weekly snapshots of the OSM Planet file shows fast and steady growth in road coverage. This is positive news for any organization looking to adopt OSM. BEYONAV's analysis (performed using BeyoViewer, a highly efficient rendering and analysis package) goes back to the end, and the pace of growth is steadily accelerating.

[Editor's note, also from the landing page: "The OSM dataset in it’s entirety grew nearly 75% in, and over 150% — more than doubling in size — over the last two years. On average, over 96,000 kilometers of new roadway were added every weeks during, compared to 64,000 kilometers of new roadway each week during. The pace of the growth is very steady. Even at the very small time interval of seven days, the standard deviation of how much data is contributed to OSM each week is remarkably low."

Also from the landing page: "OSM is widely considered to have the most complete cartographic record of our planet outside of possibly Google Maps which incorporates OSM with their own proprietary mapping data." - I wasn't aware that Google uses OpenStreetMap data to some extent. Can anyone confirm? That would be great news!]

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Apple Using OpenStreetMap Data in iPhoto for iOS and OpenStreetPad for iOS

It's rare there is such great news for open geospatial data. Here's the "Welcome, Apple!" entry from the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Of course there are initial quirks, but it's a start and it's excellent pushing in favor of OpenStreetMap data.

From the welcome message: "The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple’s iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US). [...] The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April) so don’t expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It’s also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap’s contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there."

Of course, Slashdot is also discussing the news and MacRumors provides more insights: "Daring Fireball's John Gruber later clarified that Apple was still using Google Maps for the Places functionality in iPhoto for iOS but that maps for Photo Journals and slideshows were coming directly from Apple. [...] Toward that end, Apple has been working hard to beef up its own in-house mapping expertise over the past several years, acquiring several small companies including Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies."

For the U.S., Apple is apparently using TIGER data. If you're curious, here's a nice tool to compare Apple tiles (based on OSM) and OpenStreetMap tiles. If you're eager for more coverage from the generic web sources, APB offers more links.

Related, you know I've been looking for an iOS editor of OpenStreetMap data for a while, and the great news is that the new open source OpenStreetPad project for iOS is exactly this!

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OpenStreetMap News and State of the Map Roundup

With State of the Map now behind, here's what I found on the geoblogs that we haven't mentioned yet. Thanks to Slashgeo editor Nicolas Gignac, we were able to provide on-site coverage this year.

  • APB offers a State of the Map RoundUp
  • And in another entry, APB mentions the USGS OpenStreetMap Collaborative Prototype, a snippet of the released report: "The OSM software proved effective in providing a usable platform for collaborative data editing."
  • SS shares his account of State of the Map opening keynote by Richard Weait
  • Another SS entry is named OpenStreetMap for Commercial Applications
  • SS goes on with an entry named The Clever Evolution of Walking Papers, a paper-based solution for contributing to OpenStreetMap that we mentioned before
  • SS also shared, just before SotM, a perspective named Why should open geospatial data and software be taken seriously?
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FOSS4G: OpenData, OpenLayers Mobile, Nodejs-Mapnik, OpenAerialMap

On the fourth day at FOSS4G, the first plenary sessions involved the presentation by the national mapping agency in UK Ordnance Survey, which really exposed the challenge this kind of organisation such as making data free as much as possible, but at the same time supporting data collection, integration, delivering and proper communication with the user community. His message was in clear to all managers in public mapping agency: be brave and progressive in your way of thinking as well as try to optimize the location of the line to draw between free open data and premium paid datasets.

On the presentation session, many new projects arising from the industry were demonstrated. First, OpenLayers version 2.11 supporting new improved features for mobile technology was presented. In previous edition, OpenLayers had poor navigation and interaction in mobile phones. Since the Lausanne OpenLayers Code Sprint in, touch events across the library, such as pan, zoom, draw/edition, selection and geolocation position has been developed. The library has been reduced to increase performance. At the same time, when the best OpenLayers developers are experiencing hard challenges in mobile development (e.g. no standard across mobile devices), it might be because that it is really a challenge for most geospatial developers.

Another convergence of new project is the Nodejs and Mapnik as tiling solution. In a presentation on tiling, Nodejs, as a javascript for server-side development, has been demonstrated to be effective for Service-oriented Architecture (SoA). For the need of authentification, distributed rendering, styling and tiles in a non-monolithic servers, the Nodejs-Mapnik has been a good solution. This event-driven and scalable solution has demonstrated the use of the Nodejs-Mapnik combination. However, some down-side have been identified as Nodejs is evolving so fast that it is not stable in its version compared to Mapnik.

A presentation on the status of OpenAerialMap by Schuyler Erle has exposed the need of imagery for OpenStreetMappers especially during humanitarian crisis, which users really need access to imagery to do their work properly. The example of Haiti is one of the best one and when images were donated to the Humanitarian OSM, it really serves the need of supporting emergency responders. Mapserver and Tilecache have been used by Chrisopher Smith to give imagery access to organisations in the field. Schuyler also exposes the architecture of the OAM in 3 main server components : 1) a central index servers for metadata cataloging imagery, 2) an images server to store the raw imagery data as archives and 3) a web server to publish tiles for mappers around the world in a GIS cloud computing type of environment. What’s now? The project is having problems finding volunteers to contributes, as well as corporate support and the lack of partnership with source imagery is lacking. As this project is valuable as OpenStreetMap, but as an infrastructure driven project, the OAM needs contributions from potential users, imagery providers, public organisation and university. Who is interested?

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State of the Map: Mapping with OSM for humanitarian goals

Since the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean in, volunteers around the world have been involved right from the start in the force task when a major event is seeking help from mappers. Over the years, OSM and its Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT) has been playing a key role in collaboration with emergency managers (e.g. MapAction, UN-OCHA, USAID, local government) and has demonstrated its usefulness. The HOT was involved in many crisis management situations, such as the Earthquake in Haiti, the Revolution of the people in Tunisia and Libya, the Ketsana Typhoon in Philippines, the Tsunami in Japan, the flooding of Richelieu River in Canada, etc.

In Denver, the delegation of Japanese was well represented with two subjects at the State of the Map and one at the FOSS4G. In some other countries, such as Tunisia and Libya, OSM has been demonstrated to be an empowerment tool such as Facebook and Twitter during a crisis when information was at stake. Contribution of volunteers from Japan and other parts of the world (e.g. Haiti) has been done mostly in collaboration with NGO’s, public organisation, UN offices and private contributors. Finally, in the disaster risk panel, chaired by Kate Chapman from HOT, at the State of the Map conference on Sunday, a project utilizing OSM and Open Source Software for Disaster Risk reduction in Indonesia was presented and general discussion was made on what is so challenging for mapping Team in such exercise (e.g. using commercial imagery, government trust and licensing problems).

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State of the Map: How to map the world and have fun doing it!

While the first day of the State of the Map in Denver was a bang on Business day and Mapping Party, the second part of the Conference has been schedule as the Weekend – Community. During these three beautiful sunny days in the Colorado Capital City, technical development, ethics, grassroots mobilizing effect, quality control, humanitarian mission, symbology enhancement were some of the subject presented and discussed.

The total number of registered persons was estimated around 255 (as one of the biggest ever) and more than 15 sponsors supported the Conference. This Denver edition marked a step forward maturity for the OSM Foundation and its related OSM projects (OpenCycleMap, OpenTrailView, OpenStreetMap-3D, etc.) as well as its presence in North-America (will see after the event). With more than 400 000 members, OSM is one of the biggest open source project in the world in terms of members participating within the same environment. This edition of marked a point where the community has a vibrant presence in many continents and looks more diverse than ever (Africa: Tunisia, Middle-East: Israel, Australia, Americas, Europe and Asia: Philippines and India). State of the Map Conference is very different than usual or formal IT/GIS Conference, it just lets sense of humour, Humanity and Engagement been expressed and playing a role in all contribution and activists presentation. The fun-filled atmosphere lets the community to learn unique story of OSM mapping projects (e.g. blind mapper in the Philippines, live balloon photography to document the size of protests in Chile, Address Hunter multi-player game), their positive changes all over the world (e.g. Mapping for Changes) and at the same time what is yet to be develop for the upcoming years (e.g. Road Sheilds, OpenTrailView, Local Chapter).

While there is still new private partners involved recently with OSM, such as ESRI (e.g. ArcGIS Editor for OSM), this “Do It Yourself” (DIY) type of mapping project looks now as a datasource that cannot be ignored by public (e.g. USGS, Ordnance Survey) and private (e.g. MapQuest, Bing, Yahoo! and Google) geospatial data provider in their business model.

OpenStreetMap annual event finished Sunday night with its General Meeting with new board members, but the presence of OSM at FOSS4G during the week ahead will still be active in Denver in workshops, presentations and discussion on Open Data.

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eHarta geospatial project awarded at Open Data Challenge

eHarta collaborative project won the “Better Data Award” at “Open Data Challenge”. The prize was awarded at the Digital Agenda Assembly, being held in Brussels on 16th and 17th June, by the European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes. Open Data Chalenge Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy under the auspices of the Share-PSI initiative, the Open Data Challenge invited designers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public to come up with useful, valuable or interesting uses for open public data. It attracted 430 entries from across the EU. Entries were invited in four categories for prize money totalling €20 000. The categories were fully blown apps, ideas, visualisations and liberated public sector datasets. The winners were selected by open data experts, including the inventor of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee. eHarta Is a collection of thousands of old georeferenced maps, published and documented with the help of the community. The dataset is published by geo-spatial – a collaborative online platform aiming to facilitate the sharing of geospatial knowledge and the discovery and publishing of free geographic datasets and maps for the Romanian community. The eHarta maps are freely available for download as georeferenced files and accessible through a number of web services that fit a broad range of users (e.g. Zoomify tiles or KML files for ordinary users; OGC compliant geospatial web services like WMS/WMTS/WMS-C/TMS/CSW for users with advanced geospatial skills). A webmapping application, which integrates all the old maps published within eHarta project, was implemented on geo-spatial. The users can use the left menu to adjust the map content by selecting the visible layers or by adjusting the layers opacity. The top toolbar contains useful instruments for map navigation. Through standard web services the users are able to create mashups using eHarta maps along with data from other geospatial services.

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Toronto Joins other Canadian Cities in Open Data

Via internal email I learned about the City of Toronto joining other canadian cities for opening their data, which includes a lot of geospatial data. From the toronto.ca/open site: "The Cities of TorontoEdmontonOttawa and Vancouver have joined forces to collaborate on an "Open Data Framework". The project aims to enhance current open data initiatives in the areas of data standards, terms of use agreements and open data website design." Before you ask, here's the licensing terms: "The City of Toronto (City) now grants you a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute the datasets in all current and future media and formats for any lawful purpose." Toronto offers a variety of data in the Shapefile format, some raster in ESDAS, and WMS services too. We mentioned last March the federal data.gc.ca initiative, and previously, we mentioned the open data initiative of Ottawa and Edmonton, that Montreal is also heading towards open data, and arguments on why Edmonton and Vancouver open data efforts did not succeeded as expected.

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