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OSM PLUS: Two weeks to go!

OSM PLUS logo

Get your ticket
OSM PLUS is in two weeks at the Marriott Union Square in San Francisco. You can get your tickets here and if you use the discount code OSMPLUS25 you’ll get 25% off!

Provisional program

The provisional program is now live here. Similar to last year, OSM PLUS is an exciting mix of talks and panels from a variety of businesses using OSM every day.

Why people like you are attending

Come and hear from FactualMapZenESRICartoDB and many more on the shared opportunities and challenges of using OSM data in the real world: Data quality, community engagement and how open licensing works.

Questions? Comments?

Please do reach out.

Why OpenStreetMap is now navigation-ready for people like you

OpenStreetMap vs. Google Maps

OpenStreetMap vs. Google Maps

 

If I’m right, today will be marked as a turning point for the mapping industry. Something huge has happened: We broke the sound barrier. Telenav’s consumer facing navigation app Scout is shipping with OSM data!

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is nearly ten years old and until now has been a great display map. Looking at it, it looks great! You can put pins on top of it. You can print it out. It even looks better than most maps, due to the insane detail the community put in to it every day. People have founded companies to monetize OSM based on a great looking, open and free map of the world.

OSM is made by people like you. We use our phones, GPS devices and laptops to add streets, footpaths, parks and anything else you can imagine in to the map. It’s been wonderful to watch it grow.

But adding turn restrictions and every stop sign in a city is not as fun. In fact, it’s kind of boring compared to the other things. Getting every address in Kansas and putting them in OSM isn’t exactly a bowl of cherries either.

This is why up until today there hasn’t been a great navigation experience using OSM. The data wasn’t there. To make a great route from A to B you need to know where B is and all the navigation details in between, and OSM just doesn’t have that data.

To make sure you arrive on time, your routing software has to know about all the one-way streets, the turn restrictions, the speed limits and much more about all the roads between you and your destination. OSM doesn’t have any of this today.

Enter Telenav, where I work. We’ve spent approximately a zillion man-years to fix these issues and today we’re announcing navigation using OSM within Scout, our consumer navigation app. We’re starting in the US and on iOS with the rest to follow.

Scout has a lot of users and so we need to make sure the quality bar is very high. If we shipped OSM as-is in it, we would quickly have not as many users.

We’ve built that quality by first analyzing GPS data. We take anonymous traces of where people drive and looked for patterns. If everyone drives one way down a street, maybe it’s a one-way street. If they all drive at 35mph on average, maybe it’s a 35mph road and so on. We license address data and point of interest info to find your destinations.

We’ve spent time automatically and manually correcting things in OSM to bring it up to what a consumer would expect to see.

And of course, we’re giving all that we can back. Via our own editing, maproulette and competitions we’re pumping all the good stuff that we can back in to OSM. This takes time due to OSMs consensus on not importing the masses of fixes we generate.

We’ve spent time drive testing. We’ve sent real people out across the United States with Scout using OSM to find out how it works. We’re very happy with the results.

Will it be perfect? If only! No, no map is perfect. The world is changing all the time and you can invest billions of dollars and still have map issues. But whenever anyone finds an issue, they can fix it. That’s the difference. We have feedback mechanisms built right in to Scout and we’ll take care of issues our customers report too.

I’m sure we’ll find issues in the map. We want to! That’s the whole point! Every issue we find and fix is making the map better for everyone. Since it’s open and free, every fix means it’s fixed forever, out there being loved instead of stuck in a dead dataset.

Feel sorry for how proprietary maps are currently built. When there’s a new road built, they all have to scramble to add it. Repeating each others work, trying to own everything and not sharing their corrections. It’s hardly efficient. Then it takes months and years to ship corrections compared to OSM where these things are instantly available.

What does all this mean?

It means OSM is ready for prime time!

Navigation is the very peak of Mount Map. By leveraging a decade of OSM and sprinkling on top some expertise and GPS data we’ve surmounted all the major issues in making open mapping available to all.

We’ll look back and wonder why we ever used closed maps.

OSM will roll out to iOS Scout users over the coming days. Watch for the OpenStreetMap attribution in the lower-right of the map.

OSM Attribution

OSM Attribution in Scout

A decade, you say?

It’s hard to believe but yes. I started OSM, designed the API, wrote all the early code, did hundreds of speaking events and a bunch of other things… but a lot of that was a while ago now. We need to thank a lot of people who were key along the way or have quietly toiled to make the project work. So in no particular order and surely, inevitably, missing people:

OSM wouldn’t be here without thanks to Matt “genius” Amos, Tom Carden (no home page without Tom), Ben Gimpert (with Tom, one of only 4 people at the first anniversary event), Alexandra Lotinga, Andy Robinson, Andy “the biker” Allen, Tom Hughes (for keeping five 9s uptime for 6 years or so), Richard “boatman” Fairhurst (first (and maybe last) decent web editor), Mike Collinson, Ian Brown, Mikel “the beard” Maron, Artem Pavlenko (the first colour maps), Henk Hoff, Tim Bruce, Jon Crowcroft, Nick Black, Imi (JOSM!), Etienne, Simon Poole, Frederick “serious” Ramm, Jochen “linuxhotel” Topf, MapMyShaun McDonald, Harry Wood, Gur Kimchi (MSFT aerial imagery), everyone at AND, Richard Weait, Grant Slater, Russ Nelson, Migurski & Rodenbeck (and all at Stamen), flickr/brickhouse, Jay Bregman (eCourier – first GPS traces), everyone at MapBox, Rich Gibson, Schuyler Erle, Jo Walsh, Randy Meech, Philipp Kandal & Oliver Kuhn & all at Skobbler, Serge for being Serge, Ed Freyfogle, Kate Chapman, everyone at the first mapping party on the Isle of Wight, anyone who dared enter legal-talk, Petter Reinholdtsen, Nick Hill (first servers), Joerg Ostertag (GpsDrive started it all), Nick Whitelegg, Dan Karran, Jon Burgess, Dermot McNally, Hiroshi Miura, Simone Cortesi, Dave Stubbs, Brett Henderson for osmosis, Paul Norman for being an important steward of the database, Kai Kruger for invaluable work on the OSM tool chain, Robert Barr, Andrew Turner, Iván Sánchez Ortega, Ant Pegg,Ed Parsons (and all the motivation from OS), Tristram Cary, whoever invented the Garmin Gecko, the Jeremey Bentham pub, UCL for all the bandwidth and electricity, Alasdair Turner (RIP), Mike Batty, Alan Penn, everyone I offended, everyone I missed, Hurricane and then Matt Amos again because awesome.

Wow, someone should write a book about all that history.

Another set of folks need thanking from Telenav to make Scout with OSM happen. It would only be complete by listing hundreds of employees so again forgive my brevity:

Loren Hillberg, Ryan Peterson, Martijn Van Exel, John Novak, Guoyuan Xiao, Eric Godwin, Robert Stack, Vlad Lemberg, Kristen Kam, Chris Zontine, Jon Locke, Tony Ma, Song Gao, Matthieu Nahoum, Huiheng Kuang, Chris Yu, Ben Luo, Rob Daniels, Dariusz Paczuski, Xiaotao Liu, Jonathan Zhao, Yong Yang, Ran Lei and everyone I missed.

Attribution: Is it time to name and shame?

OpenStreetMap is the global, open and free map dataset that anyone can use. It is created by a huge community of volunteers who pour their time and energy in to the project. It’s also fun, beautiful and cool.

So it’s sad that people don’t want to respect the license. It asks two very simple things:

  1. Please say you’re using OSM. This is very simple.
  2. If you change the map, please give the changes back. This is called “share-alike”.

Compared to paying a lot of money for incredibly license-restricted data, you’d think people would be ok with these requirements.

Sadly, this isn’t the case.

There are those who are now willfully disregarding our tiny little requirements. It’s being framed as some gigantic and unreasonable proposition, asking to say where the data came from or giving data back when you fix things. As if it’s completely bananas to ask such a thing. As if Linux or Wikipedia should be disaster ghost towns while asking for exactly the same thing of their users.

This is just baloney. The real comparison should be; if you don’t like the license you’re free to use expensive and complicatedly-license data. That’s your option. Those guys are just a phone call away, and will be happy to sell you data. You’d probably find that they have very strong attribution requirements, just like OSM does.

It is the ultimate disrespect to the volunteers who built the data to not even attribute their contributions. It’s even worse that there are some who’re trying to also own OSM for themselves by taking away the share-alike requirement.

Is the license perfect? I’m afraid not. Specifically we need more clarification around the technical implementation and use of geocodes, especially in relation to other datasets. It’s hard today to technically comply with some of those edge cases.

But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re speaking here about the simple ask, that if you use OSM you please say clearly on the map that it is OSM. You’re getting a great dataset, for free, under an open license, that millions of people are contributing to. We’re not asking for $100,000 license fees, we’re just asking that you say who we are.

It’s the ultimate human need; I was here. I did this.

How could you deny people that?

Apparently, easily and willfully. People within the OSM community have been frustrated and trying to fix it for some time. If we were a proprietary map supplier we’d revoke a license or jump to legal options.

We are much nicer than that. I propose a four stage plan, organized on OSM’s legal mailing list and tracked on the wiki:

  1. A polite email, linking to our requirements
  2. A week later: Another polite email, warning of what’s to come.
  3. A week later: Another polite email, same as above
  4. A week later: Very public naming and shaming on OSMs various social media channels and blogs

Most people who miss our requirements are making a simple error. This is a process that gives three opportunities and an entire month to correct the mistake. This is not a brand new idea or process. The FSF and others have named & shamed (and have even went further) for GPL violations in the past.

In a narrow way, this all a good thing. It shows the growth and maturity of the project, that there are those out there that want to own it or take all the advantages without even saying where the data came from. But in the end, we have to defend ourselves for what little, tiny things we ask.

First OSM PLUS Sponsors!

I’m excited to welcome esri, mapzen, Telenav and Urban Mapping to OSM PLUS this year. Each has deep perspective on using OSM data in the real world, with real customers.

Come to OSM PLUS to hear from these and other speakers, their use of OSM data and how we can solve the business challenges together.

For a limited time, use the code “PLUS40″ to book your ticket and receive a 40% discount.

Telenav OSM Contest Winner Announced; New Contest Begins Today

As you might have seen, Telenav kicked off its first OSM editing contest last month and I’m excited to announce that the contest was a great success, with nearly 190K edits made over the course of the month. I’m also happy to announce that “bdiscoe” is the winner of the contest (with 145,713 points/47,563 edits total) and is now a proud owner of a brand new tablet. Congratulations, bdiscoe!

Thank you to all of the editors who participated in our first contest. If you didn’t win this time, we would like to give you another chance …

We’re now announcing a new contest, which kicks off tomorrow (March 12) at 9am PT and will run until 11:59pm PT on April 11. We will announce the winners at the State of the Map conference in Washington D.C.

This time, the prize will be much bigger! We are going to give away round-trip airfare, lodging, and admission for the winner to either the (1) State of the Map Conference EU in Karlsruhe, Germany, June 13- 15, 2014 or (2) State of the Map 2014 Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 7-9, 2014 (up to $2,500 value and the winner can decide which event he or she would like to attend). At the end of the contest, we will also randomly select another winner from the rest of the participants who will win a new iPad or Galaxy Note (their choice).

For this contest, we will be requiring editors to use MapRoulette and please note that you will still need to sign up on our contest page in order to register for the contest. Registration and all contest details will be available on this page beginning tomorrow morning.

Thank you again to all participants! We look forward to another successful contest. See you at SOTM US in DC!

OSM PLUS 2014

OSM PLUS logoOSM PLUS is returning in 2014 after a super successful event in 2013 with 80 attendees discussing how to use OSM to solve business problems, sharing solutions and discussing the common issues that we face leveraging OSM data.

The event will be directly after the State of the Map (the awesome community-focused event), on the 14th of April in Washington, DC. Tickets are available now.

This year we will focus on discussion points and panels, bringing together the spectrum of users of OSM data to jointly figure out how to manage quality, fix the holes and efficiently leverage OSM while remaining respectful of the licensing issues that surround the project.

Why attend the OpenStreetMap Professional Large User Summit?

You’re professional. Professional users of OSM have different priorities to the Free and Open communities. You have expectations to meet and deadlines to make. You need a degree of certainty. Join us April 14th to learn how OSM can support professional use cases. Learn how others use it today in professional settings and discuss the future of OSM in your world.

You’re focused. You appreciate the community’s Open Data mission, but you need answers and facts. OSM PLUS is a forum for a select group of professional users to come together. It is a space for professionals to have open conversations about how to move the state of the art forward in open mapping. Space is limited!

You’re not alone. People like you will attend. Professional users of OSM data and tools are now everywhere. They have similar concerns, similar questions and a similar mindset. Come and meet them. Find out what they’re doing and look for areas of collaboration.

The Book of OSM

bookI’m tempted to celebrate OpenStreetMap’s first decade with a book about how it came to be.

Not a book about how to add a footpath or use the tools, but the history & design of the project. How did mapping parties start? Why does the data structure look like it does? How did the SotM conference start? What was it like commercializing the project? How the ODbL came to be and the Foundation evolved to where it is now…

You can sign up to learn more.

Telenav OSM Editing Contest Update (We’re Halfway There!)

Earlier this month, Telenav launched its first OSM editing contest and I’m excited to say that many of you jumped on it and are actively editing your way to the chance at a new tablet.

So far, our contest has led to more than 86,000 qualified edits! In just two weeks, that is pretty admirable. Thank you to all of you who have participated to date!

It’s not too late to sign up and have a chance at winning! Even if you sign up now, we will factor in edits that you have made since February 11 (start of the contest), so please head over to the website and register.

Here is the list of the Top 20 editors so far:

  1. bdiscoe    38102
  2. ada_s    31126
  3. ingalls    29998
  4. jonesydesign    21817
  5. rickmastfan67    16699
  6. Your Village Maps    16098
  7. pkoby    11388
  8. wvdp    11165
  9. Natfoot    8529
  10. bbmiller    8418
  11. hno2    7914
  12. Dr Kludge    6474
  13. asciiphil    6154
  14. jwagenet    6018
  15. andrewpmk    5407
  16. RoadGeek_MD99    5180
  17. Data411    3635
  18. Peter Dobratz    3301
  19. Ahlzen    3222
  20. dchiles    2914

I’d love to hear your feedback on what type of prizes would interest you for future contests, please email me with suggestions.

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