This is your last chance to pick up a copy!
It’s over here. If this is new to you, it’s like a crowdsourced interview…
I’m pleased to say that The Book of OSM was funded in only a few days!
If you haven’t picked up a copy, there are just 12 days left…
I’ve launched a kickstarter for The Book of OSM. From the kickstarter:
I’ve been noodling a long time about how to structure and write a book about OSM. I never wanted to write a book about how to use the project, there are many now available of those in any case. I’m more interested in the stories and the people. How the project got going, the twists and turns, the ‘ah-ha’ moments and so on.
The blocker for me was figuring out how to give a voice to the community. I may have started the project but without thousands of other people it wouldn’t be where it is today. A friend showed me a book of interviews with designers and that solved the problem. So to give that voice, why not interview a number of key people?
What will be in the book
The book will be split roughly as 25% history (which may be in interview form) and 75% interviews with key people through the projects history, with those numbers subject to some change.
- Your name, as a type of producer (see rewards)
- The story of the project, from the early days to today
- Discussion of why some technical decisions were made (usually for a non-technical reason)
- What things that worked, what things that didn’t
- Interviews with 15-25 key project members, including a favorite map for each of them and where possible, a picture of them
What won’t be in the book
Anything that will easily obsolete or get out of date won’t be in the book. That means:
- How to map things and use the software today
- How to use the website today
- Deep technical, licensing or tagging discussions (as much fun as those things are)
Sadly it also isn’t physically possible to list every single project contributor.
What might be in the book
A number of companies have been involved in OSM over the years, and their contributions have been both interesting and extremely interesting. I need feedback to figure out how to tell those stories in an unbiased and open way, which just might not be possible.
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 Factual, MapZen, ESRI, CartoDB 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.
Please do reach out.
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.
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.
Just by editing OSM, you can win a trip to State of the Map EU in Germany or the big conference in Argentina.
The scores are still very reachable for this months competition, and it’s not a first-past-the-post system: Every edit counts as a chance to win!
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:
- Please say you’re using OSM. This is very simple.
- 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:
- A polite email, linking to our requirements
- A week later: Another polite email, warning of what’s to come.
- A week later: Another polite email, same as above
- 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.
- esri has offered its ArcGIS plugin for some time
- mapzen is building a mobile mapping application all on open data & software
- Telenav has decades of consumer turn-by-turn experience and recently acquired skobbler
- Urban Mapping has used OSM data extensively and even hosted mapping parties
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.