State of the Map!

Posted my slides and notes from my presentation at State of the Map, “OpenStreetMap: A Disaster Waiting to Happen”, on an OSM approach to disaster response. Audio recording of my talk, along with recordings from all talks at State of the Map have been posted.


photo by Chris Fleming

I said at the start of my presentation that I wasn’t talking about OSM itself as a disaster, though it does sometimes feel on the brink of collapse. Just as often it feels on the brink of total success. After last weekend, much much more towards success!

We’re nearing consensus in the nature of the challenges facing OpenStreetMap as it’s growing, the approaches to take, and bit by bit heading towards solutions. Even the extremely contentious legal debate is moving towards actions — drawing up a concise list of questions for presentation to a (paid for) lawyer. The foundation is starting to get more financially comfortable, so there’s also money for servers and a recognized conduit for donations. It’s recognized that maintenance of a complete data set moves OSM into a very different phase of social and technical work. And issues like managing tags, usability of the tools, database performance, cartography, routing are all in capable hands.

Sean Phelan, Ed Parsons and Etienne all gave lucid talks on the high level position and issues of OSM, and fit OSM into it’s historical role.

The challenges are more than balanced by the successes. Two great cheesy news pieces on OSM, from Cambridge and Spain. Use of OSM data for routing, in mobile devices, for transport, for print. And most impressively, Barry Crabtree’s wiggling and beating street networks .. hoping he posts those, really bizarre and great stuff!

3 thoughts on “State of the Map!”

  1. Nice paper. The Katrina/bridge out story is a classic.

    Interestingly, the folks at Microsoft who were in the area knew that the bridge was out, but they were sharing a map marked up to show it, using our Toucan Navigate tool collaborative mapping tool. It included their own mark-up overlaid on top of the most recent updates from the Army Corps of Engineers.

    Cheers, Mark
    (who was in Manchester with his family on the Thursday, but couldn’t make it to the SOM event.)

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