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OpenStreetMap Sends UK Volunteer Mapper To Antigua 52

Posted by timothy
from the new-vacation-policy dept.
Gerv writes "When Google launched their Map Maker community mapping tool last year, they included loads of Caribbean islands. This led Ed Parsons (chief Google Maps guy) to say that he was sad there wasn't any fieldwork involved. Well, now OpenStreetMap have gone one better — following a successful Pledgebank pledge, they have got together the money to send one randomly-chosen guy to Antigua for a week to work on the OpenStreetMap map!"
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OpenStreetMap Sends UK Volunteer Mapper To Antigua

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  • The pledge and volunteer drive for mapping the Swat valley [wikipedia.org] didn't generate nearly as much interest.
  • to say that I will take one for the team and volunteer to map Hawaii. Although it may take two weeks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      to say that I will take one for the team and volunteer to map Hawaii

      Always puzzles me why more people don't up and move to Hawaii. If I was an American citizen I'd move there in a heartbeat. There's always some kind of jobs for clever people and I'm sure Hawaii is no exception. I mean why would you live in Montana when you could live in Molokai?

      • Everything is insanely expensive there because of import costs.
      • 1) Less bugs!
        2) The humidity is near 0.
        3) The distance to my neighbor can be measured in Km.
        4) Congestion is being stuck behind a combine.
        5) Most names of towns can be pronounced by English speakers.
      • by singularity (2031) *

        I up and moved to St. Thomas, USVI [wikipedia.org] because I wanted to stay closer to the East Coast. I moved for the exact reason you mention - why not? Moved down without a job and two days later had an interview and two days after that started working.

        I worked afterschool at a private school. Job was 3pm-6pm on weekdays. I could walk there, and the pay covered my (expensive) rent and basic groceries/laundry/etc. I was not living high on the hog, but was paying the bills.

        All in all I stayed on island for a year. It was r

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @02:37PM (#28113947) Homepage Journal
    This guy was annoying them with all his "help." No one promised a return ticket.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      No one asked for one either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      This guy was annoying them with all his "help." No one promised a return ticket

      Au contraire, mon frere.

      This is no "randomly chosen" bloke Google is sending to Antigua for some kind of mapping exercise. That's just what they want you to think. This is a Special Envoy of Googol the Destroyer [slashdot.org].

      So what was Stallmanx working on in his secret laboratory? And what lies beneath his Beard of Druidic Prowess? Answers to these questions and more in this week's episode of Googol the Destroyer!

      The truth is that t

      • Dammit. I knew I made this episode too long. It got an offtopic mod within five minutes.

        I guess I have to set myself a new goal -- each episode needs to get net positive moderation. I guess this will involve more planning and rewrites than I had foreseen...
      • by Plunky (929104)
        I don't know what you've been taking, Red Flayer. Just keep taking it lest the End of Days comes upon us unprepared!
  • by Palmateer (1533975) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @02:55PM (#28114101)
    When I first read "OpenStreetMap Sends UK Volunteer Mapper To Antigua" I thought it meant that a software bug led some poor shlub on a wild goose chase from the UK to a destination address in Antigua. Like, you should look up every once in a while while following those turn-by-turn directions.
    • I read it the same way. This is a poorly worded title.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pjt33 (739471)

      I not only thought that but also, "I hope they paid his airfare". It was quite disappointing to find out that they did.

      • I not only thought that but also, "I hope they paid his airfare".

        My question is how Google Streetview would be able to direct him to the correct plane to get to Antigua in the first place. They'd have to update the airport locations in real time.

        And then I figured maybe he drove an amphibious vehicle, but how would he get service while at the bottom of the Atlantic?

        Yes, this misdirection to an island nation by Google is certainly puzzling.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by pjt33 (739471)

          They'd have to update the airport locations in real time.

          Airports don't tend to move particularly fast relative to their surroundings.

  • by ajdowntown (91738) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @03:28PM (#28114445) Homepage
    Correct me if I am wrong, and do not mean any ill will towards the winner of this contest, but doesn't it make more sense to just hire someone from the island to do it? It would either be quicker, cheaper, or possibly both.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The purpose of this is not to map Antigua, it is to raise awareness of Open Street Map as a competitor to Google Maps and WikiMapia.

      The novelty of sending someone to Antigua generates interest. Consider the extra money part of the marketing budget. It will generate social media posts such as this Slashdot one. As a bonus, these "ads" will also bypass AdBlockers.

    • by legirons (809082) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @04:09PM (#28115099)

      Correct me if I am wrong, and do not mean any ill will towards the winner of this contest, but doesn't it make more sense to just hire someone from the island to do it? It would either be quicker, cheaper, or possibly both.

      I think they're doing that already -- giving GPS devices to people in developing countries to help make free maps. e.g. see http://foundation.openstreetmap.org/gpstogo/ [openstreetmap.org]

    • by pembo13 (770295)

      This may surprise some, but we in the Caribbean are fully capable of operating GPS devices, and navigating the internet. All they have to do is identify a participant in each island, and mail them the equipment -- they may want to start by contacting LUGs for each island.

  • The only thing worse than not being in Antigua, is being there and having to WORK. Poor guy.
    • by shadwstalkr (111149) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @03:50PM (#28114767) Homepage

      Mapping for OSM is easy. Set your GPS to record your trail, and record street names and businesses as you drive/walk around. As long as the GPS and whatever device you use for street names have synchronized clocks, the work of matching them up and drawing the streets can be done later.

      • by CaptainOfSpray (1229754) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @05:10PM (#28116173)

        Mapping for OSM is easy. Set your GPS to record your trail, and record street names and businesses as you drive/walk around. As long as the GPS and whatever device you use for street names have synchronized clocks, the work of matching them up and drawing the streets can be done later.

        Ha ha ha, ow splitting my sides! You've never been to Antigua, I note. Street names? Unlikely, even in St John. Business names in St John maybe; elsewhere on the island, forget it. We saw only two direction signs anywhere - every telegraph pole had an arrow pointing to a night club on the north end, and an arrow pointing to Harmony Hall, a truly marvellous restaurant at the south end. You want somewhere else? Find it yourself by random walk.

  • Which brand/model of GPS works with openstreetmap, if such model exist at all?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dr-suess-fan (210327)

      mkgmap is a java program that will convert OSM data to Garmin map format. It's not perfect, but I've found it works well with my GPSMAP 60CSx.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 80N (591022)
      There's a choice of about 50 different models here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews [openstreetmap.org] It all depends on whether you want to contribute content to OpenStreetMap or just use the maps, or ideally both.
  • Donations accepted! (Score:5, Informative)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @04:32PM (#28115581) Homepage

    I'm all by myself mapping Guyana so if you wanna keep me here...

    Kidding! :)

    But I am mapping Guyana and working on some advocacy posters to get some locals involved. Openstreetmap is such a great project, the data is open and can be used for anything. It allows places like this to get mapping done on their own because otherwise there isn't the commercial interest for it. I just did the small area known as Rosingol and part of New Amsterdam, they have NO MAPS there. None. I found someone in the area who was supportive of it and was able to have him drive me around all day twice now.

    Guyana is a really neat place, one of the few unspoiled natural environments left. Not much tourism at all, now the government and locals want more of that for the investment that comes with it, but I'm sad to think of the negative affect it'll have on the environment.

    Having no map was the scariest thing about coming to Guyana for me, and what led me to Openstreetmap. I'm really glad they got this project going and had all the tools I'd need ready to go. It also gives me a nice long term project for when I get bored or miss home there's something to work on.

    Thanks guys!

    • How about an interactive map of Jonestown? That would be awesome.

      PS you seem to complain about development of Guyana, and yet you yourself have initiated a project that will undoubtedly result in more development opportunities.

  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @05:01PM (#28116073) Homepage Journal

    I'm an OSM enthusiast and wanted to share this: Canada, one of the 'poor countries' of OSM, is on the verge of seeing *all* roads added to OSM [openstreetmap.org]. No kidding.

    Here's an excellent OSM introduction webcast [fosslc.org] on fosslc.org.

    If you want to learn more about OSM, here's my shameless (really) plug [slashgeo.org], hell, even the White House uses OpenStreetMap! [slashgeo.org] With projects like OpenRouteService [openstreetmap.org], one will be able to replicate many of the important services provided by Google Maps, MS Virtual Earth, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest, etc.

  • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @05:41PM (#28116493) Homepage

    Last week PGCon had a session introducing this project and how to use OpenStreetMap with PostgreSQL [pgcon.org]. One Postgres add-on that's very popular in the mapping space is PostGIS [refractions.net], which lets you do all sorts of spatial bits it used to take expensive propriety tools to handle.

  • Provides printable topographic maps (Specifically for Australia)? Google maps on OpenStreet have their terrain feature which is cool, but I really want something overlayed with grid and magnetic north info. Would be handy for when I go hiking, instead of having to fork out $$ each time I go to a new place.
  • A lot of the time OpenStreetMaps will have more details in their maps, especially in developing countries.

    Compare google maps over Almaty Kazakhstan

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=almaty&sll=43.284074,76.926962&sspn=0.233681,0.375938&ie=UTF8&ll=43.278455,76.928673&spn=0.233702,0.375938&z=12&msa=0&msid=107746239331497129542.000458a60dc6a719a8cb9 [google.com]

    And OpenStreetMaps over Almaty Kazakhstan

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=43.167025& [openstreetmap.org]

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