Travel has put me a bit behind on getting up a post on the second day of “State of the Map”. However, having a few days to reflect on the conference it was really very impressive. Probably the single biggest differentiator between this and most every other conference I’ve been to is that every speaker had an element of passion about what they do. Whether it was mapping a country or applying OSM data to a new project, the speakers were very invested in what they were doing and it had little or nothing to do with money.

One of the most anticipated talks was Ed Parson of Google talk on their new product MapMaker. There has been quite a bit of consternation in the GeoWeb community over MapMaper, especially within OSM. Other folks have covered the highlights of the talk in more detail, so I will not regurgitate it here.

What the talk did make me think is that OSM has become the Fight Club of the GeoWeb. A quick recap on Fight Club, “The plot is based on an unnamed protagonist who struggles with his growing discomfort with consumerism… In an attempt to overcome this, he creates an underground fighting club as a radical form of psychotherapy.”

If we take this in turn, Steve gets frustrated with commercial and government control of street data (Ordinance Survey, TeleAtlas, NAVTEQ) and that it cost him 50,000 quid to put some bicycle theft data on a web based map. So, he starts up an underground group of similarly frustrated guys and starts having “mapping parties”. These “mapping parties” become increasingly popular across London. Steve starts traveling to other cities and throwing “mapping parties” and new chapters of OSM spring up in the these cities. Steve soon has a small army of 47,000 mappers.

Now we have “State of the Map” conference, which is awfully similar to “Project Mayhem”. You have presentation like “OpenStreetMap vs. the World” and all the the stuff you can do in Google Maps we’ll provide as free open data to the community. Direct attacks on consumerism. Then there is the physical proof. Several OSM mappers dressed in official “space monkeyuniform of all black:

Second bit of evidence after the BBQ on Saturday the hotel staff asked the OSMers to leave the nightclub because they were afraid of altercation breaking out with the locals. Finally I was challenged to at least six arm wrestling matched by OSMers – all orchestrated by Steve…. Who will also be leaving Ireland to fly to Scotland, then fly to Denver, then Seattle, then San Diego (sounds awfully familiar).

Never wanting to miss out on a good thing we thought we’d add our bit to the cause as good diligent space monkeys. Nestoria and others brought up how tough it was to get selected data out of OSM. In Nestoria’s case they specifically wanted train stations in Germany, so we thought we’d help out a bit. Bill took the massive shapefile the Germans have created then sliced it and diced it to get out some of the specifics like:

German Subways
German Beer Gardens (beirgarten)
German trains stations

If you want to find other OSM data in GeoCommons just check out the OSM tag.

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7 Responses to "State of the Map" Day 2: Is OSM the Fight Club of the GeoWeb

  1. John Fagan says:

    LOL, great post :)

  2. Will King says:

    Steve Coast: All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he’s too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.

    no more signing up to a wiki folks.

    great post Sean.

  3. Sean Gorman says:

    If you guys start making soap I am moving out of the city to safety ;-)

    In the meantime we have 47 OSM datasets in – good fun overlaying it with other datasets. Great international data – really tough to come by.

  4. [...] Sean Gorman has some great observations in this post.  I’m not quite sure OSM is a fight against [...]

  5. Oconnor says:

    You made some good points there. I think most people will agree with you, but I’m curous to see if anybody has any dissenting opinions too.