Tue 15 Jul 2008
So “State of the Map” is over for another year But it was a really good weekend! The standard of the talks was really high and the organisation of the conference in general was very well handled.
Though Saturday might have seemed to have a slightly more commercial slant (partly due to my own talk) I think in general it didn’t detract from the experience at all. As far as I can remember ITO were the only company launching a product and that product has obvious and immediate benefits to the OSM community. The main other commercial speakers – myself and Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria were talking about our own experiences of trying to use OSM data, and other crowdsourced data, and hopefully the lessons we’ve learned will be valuable for the OSM community.
Apart from this the various “State of <insert country>” talks were interesting as it’s really good to see how various countries are progressing in OSM, and it’s good to see how coverage is increasing at a generally rapid pace. I’m just noticing that there was no “State of Great Britain” which is perhaps a little odd. I suppose we assume that everyone knows what it is, when in fact many of the attendees were visiting from foreign countries (they’d have to be or we couldn’t have so many “State of <insert country>” talks!) My favourite had to be the Italy one which featured this video:
Apart from this there were also lots of talks about how people were using the data. Unfortunately this year there was no pulsing maps but work is continuing on renderering the data, there’s a number of people aiming to get routing services going with the data, and there was also newer uses such as Wikitravel’s Free World Travel Guides and more active development on uses with mobile devices.
Ed Parsons also talked about Google’s Map Maker, in general covering the same ground as his earlier blog post but offering more reassurances that Google was not out to destroy OSM and would most likely be willing to work with the OSM community in the future. He raised similar concerns on the current OSM CC-BY-SA license to those I made so hopefully we will be able to make a switch to an alternative license before too long.
The new license was mentioned a few times during the weekend but the difficulty of obtaining pro bono legal help has been slowing it down. It’s hoped that a second lawyer may take a look at it in the next week or so. Also Ed and I both expressed interested in getting Google and Multimap to take a look at the license too with a view to the companies using OSM data if the license is suitable. No idea what will become of that though. In Ed’s talk about Map Maker he also listed the countries currently being mapped by Google. The long list of Caribbean countries inspired Gervase Markham to set up an OSM fieldwork pledgebank. The idea is that if 60 people pledge to donate 10 pounds and an hour’s mapping effort then Grenada, and other Caribbean countries, will be mapped in OSM in no time, and hopefully a lucky one of the 60 will get to go to Grenada to do some OSM fieldwork!
Chaitanya has already blogged his weekend review and I thought he summed it up pretty well in his post:
The main reason I see OSM getting viral adoption and growth in the future is the pragmatism within the community. From the founders down everyone is already (only 2-3 years into its existence) asking what do we do now that we have (or very quickly acquiring) data? What applications can we build with this? What do we need to change to make OSM even better, make it a viable data choice for commercial uses ahead of the likes of TA and Navteq etc etc. Bravo!