(English) weeklyOSM 489

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Babykarte by Sören Reinecke aka ValorNaram 1 | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

About us

  • Trying to identify @anonymaps? You can exclude the weeklyOSM proofreaders from your list of suspects. As they rightly pointed out, OpenRailWayMap development isn’t discussed in the rails_dev list. Rails is a web framework that powers, amongst others, the OpenStreetMap.org website. If you’d rather help create a world-wide, open, up-to-date and detailed map of the railway network, based on OpenStreetMap, then you’ll find them on the OpenRailWayMap mail list.


  • Graeme Fitzpatrick noted, in the Tagging discussion list, the creation of a wiki page to discuss the addition of a tag for a type of barrier called berm.
  • Voting has started on the mimics=* proposal. The mimics tag is designed to record what a mobile phone mast or tower has been disguised as.
  • The South African NGO Code for Africa started a project using drones to map the floating slums in Makoto, in the Nigerian capital. The resulting data will be uploaded to OpenStreetMap.
  • Nick Jones has posted an article explaining a methodology to identify gaps in OpenStreetMap coverage using machine learning tools.
  • PoliMappers is going to propose, for the third year in a row, the #PoliMappersAdventure, a daily mapping challenge for the month of December 2019. You can follow the PoliMappers challenge on Facebook and Twitter and on the wiki at the page. This year the challenge can also be followed in a telegram channel.
  • Road data in the RapiD editor are now available for all countries of South America and Africa. The new release is fully integrated with Microsoft building footprints (>150M unmapped buildings in US, Tanzania and Uganda).
  • One user’s campaign to get the world to speak Esperanto triggered (de) (automatic translation) debate in the forums. The question of what name to use for international objects spilled over into the OSM-talk mail list.
  • The Russian OSM community decided (automatic translation) to complete the import (ru) of theatres which started back in 2017. By the way, 2019 in Russia has been declared the “year of theatres”.
  • In a Twitter Moment, Dabo Hamda reported (fr) (automatic translation) that the Guinea community had a two day training and capacity building session, at the Digital Campus of Francophonie in Conakry, for geomatics students and community members in open digital mapping and GIS. On the agenda was: introduction and awareness of OSM and its tools, discovery and knowledge of the local community, data collection with Kobo and OSMTracker, and finally the reuse of OSM data in QGIS and OsmAnd.


  • Twelve candidates are running for the four vacancies on the OSMF Board of Directors: Nuno Caldeira, Steve Coast, Jinal Foflia, Gregory Marler, Mikel Maron, Rory McCann, Michal Migurski, Allan Mustard, Guillaume Rischard, Dietmar Seifert, Clifford Snow, and Eugene Alvin Villar. Read their answers to the following questions: OSM activities, Why join board, Being board member, Board diversity, Your time, Conflict of Interest, Treasurer, F2F meeting, Board and WGs, Communication, What would you do, and OSM 2030 vision. The candidates’ manifestos can be read on the wiki.
  • Martin Borsje makes (nl) (automatic translation) some interesting points about imports: “OSM is not, and never will be, a 100% reflection of all government data; OSM is not a backup database for the government. If governments use OSM for whatever, it is entirely at their own risk; after all, at any time OSM can be updated.” That’s why he says: “Go outside, grab your bike, survey and map!” He’s had widespread support in the forum.
  • Jessica Sena wrote that the State Of the Map Latam took place in the city of Encarnación (Paraguay) on 14 to 16 November. There, people from different parts of the world (although mainly from Latin America) met to answer the question: What world do your maps reveal? This being the central topic of this year’s meeting.
  • The Survey of India is undertaking a project to re-map India at a scale of 1:500. Srishti Choudhary’s article gives an overview of the current state of mapping in India and includes Naveen P. Francis’ description of the frustrations faced by OSM mappers in India, with closed geospatial data.


  • Henry Bush wonders whether it would be feasible to import SSSI data for the UK using something like Natural England’s API. His collected notes are at SSSIBot.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Dorothea Kazazi writes in detail about the mechanics of voting in the OSMF board election (for example, make sure you have Javascript enabled!)
  • Steve Friedl gave his recommendations for the upcoming OSMF Board election. Comments from various people followed (including Mikel Maron, who is a candidate).
  • Christoph Hormann wrote a detailed analysis on the candidates’ statements and made his election recommendations.
  • The statements of the candidates are shown in tabular overview by westnordost.


  • The Baltic GIS conference will be held in Riga (Latvia) on 6 March 2020. One of the sections of the conference will be dedicated to OSM. The organisers have asked for presentations and are looking for partners.
  • The organisers of the mini-conference “15 years of OSM”, which took place in Saint Petersburg (Russia) on 16 November 2019, posted presentations (Google Drive) (ru) and videos (ru) of speeches.

Humanitarian OSM

  • Missing Maps is five years old. A number of blog posts celebrate this event. Missing Maps themselves summarise some of the highlights of the past five years and announce, for next year, monthly postings on their blog. Melanie Eckle also offers congratulations.
  • On the HOT mailing list, Rachel VanNice announced that planning for their next summit has started.
  • Tommy Charles, coordinator of OSM in Sierra Leone, wants to use donations to revive the mapping community in the West African country.
  • On 15 November, the Uganda Red Cross Society organised a mapping training session in the country, which had been hit by severe flooding. The training was attended by 60 volunteers.


  • A new version of switch2osm.org is now online. It’s now much prettier than before, and has moved from WordPress to Github, which has made it much easier to contribute.


  • Recently we reported that Strava has again allowed the use of its data in OSM. However, Ilya Zverev believes (ru) (automatic translation) that the community did not understand the Strava developers’ answer correctly and in fact the data is still ‘restricted’ by the licence.


  • Leonardo Gutierrez has released “BusBoy” (es) to help navigate public transport in Boyaca. This app has been developed entirely with OpenStreetMap data collected (automatic translation) by the community of Boyaca, Colombia.
  • Tianyi Ren and Monica Brandeis reported on their QA tool Map Quality Measurement (MQM). They describe how they examined the quality of OSM data in 51 cities in the USA and ranked them.
  • Linuxinsider reports on Version 13.0 of the OSGeoLive GIS software collection.


  • Fabian Kowatsch described some new features of the “ohsome” platform.
  • Sven Geggus is looking for a Cantonese transcription library (preferably in C++ or python) to be used in Hong Kong and Macau.
  • The mappinggis.com portal has recently published a tutorial (es) (automatic translation) on how to create a GeoPDF using QGIS. This is a recently added feature of QGIS 3.10.
  • Kirill Rubinstein, a Russian programmer, wrote (ru) (automatic translation) an article on how he chose a mapping service for his software product. He compared in detail different mapping services and eventually started working with OSM.


Did you know …

  • Babykarte? Version 3.0 has been released, featuring a new design, improved performance and – thanks to FOSSGIS – now on an OSM.de server.
  • … about FactsMap? FactsMap is a comprehensive collection of thought provoking and analytical maps, charts, facts, statistics and graphs.
  • … about OpenTripMap, a service that shows tourist attractions?

Other “geo” things

  • The BBC is reporting that Apple has met Russia’s demands to show Crimea as Russia when viewed from Russia. In a discussion on Hacker News, Richard Fairhurst points out that this kind of local change is common everywhere in the world in any major map except on OpenStreetMap.In 2018, the Data Working Group responded to a mapper appeal based on the on-the-ground rule by deciding to map Crimea as Russia. This was later overruled by the OSM Foundation board, a few days before the 2018 board election.Many of the candidates for the 2019 board election mention Crimea in their manifestos and answers. On one hand, Allan, Eugene, Guillaume and Rory are in favour of clear rules and following the on-the-ground principle. On the other, Mikel, who was “part of the decision to overrule the DWG decision on Crimea”, justifies his decision to make an exception through “community harmony”.
  • The UK has a national election approaching, and the UK’s Electoral Reform Society (who are in favour of the people in parliament fairly representing the votes cast) have created an animation that shows how “gerrymandering” political boundaries (modifying them for the benefit of one party) can dramatically affect election results. Dr Bob Barr’s comments explain exactly how it works.
  • The World Settlement Footprint 2015, a global map of human settlements at a 10 m resolution, has been created by a team from the German Aerospace Center, Google, and MindEarth. The map was created using radar data from Sentinel-1 and optical data from Landsat-8. The results were validated against 900,000 samples labelled by crowdsourced photo interpretation of very high-resolution Google Earth imagery. Details are outlined in the team’s paper (pdf) on arXiv.
  • Mapillary launched a dashcam that’s been customised for mapping purposes. The dashcam collects and uploads images automatically and is aimed at equipping delivery fleets, so map data can be generated in real time.
  • Stanford medical student Hannah Wild traveled to the Omo River Valley in Ethiopia to survey the health of the nomadic Nyangatom who live there. Jody Berger explained how Hannah was assisted with mapping produced by Stace Maples, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, DigitalGlobe, and ravenous goats.
  • The New York Times has created a wonderful interactive article on the New York Subway Map. The article follows the history of the development of the map and highlights some of the quirks and features people may not have noticed.

Upcoming Events

AlicePoliMappers Adventures 20192019-12-01-2019-12-31everywhere
BelgradeOSM Serbia Meetup2019-12-07serbia
AoA and other changesVoting on OSMF board elections2019-12-07-2019-12-14world
Grande Região NordesteMapeia Nordeste2019-12-07brazil
TaipeiOSM x Wikidata #112019-12-09taiwan
Zurich112. OSM Meetup Zurich (Fondue!)2019-12-09switzerland
LyonRencontre mensuelle pour tous2019-12-10france
Salt Lake CitySLC Mappy Hour2019-12-10united states
HamburgHamburger Mappertreffen2019-12-10germany
ViersenOSM Stammtisch Viersen2019-12-10germany
MannheimMannheimer Mapathons2019-12-12germany
MunichMünchner Stammtisch2019-12-12germany
NantesRéunion mensuelle2019-12-12france
Berlin138. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch2019-12-13germany
BerlinDB Open Data XMAS Hack2019-12-13-2019-12-14germany
HelsinkiOSM Mapathon @ Mapbox2019-12-13finland
San JuanOpenStreetMap Workshop for Metro Manila Bikers2019-12-14philippines
LüneburgLüneburger Mappertreffen2019-12-17germany
NottinghamNottingham pub meetup2019-12-17united kingdom
Digne-les-BainsHÉRuDi : l’Histoire Étonnante des Rues de Digne2019-12-17france
BiellaIncontro Mensile2019-12-21italy
hosted by Chaos Communication Congress 36C3OpenStreetMap assembly2019-12-27-2019-12-30germany
Cape TownState of the Map 20202020-07-03-2020-07-05south africa

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropriate.

This weeklyOSM was produced by Elizabete, Kleper, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, Silka123, SomeoneElse, Guillaume Rischard (Stereo), TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, geologist, jinalfoflia.