(English) weeklyOSM 421

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    SotM Japan 2018の集合写真 1 | © Photo by 渡邉剛広, CC BY 2.0

About us

  • Wikimedia Germany wrote (de) (automatic translation) an article about OSM and weeklyOSM in particular. It covers the history of both, OSM and our Weekly News, and some background information on what it means to operate a blog with 12,000 readers. As reported, weeklyOSM is now translated to Swahili and Korean, which was partly made possible thanks to a Wikimedia Foundation grant.


  • On the tagging mailing list Frederik Ramm wondered whether place nodes for continents are useful. Even if they are it may not be possible to place them consistently, given that continents can be defined in different ways.
  • The discussion on the OSM talk mailing list that originally started with the question on whether highway=* + area=yes or area:highway=* should be preferred, soon expanded to questions about routing over areas, generalisation and as usual the documentation or the lack thereof in our Wiki.
  • Andy Mabbett raised the question "Slash, space, or spaced hyphen in multi-lingual names" on the tagging mailing list, pointing to the supposedly inconsistent wiki page. In fact, it merely documents different practices were adopted in distinct multilingual locations around the world.
  • The upload of historic county boundaries in the UK caused a long discussion on Talk-GB as to whether these objects should be in OSM or not. While there are many good arguments against intangible historic data, the discussion was not that clear in favour of the removal. The mapper who uploaded the changeset participated in the discussion and gave some background about his motivation.
  • The possible use of the Open Location Code system, also known as Plus Codes, within OSM has resulted in long and heated discussions on GitHub and the talk mailing list. The issue is scarcely a new topic for OSM.

    Plus Codes, which are basically a transformation of latitude and longitude coordinates into a more memorable format. Like the proprietary scheme What3Words they offer better geolocation in places, such as many countries in Africa, where most buildings lack addresses.

    The key dispute is whether they should be implemented on OSM and if so where: as tag/value pairs, computed on the client side, or provided by geocoders.

    As a response to the recent discussion, Frederik Ramm wrote a FAQ styled blog post covering the most important points to which he added social arguments as well. Christoph Hormann and Ilya Zveryev (automatic translation) provide two different perspectives on their blogs.

  • The Korean OSM community changed all keys containing ko_rm to the BCP 47 standard compliant ko-Latn. This change has been discussed for the first time in 2015 on the talk-ko mailing-list where Thierry Bézecourt mentioned the -Latn tag. In 2017, users Nrimbo and Artemis64 both proposed a mass edit and the community agreed on it each time. Other countries still use the xx_rm scheme, neighbouring Japan for example.
  • The voting for the proposed feature evacuation routes is under way. Evacuation routes intend to aid people’s evacuation away from natural desasters like hurricanes or tsunamis and are typically signed with a round, blue evacuation route sign, at least in the US.
  • According to a tweet from the JOSM developers, Microsoft has fixed their browser Edge, such that it is not treating content from local loopback as mixed content anymore, which means that "Edit with JOSM" now works, as it has for years already in other browsers.


  • The 14th birthday of OpenStreetMap was celebrated around the world!
  • Good news from Gregory Marler on Twitter: the first SOTM videos of individual sessions are now uploaded to the SOTM Youtube channel. They are working on uploading them all and created a playlist for you. You are invited to add transcriptions and translations as explained here.
  • BBC radio features Fatima Alher and OpenStreetMap Niger who are mapping the flood plains in Niger for Flood Resilience.
  • The demolition of slums to create space for other projects were often without any consequences as no one could tell how many people were affected. The lack of information is often a problem as it makes the demand for compensation hard or impossible or it may even prevent the demolition in the first place. Slum mapping has become popular as it’s harder to destroy what is documented.The article at the BRIGHT Magazine explains the issues of unmapped places like the slums in Kenya but also the help that projects like Map Kibera can provide.
  • United States ambassador to Turkmenistan, Allan Mustard (OSM apm-wa), has been chosen as Mapper of the Month by OSM Belgium. Allan described his biggest achievement as having created the most comprehensive publicly accessible map of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
  • Niklas Weber, a German physician, examined the tick-borne skin disease in Quilcacé, El Tambo, Cauca, Colombia. He uses OpenStreetMap on Locus-Map intensively on his travels as Carlos, aka kaxtillo reports in his blogpost.
  • User malenki died in a hiking accident in Spain in 2016. A memorial stone has now been dedicated to him in his home village of Kleinhartmannsdorf.
  • All mappers use taginfo at some time or another. Jochen Topf, the developer, blogs that the tool now supports 18 languages, after the addition of Farsi (فارسی / Persian) as the first right-to-left language. If you can help with translations, either by adding a new language or by completing an existing one, please have a look at this wiki page.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • The OpenStreetMap Foundation has changed its headquarters.
  • The License Working Group has published a draft for the new terms of use for openstreetmap.org and asks for feedback.


Humanitarian OSM

  • Ramani Huria 2.0, a local community-based mapping project in Dar es Salaam, reports on an initiative to map the local drainage network in order to develop flood models. As a rapidly expanding coastal city Dar is often affected by high water levels. The model should help understand flooding, its impact, and attribution of limited infrastructure, maintenance, and solid waste on flood risks.

    The type, dimension and state of drainage infrastructure in 200 flood prone sub-wards will be mapped over 6 weeks this summer. The project is supported by the World Bank and HOT.

  • The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, wrote about both crisis mapping in general, and a session hosted in a hotel in Delhi by Medecins Sans Frontieres for explaining the Missing Maps project and training of volunteers.
  • A new open access Perspective Article by GIScience Heidelberg and Red Cross (UK/Germany) discusses the Missing Maps Approach and its potential within the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement


  • The question on how to query Overpass with the API development environment Postman was answered on GIS StackExchange.

Open Data

  • Aerial missions using LiDAR provide very precise elevation models. With the publication of Lidar point clouds for Estonia, Martin Isenburg of rapidlasso Gmbh reflects again on the question of access to such data. National agencies often keep such data behind very high paywalls. Previous blog posts (1, 2) questioned whether the income of around £323,000 per year between 2007 and 2014 made it worthwhile to keep restricted access to such accurate elevation data.
  • At the ToulouseSpaceShow 2018 GIScience Heidelberg announced a forthcoming new landuse data set combining OSMlanduse.org with EU Sentinel 2 data, initially for all of Europe


  • Imre Samu shows a proof of concept for a taginfo extension to enable filtering by area.
  • A new version of OSMCha with the changes required by the GDPR will be released by the end of August. Read about what will change in Wille’s diary post.
  • lifehacker.com published an article Navigate Hiking Trails With Hikepack, a review of the OSM based, commmercial hiking app for iOS.
  • OpenStreetMap US has issued a request for proposal concerning the redesign of the TeachOSM website. If you want to apply for this paid contract, you should hurry as the deadline is August 20, 2018.


  • GIScience Heidelberg published a new Jupyter Notebook which demonstrates how to use the OpenRouteService Isochrones API to analyse health care accessibility in Madagascar.
  • Anusha Singh continued working on the web based public transport editor. According to her diary post she added a lot of improvements like a beginner and an expert mode and interactive tutorials on how to use the web app.
  • Florian Schäfer worked on improving JOSM’s Wikipedia plugin during his Google Summer of Code project. According to the documentation he added validator warnings if wikipedia and wikidata don’t refer to the same item and made wikidata items with coordinates a lot more accessible than they were before. Florian also helped out other GSoC students and has maintained the Mapillary plugin over the past 4 years.
  • Srikant Chepuri wrote a diary post about the progress made on GTFS2OSM, a GTFS to OSM integration tool. GTFS2OSM aims to make use of a GTFS feed to add missing public transport elements to OSM easier.
  • Matias Dahl, who wrote a blog post in 2015 about tag transitions of amenity=* , has created a new website called tagdynamics.com that is intended to provide more insight into the transition of OSM tags. The work-in-progess website shows how tags, values or tag/values like building=yes have transitioned from or to over the time. The source code is available on GitHub.


  • Pic4Review, a simple OSM editor allowing contribution based on street level pictures, just received an update according to this tweet. The new version improved the UI, "mission" management and added German as an additional language. (Missions are thematic categories, examples here on the dev instance).

Did you know …

  • … Chris Anderson-Tarver wrote a doctoral thesis dissertation on the OSM crisis mapping done in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • … Yi Shen provided a nice way to present OSM’s data. On a GitHub.io page you can create your own Little Big City with OSM data. The source code is available on GitHub.
  • ….the DroneRadar map? The service indicates on an OSM basemap the areas in Poland where you are allowed to fly and which restrictions apply .
  • … the list of the OpenStreetMap Foundation servers with information about equipment, use and location?

OSM in the media

  • As pointed out in the Portuguese OSM talk list, an OSM map was used on the Portuguese news program of RTP (regarding the wildfires occurring at Monchique). You can watch at this website at the timestamp of 10:58.

Other “geo” things

  • On the 12th of August Spain and Portugal ratified (es) (automatic translation) an agreement to accurately delineate their borders along the rivers Miño and Guadiana.
  • Google is very adamant about tracking your location, whether on Android phones, or services like Google Maps on iPhone. Even explicitly turning off location tracing may not do so for every app.
  • A petition wants to change the border of the Batman province in Turkey into the shape of the "Batman" logo.
  • The recent heatwave has revealed previously unknown archaeology sites in the UK.
  • The Berliner Morgenpost has published (automatic translation) an interactive comparison of satellite images of several selected locations in Germany from early May to late July/early August 2018 in order to make the optical consequences of the drought more comprehensible. The German astronaut Alexander Gerst posts pictures of dried-out Central Europe as seen from ISS on Twitter.

Upcoming Events

    Mumble CreekOpenStreetMap Foundation public board meeting2018-08-16everywhere
    Rapperswil10. Micro Mapping Party Rapperswil 2018 (inc. OSM-Treffen)2018-08-17switzerland
    LüneburgLüneburger Mappertreffen2018-08-21germany
    DerbyPub Meetup2018-08-21united kingdom
    LübeckLübecker Mappertreffen2018-08-23germany
    Dar es SalaamFOSS4G & HOT Summit 20182018-08-29-2018-08-31tanzania
    ManilaMaptime! Manila2018-08-30philippines
    LondonMissing Maps Mapathon2018-09-04united kingdom
    Praha – Brno – OstravaKvartální pivo2018-09-05czech republic
    StuttgartStuttgarter Stammtisch2018-09-05germany
    Buenos AiresState of the Map Latam 20182018-09-24-2018-09-25argentina
    DetroitState of the Map US 20182018-10-05-2018-10-07united states
    BengaluruState of the Map Asia 20182018-11-17-2018-11-18india
    MelbourneFOSS4G SotM Oceania 20182018-11-20-2018-11-23australia

    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 Kateregga1, Nakaner, NunoCaldeira, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, jinalfoflia, k_zoar.