[clug] Open Source Maps

Andrew Loughhead andrew at incanberra.com.au
Wed Oct 8 02:00:44 GMT 2008

Owen wrote:
> A couple of years ago I attended a CLUG talk at which the presenter had
> roamed the bike paths of Canberra with a GPS and fed the data
> into an open source mapping facility which I thought was located in the
> UK. It aggregated multiple inputs to come up with an accurate mapping
> of routes.
That may have been me, I think I spoke to CLUG in about October or 
November 06. Personally, I am not contributing currently, but there are 
at least 3 or 4 very active Canberra mappers, and I think the current 
state of the map in Canberra is really good.

> Google gave me http://www.openstreetmap.org/ and I wonder if the
> presenter at the time is still around and can confirm that URL for me.
> (its a bit lacking in detail for Gunghalin)
Thats the URL for OpenstreetMap.  If you would like to contribute to OSM 
you just need to register on the website. You can then collect GPS data, 
convert it to GPX format with gpsbabel, and upload to OSM.  OSM also has 
available slightly out of date aerial photography courtesy of Yahoo.  
Between the imagery and GPS data you then essentially just do heads up 
digitising to create data representing streets and other things of 
interest.  There is a very flexible and freeform attribute tagging 
mechanism in OSM, but a set of conventional attributes must be used to 
get your data to render on the web map. 

The editing, ie the heads up digitising and attribute tagging, can be 
done in several ways. Chiefly, there is Potlatch, a flash based editor 
accessed on the OSM website, and JOSM, a Java based editor which you run 
locally.  JOSM works fine on Linux.  Potlatch runs fine too, but I 
believe still requires the Macromedia flash plugin, rather than the open 
source one. 

There is an Australian OSM mailing list too with modest levels of 
activity, certainly its a good source of help. 

Finally, I believe it is possible to (painfully) convert OSM data to be 
useable by some Garmin GPS units now.  I don't know if that includes the 
models that can do turn by turn navigation. 


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