personal musings on the authority of openstreetmap

There has been a lot of fairly excitable posting recently about the continuing rise of OpenStreetMap, and how it’s now being used in place of Google Maps, in particular since Google started charging for data. People have been talking about how “authoritative” crowd-sourced spatial data can be, and to be honest, I’ve found that the discussions seem to have missed the point a little bit. For me at least. So- here’s a few of my personal thoughts about OpenStreetMap and why it will be a while before I will consider it authoritative at least.

wherecamp eu

Last weekend was the second Wherecamp EU Unconference, this time at the University of Nottingham. A mighty good time was had by all, I think! It attracted a different crowd to the previous event, back in February in London. There were less of the “big names” there, but a lot of new faces, which is encouraging. Again, the Unconference format worked well, with people doing talks on a range of subjects, some only after being persuaded to the night before!

this is far more interesting

The geospatial world rightly got quite excited over the last few weeks with the discovery that Geofabrik are offering openstreetmap data in shape file format. You have been able to export openstreetmap data to postgresql (and from there to shape or whatever takes your fancy) for some time, but this makes the process of really using the data far easier. However, I got to wondering exactly how useful it would be as a real-life background dataset (in the absence of anything affordable from the Ordnance Survey or similar), when you would need to repeat the process ad infinitum to keep the dataset up to date.