This Monday I attended my very first Maptime Miami Meetup where Matthew Toro talked about a potentially great addition to Miami’s OSM… buildings! What makes a map detailed and fancy looking? I think it’s buildings. And landuse. And POIs. Oh well, I could continue adding items to this list for days without even starting to talk about it, really. But in any case, buildings are without a doubt the very foundation of what we can call a detailed map. Sadly, Miami’s OSM is not what we can call nice and detailed in its current state. It instantly becomes clear when you look at the map that it needs some improvement. But you know what? That’s the fun part of collaborative mapping. It’s really up to us how we build a useful map database and how detailed we want it to be. It’s us, regular people who add restaurants, bike lanes, shops and many other things we care about. Long story short, the Meetup was about importing a publicly available building dataset and making it an integral part of OpenStreetMap. I’ve decided to participate in the process, and I planned to help out with some basic stuff, throwing some ideas, maybe writing some code. You know, nothing fancy. At least that’s what I imagined. But as things rarely turn out the way we want them, now I’m the tech lead on this. Big words, I know, but they’re not mine.
A year ago, high quality aerial imagery with a 10cm ground resolution was made available to the OSM community in Szeged, Hungary. It’s a very good example of not just sitting on the data but trying to make use of it. In theory, OpenStreetMap community can absolutely benefit from having a data source like this as there are way more details to be derived from such high resolution imagery. Also, the positional accuracy of the orthophoto is worth mentioning. You know, this is the kind of aerial photograph that you can make measurements on, like if it was a true map. It’s important because you can skip playing with different offsets and dragging your base map around to make it appear in its “true” position before you can actually start mapping. So, truth’s been told. It’s cool, but what the heck is with it?
Well, It’s been a year or so. I can talk about the benefits for days but it doesn’t really matter if no one is acting accordingly, right? There are things that “should” work in theory but when it comes to online communities… well, that’ a whole different story. Anyway, let’s lurk around and see what awesome mappers of OSM think about all this (oh, did I just say awesome people of OSM? Is it a spoiler? Oh well, I guess you have to click on the link below and read more to figure it out.)