Oops, I forgot to share my “new” videos I made this June. Better later then never, I guess. Anyways, it’s part of my research that aims to understand how regular people on the Internet use different mapping platforms. Well, not just mapping platforms but basically any platforms that you can think of including Instagram, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook an many more. We know that many of you use multiple services during your daily routines. Previous research focused on each of these data sources separately so we have a lot of knowledge on them (not playing the Big Brother here, I’m talking about an aggregated level). However, we do not yet know how the same individual uses these services simultaneously. Do activity spaces overlap? Is there a single main service or do people use different services with the same intensity? Does the introduction of a new service affect previous usage patterns? Can the user base from a platform drained by another? How do these processes work in time and space? Well, and I have many more questions. Probably way more questions than I can realistically answer, especially when don’t just talk about simple social media photos but really high quality mapping activities (as in editing OpenStreetMap and taking Mapillary street level photos specifically for mapping).
Nevertheless, I started working on this kind of research and made some early visualizations. Below are two videos showing how OpenStreetMap users pull images from Mapillary and edit the map based on other people’s contributions. How crazy is that? You grab one source of user generated content to improve another? Who would have thought about that 5 years ago?
The first map shows to what extent an OSM mapper loaded Mapillary photos to his editor (cyan rectangles) and showcases (with labels) whenever an editing activity based on those photos could have been identified. It means that people really check photos over an extensive area just to see if they can find some new details to add to the map. I think it’s impressive.
I should really stop playing around with side projects and should get back to my research. But look at this! I recorded a few hundred thousand Pokemon encounters over the past few days. You know, just for fun, because that’s what grown ups do. I marked all Pokemon locations in Downtown Miami and Miami Beach with cyan dots and created a heatmap on top of them to see where you should wonder if you want to catch as many as you can.
Click for a high-res version.
To be honest, I don’t play Pokemon Go. Was never into this thing. But I do like maps and data. And this is really cool data. So, I’m thinking. Maybe. What if I made it my research… what if I could come up with something really interesting? Oh, well. Instead of trying to justify myself, I guess I’m just gonna catch ’em all along with some awesome spatial analysis.
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.)
In my spare time, I teamed up with my old colleagues, the lovely faculty members at the University of Szeged, Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics to ask them for data donation. I couldn’t be happier to announce that after months of procrastination, some other delays and some more months of procrastination on my side, finally I am able to release a high resolution aerial imagery to the OpenStreetMap community for the solely purpose of mapping.