[OSM-dev] GSoC - Improvements to Vespucci

Jan Schejbal jan.mailinglisten at googlemail.com
Fri Mar 23 04:07:12 GMT 2012

I am considering to apply for a GSoC project to improve the Android OSM
editor "Vespucci".

I am looking to achieve two things:

1. An easier editing mode for new users. (This would include Issue 100
in the issue tracker,

2. Layer/custom map support to allow users to create their own OSM-based
maps with non-public points of interest

My proposal for (1) would be to add another editing mode (in addition to
the "move", "new" etc. modes currently present). A long-press on any
position would create a node, and call up a customizable menu to select
the type of the node. The menu would be optionally structured in
folders, and could contain both node-type POIs and ways. An example
workflow could look like this:

a) User long-presses to mark a location
b) Menu comes up:
    | Roads    |
    | POI      |
c) User selects "Roads", a new Menu comes up
    | Highway  |
    | Road     |
    | Footpath |
d) User selects a type, say, footpath, and since this is a way/polyline
type item, he is allowed to place more nodes. He finishes node placement
using an on-screen button. The app creates a way, automatically tagging
it with one or more tags associated with that menu item (e.g.
highway=path). By selecting and editing the path (double-click/tap
maybe?), the user gets the last menu again and can change the type.

The menu structure would be defined as an XML file and could be custom
to the currently active layer/overlay. Which brings me to the second
part of my proposal:

I was unable to find any good editor that would allow easy to use,
collaborative editing of custom map overlays. Such an editor could be
very useful in a number of situations. In emergency situations, such a
map overlay could be used to share information about areas covered by
searches, or casualties found. In planning, this could be used to draw
plans of an area etc. Vespucci would be an ideal base for this: It
already has the necessary editing functionality, the upload API
functions, and the display of the "background" map from various sources.

Thus, the second part of my proposal would be adding an option to select
which map to edit (i.e. which API to use). Instead of editing the real
OSM data, users could edit their custom map, hosted on their custom
OSM-style server, using OSM (or Bing) tiles as the background. Each
custom map would have its own item menu associated - e.g. an emergency
worker on the local "SAR overview" map would be offered to add casualty
and search area markers instead of roads and POIs.

Integrating this into Vespucci would allow the new editor use the large
amount of existing features, and make sure that Vespucci profits from
any improvements.

I was considering to create such an editor for quite some time. The
existing code in Vespucci gives me the means to do it in a reasonable
timeframe, and GSoC would give me the motivation and pressure to
actually do it.

Do you think these ideas would make a good base for a GSoC project
proposal, and would you be interested in having them implemented? Of
course, any feedback and suggestions are more than welcome.

Also, is there any interest in using "offline" background tiles rendered
on the device using the mapsforge-maps library and their compressed
format? I hacked together a quick PoC yesterday, and it doesn't seem too

Kind regards,

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