[talk-au] Tracing items.

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Sat Jun 7 02:43:56 BST 2008

On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 11:34 PM, Andrew Loughhead
<andrew at incanberra.com.au> wrote:
> info at 4x4falcon.com wrote:
> Good grief.  Can we please all calm down?  Really there is no need for
> such aggressive emails here.

Aggressive?  You have obviously never witnessed the mortal combat of a
real flame war.  This is nothing - just a bunch of pussies tugging at
a ball of string...  I have been on lists where there have been
threats of legal action and people have been excommunicated and banned
for life!   :)

> And thats the thing.  I liked tracing, and I liked getting the circles
> and curves of older Canberra to be just right. Yahoo was a great way to
> do it, and I think arguably much better than GPS, for shape.  Yahoo
> imagery is a little out of date sometimes, where roads have been
> realigned, but I live here, and drive through these areas, and I doubt I
> have traced any errors.  Overall, I got to scratch my itch.

At the foundation of this is the core of what OSM is - it is an Open
Street *Map*.   And maps are not reality; they are a functional
representation.  If we think we are building a community GIS then we
totally are using the wrong tool set.  For a street map it does not
really matter that that every wrinkle is accurate and precise down to
the finest resolution (the mere fact we fatten streets to accommodate
their names ensures perpetual inaccuracy); only that the
representation is meaningful.  The extreme of this is the London
Underground map - totally inaccurate spatially, but absolutely
meaningful (I never get bored on the Underground because I spend the
whole time reflecting on the transcendent zen-like reality, yet
unreality, of this map).

I lurk (also in inner north Canberra) on OSM not just because I like
the visualization of spatial relationships, but because I find the
sociology of a community building something fascinating (in the same
way I am mesmerized by Wikipedia, not by its content and its coverage,
but by the fact it exists at all and seems to work).

If I want a pretty, well rendered, well registered and authoritative
local map I use things like ACT Locate and ACTMAPi which are built on
a grunty GIS; but I I want to feel good, I delve onto OSM.  And the
feeling good has nothing to do with the quality, coverage and
presentation of the map, but with the fact that it exists at all and
seems to work.

An interesting about community information management projects, and I
am involved in and contribute to a number, is that they never go
exactly in the direction you want them to, but with a bit of effort
you can sometimes influence the direction in which they are pointed.
This is pretty confronting for control freaks, but fascinating to part
of and witness in action...  :)


Jim Croft
jim.croft at gmail.com

"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in
order to enjoy ourselves."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)

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