[Talk-ca] Users in Ottawa and Geobase

Gerald A geraldablists at gmail.com
Thu Oct 29 14:18:12 GMT 2009

Hi John,

On Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 9:19 PM, john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com> wrote:

> My objective at the moment is to get something sane that can be used
> by various groups in the city with GPS devices to tag trees, heritage
> buildings etc.

So, if I'm understanding what you say above and in previous e-mails, you
want people to be able to add POIs and Geotagged photos. I'm not sure why we
have to blow away extant data and import fresh, since the GPS co-ordinates
wouldn't change even if the extant data is just purely wrong.

 If you are saying that provided I can do a couple of
> GPS traces down some of the city center roads then based on that we
> can adjust the road system wholesale to more nearly agree with the GPS
> as was done in Vancouver etc. then I'm more than happy.

Well, I think this is what everyone is after. We want all mappers, good and
not so good ones, to feel they can contribute. We hope to educate and make
beginners better, so that their mapping improves over time.

When I joined, Toronto was a map of about 8 or 10 major streets. Huge areas
of the city were mapped over time. Every baby step helps, whether it's
tracing Yahoo images, adding names to streets or verifying data with a GPS.
5 year olds can contribute, as can 95 year olds, and that's what makes OSM
so wonderful.

It's been a long time since I took a look at GIS systems
> professionally and I'm not familiar with what is the best approach.  I
> would prefer not to put too much load on others knowing they are all
> volunteers.

Don't put any load on volunteers -- teach them to do what is important to
them. Like any open source project, people have an itch to scratch. There
will be different volunteers that want every road in, or every mail box,
etc. Your volunteers want to tag buildings? Teach them to do it. You might
also explain how to fix a road, if the alignment is wrong, 'cause that might
annoy them. Give them the tools, then it's up to them if they have that

On mapping parties realistically this is better done in the spring /

summer / fall time frame when bicycles can be used, Ottawa gets a bit
> chilly at this time of the year for organising something in the next
> four months.

I surveyed a bunch of roads on warmer winter days. My advice would be to
start small and aim small. I think the first Toronto mapping party covered a
very small number of blocks, but they mapped a lot. It was a big and easy to
see change, and people get to point and say, "I mapped that".

I'm not sure with the Geobase import this is as much an issue anymore, but
once the roads were in there was lots of time to add details like type of
road and name on the very cold days.

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