[Talk-ca] The Statistics Canada Project

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 23:13:34 UTC 2016

First I'm not running it but I used to work there before I retired and have
since have been bribed with a mug of coffee to provide some input so I
think have an understanding of what they are trying to do.

Essentially they are interested in adding details to non-residential
buildings in Ottawa / Gatineau.  The sort of details they are after in my
mind will require a physical mapper to look at the building.  This is
traditional OpenStreetMap mapping, nothing else.  The intent is not to wave
a magic wand and pour all sorts of data into OpenStreetMap.

However they would like some reassurance of completeness.  Have we mapped
all the buildings?

The buildings they are interested in probably number around 5,000 and many
/ most are in the map already although they do not have all the tags Stats
Canada would like. I can't remember if the colour of the door was one but
they are of that type.

After a conversation between Stats Canada and The City of Ottawa with some
other people involved a file containing all the buildings in Ottawa was

The City of Ottawa agreed to make this available.  By the time it was made
available the City of Ottawa had changed its Open Data license, the process
took three years by the way to one which is for all practical purposes the
same as the Federal Government's Open Data portal.   My understanding is
the that file is currently available on one of the City of Ottawa's servers
but I may be wrong.  The original intention was it would be made available
on the Treasury Board's Open Data web site which is normally considered to
be compatible with OpenStreetMap's .odbl license.  I'm not quite certain if
it has made its way to the Federal Government's Open Data Portal yet but
that was the intention and I don't think that has changed.

There will always be different points of view about whether or not a
particular Open Data license is compatible with OpenStreetMap but I think
in this case considerable effort and research was made to ensure the
licensing was correct.  I distinctly recall murmurings of frustration being
heard at Stats Canada about licensing on more than one occasion.

There have been a number of meetings / discussions, four or five I think,
with the local mappers that were open to all.  A group physically meets up
at the Happy Goat in Ottawa from time to time.  I don't think AJ Ashton nor
Stewart Downs were amongst them but they were invited.  The local group is
hosting a tile whatever to cover Ottawa in support of this project.  I
think I was at a meeting at a Starbucks where there was a discussion by
mappers about the building import and the best process to use to bring in
the building outlines, but at all the meetings to my knowledge there was
mention that in order to avoid the drawing odd shaped buildings in iD and
to ensure that all the buildings were known about there would be use of
Open Data in support of the project.

There has been some discussion in talk-ca.

Statistics Canada have been talking to people in Brussels at SOTM and also
at the American OSM SOTM.

Within the wider OSM community there has been some discussion and much

This is the first time Statistics Canada has been involved with something
of this nature and they are still learning.  They are trying to work with
the local mapping community but internally they also have some target dates
they would like to meet.

The import was done by the local community.

I think what should have happened is the intention of the import should
have been raised as a courtesy with the import discussion forum but having
seen their input about CANVEC data being imported they seem to have a less
than helpful reputation which is unfortunate.

Stats Canada was hoping to announce the project today and I think they now
have done so.


So it may have been tempting to add a few buildings before they started.

It should have been done using import OSM userids.

It should have been done carefully only importing where there were no
existing buildings.  This takes a lot longer and for an import of this size
the temptation would probably be to import the more rural areas where fewer
buildings are mapped and be much more careful in the city centre.

So currently the Statistics Canada project is now live and they are asking
people to add data or rather tags to existing buildings and there are quite
a few existing buildings on the map in Ottawa that can be worked on
already.  This is slightly different than using iD to draw buildings which
has led to some rather strange shaped buildings on the map.  I'm hoping
OpenStreetMap will gain more than a few new mappers with this initiative
and for that reason alone it is well worth supporting.

By the way does anyone have any input about how local local is?  It is
impossible to contact and gain consensus of everyone who has ever mapped in
Ottawa or Gatineau.  A reasonable attempt was made to reach out to local

Does anyone care to suggest how to move forward on this?

Many Thanks

Cheerio John
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-ca/attachments/20161017/e14a9ce8/attachment.html>

More information about the Talk-ca mailing list