[Talk-us] How to get college students involved?

Mike N. niceman at att.net
Fri Aug 6 18:50:54 BST 2010

> I teach computer science at a university about half way between
> Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne. I would love to have someone show us how to
> get involved mapping precise data locally and submitting it to various
> online data sets, or working on software that is helpful to OSM and
> others. We have students who need senior projects, and also run the
> occasional special topics class.

Hi Stefan,

  The best solution for a project like this would be to get involved with a 
local mapper.  I checked the area around Taylor U, and can't find evidence 
of any activity.   There also doesn't seem to be a strong mapping community 
in Indianapolis yet.   But, lacking that, there are many things that can be 
done to improve the map in your area.

  First, you might have a project to map the University buildings, streets, 
driveways, walkways, and parking lots.  This is often the easiest because 
students will be very familiar with large areas without even needing a 
separate survey.   That information can often be created directly from the 
Yahoo satellite imagery in Potlatch or JOSM editor.   Some places may 
require them to take a GPS trace - they may already own Smartphones capable 
of this   http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Smartphones#PDAs , although 
this is often not as good as a dedicated GPS device.   For example, I use 
MotionX GPS for the iPhone, and while it has a superb user interface, it 
usually doesn't produce as good a trace as a dedicated data logger GPS (I 
may not have figured out all the options yet, either).


  Another project would be to verify the street names against the existing 
street names, which were mass-imported from TIGER.    Less urban areas are 
frequently based on inaccurate data, and the streets could be aligned 
better; current satellite imagery is often better than the original TIGER 
data.    Also survey streets of any recent subdivisions and add street names 
to the map based on the GPS trace or satellite imagery.

  Here are some more tips to get started, but don't hesitate to ask on the 
beginner's list -



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