[Talk-us] Standard (mapnik) toolchain/processes: can we teach these better?

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Mon May 26 19:12:14 UTC 2014

On Mon, May 26, 2014 at 2:24 PM, stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com> wrote:
> I appreciate Simon's response that it seems that the "really coolish"
> (people, processes...) happen in what often seems like a bubble: that is
> exactly what I was referring to.  It's like the Cool Kids have their
> "insider club," a world of their own, THEN there are The Rest of Us.

[ ... ]

Pssst.  Hey, You.  You over there feeling left out.  Want to know the
secret to joining the cool kids?

The secret is, "you're already a cool kid."

Disappointed?  Don't be.  You're already one of a small percentage of
the world population who knows how to improve their local geo data and
share it through OpenStreetMap.  Think that isn't a select group?
Think again.  Only 30 - 50% of those who think they might like to
contribute by signing up, actually contribute their first changeset.
Only a few thousand people per day contribute, out of a planet of 7
billions.  Pretty cool.

Want to be even cooler?

Become a coder of some sort.  Contribute code to one or more
OpenStreetMap-related software projects.  You think mappers are a
select group?  They are.  Now let's count coders who contribute on a
daily basis.  It isn't a few thousand per day.  More like a few
dozen[1].  And those are divided among dozens of projects.

So pick a project that interests you; any one you like.  Rendering,
storage, UI, translations, accessibility, web site, QA, anything at
all in the huge and varied OpenStreetMap tool chain and contribute.

- find a long outstanding bug and check to see if it is (still) reproducible.
- write some documentation for a beginner.
- improve performance.
- test a patch on different hardware.
- triage a new bug.
- compare some similar applications and write a review.

Or even pick a project that you think needs to do more outreach, and
help it do that outreach.  Follow their project communication
channels, and translate their bug reports, feature requests and design
discussions into something suitable for a wider audience, then publish
it to the appropriate wider comms channels.

Learn more about what interests you. Share what you learn with others.

An OpenStreetMap tag line from some of the early mapping party banners read,

It's fun. It's free.  You can help.

[1] /me waves hands to distract from wild guess number.

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