[Talk-us] Facts about the world

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Sat Apr 4 01:27:49 UTC 2015


Eleanor,

I don't see a reason not to be public with my reply to you.

I organize mapping parties during the warmer months (have one next
week) and during the colder months, organize indoor mapping events.

The indoor events tend to get less participants than the outdoor ones,
which is surprising.

Why do I map outdoors? To me, the importance of OSM is in two part.
Firstly and most importantly to me, OSM is part of a larger group of
activites that I participate in regarding the Free Software and Free
Culture worlds. I see OSM as part of that larger effort that I care
about. I'm not a Geo person- rather I'm someone who has a passion for
providing universal access and personal empowerment, and I see OSM as
one means to that end.

When we think about OSM, I do think we want to consider issues of
lifespan. Will OSM be necessary if we had every town or county in the
US providing us full access to their data, and we had access to every
business data. If we had that, at least in the US, OSM would be
largely redundant. But the fact is, we don't.

In the meantime, here in the US and around the world, there is a
desperate need for access to high quality geographic data. I don't
know if you read a blog post I made about a year ago
(http://blog.emacsen.net/blog/2014/01/04/why-the-world-needs-openstreetmap/)
but we can't hand off this much power to third parties, even ones who
act benevolently for the moment.  Instead, this needs to be in the
hands of all of us- every single one of us.

Mapping can be hard work. The day after a big mapping party, I
sometimes need to just sit in my apartment alone. The whole experience
can be exhausting. But I do it because it's important. It's important
to think about these spaces as *ours*. This is why projects like the
NYC Community Garden Mapping project here in NYC are important
(http://blog.emacsen.net/blog/2014/12/01/nyc-blooms-with-openstreetmap/),
because we can't rely just on governments or companies to tell us what
our world looks like.

It's great to do humanitarian mapping, and it's awesome and amazing
that we have access to resources like governmental datasets and
imagery, but those can't substitute for going out and doing the work
of looking at our neighborhoods for ourselves.


That's why I map, and that's why I organize local mapping events.

- Serge



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