[Talk-us] Facts about the world

Eleanor Tutt eleanor.tutt at gmail.com
Sat Apr 4 05:06:04 UTC 2015

Serge - Thanks for the detailed response!  I think I do recall seeing your
blog post in the past, but I reread it now and your concerns - especially
"who decides what gets shown on the map" - very much resonate with me.

Paul - If perception of mapping in the US isn't aligning with reality, we
probably *do* need to do a better job as a chapter board of telling the
full story. I see what you mean about the blog posts, though I do think
your interpretation is a bit harsh. For example, the mapathon post that you
characterize as an "indoor event," while it does admittedly have a photo of
people at computers, also makes it clear that the theme for the upcoming
mapathon is "the great outdoors."  Eventually, most people do enter the
data they collect in the field into the OSM while at a computer, and as a
mapathon organizer, I don't always remember to take good "action shot"
photos.  Rather than assume no one set foot outdoors, why not assume that
no one remembered to stop mapping to take a photo, because mapping outdoors
is really fun?

I also hope you'll keep in mind that conferences involve a lot of logistics
which need to be communicated - for example, our amazing SOTM US
scholarship program required two posts (to announce availability and to
announce winners).  While a mapathon can be a success without a blog post
(though we probably *should* write more blog posts), a scholarship program
will not get applicants or donors without a moderate level of publicity.

Finally, to lighten things up, here is a photo of a kitten and a Field
Papers atlas pre-mapathon.



On Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 8:27 PM, Serge Wroclawski <emacsen at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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