Missing Maps Reading

24 February 2018

Unmapped Places

I have been doing some mapping of late for the Missing Maps project. In conversation with people at Reading Geek Night we wanted to see if we could run an event in Reading. Well we have managed to get the use of space at work.life and the promise of some Pizza from Zizzi in King Street.

In the west we take maps for granted. That post arrives, that people can find your place, that government and companies can plan the services they provide. These are so fundamental the functioning of society that we take them for granted. But they require the investment and effort to create.

The picture above is an analysis of data in the OpenStreetMap database. It shows the number of town and village entries that do not have surrounding residential roads. It is a fairly good indicator of the coverage of maps in various areas. Notice that big band of red across the centre of the map. That is the problem.

But there is a very effective way we now have of solving this. We have access to high resolution images of the entire world, we have the software to allow people to look at these and create a simple map of roads and buildings. When we have these base layers it is relatively easy for local people to add names to roads, tag hospitals and schools.

The Missing Maps project is aiming to get the rest of the world mapped. Working with OpenStreetMap, and specifically the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), to create an open data map of the world. Here is a great little video that explains the project.

So if you are in reading and want to come along, get your ticket here. The first event is 20 March 2018 at work.life 33 King’s Road, RG1 3AR Reading. If you can’t make that we are already planning the next event on 17 April 2018. Come along and help map the world.

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Open Streetmap v Google smackdown

24 April 2015

While everybody seems to be using Google maps, the quality of the maps in Open Streetmaps has quietly surged ahead. Now the detail and useful information on OSM easily beets Google into the covers. Here is a simple example of a location in Reading that I know well.

osm screenshot

Open Streetmap of and area in Reading UK

google map screenshot

Google maps of the same location

 

The street names are there in the Google version, and one or two building outlines. Bus stops are in both, but in OSM these all have labels. Many more amenities are in OSM that Google, and they probably score equally on businesses. I would have thought that Google would have many more businesses, but perhaps these are not all displayed in trying to keep the map clean.

Try it yourself and see if you can find an area where Google is better!