Skobbler’s OSM map

Skobbler produces apps and maps based on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. Under they’ve released an OSM-based map. I’ve always had mixed feelings about how OSM presented their map online. While I like the project very much and on and off use OSM data in my projects, I don’t like many things about the visual style both of … Continue reading Skobbler’s OSM map

OpenStreetMap: A valid competitor to official base maps?

Still in last year, Cédric Moullet, amongst others MapFish and GeoExt contributor, sparked a discussion by his post “Why OpenStreetMap fails to replace official or proprietary base maps in a sustainable way ?” (note how this doesn’t sound like a question but bears a question mark ;) For simplicity, I will re-list Cédric’s 13 points here: … Continue reading OpenStreetMap: A valid competitor to official base maps?

Motivating volunteers

Crowdsourcing projects like OpenStreetMap, Google Map Maker or Building Maker without compensation for contributors rely on volunteers’ efforts. There are various studies which try to shed light on the motivational factors of such volunteers. One way to motivate people to contribute their time and effort can be to make them feel that they are part of … Continue reading Motivating volunteers

OSM’s new license arrives…

… in my inbox today: Hi, Thank you for being a long-time contributor to the OpenStreetMap project. We are writing to ask you to login into your account at and accept a new set of contributor terms. Why are we asking this? We need to ask you to explicitly grant permission for us to continue using … Continue reading OSM’s new license arrives…

GoopenStreetMaple: Information wants to be free

A rant just arrived in my inbox, by Mikel Maron via the Geowanking mailing list. While I think Mikel has some valid points, I am still (naïvely?) optimistic that the bleak picture he paints will not materialise in really bad outcomes. Hopefully.

But who knows. In two events (about one and about three years ago) I asked two GeoGooglers (Ed Parsons being one of them) about the relationship, and its anticipated development, between Google and OpenStreetMap (OSM). Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the answers were very vague and suggested that OSM is “not perceived as a competition” by Google and also that cooperation is “not impossible”. Continue reading “GoopenStreetMaple: Information wants to be free”


As a sort of April fool’s joke (I guess) and a pun on the Open<XY>Map naming scheme somebody (Grant Slater of Firefishy?) set up an OpenWhateverMap: It doesn’t quite deliver on the promise though, IMO, since it shows ‘only’ differently rendered OpenStreetMap tiles. It fails to acknowledge the full picture of developments in the … Continue reading OpenWhateverMap

Books on OpenStreetMap

While being familiar with the context of, and – from a GIS perspective – research into, OpenStreetMap (OSM) and other crowdsourcing efforts in the geospatial field, I was not aware that there are books dedicated to OSM. Over at Po Ve Sham Muki Haklay hosts a comprehensive review (by Thomas Koukoletsos and himself) of two … Continue reading Books on OpenStreetMap