Thursday, December 30, 2010


This is my first post for this blog.

Who I am
My name is Alfred Sawatzky.  I live in Boulder, Colorado, USA.  I like maps.

What I do
I have worked in the GIS realm since graduating from BCIT in 1996.  I currently work for a Smallworld implementor (iFactor Consulting) as a senior consultant on electric, gas and telecom utility projects.

Why OSM?
In early 2010, I was working on a Smallworld plugin called Web Maps Connector that exposes various tile-based data sets in the Smallworld client.  Someone suggested to me that I check out OpenStreetMap.  I checked it out, implemented the connector and now I'm hooked on OSM :)

I also like to ride my bike around town and got a Garmin GPS about a year ago.  So now I can survey and ride at the same time.

My areas of interest in OSM include improving the data in:

I am also working on a Maperitive-rendered bicycling map of Boulder.  I will post more on that later.

My contact info:
Twitter: @boulderalf

OpenStreetMap Introduction Videos

I enjoyed Richard Weait's 30 minute introduction video to OpenStreetMap. It covered what I thought were the salient points as I understand them. I also like the video editing... keeps things interesting.

If you prefer a 5 minute version, here is one from Steve Coast at Ignite Spatial NoCo.

I imagine that there are more such summary presentations out there, but they are not easy to find. I am always on the lookout for these kinds of presentations to help me understand concise ways to communicate "what is OSM" to the people I meet.

Please comment if you know of other helpful OSM introductory summaries.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Geolocated Picture is Worth a 1000 Words in OSM Surveying

If I can use a digital picture to record OSM survey information, I will much rather do that than jot down notes with my pen and paper. I have trouble reading my own handwriting so the more I can avoid it the better.

The Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM) Editor has a very cool function that lets you geolocate your digital pictures against a .gpx file's track information. The key is that you need to know the time offset between your digital camera's clock and your GPS's clock. But once you have that sorted out, you simply turn on your GPS track recording, put it in your pocket and then start your survey by snapping as many photos as you can.

This video describes the process of geolocating those images in JOSM and how I would use that information to create OSM data.