Wed 8 May 2019

Proposal: Regional mapathons

RobJN Public Seen by 218

Hi all,

I would like to propose an idea and appreciate any feedback you may have. It is inspired by the 24 hour mapathon that Tshedy (Mats’eliso Thobei) held in April.

The idea is that we do 24 hour mapathons focused on a specific region in the UK. Instead of one mapper working for 24 hours (I don't recommend that) we welcome people to help map the specified region at time that suites each individual within the 24hour window. The suggestion is to do this once per month and announce the locations well in advance (e.g. a full 12 month list).

I feel that this complements the quarterly mapping projects which a thematic not regional projects. It may help to build community and allows mappers to look beyond their normal patch every now and then - will help to fill in some less mapped areas and to highlight mapping styles inconsistencies.

If uncomfortable with armchair mapping then there are plenty of other ways to get involved:

  • If nearby, then visit in person.
  • Review how the existing OSM data compare to your normal mapping area. What differences can you find, etc.
  • Send messages to locals to encourage them to get active in OSM.
  • Search for open data available in the location.
  • Reach out to local organisations / councils to encourage them to use and update OSM.

Dates can be picked randomly but proportionate to when most people are actively contributing. A quick look at OSM Stats suggests Mon-Fri are most active. Weekends less so. Over 12 months we can therefore pick 2xMon, 2xTue, etc.. and just 1xSat, 1xSun.

I'm also tempted to pick regions randomly at first so that each place has an equal chance of being selected.

Any thoughts or ideas?


Locator Wed 8 May 2019

Sounds Good. I like involving local mappers as imagery might well be out of date for some locations, so don’t want armchair mappers undoing stuff when they could be getting on with more valuable stuff that hasn’t been mapped yet which is perfect for them.


Dan S Wed 8 May 2019

I'm concerned about the possible downsides of "drive by" mapping. I don't mind remote mapping, that's not my issue. But with high streets I think we've seen a tendency that if people helicopter in and map in lots of detail, the detail may then sit there getting stale and being too much work for the "organic" local community to maintain. However, this concern might be mitigated with judicious choice of the area to map. (I guess picking regions purely at random is particularly risky from my PoV.)


Brian Prangle Thu 9 May 2019

I think we should ask for a list of nominations from the community and then pick these nominations randomly- it involves more people in the process and might get more buy-in for the actual events


I can imagine having a wiki page for each project.
Start with an introduction (ideally from local mappers), bullet points of suggestions/requests to map. Maybe a classic "cake" picture that can be referenced.

Then have a table with a row for each hour in 24 hours. Columns would have space for people to declare they're going to be active in that hour and where/how. There may be a column to add a note for how their hour will end - e.g. by giving a link to Mapillary or to a pub/cafe they're going to recharge in.

Dan is rightfully concerned for "drive by" mapping, which is why Brian's thought of nominations is good.
I have some places I could suggest. Me and others would happily do some prep (maybe a mix of pre-event and for some of the early hours) collecting on-ground imagery or notes. There are many villages & small towns that are missing all their shops on the "front street", I struggle to do the editing of these but could keep them updated if there was a wave that got the initial work done.

Rob, the stats are focused on changeset timestamps. These projects would demonstrate there is more than just editing. One hour might be recorded as people surveying, a later hour might see the same people editing. One hour might even me someone writing a report/article about all the editing that has been done and the impact of changes.


blackadder Thu 9 May 2019

Slightly off topic but its somewhat aligned. I've got a back of mind plan to do some remote random mapping facilitated by the bike. Plan is to ride for say a couple of hours (or more or less), map something wherever you get, possibly edit locally in a coffee shop and then cycle back. In 2 hours of cycling I can cover a radius of 50km so lots of localities to pick off at random. The amount mapped (volume and focus) would depend on time and interest on the day.


RobJN Thu 9 May 2019

Hi all. Thanks for all the comments.

I agree that there can be risks but hopefully we stand to benefit more than enough to outweigh the risks. This is particularly true if we encourage an attitude of "if in doubt, don't edit it, leave a note instead".

What I have found when I map places away from my norm has been very enlightening - different styles of mapping, old jagged ways traced from the OS NPE maps, major omissions easily rectifiable from the open data we have access to.

Let's push ahead with a program for the next 6-12 months and keep an eye on it.

If you have suggestions of locations please let me know. As a reminder we are looking across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. If we get approached by other communities we could consider occasional locations further afield (but core focus is the OSM UK region).

I'm thinking that as it is only 24 hours and likely to start with just a few people, we shouldn't go for entire cities. Perhaps pick areas with a population of around 100k.

If you post suggested regions here I will compile them into a list. If there is a popular one then we could look into booking a hostel/apartment and making it a meetup over a weekend.


blackadder Thu 9 May 2019

Can you add Crewe to the list please


Neil Thu 9 May 2019

Please DON'T add Bristol - bad enough trying to see what Amazon and DHP11 are doing. Come visit and survey on foot -- enjoy the beer :-)


Jez Nicholson Fri 10 May 2019

Aberdeen please. We have a good contact at https://codethecity.org/ One of my dreams is for a large organisation to sponsor the purchase of a number of 3D cameras and dashcams which we then partner with a group at the city in question (students, walkers, Open Data groups) to build detailed street view imagery in a day.


RobJN Sun 12 May 2019

Right, I made a start on this and have created the following wiki page:


West Aberdeenshire came up by random - I hope this is ok Jez. I then added Crewe for Andy and Guernsey as that is one I am curious about. I think it is good to not manually override every location. After all this is not to replace local meetups but to help us build community in places we might not normally go to.


RobJN Sun 12 May 2019

P.S. If any of these do appeal for an in person visit, let me know. We can look in to booking a hostel/apartment out and making a trip.


Jez Nicholson Sun 12 May 2019

Nice. I like the approach of picking the date and location in advance so we have a stake in the ground.

I think there is a category in the osmwiki calendar to add them.


RobJN Sun 12 May 2019

Yeah, we can coordinate around them and maybe do some promotion in the region too. I think this could be a god way to encourage new mappers. I'll schedule some tweets in when I have a spare moment.


Where did "Wansbeck" come from? It no longer exists with a specific definition. Morpeth might be a good choice around there, unless you really want some seaside.

Why North Dorset? If I could convince it to shift down as far as Cornwall/Penzance, then I think it might be possible to do a lot.

There's ~4 in the list that I'd like to try and attend or be involved with.
If these go well then of course we get to add more to the list. It also doesn't exclude other mapping events being organised.


@jeznicholson with your OSM wiki expertise, would the page be better moved to https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/WikiProject_United_Kingdom/UK_24_hour_mapathons or just tagged with the UK category?

I expect each 24hr to have it's own page, which we can link to from the list.


Jez Nicholson Mon 13 May 2019

The whole subject of OSMWiki page naming is a mess. I wouldn't worry about it until we've agreed a naming convention. Personally, I would like to rename 'WikiProject_UnitedKingdom/' to straight 'United Kingdom/' making a sub-category for every page for which UK OSMers are responsible for. I don't know what other wiki people want. I would also hold off from creating individual pages until they have enough content.


RobJN Mon 13 May 2019

Hi Gregory. I used December 2018 parliamentary constituencies (+ Isle of Mann and Channel Islands). My theory is that these are (very) roughly the same population unlike other admin or postal regions which vary massively in population.

These are not supposed to replace the self-selected mapping parties. The premise of the idea is to encourage us to look at existing mapping styles and help in places we might not have normally picked. I think your comment nicely demonstrates why keeping most as random selection is actually a good things (otherwise North Dorset would have been looked over - we may discover something amazing there!).

@jeznicholson : Nice idea re the wiki. Perhaps open a vote here?


Jez Nicholson Wed 15 May 2019

do you want a slot to talk about the Regional Mapathon at the AGM?


RobJN Wed 15 May 2019

Can do. If people want to hear about it and share ideas.


Brian Prangle Sun 19 May 2019

I'm prepared to visit some of these in the days immediately preceding with the chapter's Waylens Camera and capture some streetlevel imagery as long asyou can pay my fuel expenses


Steven Horner Sun 19 May 2019

I maybe able to visit the Northumberland area in advance with my Xiaomi 360 camera and get some imagery up on Mapillary before the date if useful.


Jez Nicholson Wed 29 May 2019

I love the idea but uncertain how we do fuel expenses (officially, that is). You might be able to claim mileage, or maybe we could create a grant scheme that anyone can apply for? ...and maybe a larger external organisation to cover it. One to discuss in person at the AGM perhaps?


Jez Nicholson Tue 4 Jun 2019

According to https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/UK_24_hour_mapathons#The_mapathon_list the first mapathon is next Weds 12 June. We might want to publicise this. I am due to write a mailing list article about the AGM and could knock out some words for the mapathon too. I will schedule these for this afternoon.


A grant scheme might be good. Could we allocate a set amount per mapathon/location. Grant applications should state the amount they would want, why, and if they would still do stuff for a fraction of the amount(e.g. state minimum and mileage rate desired). If only one acceptable person applies for Milton Keynes they get the full amount asked for (up to the allocated amount). If several people apply, then only some get the grant or they get a fraction (or a combination).

This would be good if we can state the next 3 mapathon dates will be funded. If grants aren't fully awarded then it's extended to future mapathons. We might even get companies willing to donate to it.

There is the question of who decides who gets grants (directors or a special panel), and defining a simple criteria to score against.
Also worth rereading the AoA with regard to item 26 which talks about limits to Directors and "Connected Persons" getting paid by the CoC.


Brian Prangle Sun 23 Jun 2019

Hi everyone Is there any feedback from this event? Is it possible to measure the number of edits in a bbox by day? It would be nice to report a big spike. Perhaps we should promote the next one well inadvance


Jez Nicholson Mon 24 Jun 2019

Overall "could do better". Being the first one, it was a bit of a toe-in-the-water effort and weren't expecting very many edits to be reported. Personally, I found that FHRS was an easy start, but this area was quite well covered.

I started to get a bit of a template going with tasks that need to be done early on or before it starts:
* Get the location boundary
* Assess the quality/quantity of street-level imagery
* Identify places of interest
* Link to Food Hygiene Rating System (FHRS) matching
* QA Tool Direct Links
* OSMWiki

Next one is Crewe and Nantwich https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/UK_24_hour_mapathons/Jun_2019_Crewe_and_Nantwich


I had started to add bits to the August one, some of that might help for a template.

To Jez's list I would also suggest "communication channels", which I haven't done yet. E.g. updates are being shared on Twitter with some-hashtag(link). For August I'm going to try and monitor/update that even when I'm not mapping. Other months people may use mailing lists/loomio/irc more.


Brian Prangle Tue 17 Sep 2019

Are we still pursuing this initiative? Didn't see any promotion or activity for the September one. The next one planned is for Oct 9th in Abreconwy.


Jez Nicholson Wed 18 Sep 2019

I like the idea. It moves the focus around the country. But it comes around so quickly that I don't get organised in time


RobJN Wed 18 Sep 2019

Yeah I still like the idea too but have so far failed to get the tweets and emails scheduled. Beyond that I'm not sure what organising is needed. It's ok to just role up on the day and do some mapping. @jeznicholson what organising were you thinking off?