26 :: OSM in Haiti and on campus

In 2004, Steve Coast started biking around London carrying a backpack with a GPS unit in it. Since 1791, the Ordnance Survey had been providing the UK government with excellent maps of the island country, but the data wasn’t freely available and was subject to a lot of license restrictions. Coast decided that he would map the world with open data, starting by cycling the street he lived on.

Nine years later, Haitians are riding motorcycles with handlebar-mounted GPS units to map their Caribbean island country as part of the same effort. …

So begins OSM Marks the Spot: Haitians use a crowdsourced map to chart their own country, and its development, a post recently published on medium.com.

I’m not going to comment on the ideas of the piece – some interesting and some controversial (“For the North to really develop,” he says, “everything needs to be mapped.”) but just want to bring attention to the before and after maps of Haiti in OSM – with the earthquake of January 2010 being the thing that separated everything for those affected.

There are not many OSM mappers in the Windsor area and so places such as the University of Windsor campus are strangely sparse, especially compared to their Google Maps version.

Google Maps 2013-06-26 15-43-08

OpenStreetMap 2013-06-26 15-40-45

I’m going to start working on improving OSM around me, but before I started I thought a screenshot would be a good thing to keep.

You can watch as I gradually make my improvements on OSM:


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