37 :: Field Papers

I’m still catching up on new mapping developments that came out in July. This week I tried out the newest version of Field Papers from Stamen Design.

Field Papers allows you to print a multipage paper atlas of anywhere in the world and take it outside, offline, into the field. You can scribble on it, add features, or make notes about the area, all without a GPS or complicated GIS software (Announcing Field Papers).

Field Papers is used by development organizations and the latest version has become more robust and responsive for this demanding work.

I have no intention to actually go out in the field, but as Field Papers plays nicely with OpenStreetMap (among other systems), I was curious how it could work as a means of mapping without a GPS. Field papers – like its predecessor Walking Papers  – greatly simplifies the process of aligning  the data recorded on a paper map with data that’s already available in a digital map.

(Aside : and Field Papers it uses a QR code to do this work, QR code haters! It uses QR codes in the way they are supposed to be used : to capture and convey complex information that is read by machines in an unobtrusive way).

I’m still mapping the features of the University Campus and I thought I would use Field Papers to makes notes in the wilds of the Windsor streets to figure out all the different small residences that are just off-campus.  So I created and printed out a map, went for a walk and marked it up accordingly:


After I made my map, I took a picture of it with my cell phone and uploaded it back to the site. At this point, I could have opted to edit the results in JSOM but that would have been overkill for this project. So I opted to use it to edit OpenStreetMap using the ID editor:


Unfortunately, the satellite imagery of this particular neighbourhood is really faint and there are missing tiles at better resolutions (on account that the Ambassador Bridge is a security concern?).

But otherwise, it all works nicely and I think I’m going to use again for another small project I’m going to tackle in the next two weeks. Thank you Stamen!

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