51 :: State of the Map : Make maps better, together

So I’m back from crashing the QGIS User Group Meetup and the US State of the Map Conference and I have learned so much and I have so much to say. I started on writing an epic recap on my conference experiences and insights but as that is too daunting, I thought I would write up my experiences as I watch and re-watch the talks of SOTUM14 as they are already up.

There were two streams of talks at any given moment, with groups of two or three talks in similar theme. Since I took part in the beginners workshop on OSM, I missed the opening sessions of the conference. So I caught up on the first talk I missed:

Make maps better, together — collaborative mapping the GitHub Way
Mike Skalnik, GitHub

Mike’s talk is a deceptively simple one. His premise is that we have a tendency to choose simple formats over complicated ones, choose open instead of proprietary, and that adding geographic data to github means that we can share, collaborate and make variations of work that the originators may have never imagined.

Now, we’ve been able to put geoJSON into github since something like last July.  In fact, last August I was able to add gpx points into a gist.  I thought I’d fork the code mentioned in Mike’s talk to see if the experience had changed since then, but from what I could see, it hadn’t done so in a way I noticed. You put geojson into github and you can get a lovely map made out of OSM and Mapbox.

As I said, his talk was – I felt – was a little too simple. He didn’t talk about how this partnership between OSM and Mapbox came about and he didn’t let on if there was something larger planned for it in the future. When someone asked Mike about geogit, he said that he didn’t know about it.  Also, there was no mention of similar projects that allow for collaborative maps to be made and shared, such as Crowdmap, which allows for people to file reports easily without having to know how to fork repos and validate geojson.

That all being said, making maps, together in github is still mighty fine. I just wanted to know more about it.

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