Birthing affirmations

I designed some “birthing affirmations” as printable posters. There’s lots of birthing affirmation images on the internet …but here’s some more:
















Birthing affirmations?

We’re having a baby soon, in case you didn’t gather that. So we have these messages pinned up around our living room. The idea of these birthing affirmations comes from the “hypnobirthing” classes we went to. A friend recommended hynobirthing. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew my wife was nervous about the pain of childbirth, and could do with all the help she can get.

Affirmations were one things we learned about. It’s a pretty simple idea really. Use positive language. Tell yourself positive things over and over again, and stick up eye catching messages around the house to continuously remind you.

Even though you conciously know that the messages might not necessarily be true, they can work their way into your subconcious, through repetition. It also works during labour, giving you something positive to look at and focus on (hopefully!)

Affirmations are also part of the “hypnosis” bit of hypnobirthing. A voice on a recorded hypnobirthing track can plant these positive affirmation messages in your subconscious, but this works best while in a state of deep relaxation, close to sleep. …or so the theory goes.

Missing Maps talk: OSMLondon & Mapping your own neighbourhood

Recently we celebrated one year of “Missing Maps” events. These humanitarian OpenStreetMap mapathon events have been very successful, packing out venues in London every time, with enthusiastic new mappers, who bring their laptops and perform remote armchair mapping of far off lands.

We’re successful at getting new mappers involved, and as we teach them, we drive up the quality of the basic data, and also help some of them to become quite advanced mappers (only some. That’s the long tail curve after all)

Meanwhile the OSMLondon pub meet-ups remain successful too in their own way. I’ve been organising them for years. Going back through the history of OpenStreetMap we’ve always had our merry band of OpenStreetMappers meeting in pubs, and doing London mapping.

I’m very keen to promote more cross-over. These newly recruited humanitarian mappers are yet learn about the joy of on-the-ground survey-based mapping. Mapping your own neighbourhood is the OpenStreetMap way. It seems like a vital missing piece of the puzzle really, if these new mappers are to truly integrate and be a part of the OpenStreetMap community.

So given a speaking slot at this special OSMGeoWeek Missing Maps event, I had a go at explaining those things… while also talking about pubs a lot! Here’s the slides and Continue reading “Missing Maps talk: OSMLondon & Mapping your own neighbourhood”

Going to be a dad

Big news….


That’s our 11 week scan. My wife’s starting to show a bump, and we’ll be getting a 20 week scan pretty soon, at which point we find out if it’s a boy or a girl.

Recently I’ve been doing grown up things like getting married and getting a mortgage. I’m even thinking about learning to drive. But this… this is very grown up. I’ve a feeling it’s going to change my life a bit.

The main advice from friends so far seems to be… get in some sleep now. I’m well practiced at staying up late at night, but that’s because there’s an internet full of irresistibly exciting activities out there. Or sometimes I’m just catching up with work, which also throws up some irresistibly fun coding challenges at times. …but I think maybe these habits and hobbies will be about to change.

I’m not really a morning person, and I believe small children are generally morning people.

A few months back my big sis came to visit with their 1 year old. I was woken by crying at 6a.m. …which was fine. It’s new and exciting, and I rushed downstairs to join in the baby fun, at which point my sister said “OK. You play with him. I’ll go back to bed”

Playing with my nephew is great fun, but I quickly found the challenge was to keep him interested in things. At one year old I can present him with a fairly mundane household object, like a plastic milk bottle for example, and he’ll be excited and fascinated by it for a few minutes, but then he’ll want a different object to play with. Now if you rule out the objects which will break if they’re dropped, or be destroyed by slobbering, or be a swallowing risk, well there’s still quite a few things around the house, but after an hour and half I think we’d identified all of them!

But of course an hour and half is the end of playtime anyway because he’s onto the next thing which is probably milk, then sleep, then the cycle starts again (with a few nappy changes thrown in). Spending time with my sister, I noticed this cycle is surprisingly short, and relentless. It doesn’t stop, or synchronise conveniently with the adult’s three-meals-a-day, or any of the other normal routines.

So on this occasion I handed him back because he was crying, and my sister identified it was time for milk. It was about 7:30, and I felt shattered. I went back to bed and slept through till about 10:30 (meanwhile my nephew would’ve gone through another couple of sleep, play, milk cycles) Exhausting!

So yes. A new adventure for me and my wife! Baby’s due near Christmas time :-O

Sky news interview on HOT Nepal earthquake response

Yesterday I appeared on Sky News giving a short interview about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team response to the Nepal earthquake. This was part of a news tech show called “#Digitalview”, aired at 10:30 (just in the UK I think).

Click to view video
Click to view video

Read more about the HOT Nepal earthquake mapping on the OpenStreetMap wiki and on the HOT website. I also blogged there with a message for aid agencies, on the ways in which our maps can be used.

Note: I hope sky news don’t mind me sharing this video clip here for the moment. I think they may publish the whole show at better quality at some point. I’ll swap in a link to that if/when I see it.

Grandma trying lemmings

I thought I’d share a memory of my Grandma who died about four years ago.


Although grandma was always old and lady-like as any grandma should be, she did like trying things. I sat next to her in a restaurant one time with these over-the-top thick-rimmed sunglasses. She wanted to try them.

But my favourite, most vivid memory of this was one time in my mid-teens. The grandparents were visiting for a week or so. Long enough to be bored of having them around, so I was back to my usual entertainment choices. I was hiding upstairs in my attic bedroom playing computer games. I was playing “lemmings”. Continue reading “Grandma trying lemmings”

The Long Tail of OpenStreetMap

For my presentation at the OpenStreetMap conference State Of The Map 2014 in Buenos Aires, I gave a talk titled “The Long Tail of OpenStreetMap”.

Video of my ‘Long Tail of OpenStreetMap talk’ now available!

Below are all the slides and transcript of what I intended to say in the talk.

Download slides as LibreOffice Impress .odp file (9MB)


Continue reading “The Long Tail of OpenStreetMap”

Typhoon Crisis Mapping ODI talk

At the Open Data Institute, the office where I’m working at transportAPI these days, they have “Friday Lunchtime Lectures“. Presentations on all sorts of open data topics. It was my honour to kick off the 2014 series with a talk on “Typhoon Crisis Mapping with OpenStreetMap”.

This was an introduction to OpenStreetMap and to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and look back our Continue reading “Typhoon Crisis Mapping ODI talk”

An OpenStreetMap training course intro

A week ago I got together with Steve Chilton and Steven Feldman and gave an OpenStreetMap training course to a handful of enthusiastic young people who were about to head out to Ghana as volunteers with a charity called tzedek.

Steve Chilton & Harry Wood teaching OSM
Photo by Steven Feldman CC-BY NonCommercial

I’ve done similar things before but nothing exactly termed a “training course” actually. It was pretty similar to the UCL Masters Student mapping party Sept 2010. Back then I was asked to kick things off with an introduction, and had to stand up make something up on the spot. This time I had some slides prepared.

Which slides? Well maybe I should’ve just used teaching resources for this. I took a look at them, but I decided I wanted to say a bit more in the intro sessions (perhaps wrongly actually). The slides are Continue reading “An OpenStreetMap training course intro”

Interview about VGI and OpenStreetMap

The following is a set of questions which Bhaveen Dattani put to me, as part of his studies of VGI and OpenStreetMap for his course at Aston university. The basic questions are the always the big questions, and I had to take a step back and think a bit about all the broad issues around OpenStreetMap (my big hobby). In the spirit of openness I’m sharing these answers here:

What is Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)? / Have you seen VGI?
I have noticed the term VGI used extensively in academia. There are several terms used for the same concept. Technologists will refer to the same (or similar) concept as “Crowd-sourced” geographic information.

But in fact, when describing the project I am involved in, OpenStreetMap, I prefer the term “mass collaboration”. Some VGI initiatives are mostly about “sourcing” data on the cheap from Continue reading “Interview about VGI and OpenStreetMap”


I was invited to speak at the PICNIC festival in Amsterdam. I was presenting OpenStreetMap and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team again, a slimmed down version of this presentation. I followed after Helena Puig Larrauri presenting the “Standby Taskforce”, and then we sat together and took questions. You can watch that whole thing here:

I had the impression I was bringing OpenStreetMap to a very new audience which is always worthwhile. In this case the session had a journalism theme to it. It was organised by European Journalism Centre. Big thanks to them for inviting and Continue reading “HOT at PICNIC”