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”

Workshop on Using OpenStreetMap Data


I presented a workshop (or at least a live demo session) at the Society Of Cartographers conference with the rather vague open ended title of “Using OpenStreetMap Data”   –  “A tour of the various options for downloading and otherwise accessing OpenStreetMap data from a geo-data user’s perspective. Harry Wood will explain how to delve into the raw data structures using tools on the website and elsewhere, how to explore the wiki-style editing history, how OpenStreetMap’s unique ‘tags’ approach works, and some ways of manipulating the map data.”   At least that’s what I wanted it to be. It didn’t go entirely to plan (see apologies below)

I started by presenting some slides from my OpenTech OpenStreetMap developer ecosystem presentation which highlights the central role of raw geodata, and gradually builds up a picture culminating in this diagram (see above link for the full build-up and explanation)

Also a re-use of the slide explaining different levels of OpenStreetMap use which developers and data user organisations might consider.

Then it was on to the live demos touring around various different topics and tools. I don’t think I actually timed it well enough to get through all these things in either of the two hour-long sessions, but the following were Continue reading “Workshop on Using OpenStreetMap Data”

Old sofa. Anyone want it?

Does anyone (who is able to collect it from London N19) want our crappy old sofa?

Update: Due to the power of freecycle, the sofa is no longer available! Someone came round and collected it off me.

old sofa in bits

The good news: Free sofa!

The bad news:

  • We dismantled it. But all the bits are there. It can probably be put back together, and this way it will easily be transported
  • It’s a not a good sofa. It’s a very low-end cheap IKEA sofa.
  • It’s old. The cushions aren’t horribly stained, but they’re not exactly white anymore either.

Continue reading “Old sofa. Anyone want it?”


I used to post to my blog about various holiday travels. I wont try to catch up on the past two years, but here’s a little post about Strasbourg where my girlfriend and I spent a pleasant long weekend (avoiding jubilee). Some photos mainly. Photos of food mainly. Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of France on the border with germany, which has some great specialities.


I had this in a restaurant in London once where it was described as “Alsacian pizza”, but it’s not a pizza, it’s a “tarte flambée”. Thinner than a pizza with no tomato, but with white creamy sauce.


“Choucroute” is the french word for sauerkraut, but you can also order a full dish named choucroute, which is the pickled cabbage with assorted meats swimming around in it.


This one’s called “Baeckeoffe”, which I hadn’t heard of before, but wikitravel told me to try it, so I did. It’s a hot-pot of pork, spuds and other veg.

In case you thought Strasbourg was all about food…

View from Strasbourg cathedral

This is the view from the top of the cathedral. Lots of steps to climb. A good way to work up an appetite.

Strasbourg Petit France

This is the “petit France” and on the right there is a very nice restaurant with friendly waiters. I’m still talking about food aren’t I?

Tell you what. Here’s a skeleton:

Archealogy museum skeleton

Can’t remember if this one is stone age or bronze aged or iron aged… but it’s old. The archeology museum in Strasbourg talks about how human settlers were in the region going back at least 600,000 years, since before they’d sussed out how to make fire!