OSM talk at London Wiki Wednesdays

London Wiki Wednesdays last night (Wednesday night in fact) was pretty good. It was kindly hosted by NYK line in the amazing city point tower. Here’s the slides for the little talk I gave:

‘OpenStreetMap : The Wikipedia of Maps’ on slideshare

In fact on the second slide you can see the city point tower in the aerial imagery screenshot.

My talk was explaining the similarities between this large open mapping collaboration, and wikipedia. Although mainly it was just a very quick run through of OpenStreetMap.  ( Some links related to the slides: the Flash editor, the desktop app editor, API, mapping techniques, gordo’s photo, stats, the Open License, opencyclemap.org, openpistemap.org, Hiking Map, Whitewater Maps, bus map, CloudMade style editor, and a zoomed in map of the building  )

David Terrar is back in the wiki mood and managing to secure venues and sponsors for future months, so I think it’s looking good. It will be somewhere different in November. Check back on the London page for details

London Wiki Wednesdays are back tonight

London Wiki Wednesdays

There was a series of monthly London Wiki Wednesdays events with presentations and networking chit-chat, all about wikis, blogs and social media technology, mostly as applied to enterprise use. Sadly they stopped happening back in 2008    ….but tonight they’re back!

London Wiki Wednesdays 7th October 2009

When I first went to Wiki Wednesdays a couple of years ago, I was massively enthusiastic about wiki collaboration in open content communities such as wikipedia, entirely for fun, as a hobby (though mostly pursued while bored at work). The events really opened my eyes to the possibility of working in this arena. I wanted a piece of this action. At the same time I was getting hooked on OpenStreetMap. Wiki-style collaboration to build a free map of the world. Since the last Wiki Wednesdays meet-up I’ve ditched my more dull I.T. job and got myself a job working full time on OpenStreetMap, so this evening I’m returning victorious!

I’m going to give a talk about OpenStreetMap. The talks are only 5 mins, so hopefully they’ll be a bunch of other talks. Often these are about behind-the-firewall or b2b collaboration style uses. Should be good.

Community Smoothness

Back in July we had a fantastic conference all about OpenStreetMap. I did a write up of ‘The State Of The Map 2009’ back then, but I didn’t mention my talk on “Community Smoothness”.

Sadly the proper video of my talk is not available yet, but you can hear my talk and see the slides as a video (15 minutes long.  14Mb download) :

“Community Smoothness” talk : m4v format, or mov format

Or you can see just the slides on slideshare.

I will update this with a link if and when the real video comes available.

It’s a talk about debates within the OpenStreetMap Community, particularly “tagging” debates.

  • An explanation of the big debate we had about the “smoothness” tag, and how this led people to question the wiki processes.
  • A run through of common suggestions to fix the process, and problems with these ideas: The idea of creating a tagging committee, and ideas of locking the wiki page, or creating other restricted lists (such as downloadable PDFs or preset files) which boil down to the same thing.
  • Technical solutions, creating separate web-apps which list tags: Featurama, TagWatch, OSMdoc, Tagstat, Floaty cloud-Tagwatch-on-steroids. [Update: TagInfo is the one to use now, and happily seems to be longer lasting]
  • My suggestions for simple social solutions: Write out tagging policies as with the Verifiability page. Maybe supply motivation for people to be more critical of tagging proposals. Long-standing community members should display more information leading to respect within the community, or give out awards and write testimonials to each other more. Most importantly, we should generally improve the standards of existing tag documentation as a way of raising the bar to new proposals.
  • Closing remark: We should always seek positive outcomes from debates, and look for ways of taking action.

Since giving this talk, everyone in the OpenStreetMap community is following my advice, and a new spirit of harmonious cooperation has settled over the project….  and look! There’s a pig flying past 🙂