Despite being unsuccessful in the Show Us A Better Way bid, I’m busy hatching plans to develop the neighbourhood activity map that I pitched for, thanks to the help of Tom Chance from Bioregional who I met at be2camp. I also need help from the Open Street Map community though to commence the cartography. Cloudmade put me in touch with Andy Robinson from the local group and he invited me to the next meeting – at the pub.
It’s a dirty job etc. My timing was perfect, as I discovered they were hours away from officially announcing the completion of the Birmingham map – the first English city to do so.
I distinctly remember the launch of openstreetmap.org. I also distinctly remember thinking it was a crazy idea, despite the fact that other examples like Wikipedia were beginning to make a difference. Mapping the whole world? By hand? Nuts.
I can’t remember the last time I was so pleased to have been so utterly wrong. Here’s a beautiful video showing exactly how wrong I was in full technicolour.
“It’s very satisfying to see a complete city mapped in OpenStreetMap. Four years ago when this project was created we were looking at a blank screen and most commentators thought we were crazy.” said Andy Robinson, secretary of the OpenStreetMap Foundation and a prolific mapper in the West Midlands.
Quite. There’s also a video available on the group’s Mappa Mercia site of Andy and his fellow mappers drawing their traces all over our city during the last two years.
So now we have a map. What do we do with it? Anything we damn well want of course, which is precisely the point. The possibilities for community driven cartography explorations are endless. Anecdotal, human, personal and empowering marks to be made over a map that boasts a greater accuracy than any other online or satnav maps.
I look forward to deploying it, adding to it and promoting it. I’m going to start with the reason I was talking about @podnosh in the tweet from the pub – it’s time we included it in one of the other innovative online communities we have here in Brum: the Social Media Surgery.