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Online Collaboration Creates 'Map-Making For the Masses'

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the many-hands-make-light-work dept.

The Internet 61

The Science Daily site has up a piece on the effect user-generated content can have on map-making. Scientists are appreciative of the data enthusiastic mappers can provide, updating maps on changes in local geographic information. "Goodchild's paper looks at volunteered geographic information as a special case of the more general Web phenomenon of user-generated content. It covers what motivates large numbers of individuals (often with little formal qualifications) to take part, what technology allows them to do so, how accurate the results are and what volunteered geographic information can add to more conventional sources of such information."

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Idiocracy (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864216)

Why, when seeing this story, did I immediately think of the search for the "Time Masheen?"

Re:Idiocracy (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864232)

I dunno. My first thought was Bugs Bunny popping out of the ground, consulting his map, and declaiming: "I should have taken a left turn at Lah-Joe-la".

Re:Idiocracy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864516)

Linus Torvalds, sitting in front of his Linux laptop, looks through a window and sees a small penis. Linus begins laughing, but then realises that he is not looking through a window, but into a mirror, and that the tiny, shrivelled member is his own. The all too familiar sensation of black dread washes over Linus, and he begins to cry.

Time masheen (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21867506)

Well, first just buy the Time Travel Theory [] and then build your time machine. (-1, Offtopic)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864228)

Ok, myminicity .com assholes. Playtime is over.

I've really had it with the crowd, and to put a stop to this nonsense I've set up a little website. []

Stop posting your myminicity links here and elsewhere, if wants to grow they can surely find a way to do it without inconveniencing others.

If you don't then I'm calling on the rest of the audience here to report those links to the site above and if they want to help a little further to place a 1 pixel image tag on their website which will give the myminicity .com people hopefully more traffic than they were bargaining for.

For starters I've placed one on [] , feel free to come and help.

This is just another spam wave and if this doesn't get stopped now then it will be seen as a vindication of the principle and before long there will be 100's of sites doing this.

Rewarding your users for bad behaviour has to be one of the most annoying marketing tactics that has ever been devised. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864280)

I clicked on it then I thought for about one second that it was going to redirect to and that I had been done again. (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864294)

I'd say you're rather reckless, but I can't argue with your motivation. You're right, the 'net needs some form of measure to counter link spamming, seeing as how links *are* the Internet and those links are what brings --or diminishes-- its value. And, seeing as how the Internet is all but based on anarchy, your solution is quite appropriate. Let's drown those fsckers. (1, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864328)

the thing that really ticked me off is when they stopped using the direct links but started abusing tinyurl and dwarfurl and social engineering to cloak the links, it would be about 20 minutes of coding and testing for the /code guys to fix that (show you the end-target of a redirected link) which would at least stop the social engineering attempts.

The biggest problem is it works, check on [] alexa. If this is encouraged it won't be long before you get 100's of these clowns drowning out all normal conversation. We've already lost usenet and email to spam, I'll be damned if linkspam is going to kill online fora, kill them while they're small. Set an example. I'm sure if the original inventors of spam email had their offices burned to the ground on day #2 of their enlightened campaign it would have set back the idea of mass mailings a couple of years.

Also, /. isn't the only forum that is being pestered like this, I already saw links in other places. If their business model is to harness their users into linkspamming I think they deserve to go down in flames.

I say fsck the bastards (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864604)

same spam as ever, but this time it`s time to crash and burn.
fcuk them idiots. they gonna burn in hell. (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864302)

who exactly are you talking to?

I see no myminicity link. In fact the only myminicity links I see are when I go to your "scremyminicity" website, which asks people to put a 'redirector' in which then links to myminicity, in an effort to "punish" them with traffic.

Reminds of the bit in magic roundabout when dougal is force fed sugar cubes... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864408)

What stone have you been living under ? There hasn't been a time in the last week or so when there were more than 3 stories in a row that did not have at least one link in there somewhere near the top and cloaked as small url services.

GP is simply a pre-emptive strike. And which part of DDOS is it that you didn't get ?

It goes to show the slashdot crowd is probably not the most intelligent choice to piss off, lots of bandwidth on this site (0, Offtopic)

sgbett (739519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864528)

Indeed, but in this thread? Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864628)

Reminds of the bit in magic roundabout when dougal is force fed sugar cubes...
Well, that's lost on about 99.99% of the American slashdotters. (This firmly puts me in the .01% of Americans who have the slightest clue what you are talking about, heh). (-1, Troll)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864306)

Of course in a slashdot article about user-generated maps its possible that links to myminicity are relevant. I'd never heard of it (nor had I ever seen a link to it from slashdot comments) until you posted this.

I suspect an academic could currently be writing a similar article about virtual geographies - such as exist on Second Life or My Mini City []

Mod Parent -1 TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864364)

Mod Parent -1 TROLL

Fucking self-aggrandising self-appointed internet police

what a dipshit

MyMiniCity []

Re:Mod Parent -1 TROLL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864446)

No, fuck *you*, asshole, and all the other assholes who seem to think they've the God-given right to pollute the Net.

You and your kind are a cancer on the commons. Please die.

Re:Mod Parent -1 TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864466)

Cunts like you are polluting the net just by connecting to it. Get a life or just plain fuck off you hard-up halftard

Re:Mod Parent -1 TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864538)

We all know you do this because you were ass raped in childhood and are now trying to regain your self confidence. We understand, and here, I will click it OK? Everything will be fine, no one is going to ass rape you again.

Re:Mod Parent -1 TROLL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864682)

/me thinks you are getting nervous

what's wrong kid ? You *did* want traffic didn't you ?

OpenStreetMap (4, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864234)

In TFA, they are refering to OpenStreetMap [] , a wiki-style project to create free street maps. (though this is not mentioned in the summary)

Re:OpenStreetMap (2, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864620)

In TFA, they are refering to OpenStreetMap [] , a wiki-style project to create free street maps. (though this is not mentioned in the summary)

I love these guys. I live in Vanuatu, a tiny South Pacific country that so far has escaped the attention of the Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft map interfaces. The only way we're going to get decent maps of our towns is by doing it ourselves. Thanks to a few thoughtful people from Australia and the US, we now have a GPS and are mapping all the streets of Port Vila, the capital.

Few people have computer experience, but we managed to recruit a young man from a local NGO's youth project, and he's been spending the last few weeks riding around in a local mini-bus run by a family member of his. I've already uploaded some of the raw data, and with any luck we'll have some decent maps of the town before too long.

What I like best about Open Street Maps is that their format is compatible with Google Maps. This means that if the stars align themselves properly, we'll be on the map fairly soon.

Re:OpenStreetMap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864702)

You poor man, you have to go through an undersea cable through Australia's already crappy internet setup.. Hopefully Rudd will keep his promises and upgrade our internet..

Re:OpenStreetMap (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864734)

The upshot is that it only took 7 minutes to map out the entire island with one of your crazy taxi drivers :-) I kid! I kid!

Re:OpenStreetMap (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21867538)

Unfortunately, the map created by one of their crazy taxi drivers was of New York City. The only taxi drivers still at home are their sane ones.

Re:OpenStreetMap (1)

E.R. (116391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21866798)

Even here in Europe where we do have maps from Google, Microsoft, $you_name_it, an open map does have advantages. First, open data allows you to highlight the map features that are important to you. One of the things that seems to become popular in openstreetmap is generating bicycle maps. Likewise, you can make a map that highlights schools and universities, hiking paths or churches. And you are allowed to publish the maps you make, without getting any written permission or paying royalties.

The second important advantage of open data is that you can bring them over to any device or convert them to any desired format. I'm currently using only OSM maps on my GPS device. I cannot do that with Microsoft's data (it is prohibited by the EULA, and it's probably not technically possible unless you're a Microsoft employee).

Re:OpenStreetMap (1)

orangesunglasses (1140459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21867062)

The openstreetmap project hasmade quite a lot of progress, For example, they have mapped the entire Isle of man in much more detail than google etc. They have also been donated data to help with the project.

OSM State of the Map, Google Our Maps and more (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21867334)

OpenStreetMap can be loaded on the iPhone [] and here's the State of the Map Conference wrap up, the OpenStreetMap conference [] .

And collaborative mapping is big deal. Google recently launched Google Our Maps [] , which is basically Google My Maps but with collaboration capabilities.

From my previous comment [] : There's NAVTEQ's MapReporter [] tool to submit updates to NAVTEQ's data by the casual user, [and also] Tele Atlas' Map Insight [] and TomTom's MapShare [] .

Re:OSM State of the Map, Google Our Maps and more (1)

Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21868074)

Regarding the map update links, is there any reason to bother submitting new/updated street data? The only benefit is to Nokia and Tom-tom, both large publicly traded companies. Their proprietary datasets costs tens of thousands of dollars to license and you're saving them money in physical mapping costs while getting nothing in return.

It's not like the updates benefit a publicly accessible database like Tiger or Openstreetmap.

picture this, coastlines moving inland 20 miles (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864250)

or so. not so far-fetched if you cipher reality into yOUR map-making;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE []

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the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way.

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meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones []

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids []

& pretending that it isn't happening here []

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles; []

Collaboration is Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864314)

But what happens when the best of intentions goes wrong? []

Nice maps from Openstreetmap (4, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864342)

They have come a long way:
Birmingham []
London []
Stockholm []
Falköping []

There aren't that many people maping (1000?), and you can really make a great differance by just adding all pathways you use for your daily strolls..

Re:Nice maps from Openstreetmap (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21866424)

I just went for a bike ride and strapped my GPS to the handlebars and set it tracking. When I got back home I cycled round my block a couple of times to get a good track, knowing that the streets aren't in OSM at the moment. I dumped the track to my PC using EasyGPS and added it to OSM using the Java JOSM client, and hit upload.

Then I looked at how the rest of my bike ride jived with the existing data. For half my ride I should have been under 20 foot of water in the local river, and for the rest of it it looked like I was bunny-hopping across a major road every few hundred metres.

My GPS is a Garmin GPS12 I bought about 8 years ago. Has GPS technology improved so much since then? It was mostly reading an EPE (estimated position error) of 5 to 10 metres.

Either people have 1-metre accurate GPS units now or everyone on OSM is tracing google maps!


Re:Nice maps from Openstreetmap (2, Informative)

protolith (619345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21869762)

You ran into the fundamental weakness in most GPS Systems. The x and y are relatively easy to get. the z is always less accurate.

I used to use a Trimble TDC1 ($12,000 near survey grade GPS) with Realtime differential correction.
With 20 points collected on a position and post processing, the x and y were good to about 10 cm yet the Z was usually only good to roughly the nearest meter.

In order to get better results. The GPS antenna needed a large plate attached to act as a shield to block the radio waves from reflecting off the ground and interfering with the data collection, data collection must be more intense. We would usually collect between 1000 and 2000 points With realtime differential correction. after post processing the x and y would be good to the millimeter, yet z was then good to around the cm.

This was roughly 6-8 years ago, now with selective accuracy turned off, it is easier for lower end units to perform in the sub 10 m accuracy.

The quickest way to a decent topographic profile of a path is to record the path (as you did) and calculate the intersection of that path with as good a DEM (digital elevation model) as you can get a hold of.

Re:Nice maps from Openstreetmap (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21870046)

Ah maybe I wasn't clear. When I said it put me under the river I didn't mean Z-height, just that it had shifted me far enough off the path I was on to think I was in the middle of a 50-metre wide river...

Anyhow, if you look at multiple GPS traces on OSM, they look accurate to the metre, whereas my track was all over the place. Is it likely that vehicular GPS units snap their coords to their inbuilt road network? I think OSM are happy that this doesn't constitute a 'derived work' of some copyright maps, but IANAL...

Re:Nice maps from Openstreetmap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876120)

OSM are NOT happy this is the case. It is always recommended to have this set off, since the data collected with this on IS a derived work.
It may just be that other people have better GPS devices, or the satellite constellation on that day could have been particularly poor.

There is always the option to trace roads from Yahoo's aerial imagery.

WAAS (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21870578)

Your GPS probably lacks WAAS "is WAAS available in the EU?" And or DGPS.
Both of those will get you down to around 1-2 Meter resolution.


Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21870880)

The european equivalent of WAAS appears to be called 'EGNOS'. Yeah, my GPS doesn't have it. I bought it very shortly after the US switched off the SA thing and I whooped when I realised I'd get 10m resolution!


LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21886500)

Well that is your answer. Now some GPS systems with dedicated base stations are now getting down to like 1cm.But they tend to be very expensive.

Re:Nice maps from Openstreetmap (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21872500)

Yes new GPS units have several advantages, one of the greatest is better algorithms for locking on to sattelites, and are very accurate. ATM what you want is a Sirf III chipset, nothing less.

IYuo Fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864412)

Re:IYuo Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864492)

Don't we all love the pumpkin-goatse?

Heres the actual paper (5, Informative)

jrcsnet (714232) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864468)

This was presented at the Volunteer Geographic Information conference in Dec 2007, see [] .

The paper that TFA references can be found at []

Another presentation on Openstreetmap from the same conference is at []

Re:Heres the actual paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864820)

In a democracy, there is no reason why good terrain/positioning data is not freely available for any location that is within view of public lands. Positioning data for public lands can be acquired from multiple averaging of GPS derived measurements and other data. Private lands and other non-public lands (such as military reservations) can be view in part from positions on the periphery or from aircraft. Photographic and surveying derived methods can be used to produce positioning information. The acquisition of all of this data (public lands and publicly viewable lands) is mostly governed by accessibility, some location which only sees a person-visit once a century might not be positioned very quickly. Places which see thousands of person-visits per day will be positioned quite quickly.

Formal qualifications.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21864550)

"often with little formal qualifications"

I'm really beginning to dislike the western prejudice that if you have no formal education you are somehow a piece of crap and stop learning and are somehow universally and globally more incompetent then someone with credentials. Anyone can read a street sign and update a map, there are many things people can do just as well and better then experts despite their lack of training, a credential says you worked hard for a particular institution for a period of time and had no extenuating negative circumstances enough to take you off that course.

Their is this religious priestlyness to education that underlies Oswald Spenglers point about the religious conception of societies knowledge.

Re:Formal qualifications.. (1)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864586)

Their is this religious priestlyness to education that underlies Oswald Spenglers point about the religious conception of societies knowledge.
Would you trust someone to update a map if they can't use the right there?

Re:Formal qualifications.. (2, Insightful)

raised eyebrow (1192017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864698)

Would you trust someone to update a map if they can't use the right there?
Yes I do and so do most other map users: they just don't know it. Ordnance Survey, for example, does not require formal qualifications of a very large fraction of their map editors rather than the ability to edit the map to meet their other cartographic standards, as a dyslexic colleague of mine happily found. It's inevitable some map editors will be illiterate and also that simple mistakes will be made, as in any other occupation. This is what QA is for :o)

Re:Formal qualifications.. (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864650)

Actually, not everyone can update maps. It does require some training and even still is frequently done incorrectly.

I work for an organization that has people going out and mapping and listing houses all over the US. Some do very well. Some do quite poorly. We see things that are obviously wrong even though we're not familiar with the area being worked.

I do agree that formal education (college or whatever) is irrelevant. In our case, the biggest factor is whether or not the person can read a map (there are plenty of educated people out there that can't), but it's not the only factor.

Uh... maps? (2, Funny)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864794)

Of course not everyone can, uh... update maps. I personally believe the U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps. Like you said, formal education is uh... irrelevant, like South Africa and uh, such as the Iraq. We need to help our education over here in the U.S. and the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for updating the maps.

Re:Formal qualifications.. (0, Offtopic)

theskipper (461997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864858)

I think Ms. Teen South Carolina [] would agree with your central thesis.

Re:Formal qualifications.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21865140)

She was on TV, cut her a break, it's quite possible she couldn't function under the stress, not only that we don't know much about her psychometric or medical history at all (possible learning disability, etc?).

Re:Formal qualifications.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21865584)

No, none of the above. She's just your typical dumb southern christian broad with a smokin' hot ass and nice tits to match.

She'll marry the equivalent southern christian jock and pump out some equally clueless southern christian rugrats and the cycle will continue.

Re:Formal qualifications.. (1) (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21866126)

"She was on TV, cut her a break, it's quite possible she couldn't function under the stress"

Riiiight ... like everyone cracks the first time they're in front of a large audience ... and like this was the first time she was in front of a large audience.

Oops - neither of those was the case.

The simple truth is (1) she had nothing to say, and (2) she used too many words to say it.

Give her a few years and she'll be running for office. Unfortunately, her non-message resonates with a certain part of the electorate.

... and yes, I've been on TV newscasts more than a dozen times ... you learn to pretty much ignore the cameras after the first few seconds, and let the camera guys do their job.

Using OSM on existing map sites. (2, Informative)

mcknut (759166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21864610)

I've put together a little bookmarklet that lets you use OSM maps on Google maps and Multimap API implementations (and in fact [] ). In fact I updated it today and have a new blog post about it here [] .

It can be really useful when you find a site that has useful data but you want to see that data overlaid on OSM maps. On Multimap's site you can also see routes and lots of other POIs overlaid on the OSM maps too.

TomTom mapshare explanation and cheatcode (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21866202)

TomTom's "MapShare" technology lets users correct maps and generate their own content. You can actually correct the problems on the TomTom device when you encounter them, so they're applied to your map immediately, and they're uploaded and shared with other users when you hot-sync your TomTom with your PC. Of course you can also download other user's corrections. You can choose to only use corrections you made yourself, or download corrections verified by TomTom, corrections to POIs you subscribe to, corrections from trusted sources, corrections reported by many people, or corrections reported by some people. Of course (as demonstrated in the following video), sometimes a goof-ball gets ahold of the cheat code, and messes everything up for everybody, so you may not want to download any change that haven't been reported by many people! [] -Don

Two sites (2, Informative)

kbahey (102895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21867342)

Two sites that are fine examples of collaborative creation of maps and adding info to maps are: []
A from scratch volunteer effort to map the world using GPS, as people visit places. []
An overlay on Google Maps where people can mark their landmarks and comment on others.

Really really nice efforts.

yuo Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21868040)

BSD has always operating systems but suufice it Themselves to be a bureaucratic and

The Confluence Project is used this way (2, Informative)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21868488)

The Confluence Project [] is an international effort to perform a systematic sampling of the Earth's surface, i.e. all those locations where both longitude and latitude has integer values.

So far more than 10,000 visitors have documented more than 5,000 of these points. [] is a link to a paper by a Japanese researcher (Koki Iwao) and his associates: They have used the DCP information to check/verify the quality of the various land cover databases:

Which parts of the Earth is mountains/lakes/forests/rice fields/grassland/etc.?

What they found is that the best of these databases have a hit ratio of just 60% or less.

(Scandinavian DCP coordinator)

Digital Urban. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21870396) []

The above links to a blog that covers some of the aspects of Google Earth.
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