Archive of posts with tag 'open data'

Weekend Reading: Looking Glass Politics, Enrichment, and OSM Datasets

July 18, 2020 • #

🐇 Looking-Glass Politics

On private emotions being thrown into the public sphere:

People escape the Dunbar world for obvious reasons: life there appears prosaic and uninspiring. They find a digital interface and, like Alice in Through the Looking-Glass, enter a new realm that glitters with infinite possibilities. Suddenly, you can flicker like a spark between the digital and the real. The exhilarating sensation is that you have been taken to a high place and shown all the kingdoms of the world: “These can be yours, if. . . .” If your video goes viral. If...

Weekend Reading: Chess, COVID Tracking, and Note Types

March 21, 2020 • #


Tom MacWright on chess. Reduce distraction, increase concentration

Once you have concentration, you realize that there’s another layer: rigor. It’s checking the timer, checking for threats, checking for any of a litany of potential mistakes you might be about to make, a smorgasbord of straightforward opportunities you might miss. Simple rules are easy to forget when you’re feeling the rush of an advantage. But they never become less important.

Might start giving chess a try just to see how I do. Haven’t played in years, but I’m curious.


Weekend Reading: Fulcrum in Santa Barbara, Point Clouds, Building Footprints

February 2, 2019 • #

👨🏽‍🚒 Santa Barbara County Evac with Fulcrum Community

Our friends over at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff have been using a deployment of Fulcrum Community over the last month to log and track evacuations for flooding and debris flow risk throughout the county. They’ve deployed over 100 volunteers so far to go door-to-door and help residents evacuate safely. In their initial pilot they visited 1,500 residents. With this platform the County can monitor progress in real-time and maximize their resources to the areas that need the most attention.


Weekend Reading: Mastery Learning, Burundi’s Capital, and SRTM

December 29, 2018 • #

🎓 Mastery Learning and Creative Tasks

Khan Academy’s Andy Matuschak on tasks that require “depth of knowledge” versus those that have higher “transfer demand.” Both can be considered “difficult” in a sense, but teaching techniques to build knowledge need different approaches:

One big implication of mastery learning is that students should have as much opportunity to practice a skill as they’d like. Unlike a class that moves at a fixed pace, a struggling student should always be able to revisit prerequisites, read an alternative explanation, and try some new challenges. These systems...

Topography, Bathymetry, Toponymy

December 27, 2018 • #

In this latest cartography project I’m working on, I’m rediscovering the tedium of searching for appropriate data. I’ll grant that it’s amazing how much high quality data is produced and freely distributed, but given the advances of web technology, it’s frustrating to see how bad many of the web map content management systems are.

Of course the difficulty of finding data depends on the geographic area. I happen to be working on a region that’s pretty sparse, so some data (like rasters) can be harder to find.

Here are a few resources I’ve either found or rediscovered worth sharing:


Weekend Reading: Largest Islands, Linework, and Airline Mapping

December 22, 2018 • #

This week is some reading, but some simple admiring. I wanted to highlight the work of two cartographers I follow that is fantastic. We live in a great world that people can still make a living producing such work.

🏝 Hundred Largest Islands

A beautiful, artistic work from David Garcia sorting each island’s landmass by area. My favorite map projects aren’t just eye candy, they also teach you something. I spent half an hour on Wikipedia reading about a few of these islands.

🛩 On Airline Mapping

This is a project...

Video Mapping in OpenStreetMap with Fulcrum

December 16, 2018 • #

With tools like Mapillary and OpenStreetCam, it’s pretty easy now to collect street-level images with a smartphone for OpenStreetMap editing. Point of interest data is now the biggest quality gap for OSM as compared to other commercial map data providers. It’s hard to compete with the multi-billion dollar investments in street mapping and the bespoke equipment of Google or Apple. There’s promise for OSM to be a deep, current source of this level of detail, but it requires true mass-market crowdsourcing to get there.

The businesses behind...

Weekend Reading: Typing on iPad Pro, Climate Optimism, Visualizing GeoNames

November 24, 2018 • #

📱iPad Diaries: Typing on the iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio

I swung through an Apple Store a couple of weeks ago to check out the new hardware. The Smart Keyboard Folio has been hard to imagine the experience with in reviews without handling one. Same with the Pencil. I was particularly impressed with the magnetic hold of the Pencil on the side of the device — it’s darn strong. The current Smart Keyboard has some deficiencies, as pointed out in this article. No instant access to Siri or at least Siri Dictation, no system shortcut keys...

An Open Database of Addresses

March 27, 2015 • #

One of the coolest open source / open data projects happening right now is OpenAddresses, a growing group effort assembling around the problem of geocoding, the process of turning human-friendly addresses into spatial coordinates (and its reverse). I’ve been following the project for close to a year now, but it seems to have really gained momentum in the last 6 months.

The project was started last year and is happening over on GitHub. It now has over 60 contributors, with over 100 million aggregated address points from 20 countries, and growing by the day. There’s also...

Bringing Geographic Data Into the Open with OpenStreetMap

September 9, 2013 • #

This is an essay I wrote that was published in the OpenForum Academy’s “Thoughts on Open Innovation” book in early summer 2013. Shane Coughlan invited me to contribute on open innovation in geographic data, so I wrote this piece on OpenStreetMap and its implications for community-building, citizen engagement, and transparency in mapping. Enjoy.

OpenStreetMapWith the growth of the open data movement, governments and data publishers are looking to enhance citizen participation. OpenStreetMap, the wiki of world maps, is an exemplary model for how to build community and engagement...

Creating New Contributors to OpenStreetMap

January 15, 2013 • #

I wrote a blog post last week about the first few months of usage of Pushpin, the mobile app we built for editing OpenStreetMap data.

As I mentioned in the post, I’m fascinated and excited by how many brand new OpenStreetMap users we’re creating, and how many who never edited before are taking an interest in making contributions. This has been an historic problem for the OpenStreetMap project for years now: How do you convince a casually-interested person to invest the time to learn how to contribute themselves?

There are two...

Fixing Geography in Education

April 10, 2012 • #

I believe our higher education system is not properly preparing students of geography & GIS for the workplace, especially when it comes to modern mapping technology. This was a talk from the FOSS4G Ignite session on my thoughts about the state of the system, and what should be done to improve it.

Watch the video here.

OSM Tampa Bay

February 10, 2012 • #

At the start of 2012, I started a meetup group (OSM Tampa Bay) for the local Tampa-St. Petersburg to get together and contribute to OpenStreetMap. This talk was from our first WhereCampTB event, to get our local mappers and geographers interesting in joining up.

Local Knowledge

July 29, 2011 • #

Here are the slides from my talk at the first ever Ignite Tampa Bay. It was a blast to watch all the great talks from such a varied set of interests and passions. Great turnout, too — we drew a sellout crowd out to watch.

As difficult as it is to prepare for Ignite (20 slides, 15 seconds each, autoadvancing), I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve essentially done zero public speaking, so it’s nerve-wracking for me to stand up in front of 100+ people and talk at all —...