OSM London Hack Weekend

posted in: Participate | 2

Last weekend I attended the OSM London hack weekend. The theme of the event was mobile, a key area where OpenStreetMap can grow it’s current offering. Timing couldn’t have been any better – just 2 days earlier the press was reporting that smartphone use surpassed the use of laptops in the UK.

Our hosts for the weekend were Geovation Hub which is part of the Ordnance Survey but feels very different. It felt much more like a swanky up-start focussed on innovation and not tied down with years of history and layers of bureaucracy. Geovation describe themselves as a “co-working space for individuals, businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to collaborate, exchange ideas and innovate around ventures that are underpinned by geospatial data“.

First day of the OpenStreetMap hack weekend at Geovation Hub, London.

The weekend was well attended with 25 developers working to make OpenStreetMap better on mobile. Many of the names will be recognisable to avid OpenStreetMappers and it was great to catch up with those who I hadn’t seen since State of the Map 2013 in Birmingham.

We were kept supplied with tea and coffee at the Geovation Hub, whilst PIE Mapping provided pizza to keep the energy levels up. This helped to keep us going – some of the things we worked on (not an exhaustive list and sorry if I have missed your particular project off):

  • Jochen Topf & Harry Wood worked on integrating TagInfo into the OpenStreetMap Wiki. by building a solution to auto-populate the wiki with data from TagInfo based on a Taglists template.
  • Harry then continued to work on TweetFellows – an Open Source tool that will enable multiple people to send tweets from the @OpenStreetMap twitter account.
  • TagInfo also saw some improvements to the way it is displayed on mobile devices thanks to Christopher Baines, whilst Marc T made the nominatim web page better on small screens (not live yet).
  • Sarah Hoffmann was also working on nominatim and implemented lots of bug fixes before starting work on a new feature that provides additional information such as opening hours and accessibility with each nominatim search.
  • Jo Walsh (aka zool) built the first stage of a building details editor for Android. It currently downloads the data around you based on your GPS location, with editing functionality the next stage of development.
  • The OpenStreetMap editor Vespucci also saw some development as Mick Orridge added the ability to view GPS traces as a new layer.
  • Nick Whitelegg added support for GeoJSON to MapsForge. This will help to ensure that the data can be easily kept up to date and could replace the current MAP files that tend to only get updated once a year.
  • Serge W started work on a really novel app idea – a wifi scanner that looks for wifi networks associated with well known stores (e.g. McDonalds) and then asks whether a node should be added to OpenStreetMap.
  • Finally, Robert Scott was working on porting OS Musical Chairs to the new OS OpenNames data – perfect given our location.

For more see also the GeoVation blog post. I’m already looking forward to seeing what the next event can do!

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