State of the Map US

State of the Map USUnfortunately I missed State of the Map in Girona, Spain this year. I seem to be making every other one - which means I'll be attending the first State of the Map US being held in Atlanta this coming weekend.

The United States had a much later start in OpenStreetMap than Europe and other parts of the world - but we also have a long history of open-government data that created less of a demand or need for grassroots mapping. However, the benefit of this culture is that the US government, from the local and state levels, all the way to the Federal level, are interested in utilizing OpenStreetMap and connecting with the community.

I'll be speaking on Sunday about the necessity, and benefits, of moving beyond merely open data to instead focus on collaborative data gathering and mapping. Through our work on GeoCommons, OpenStreetMap, and deployments of data sharing to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Haiti and how citizens with organizations need to engage together in dicussing the need for data, methods for collectively gathering, and ways to open share and capture feedback in order to improve the overall quality as well as impact of open data.

OpenStreetMap has understood this from the beginning in promoting through "mapping parties". These parties had the explicit goal of mapping a region and training new mappers, but implicitly they created a community of like-minded local citizens that self-identified their desire to spend time and energy in working together to gather and open data. It is basic initiatives like this that are vital at the local and regional levels.

If you're near Atlanta, or can come by to the conference, hope to see you there. And regardless, think about how you can connect within your community of interest to start a dialogue and collaboration around open data.

About this article

written on
posted in ConferenceOpenStreetMap Back to Top

About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.