What I learned at State of The Map US

16 Apr 2014


This is part one of two of what I learned at SOTMUS. I’ll split it up into day one and day two

This year was my first time to attend SOTMUS. The only other geo conference I attended was Where Conf in 2011 and 2012. I was half expecting something similar to Where Conf, but I was completely mistaken (in a good way).

##Initial Impression

  • The OSM community is incredible
  • The MapBox garage functions very well as a party venue
  • PBR is much better than what I remember 12 years ago
  • Very rarely do you see a group of 500 people that are so welcoming
  • Cartography is a beautiful art. It’s also a very hard thing to wrap your head around
  • MapBox could probably fill an entire conference with their own presentations from every member of their team

##Presentations Here are some random thoughts on some of the presentations. I would encourage you to check out the linked videos and the presenters’ twitter accounts

####Make Maps Better Together - Mike Skalnik

  • open formats win out from closed formats
  • collaborative > silo’d labor
  • simplicity > complexity
  • pragmatic > perfect
  • use dumb formats and smart tools
  • treat data as code
  • i knew you could view GeoJSON straight from git, but did not know you could diff the GeoJSON

####Faites Vos Jeux: Announcing MapRoulette Next Generation - Martijn van Exel

  • fix OSM one bug at a time
  • perfect way to get involved in OSM community
  • very functional, does what it was made to do and nothing more
  • license change a while back really screwed with the data
  • great way to track osm bugs and make it fun to fix them
  • will definitely be playing with this in the future

####More Open - Alex Barth

  • there is a lot passion within the OSM community
  • like any other organization, there are different thoughts on licensing
  • lawyers are conservative with ambiguity
  • share-alike clause of ODbL introduces incompatibilities
  • you shouldn’t have to change your licensing just to be able to derive data from and publicly use OSM data.
  • attended the birds of a feather session on this…will likely have a separate post on this

####Implementing Change in OpenStreetMap - John Firebaugh

  • id editor and osm.org redesign
  • foundation of mapbox is osm. there is an alignment of interest
  • users tend to be conservative - loss aversion/status quo bias
  • check out building compassionate communities in tech
  • perfect is the enemy of much better now

####Engaging the OpenStreetMap Community - Colin Reilly

  • how messed up is NYC’s addresses?
  • DoITT is a pretty cool department name
  • borough presidents have very weird responsibilities
  • the power of the community is amazing
  • email changes to NYC from OSM is all because of licensing (and NYC data is public)

####Pelias: A New OpenStreetMap Geocoder with Elasticsearch - Randy Meech

  • Elasticsearch is pretty sweet out of the box
  • Can only imagine how nice this will be when tiger and open addresses are added
  • Pretty cool UI for search and suggested options in the demo
  • How scary is it to be presenting and running a demo from your servers…I would be sweating

I’ll cover the second day presentations tomorrow…