I have blogged on several occasions about OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is the world's largest volunteered, crowd-sourced database of geospatial information. Apparently, August 9th 2004 was the day that the first user registered the domain and started the project. The first time I blogged about OSM was just shortly after March 16th 2009 the day that the 100 000th user registered on OpenStreetMap. Since then the amount of data and the number of registered users has continued to increase exponentially. Currently OSM has about 750,000 registered users.
April 1 of this year OpenStreetMap moved to a new license. The ODbL license is comprised of an Open Database License (ODbL), a Database Contents License (DbCL) covering the database itself and its contents, and a set of upgraded Contributor Terms covering submissions to the database.
One of the challenges for the OSM community is that although there are 750,000 registered users, only about 24,000 of these are active mappers who regularly create maps using OSM data, Today on an Eclipse Foundation Locationtech teleconference, Alex Barth of MapBox presented an overview of a major project awarded to Development Seed and MapBox by the Knight Foundation that is designed to improve accessibility to OSM data. The focus of the project is to improve the core infrastructure of OpenStreetMap to make
- it easier to add data to OpenStreetMap
- OpenStreetMap.org more social to support the community as it continues its rapid growth
- it easier for people to access OpenStreetMap data to make their own maps.
The intention is that all of these tools will be open source, with open licensing, built transparently on open development platforms like GitHub, and worked on collaboratively with the larger OpenStreetMap community. The technical priorities as outlined by Alex include
- Improved editors using the new API including browser-based editors
- More social OpenStreetMap,org site
The project will begin ramping up over the next weeks and Alex is asking for as much community participation as possible. The best place to follow the project as it unfolds is the MapBox blog.