Ryerson’s Department of Geography, Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA) program, and Student Association of Geographic Analysis (SAGA) are hosting the first-ever Canadian, and second-ever North-American meeting of OpenStreetMap (OSM) developers, the Toronto Hack Weekend March 2012. We want our students and the community to be aware of this “Wikipedia for geographic data”, as keynote speaker Richard Weait of the Toronto OSM group put it.
The OSM data were contributed by over half a million volunteers world-wide, and are often more detailed, accurate, or up-to-date than those of commercial competitors such as Google Maps or Bing Maps.
Friday afternoon’s presentation and discussion session raised a number of interesting issues regarding the future development of OSM, including the thematic scope of the data being collected and the mechanics of rendering the comprehensive dataset (“planet file”) into maps (map images, or “map tiles”) of different contents and styles for different purposes. I think Ryerson-trained geographers and spatial analysts will make valuable contributions to OSM in the near future ;-)
A report on how the weekend proceeded can be found on Steve Singer’s Scanning Pages blog. Ryerson Geographic Analysis student Michael Markieta has also posted a summary on his fabulous Spatial Analysis blog.