Tuesday, December 23, 2008

place=farm, turkeys=yes

Season's greetings to all. Promise me to map as at least as much in 2009 as you did in 2008, and I promise to let you peek into the world of the rich and famous every now and then. We didn't get to finish OpenSantaMap in time (see Wiki page) so you probably still need to be on Google maps if you want anything but I'm sure Christmas '09 will be ruled by OSM.

Keep up the good work!


Public Domain Madness

God knows I have tried to rid the world of the evil that is the so-called "public domain". This is my project, folks, and contrary to what you may have read in the press, this project is not "license-free", and you cannot "do anything you want" with my the data.

I have hired a bunch of OSM ambassadors who now roam the States and generally do a good job of slowly moving us away from the original "public domain" TIGER data. Soon, my license will rule the world!

I'm a bit concerned about this Sunburned Surveyor guy though. First I thought I could let them do their own friggin' public domain whatever map and coordinate using a Yahoo list, but then one of my wisecrack Foundation directors pointed out that there's nothing in the statutes that says OSM is the only free map project we support so I had to give way there. (I made sure nobody will find them though, they're at "legal-general" - who would ever guess that that's the name for the PD talk list!) That much and not further, I thought, but meanwhile they seem to have got hosting from Telascience, and what frightens me most is that they actually managed to log in to their server! As if that was not enough, it seems that they have also uncovered my business secret of using relational databases to store, well, data. I should have got that patented when I started.

Speaking of patents, some lousy bastard told the legal-talk nitpickers that I was going to buy myself trademarks for OSM and the logo, and now I'm in trouble. I mean, we all know that the foundation must never get these trademarks, otherwise they could be carpetbagged by Evil Ed and suddenly CloudMade would not be allowed to say "OSM" without also favourably mentioning GMaps or so. But they don't understand that I'm only acting in their own best interest... just because Larry Sonsini is a pal of mine doesn't mean I'm going to pull a TWiki for god's sake!

I might have to hand over the trademarks to the foundation in the end. I tell you, sometimes it feels like I have a veritable palace revolution brewing there. I recently told them that I bloody well expect them to remain silent about foundation business in public, and what did they do? They promptly resolved that all foundation business was public unless explicitly declared secret. It felt like a slap in the face and I was about to climb the table and shout "who's the boss here" but then remembered that it was only a phone conference so I couldn't impress them with that. It'll have to wait.


Friday, July 25, 2008

We always knew...

We always suspected that China wasn't the best place to be for mappers. But nothing prepared us for this chilling first-hand account of Chinese hardship!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


On behalf of the OpenStreetMap Foundation I today wish to offer the most sincere apologies to the good people of Accra. I take personal responsibility for the environmental disasters that were brought upon them by malice, ignorance, or plain use of Potlatch, effected by the OpenStreetMap public over the course of the past months and years.

Flotsam of all kind is being washed up on Ghana's shores, with Accra being hardest hit because it is closest to the source of the problem, only a few hundred kilometres off shore. Bits and pieces of roads, buildings, the interior decoration of a whole supermarket, and most recently a good thousand of unaccompanied nodes and two barrels of m*shed potatoes, are carelessly dumped to sea, turning the area into the world's rubbish bin.

I have personally surveyed the damage and told them the Foundation would throw all its weight behind efforts to improve the situation. (I've also made plans to notch up the Foundation's weight a few stones by replacing one of the skinny guys with someone from the States but I can't tell you more right now, it's supposed to be a democratic process you know.)

So, folks, this totally has to stop. No more using lat=0,lon=0 for tests. I promised it to the Ghanans. They were so impressed, they even named one of their towns after El Coasto. So please. At least use -0,-0 instead, which is on the other side of the world (or so I'm told).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flowers. Peace & Love

Oh well. I'm sorry. So the prospect of having to shuttle into dreary Limerick from my California mansion had me a bit depressed there. I had just e-mailed my letter of resignation to Cloudmade, said goodbye to my captive audience (that's you!), and suspended my accounts on Flickr, Dopplr and the dozen other new age services I'm on. I was about to nuke the opengeodata blog and prepare my final message to the 23 OSM mailing lists, but got distracted trying to find the right words for my friends at talk-de when Nick's henchmen bundled me into a helicopter and gave me something that made me see flowers.

Conference was good, lots of flowers in Ireland. Thankfully Nick had prepared a few slides for my keynote on Sunday. Escapes me what technical stuff our Ukrainian wizards are building but Andy fed me the right keywords so I managed. People threw flowers at me.
And Ed: I'd still be hating you for not buying the IoM data from us last year, if it hadn't been for all the flowers.

Anyway, so I'm about to head back to the West Coast, on my mission of trying to get them tigertards to map the occasional park and footway. With fuel at 4.50 bucks per gallon you'll have to at least think about using footways, I tell them. They're a bit slow in accepting English superiority but I'm the lead dog in this territory (spot my markings, ha). I asked Nick when I'll be allowed back to the London office but he said there's many other countries to evangelise in after I'm done with the US and there wasn't anything useful I could do at home anyway...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unnecessary with the wisecrack commentary

So, my friends, it's time for me to leave you. I know you were looking forward to my SOTM report. I know you're gagging for more instruction on how to crowdsource bikeshed painting, for more lolmaps and l337 People's Map exploits, for graphs with rockets and APIs with clue. But, well, some things are beyond parody, and I feel my work here is done.

But end of statement doesn't mean end of FSC. Oh no.
This kinda shit's our calling, had no choice
Doin' it for free like the Village Voice
So when "disruptive" shades to "mischievous" shades to "trouble-making"; when you're taken out by a stray bullet seemingly from nowhere; when some unseen bit of code suddenly appears and bites all your best-laid plans in the ass... look for the swashbucklin' silhouette of Fake SteveC disappearing round the corner.

Love you all. Have fun.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Gospel According To FSC

So those crazy hippie guys over at Fortius One have the first ever interview with yours truly. Much love to Sean. They interviewed some other guy too, what's that all about?

Everything in moderation

"My addition to a Cablecar terminal in Nha Trang has just been denied. How can I explain to moderator that YOU don't have any category matched with CABLE CAR TERMINAL. Why don't you give me a chance to explain and help me correcting it?"

"I don't know what standards are your categories, but look, it don't have PAGODA (don't say that I must use Church if I want to show it a Pagoda), you don't have Publishing House, Factory. The School is not divided into 3 or more subcategories, just LKG and UKG, something that I can't understand. I know that you guys in US have Elementary, Lower High School and Higher High School, that is the same in Vietnam, why don't you use it?"

"i am having similar problems editing Karachi,Pakistan, moderator simply deny changes and don't give a chance to explain or clarify or listen to my point of view.. i know my area well more then the moderator moderating so atleast listen or have some option to contact or message the user who deny changes so that we could understand what exactly we did wrong and why it was denied !"

"I just began editing 2 days ago for my hometown, but I'm feeling that moderators are like God in the heaven, can't touch, must obey."

Have fun. If they let you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My philosophy (no. 5)

All your map are belong to us

In AD 2008, war was beginning.

Frederik: What happen?
TomH: Somebody set us up the Googlebomb.
80n: We get signal.
Frederik: Excellent, the NaviGPS is working for once then.
80n: Main API turn on.
[downloading 1533 nodes/10,000,000]
Frederik: It's you!!
Ed: How are you gentlemen!! (and Morwen)
Ed: All your map are belong to us.
Ed: You are on the way to destruction.
Frederik: What you say!!
Ed: You have no chance to survive make your map. With new Google MapMaker™.
Ed: Ha ha ha ha...
80n: Captain!!
Frederik: Take off every TAG!!
Frederik: You know what you doing (with the exception of Sfan00).
Frederik: Move nodes.
Frederik: For great justice.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So you should have seen us before the G session. The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric (damn wifi frying my head) as we all panicked about whose business model Google was about to obliterate. At least three people told me the Navteq guys were in the Parsons VIP Bar downing daiquiris anticipating the imminent annihilation of the freetards in favour of a Navteq-derived world.

And it turns out that the big news is that ESRI is adding "Save as KML" to some future version of ArcGIS.

Colour me really unimpressed.

So I don't actually know anyone who uses ArcGIS so I asked around if we should be worried about this, because I don't see it, somehow. Turns out the only people in OSM who've ever used it are the cartographers and they say ArcGIS's export functions are laughably bad - apparently ESRI don't really understand the difference between pixels and vectors so you get an Illustrator file with every diagonal neatly converted to a series of 10m steps, of some data you don't have the rights to anyway. Congratulations Jack, you just became the first person in the world to successfully sell Google a pup.

Just ask yourself this - if it's so world-changing, how come it's only a point release?

Of course there was some collateral damage to neotards like Platial and Mapufacture in the new geosearch stuff but, sorry guys, I did warn you.

All of which means we have another year to reinforce our tank traps. It's going to be fun.

(Mad props to John for the live blog. Next Scoble. Definitely.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Live from Where 2.0

Hey. So I'm in SF for the big Where 2.0 shindig. Actually Where's not as fun as it used to be - but then it never was - now that the corporate tards have discovered location (thanks Ed). But I figured I should keep coming if only for appearance sake, given that all this lovely VC cash sloshing around means I have to cloak my iconoclasm in a veneer of corporateness these days.

(memo to self - must ask Nick what iconoclasm means. is it something in Ukrainian?)

And there are still some great guys here, Mikel managed to persuade the UN it's a disaster zone (bit of an exaggeration, those are pretty gruesome jeans but I don't think they need international intervention quite yet) so they're paying for him, and of course John McK's a corporate drone at the Borg these days so he fits right in.

So you can read Brady Forrest if you just want point-by-point details of what's happening at Where and there's probably some freetard in the audience with an iPhone knockoff live-blogging it all. But that's not why you come here, you want insight and analysis and liberal use of the word "fuckwit", and, hey, who am I to disappoint?


Biggest news so far is that Y! have launched WOEID. Ok, I feel really guilty about this.

Basically the OSM deal with Y! is that we swap their imagery for our cred and expertise, you know that already. So every time Y! get some new hi-res imagery I do a day's consulting for them.

I was a bit busy last month setting up CloudMade's new NYC office so couldn't actually get to Sunnyvale, so I had to send this messenger guy from Brooklyn across with my advice. Unfortunately it kinda got lost in translation and when I said "you'll get geo cred if you have some more freetards" it actually came across as "free TOIDs", so Y! have ended up copying Ed's big crazy idea that no-one uses.

Anyway, let's see what the other goys come up with. Top topic of conversation is whose lawn Google are parking their tanks on this year and I have to say that the odds on OSM are pretty high. More later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Real artists ship

I'm begging you. Please. Someone. Put these guys out of their misery.

On osgeo-discuss right now they're wanking about wanking, which is way too meta and kind of illustrates my original point that "Real artists ship. For everyone else there's standards wanking".

Unfortunately they're so far into their vinegar strokes that, not only are they discussing my aphorism earnestly with furrowed brows, they appear to think it's solely my coinage.

And - call me humble, but - I can't live with the thought that, in the Penguin Dictionary of Bon Mots Libres, I might deprive a little-known figure from the early 80s of his rightful credit for "real artists ship".

Please, someone tell them. It's breaking my heart.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Technical documentation for OSM API 0.6

We've got some stick for not documenting the hack weekend properly. Now feedback reaches me from the weekend that this blog is already considered the premier news channel for OSM, so I figured, where better to write it up than here?

So you can now do stuff with users, like associate the id with the username, but there's more. In particular we've added some social stuff
PUT /api/0.6/user/Sfan00/clue
helps you impart clue to mappers, it's much more efficient than the current messaging system.

Obviously this is fully RESTful so we'll also be supporting
GET /api/0.6/user/SteveC/clue
so my fans can benefit from my years of accumulated wisdom.

Don't ask what the DELETE method does, it's at the far reaches of ethics and we've got to get Jordan to look into the legal side before it goes live.

Also we're introducing changesets. Now we've written some stuff on the wiki about this being necessary for revert and integrity and all that.

Actually this is all a smokescreen and it's come out of my discussions with Mikel about the Cyprus problem. Basically we're using it to implement a bozo filter. When a bozo commits a changeset, it's automatically tagged with "bozo=yes" and no-one else can view it - only him. When he goes back into JOSM or Potlatch or that other one with the bolshie developer, it all shows up for him, so he doesn't suspect.

We've been testing this for a while, so if you ever wonder why your changes aren't showing up on the main map, it's probably because you're a bozo.

(The other good thing about this is it lets us support editing by horses in the future.)

Finally, by popular request we're also going to be supporting WMS, I've done most of the code for this already

def wms
sleep 15.0
puts "503 Service Unavailable"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

we consider all your disagreements are all invalid

If you haven't seen this wiki page I really really encourage you to do so. Voting is currently 0 for, 11 against and yet he ploughs on undaunted, like a Ukrainian tractor. This guy is just awsome, we're trying to get him to keynote State of the Map.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In Soviet Russia, features request you


Good to be back with my adoring public, I've been racking up the DOPPLR! miles and haven't had much time to post.

So you might not realise this but we've set up a Cloud Made office in Kiev, and over the last few weeks we've been shuttling back and forth on Crazhalot - what used to be the Ukrainian arm of Aeroflot but they rebranded.

We've hired the finest programmers in the Ukraine, and these guys are HOT. I mean, as hot as a stolen collective tractor. They all learned on samizdat ZX Spectrums made in Ust-Kamenogorsk back in the 1980s. So when we said "mapping party" - and they counted there weren't enough Navis to go round - within two hours they'd cloned a whole Garmin etrex and put JOSM in the firmware and a little Rails server. I'm telling you, they're good.

Actually the mapping party went pretty well, have a look. Nick's the polymath so he's been doing the rounds with the Cyrillic street signs, as far as I know they're probably directing me to South Bumfuck, Lithuania but he seems to have it under control. I've been doing the whole Great Leader shtick and the Ukrainian guys seem to find it comforting. In fact I swear I heard one of them call me Stalin which is a compliment, I think.

And did I mention Andy 'cyclemap' Allan's our tech lead now? He seemed to find it all a bit disconcerting at first, but we brought along a load of little blue cycle route arrows and stuck them on signs in utterly random directions, and he feels much more at home now.

So I've been talking to some of the OSM community about this and they all say, hey, El Coasto, why Kiev?

Well there's the cheap booze and the hot coders and it's not on Google, that's three good reasons. And let's face it it's more exotic than Reigate, and it's closer to London than Oxfordshire is.

But basically it's because there's no word for "should" in Ukrainian.

I shit you not. You try and say "We should have a testbed dev server" and it comes out as "на хуй срака dev server", which Nick tells me translates as "I kindly volunteer to set up dev server, it will be done in 15 minutes". You say "We should have nested relations and a fixed ontology to give our data hierarchical structure, without which it is useless", and it translates as "холера! узни мене шлюха, PostGIS шлях трафуть", i.e. "but of course! I realise how these assertions are meaningless without proof and rather irritating. So I will have comprehensive set of benchmarks for you in five minutes".

It means OSM development gets done so much quicker. You might wonder why there aren't many messages on talk-ua. In fact there isn't a talk-ua. They just get on and do it.

We have one guy called Arjam Munroski who can't open his mouth without promising some new features. You should see his working copy of the rails port. It does actually have a spaceship.

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Professional SteveC

All this VC funding means I've got to get serious. No more 'have fun', from now on it's a strictly professional sign-off.

Also I've been advised it's no longer appropriate to call people fuckwits. Apparently 'tards' is ok though. So I reckon that gives me the right to call people fucktards.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Get with the programme

So Ed is half right and half wrong.

Half wrong (and not just for the awsome misspelling): "your only open when you're losing". What this actually means is that when you're open you can't lose. By definition. But Ed knows that.

Half right: Ed goes to the freetard gathering (that's us) to get ideas. Smart move. This is why Google and Ed are dominating the geosphere and no-one else is anywhere to be seen, apart from us and maybe Apple have some secret stuff in a lab somewhere.

Yes, the smart guys have figured how crowdsourcing their R&D gets better results and you don't even have to pay for it. So in the spirit of being open here's some hints for other geospatial d00ds on how to monetise the freetard community, from someone who knows. No charge.

Vanessa Lawrence: Ed knew you're going to have to open up, and admit it, you know it too. So give away the cheap stuff and keep Mastermap to yourself. Announce some sort of partnership with us, it'll win over the /. crowd and give you kudos in Government - so DCLG is more likely to pony up for you to map Monmouthshire - while essentially meaning fuck all. Drop the NC clause on Openspace, it makes you look stupid (everyone uses GMaps anyway) and gives the typotards at the Grauniad even more reason to grumble. Speaking of who:

Charles Arthur : Read some economics books, hippy.

Oh, and you might want to bid for serialisation rights on Sean's autobiog.

Jack Dangermouse, ESRI: Wow. You guys are still here? I guess you could open a museum or something.

No, I've got a better idea. Open source some old version of ARCwank that no-one uses. It will make no difference to anyone but the OSGeo guys will implode from the excitement and you'll be doing us a huge favour.

Tristram da Cunha or whatever the fuck that guy at Getmapping is called: Give us the imagery. This one is so obvious I'm almost amazed you haven't done it yet. We cook up some dual licensing stuff for the tracings, so you have the data under do-what-the-fuck-you-want-to conditions and we have it under whatever license we're using that week. We get our Germans to do the reproj into something sane and the hosting, no cost to you. End result is that you get the data three millennia quicker than relying on five people from Basingstoke using the People's Map, and you can still sell it to other guys with beards for much moolah. Come on.

Yahoo: Clearly the Borg will close YMaps and replace it with a skin on VE, just like Multimap, so you might as well go for scorched earth. Now even the ever optimistic El Coasto can't see your lawyers ok'ing a rerelease of the entire TeleAtlas dataset for free... but your code, well that's a different matter.

As you well know all your lovingly crafted render code is going to be subject to rm -rf / as soon as the Microtards move in - actually, no, it'll be del *.*, they still use 8.3 internally y'know - so, give it away and get the freetards on side. The worst that can happen is that someone actually starts using it so you all get lucrative consultancy jobs when the first Borg slice-and-dice hits Yahoo geo. If you're really lucky we might even hire you.

Oh yeah, and one more.

Ed: Don't be evil.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I can has venture capital?


This is a message from Real SteveC. Fake Real SteveC, that is.

Fake^H^H^H^HNick and I have just got €2.4 million to work on OSM.

€2,400,000. That's £1,800,000 for our UK readers and $3,800,000 plus California sales tax for our US readers (pending collapse of your economy, sorry about that). And we're going to give it to some of you guys for development work. And, like, none of you have even noticed.

So I know there are really important discussions to be had about aligning relations with the phase of the moon or some shit but DO YOU MAYBE THINK THIS DESERVES SOME COMMENT? I mean, talk about a bikeshed. Again.

It's up to you, I'm off down the Jolly Gardner. Get there in the next two hours and the drinks are on me. All €2,400,000 of them.

Separated at birth: Ed Parsons and Jeremy Hardy

One is a clown who occasionally appears on Radio 4, the other is a panellist on the News Quiz.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hope you like jamming too

Turns out Google are getting worried already.

First they try to get a bit of the OSM magic by organising a party. I don't know what Google mapping parties are like but I imagine a bunch of people all congregate on one area to not map footpaths.

But in news just in, it turns out that the UK government is jamming GPS signals.

So they claim this is to do with security but that's the excuse for everything these days - last time El Coasto made a complaint at Tesco they blamed a security alert, which is alright but I was only asking why there was no broccoli. Anyway here's the skinny:

MoD [Ministry of Defence] trials have taken place in a number of areas including Lincolnshire, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall and have an effect over a range of approximately 11km. Details of the trials are 'restricted', but the Government says the trials are intended to research 'vulnerabilities in a range of military applications' of satellite navigation, although it has also been noted that the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory PR team have denied that such trials are taking place.

However, we are told that the HMCG [Coastguard] locally broadcast details of the trials, with timings, and a 'Notice to Airmen' was also published in Portreath, Cornwall.

Ok. And OSM's worst mapped areas are Lincolnshire, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall. I'm telling you, they want these places to stay unmapped.

Now I know the word "Google" doesn't appear in that story but, answer me this, do you think good ol' Ed burned all his bridges with the Government? And how far from Ordnance Survey head office is the Coastguard anyway...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This week on the OSM mailing lists

So a lot of people don't subscribe to the talk list because it's too high volume. We used to have summary posts over on opengeodata, but then even the guys who wrote those ran away screaming and unsubscribed from the list, so that put an end to that. Anyway there's a few valiant list warriors still hanging in there, naturally including El Coasto in a starring role as King Of The Unimpressed One-liner, so I thought I'd bring you the highlight of the week.

So it's really important because this week we've had a debate on what colour to paint the bikeshed and also, this being OSM, how to tag the bikeshed. Now I know some of you guys are thinking that the top priority right now is rollback, maybe some better docs, sorting out the license, or our old favourite taking the piss out of the People's Map. No, the settled will of the OSM community is that this week we finally sort out the bikeshed problem once and for all.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go put my head through a blender.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Early frontrunner for Tard Of The Year

Hey. So we're instituting these OSM awards, we call them TOTYs - that's Tard Of The Year.

In future months I'm going to be sharing some of my nominations but to be honest I think our first candidate is going to be very hard to beat. Ladies and gentlemen a big hand gesture, plz, for Dimitri Rotorvator, CEO of Manifold.

According to Dimitri OSM is "yet another example of where open source technology is lagging commercial vendors":

My own view is that if OpenStreetMaps had any sense of practicality applied to the legalisms of the matter you would have not failed to pursue all of the bona fide, indisputably public domain sources of vector data. For example, there is the superb VMAP Level 1 data set at 1:250,000 scale that covers much more of the world (about a third) than the current set of Yahoo! imagery, and you don’t even need to digitize it yourself.

1:250k. Nice. I'll play with that when my super lo fidelity crayons arrive from Amazon and Potlatch allows me to edit at zoom level 6.

There's so many holes I could pick but I think I'll just crowdsource the flaming out to the community. But I can't resist this one final quote:

let me offer some specific suggestions to advance open source in GIS

Hey, Dimitri. Let me offer some specific suggestions to advance Manifold. Why don't you shove your topology up your arse and anal-yse it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Google: start to worry

So we were trying to work out what remaining things Google does better than us.

In favour of OSM:

  • More parties
  • More Germans
  • Less evil
  • Ability to deeply annoy WFS-Tards simply by some decision made in a pub three years ago

In favour of Google:

  • More beanbags
  • Own several Caribbean islands
  • Better aerial imagery

Frankly I can live without the beanbags, and our coastline guys are busy sending the Caribbean islands underwater. That just leaves the aerial imagery.

So look at this. Clicky on the ticky and select OpenAerialMap.


Obviously I can't say much more about our future plans for this, not least because I like to keep the bearded guys in Hartley Wintney guessing. But at this very moment one of our unmanned flyer drones is heading towards a palatial mansion in Teddington to do some close-up surveillance of a Good Ol' Geospatial Strategist.

(thanks to #osm for tipoff)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free map of Wokingham

So Ed is getting even more antsy about OpenStreetMap's poor coverage of Wokingham. Well Andy and I went for a quick blast on the way back from a meeting in Reading yesterday and we reckon we've got it licked. It was a bit of a rush so we had to use some out-of-copyright mapping as a base but we don't reckon anyone will notice. Happy now?

Friday, January 25, 2008


So after the "fantastic" "response" to last week's appeal I'd like to unveil our new co-author.

To qualify for Fake SteveC status you have to exhibit three characteristics: familiarity with the suffix "tard", ability to summarily dismiss others' bogus arguments, and overuse of the word "awsome" (one "e", please). Frederik qualifies on the first two counts and, well, he'll learn to be awsome. Also it's good to finally have the author of an editor on the team.

Frederik has been a coder since, like, 1969 so I'm hoping he might be able to explain to me the workings of Potlatch which is written in ALGOL or something. Also he doesn't take any shit from anyone which is the true hallmark of a real OSM fundamentalist (see also: TomH, morwen, and this crazy New Zealand guy who insists on posting incomprehensible shit about tags at 23.30 GMT every day, despite repeated appeals to stop) When I step down from being El Presidente in like 2017 or something I know OSM is going to be safe in these guys hands.

Oh yeah. Ed. You remember that completeness stuff you were talking about? Siooma, baby. Siooma. (Thanks to b3ta.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Safety in numbers

My fantastic company ZXV is doing a Week of OpenStreetMap at the moment. It's like a Google Summer of Code but shorter, not sunny and we don't have the beanbags. Or the money.

So one of our aims is to fix the bits in OSM where only one person knows how it works. We're moving stuff from obscure languages like MUMPS which has been around for 40 years, to Rails which has been around for like three-and-a-half so is totally more future-proofed. Our guys do tend to have accidents and Ed has been muttering sinisterly about "be an awful shame if something were to happen to your developers" so we need to take care.

Anyway it got me thinking about other points of failure. Now again the big G has this sorted, they're run by three people who never travel on the same plane, and even Ed's blog is written by two people.

I figure I should apply the same technique to my own blog and hey, it's all crowd-sourcing too. So if you want to be part of the geospatial industry's foremost fake blog, leave a comment and I'll get back to you. Safe.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ed Parsons, original gangster

SO this weekend Real Ed gets all paleo on my ass and instantly blows all his neo cred in one blog posting.

See here. Now if you're going to criticise OSM you can do it for many things but "completeness" and "accuracy" are such old-school arguments they could only really come from someone who's still at heart an Ordnance Survey guy. I mean we demolished the completeness argument years ago when I got our stats guy Andy to whip up this graph:

and if anyone tries to argue further I just say "Isle of Man" very quietly and that usually shuts them up.

Anyway I posted a friendly reply from El Coasto, complete with smiley, and Ed gets even more snippy and starts threatening that we're going to "lose credibility". So then I had to unleash da hounds and the whole OSM crowd piles in. Right now I've called a temporary ceasefire but I'm warning you, Parsons, any more shit like this and I'm going to let crschmidt loose on your comments section.

Truth is Ed doesn't quite get Web 2.0 yet. If I were being harsh I'd say he's still a 1.0 kind of guy but this is Google we're talking about, so let's just call him Web 2.0 beta.

Meanwhile, while Ed is busy not mapping the Isle of Man, our guys yesterday - just one day - did world's first Welsh-language webmap and the world's first cycling satnav, neither of which I see Google doing any time soon. Now I don't really understand this Garmin shit but I see the file in question is called GMapsUpp. GMapsUpYours more like.

Anyway must rush. Ed's basically being cocky because his maps are guaranteed a namecheck at MWSF today and ours aren't, so I figured I might take a leaf out of Gizmodo's book. You know, Ed, (other) Steve's going to be totally not happy when he finds out your intemperate blog posting fscked up his keynote. Have fun.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Haven't posted much over Christmas, I've been busy travelling the world and setting up companies and well, you know how it is. If you want to catch up with my fake frequent flyer points you can do so with the DOPPLR! stuff in the sidebar.

Anyway you all loved my Tard Army post, so I've reworked it for the Geowanking list. I had to simplify it a bit because the wankers aren't as smart as the OSM crowd - there are just three types of tards in this version. But you'll recognise the theme, and I'm proud of the "you won’t need money" reference which is pure Stallman. If you missed the VGI workshop don't worry - I'll be reprising it for the SOTM keynote speech.

Incidentally, SteveJ was at one of the break-out sessions at the VGI do and, well, I'm not actually allowed to tell you what's going to be in the MWSF keynote, but you should definitely search Localizable.strings in your jailbreak iPhone for the string OpenStreetMap. I'm just saying, is all.