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)