GIS Thoughts

Openstreetmap and the OS

Jo at Mapping hacks comments on an email sent by Openstreetmap (OSM) founder Steve Coast on its future. I have blogged about OSM before and am very supportive of the idea, however Steve makes the point that others in the UK are concerned to support the initiative personally, because of their relationships with the Ordnance Survey.

Although this is clearly not an official communication channel for the OS, I would like to take this opportunity to state that the OS has no right whatsoever to infringe on the rights of individuals or organisations who which to produce their own copyright free geographic information. Clearly the OS would be concerned if Crown Copyright material was used in the compilation of the database, but Steve and the OSM community have always worked very hard to make sure this is not the case.

I believe the UK GI industry should be supportive of any initiatives which grow the market for geographic information, to be honest the development of databases like that the OSM is attempting to build, do not compete in meeting the Ordnance Survey core market needs and actually meet the needs of a community of users that are not served well by commercial data providers.

The development of copyright free or open source geographic data is a result of technological advancement and the increasing maturity of industry, and I call on anybody who can to support the OSM project, as professionals in the business of building and maintaining national geographic databases we know how complex and expensive business a undertaking this is.

GIS Thoughts

The future of “paper” maps cont..

My earlier post on “paper mapping” and web services coincided with the OS Options conference which took place at the OS head office in Southampton today. In many ways the Options network represents the future of printed maps, it is a network of organisations which access an OS web application (developed using ArcIMS) which allows the creation of customised large scale mapping plots and data downloads.

The Options network in my mind has always appeared to be the awkward child, hidden behind the scenes while the OS MasterMap data products take the limelight, while at the same time successfully meeting the needs of the community of small professional users and SME’s. Options has just got on and delivered what its community needed and indeed last month the 1,000,000th options product was produced.

There is a balance to be achieved between developing a simple series of on demand printed products while at the same time building an application which is simple to use, and with Options we still have some work to do.. but this I believe must be a beacon to the future direction of paper mapping.

Written and submitted from the Holiday Inn Southampton, using my Vodafone 3G network card.

GIS Thoughts

The Printed Map is not dead yet..

Jeff at Vector One writes about the impact that the increased use of web services may have on printing. As he points out while such services make complex business process more accessible to users – I would add both professional and the hackers; there is still a need communicate spatial information and this will result in more printing.

It’s interesting that despite all our efforts, the paperless office is still a dream along with Moon bases.. I’m the only member of the OS board who does not attend board meetings with a pile of papers instead relying on my trusty Powerbook.

Maps remain the primary means of communicating geospatial information, even though a printed map does not allow the user to access the rich attributes often behind the cartography in a GIS, a large printed map or plan is still an excellent collaboration tool – you can even stick pins in it!

One day the professional user of spatial data may move to electronic displays in order to access richer attribution and higher levels on interactivity, and for consumer users we are already seeing more and more sales of mapping products for PDA’s and handheld GPS.

But the printed map will still be there I believe, with the widespread availability of geo web services and wider data availability it will become possible to print disposable maps on demand – using your own cartographic style perhaps as an expression of your personality.

I think things are about to get complicated for the Charles Close Society.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.