Since leaving NYC GIS I've been wanting to stay involved in the GIS community. Yesterday I had the opportunity to learn how to contribute to OpenStreetMap. This is one of the best ways to contribute to the open source geospatial community. OpenStreetMap NYC held an Introductory Workshop at FourSquare HQ in SoHo.
It took only a few basic steps before we were up and editing OpenStreetMap data:
- Create an account at OpenStreetMap.org
- Install JOSM
- Learn some basic editing skills with JOSM
- Find some data to edit
- Upload your changes to OpenStreetMap
Step 4 was actually pretty interesting. If most people are like myself they don't know exactly what they plan to create or edit in OpenStreetMap, but are sure they'll have ideas once they get started. There are 2 websites that can help you get started by showing you data that requires some TLC.
- ReMap-A-Tron - This past summer OpenStreetMap underwent a major redaction process to remove data that did not comply with an ODbL license. Once completed this left many inconsistencies in road data. Remap-A-Tron will show you one and allow you to correct it.
- Keep Right - Scans OpenStreetMap for data inconsistencies and allows you to correct them.
I started by viewing my own neighborhood in Keep Right. I found a church that was flagged as a place of worship but was missing a religion tag identifying the type of religion. View the error here. I found the church website online and used information from there to populate the religion tag. You can view the current tags on this church here.
Making my first edit and uploading it to OpenStreetMap was fun, but next I wanted to do something spatial. I noticed that many of the buildings in my neighborhood are not drawn, so I decided to draw them. When tagging the resulting buildings I used the OpenStreetMap wiki page on Buildings for a great reference of which tags to use. If you look at the map below you can see 60 Pineapple Street and 66 Orange Street, I drew these!