The last meet of the year was in Kilkenny at the New Work Junction co-working space, on the 30th of Nov. It was attended by local people, and people from the Dublin, Wexford and Galway among other places. As a change to the previous meetup, after a short introduction, those who were new to mapping were asked to raise their hands, so they could get hands on instruction on how to map. I sat between two of the novices and guided them through making their first changes. Which is as much as one person can do hands on. Vincent our host had mapped a large part of the city since we began to arrange the event, so there was a focus on adding extra tags to existing objects, so show the dept it can be described, explaining that we map to our level of knowledge.
One of them asked about showing mapping to his grandchildren, so I showed Streetcomplete. There happened to be an auto shop with a car wash visible from the window, so the app asked what kind of car wash it was with three pictures and text. As we could see two men washing as car we could pick the appropriate option. This is a nice visual way for anyone to get involved, checking for road surfaces, house types, lighting etc. Around the same time the other went out to try mapillary and note down the name and number of houses also visible from the window.
Over the lunch time break with pizza, everyone ended up in a rough circle discussing licences, and getting data from the government and the legal guarantees needed by the OpenStreetMap Foundation on top of how data is released. With members there from Irlogi which represents the geospacial industry generally in Ireland, open and closed, a meeting with a government body was talked about to help clear the current deadlock and give a big increase to the available data.
After the break Ciarán talked about upcoming big project next year, when a dissenter interjected at the mention of a green aspect of the work by identifying housing patterns, road networks since it was all too late, we needed to start thirty years ago, so we all needed to be working on the same thing to solve the issue, not dividing our efforts with things like this. What we all should be doing was unclear, probably something bold, dramatic, and single minded, united.
In the proposed project there is a focus on tackling several issues at the same time that are interconnected. The housing crisis, the lack of transport like frequent light rail or subway services and the ecological footprint we leave by being spread out, requiring space hogging private transport to move around. By focusing on the short term crisis of planning housing, we can build in an ecological trajectory that will build short term and long term results.
In Open Source there are often competing projects that live, die, get reborn, or merge into other projects, and from those bits, projects like an alternative operating system get put together from those bits, this means having one focused vision lead by a corporation for profit is seen as an anathema to free expression. This allows different people to get involved without having to join a set structure, so allowing for more wisdom of the crowds. Instead of picking one thing for everyone to do and hope it’s the right one, the answer will probably be a number of solutions joined together, that will be teased out and refined after trying multiple different things. Gathering data is not quick and exciting, but it is a necessary first step to put information in the hands of the people.
After the talk there was more mapping of the county from the testing division of the county into blocks. An analysis of which counties have a comparable amount of buildings to the population, seeing, the centre of the island has the least coverage. Basically most places in from the coast. For the end of session one of the new mappers discovered his housing estate in a nearby county was not coming up in a search and was in fact covered by the name of the housing estate above it, with borders of nearby carparks off as well. So I tried to advice on simple ways to with fixing these large areas without creating too much work.
After which it was time to pack up and go home, reflecting on a well attended event, with lots of mapping getting done to peoples level of knowledge and experience, but also where questions could be asked, tips shared and the sense of community grown.