Mapping Party at MIT

Ben and I were lucky to attend the Map party on Sunday at MIT. We had no idea what it was going to be like, but were instructed by Adam H to show up and learn more about mapping and demonstrate our MAP activity on XO and

The event surprised me because I realized that 1) google maps are not perfect, 2) people do ALL kinds of volunteer work, even map creation! This project appeals to people who like technology, maps and making positive impact in the community.

Open Street Map (OSM) is the largest open source mapping project in the world that was launched in 2008 in UK. It’s been growing rapidly thanks to volunteers.

So what OSM participants do? They get their GPS with them every time they go on a hike, bike ride, etc. and when they come home – upload their route to the website and edit the map. They correct or add what they saw – new buildings, hiking trails, bike lanes and more. 

The event started with presentations, then one team went outside to collect track/data with GPS units and another team used imagery to update features locally. I didn’t go outside but stayed in and added new bike lane (Somerville Ave) to the map. Ben braved the cold and gathered info on footpath in the Front Park at MIT.

Later we all uploaded GPS traces either from walking maps (you can scan and upload), I-phones or other GPS devices(Garmin60). There are various free mobile apps for iPhone/iPad (trackrec, Motion X GPS Lite, BTD mapper), on the Android platform My Tracks and Ridetrac are also free GPS tracking apps  for that.

We uploaded GPX format files into either OSM or JOSM and used feature “edit and save” for upload later. There were some editing conflicts, as several people worked on similar edits, but at the end conflicts was resolved and the map was improved.

For more information please visit and

If you are interested in participating, please contact Lisa at, David at or Lars at


November 8, 2010 - Posted by | Volunteering | , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: