Annual report 2020
11.06.2021 - Jonathan Beliën, Joost Schouppe, Ben Abelshausen
Single point of contact
We have marketed firstname.lastname@example.org as a single point of contact for OpenStreetMap questions. This has worked very well. About a dozen people are behind the address, several of them answer questions regularly, in French, Dutch, and English. This has helped to deal with the sudden influx of complaints about paths that the owner doens’t believe should be mapped. Most cases are from individuals, but we have had similar questions from nature NGOs and several governement organizations. We use those cases to build a relation with them.
Over the past year, we have seen a significant rise in interest in OpenStreetMap from the government sector - and we have been able to rise to the occasion.
The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it. The region of Brussels suffers from a major inequality between male and female street names and we want to help fix this.
There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data to create a map visualizing the streetnames of a city by gender.
The project start with Brussels, Belgium in March 2020 and since then, this project has been replicated in several cities across multiple countries.
You can find more information on Open Knowledge Belgium website: “EqualStreetNames Brussels: Launch of open data visualisation”
Road Completion (OpenStreetMap Foundation microgrant)
OpenStreetMap is extremly good at quickly creating a usable map. It is less good at getting to 100% finished on a specific topic. The last 2% of roads might take forever to get mapped in OpenStreetMap. This project aims to find these 2% with the help of external road data. This can be governement data or machine learned data. We then offer the missing roads as microtasks to the mapping community. This means that after we have “finished” the work, the OpenStreetMap data will be at least as complete as the reference dataset - so any trust placed in that reference can now be place in OpenStreetMap as well!
The project was initiated back in 2016 but thanks to OpenStreetMap Foundation microgrant program in 2020, we finally could finalize our Road Completion project.
📉 Evolution: https://osmbe.github.io/road-completion/
OpenStreetMap Belgium tileserver update
Due to lack of time (and the fact that the update process was quite complicated), our OpenStreetMap Belgium tilserver (https://tile.openstreetmap.be/) previous update was in March 2019.
First improvement: the repository has been simplified : we only keep what’s needed (on top of the default “openstreetmap-carto” repository).
Secon improvement: the full update process has been migrated to Ansible. It can now be triggered everytime we want to trigger an update. You can find all the Ansible recipes in the GitHub repository.
Thanks a lot to Champs-Libres for all the help for the migration to Ansible.
Mapper of the Month
After 1 year and a half, our Mapper of the Month interviews are back thanks to Pierre Parmentier.
You can find all the Mapper of the Month interviews on our website: https://openstreetmap.be/en/category/motm.html
Due to obvious reason (😷), we hosted our meetups online this year. We organized 2 meetups (September & November) using Open Knowledge Belgium BigBlueButton instance.
Both meetups went really well. People seemed happy to see and talk to fellow mappers and the fact that the meetups were online allowed people that usually can travel to the IRL meetups to join.
We also decided to organize our meetups (online or IRL) on a fixed date : last Tuesday every 2 months.
For the EqualStreetNames project (see above), we hosted in March an event at MSF Belgium headquarters in Brussels. We organized together with Open Knowledge Belgium and Wikimedia Belgium an event to try to find information about the people that have a streetname in Brussels.
The main goal was to find the gender of those people but we also wanted to find if there was already a Wikipedia page or Wikidata item for those people.
There have been few mapathons because of Covid. However, we are working closely with the Flemish Red Cross to organize virtual mapathons.
Open Summer of Code
Belgium has a yearly Open Summer of Code (not to be confused with Google Summer of Code), organized by our umbrella organization Open Knowledge Belgium. Paid students work on open source projects, for real clients that want actual products. Every year, we lobby to get projects related to OpenStreetMap.
During the 2020 edition, we did the Cyclofix project. This was meant to create an open alternative to a My Google Maps maintained by a Brussels NGO with a lot of information about soft cycle infrastructure (pumps, service stations, repairs, rentals, second hand, etc). The project was coached by our members Pieter Vander Vennet and Joost Schouppe.
Pieter had built a tool with somewhat similar requirements before, and decided to create a platform instead of a bunch of loose instances. This was the birth of MapComplete: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/MapComplete
The Cyclofix website is still used and maintained ; MapComplete is proving to be a very succesful project with several organizations funding new themes and new features. The tool has since been extended with capabilities to easily create your own theme, and has grown a small community of volunteer theme builders in Belgium and accross the globe.