Annual report 2021
22.10.2022 - Jonathan Beliën, Joost Schouppe
The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it. Most cities suffer from a major inequality between male and female street names and we want to help fix this.
Started in March 2020, the EqualStreetNames project has been quite popular and kept growing in 2021. Most of those new cities have been added and are actively maintained by the local community.
26 new cities in 14 countries have been added to the project in 2021:
- 🇦🇹 Austria: Vienna
- 🇧🇾 Belarus: Minsk
- 🇫🇷 France: Saint-Brieuc
- 🇩🇪 Germany: Brandenburg an der Have, Dresden, Freiburg im Breisgau, Freising, Halle (Saale), Leipzig, Mainz, Rastede, Wiesbaden
- 🇮🇹 Italy: Bolzano
- 🇱🇺 Luxembourg: Luxembourg
- 🇳🇱 The Netherlands: Leiden
- 🇵🇭 Philippines: San Pablo
- 🇵🇱 Poland: Chorzów, Warsaw
- 🇸🇰 Slovakia: Bratislava
- 🇪🇸 Spain: Madrid
- 🇨🇭 Switzerland: Bern, Lausanne, St. Gallen, Zurich
- 🇬🇧 United Kingdom: Chester-le-Street
- 🇺🇸 USA: San Francisco
You can find the global map on https://equalstreetnames.org.
OpenStreetMap Belgium further supported the growth of the MapComplete project. A project page was added to the OSMbe website. The tool was used often in contacts with other organizations, as it is a very tangeable way to show people the power of OSM data.
Some of those contacts resulted in projects during the yearly Open Summer of Code project that our umbrella Open Knowledge Belgium runs.
- https://osoc.be/editions/2021/bikeinfrastructure (Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen)
- https://osoc.be/editions/2021/nature-moves (Natuurpunt)
A data collection company that normally sells access to their data also did an experiment with mapping POI using MapComplete.
The contacts with VVSG (mentioned elsewhere) also helped start the Pin je Punt project, which was launched in March 2022 and is based around a MapComplete theme.
Road Completion project with Digitaal Vlaanderen
The Road Completion projects keeps running. The amount of open issues is now manageable. During our mapping work, we create quite a bit of data about errors in the official data. In 2021, we set up a collaboration with the provider of this data. They have reviewed about 500 errors, of which over 90% was used to improve the official data.
OpenStreetMap Belgium already had a tool to detect new OpenStreetMap contributors in Belgium and help the Belgian community to welcome those new mappers. Similar projects have been started (or replicated) in others countries but there was no global platform.
The Local Chapters and Communities Working Group has decided to try to create such global platform so it would be easy to add a new region where a local community would want to welcome the new contributors.
OpenStreetMap Belgium has decided to replace its platform by a new version that would allow communities to easily add a new region or a new language.
This new version of the Welcome Tool is now available at https://welcome.osm.be/ where over 30 communities/regions can now easily welcome their new contributors.
If you want to add your own region or language, you can follow the steps defined in our documentation.
Our corporate member Champs-Libres worked together with Atelier Cartographique to add another project to the OSM.be website. https://hiking.osm.be turns OpenStreetMap data into a beautiful classical topo map style using their own stylesheet. These maps are optimized for printing. There is some manual work involved in creating such a map, hence there are only maps for some areas.
Traffic sign projet
The Flemish government has a traffic sign database. They use it to keep track of which exact traffic signs are where. But Flanders only manages the data of the roads they manage themselves. This is just the “regional roads”, not the municipal roads. Municipalities however can manage the data for the signs on their own roads. And some do. The data looks complete, because of a data collection project over a decade ago. But in many places, signs haven’t been touched since. Some municipalities on the other hand are doing a stellar job.
This means the data cannot be used to map everywhere. But it can be used to detect new traffic signs. These are quite interesting, since we are pretty sure they will actually exist. And often these are newly placed signs, so perhaps the effect in OpenStreetMap is still missing.
In this way, we thank the people who do manage their local traffic signs, by making it easier for routing software to take in account what the road manager wanted.
The Traffic Sign Project periodically extracts the data and turns it into MapRoulette tasks. We can now say that when a municipality installs a new traffic sign and digitizes it, the effect of it is guaranteed to be visible in OSM within a few months.
Import of buildings
During 2021, the existing GRB building import tool for Flanders region buildings was expanded to allow to use it for updating previously imported buildings in Brussels and to allow its use in Wallonia. For the occasion, the tool was migrated to buildings.osm.be .
In December 2021, we had our bi-annual board elections. Our previous board member (and founder) Ben Abelshausen decided not to run again and Thierry Jiménez-Scholberg got elected to replace Ben. Jonathan Beliën and Joost Schouppe have been re-elected as board members.
Next board elections will be held end of 2023.
Online meetups + Official meetings
After a pretty long “dry” period of online meetups (due to obvious sanitary reason), we could finally start having IRL meetups again.
And of course like every year, some board meetings and an official members meeting took palce.
In 2021, 1 new member joined OpenStreetMap Belgium. The list of our of our official members is available here: https://members.osm.be/view/members
Partnership with Rode Kruis Vlaanderen
A series of informal collaborations with Rode Kruis Vlaanderen (the Flemish part of the Belgian Red Cross) resulted in a formal agreement to collaborate on the organisation of mapathons in Flanders. For OSMbe this meant that we could more easily give a volunteer fee to event organizers. This was supposed to be for the period 2022-2026. However in early 2022 this was cancelled due to internal re-organization at Rode Kruis Vlaanderen.
In September 2020 we decided to start a Corporate Membership program. In exchange for a yearly fee, we show the logo on our website, allow organizations to say they support OpenStreetMap in Belgium, and try to help them with their mapping or data use projects. This was made more concrete in the May 2021 board meeting and implemented soon after.
Soon after, three of the SME’s that we traditionally are close with became members. We noticed that our price for non-SME’s was unreasonably high, and we lowered it. Soon after, we were joined by Toerisme Vlaanderen, who asked how they could support us, as it seemed the right thing to do considering their Pin je Punt project (mentioned in the MapComplete section).
Thanks to Corporate Membership, we increased our bank balance from 959 euro to 5.754 euro.
Municipal GIS workers at the municipal level joined forces at a working group of the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten. We presented the state of OpenStreetMap in Belgium there. There was a lot of enthousiasm, especially about the possibilities with MapComplete. A draft theme was built, but it ended there for lack of time. Reviving these talks remains on the agenda.