Mapper in the Spotlight: Dkiselev (Russia)

- Marc Gemis

The Russian OpenStreetMap community is one of the largest. Still, I don’t know a lot of Russian mappers. Since I wanted to get to know them better, I asked Zverik for some interesting mappers. He was so kind to give a list of candidates. And I just picked one, that happens to be dkiselev

Who are you?

I’m programmer from Russia, living in Yekaterinburg. Though I’ve been living in Montenegro for about two years, and it’s clearly shown by my hdyc heat map. I like to travel and programming. For one part of my life I’m sitting on my laptop with my back to the rest of the world and for the other part I’m driving or strolling somewhere I’ve never been before.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

If I remember, I saw an article in Linux Magazine with article about OSM, and at that moment I was looking for map which renders one-ways. And OSM was just what I need. I’ve done some edits near my home, and can’t stop edit ever since.

What do you map? Is there any difference with your early days?

There are not so many differences in what I map, but in where I map. I could say that I’m armchair mapper, I love to map buildings, highways, rivers - all that basic stuff. An unmapped mid-sized town without mapped streets and buildings is like a Christmas gift for me.

How do you map? Do you make surveys? Are you an armchair mapper?

As I said, I am amchair mapper, but sometimes I like to take some POIs, or some small pathways in new neighborhood in my city. For POIs I use just a pencil and block note. Sometimes a smartphone with OsmAnd and photo-pois.

POI gathering with OsmAnd

Since I have a laptop with a huge screen, so I do not have a fixed place to do my mapping.

My workplace

Where do you map? Locally, HOT?

Both ways, sometimes I just pick a random location in the middle of nowhere, sometimes I map a places where I was or have plans to go. Sometimes I map where my friends says “OSM sucks because there is no %place_name% mapped there.”

What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

Some people say that OSM is cool because of complex objects like 3d buildings or public transport routes, somebody else loses their mind from micro-mapping. But still, I could find towns and villages that are not mapped at all and sometimes they are rather big. First thing which you want from map - is coverage for your region of interest. And for me my first achievement will be first million of points added (I’m rather close to that point but still have some work to do). And another achievement would be a size of heat map from hdyc.

Why do yo map? What motivates you?

It’s rather easy, first, I love process of mapping: follow the road or river and click-click-click. It may sounds rather silly but: modern games like Diablo3 have pretty muchthe same process, follow the pictures on screen and click. And such kind of a game/mapping process gives joy to an enormous number of people. Second, that exact moment, when whole town or river or web of highways pops-out from dull gray mapnik-nothingness really drives me. It’s a small world under your cursor. A road to a farmland with farmers, a small pathway from bus-stop to kindergarten through neighborhood with imagined parents and imagined kids on a playground.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

Yes, but most of such contacts are virtual via email. Not so many person-to-person meetings as I want.

The main reason for that is that we have different interests. Some of us like to map in city, someone else prefers the outskirts and mountain bike trails and others prefers to drive somewhere. So most of our parties are parties, not mapping-parties. Another reason might be that all of mappers around me, including myself, are keen on mapping and attending meetings but not on organising parties.

What is the most difficult part of mapping?

Mapping, as I see it, isn’t a hard thing. Most difficult part of OSM is the “nobody needs that” approach on tagging and talk mailing lists. Guys, just think, If somebody uses a mailing list, which is pain by itself, to ask you what is the best approach to map a thing, there is a demand for that kind of things to be mapped.

What are your mapping plans for the near future?

I don’t have formal plans for mapping, - I just map. I have some plans for programming around OSM:

Improve my own geocoder (Gazetteer) Improve QGIS-OSM interaction Create separate 3d model storage, with off-osm 3d models but with connection to OSM objects.

Where can we find more information about your geocoder? is a live demo, but coverage is limited to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Montenegro. You can find the code on github Geocoder on

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself?

Yes, I use OSM for navigation, day-by-day and for journeys. I love camping and car-navigation with OSM helps a lot. It also helps me to find playgrounds for my kids when we are in a new city, and helps me with pedestrian navigation.

Yes, most of them related to programming, I do osm related programming myself and trying to help others to work with OSM data.

Zverik told me you gave some talks about OpenStreetMap. Can you tell something about them?

Conferences and talks, they form a large part of my work for OSM. This year I have visited 2 conferences. The first one was a local IT conference in my own city. I gave a presentation about OSM from the point of view of management. To summarize in one sentence: “how to manage a party of anarchists.” I’ve described how to encourage people to do something for public good and not to destroy such project with stupid management. On the last conference in Moscow which was mentioned by Zverik, I’ve been talking about

Geocoding (I’ve tried to make that speech rather broad and general) OSM data processing, building a polygons of populated areas and estimation of population density distribution. 3d - it wasn’t actually my speech, it was a kind of open discussion about 3d in osm.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention?

Thank you for your time. Best regards, Dmitry