Mapper in the Spotlight: Pete Masters (Scotland)

- escada

Q: Who are you?

Pete Masters

I am Pete Masters (OSM: pedrito1414 - a hangover from my time living in Mexico). I live in Glasgow and work for MSF, running the Missing Maps project. I am a fairly rubbish climber, a regular footballer and get out to the lochs and mountains as much as possible.

Q: When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap?

As a user. I have travelled extensively with my various jobs and OSM and associated apps are indispensable. I can never understand why someone heading abroad wouldn't have OsmAnd or similar on their phone!

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

As a contributor, I guess I am a relative newbie. My mapping started with HOT mapping and then Missing Maps of course. The biggest difference? My eyes. It continues to amaze me the level to which we can train our eyes to pick out detail in satellite imagery....

Q: How do you map?

In the field for MSF, I use OpenDataKit, OsmAnd, field papers and occasionally OSM Tracker, OpenMapKit. I do a lot of tracing, too in JOSM. At home, I do a little bit of surveying - mostly alterations and corrections I notice while navigating or leisure mapping while on holiday....

Q: Where do you map? Locally, HOT?

pedrito1414 statistics

A little bit locally, but mostly in the field.

Q: What is your biggest achievement as mapper?

I have mapped in Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Bangladesh, amongst others, but the experience of Bangladesh was pretty special. Working with Jorieke Vyncke and incredible OSM Bangladesh community was an absolute pleasure. We worked hard, we had a lot of fun and we did the job that MSF needed us to do. Very proud of that. Also, massively proud of the heights that OSM Bangladesh have since reached - I'm a big fan ;) Uni of Lubumbashi guys in Congo With the uni of Lubumbashi guys in Congo

Q: Why do yo map? What motivates you?

I have worked for MSF for a long time now and love the organisation. That I can practically contribute to their mission is extremely satisfying and motivating. I also find helping responders through the HOT activations following disasters very rewarding. I guess this is also the first time I have been a part of such a talented, committed and interesting community of people, too. Remotely, through conferences and meetups, and through the London and Glasgow mapathons, I have met brilliant individuals and made some good friends....

Q: What is the most difficult part of mapping?

For me, it's not the mapping - it's the organising. Trying to make sure that data quality stays consistently high, while at the same time bringing in new people to OSM and HOT is a huge challenge. We are getting better, but there is a long way to go and I welcome ideas that anyone might have....

Pete Masters

Q: What are your mapping plans for the near future?

Training local mappers in Sierra Leone in June and launching the first stage of our effort to map South Kivu in DRC are the big projects on the horizon!

Q: Do you have contact with other mappers?

All the time! I go to at least a couple of mapping parties a month in various cities. And, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to mention Nick Allen and Ralph Aytoun by name. They may be surprised, but I see them as my mentors in all of this - knowledgeable, incredibly generous with their time and always available and patient for my (never-ending, sometimes-foolish) questions ;)

Q: Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself? How?

As above... In the field, both for personal travel and work.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about "Missing Maps"?

The Missing Maps is a project made up of numerous organisations and thousands of individuals. Each one has different objectives, resources, skill sets and each brings something different to the table. The openness of that table is massively important and we try to make it as welcoming as possible to people who want to pull up a chair. We unite around a common humanitarian desire and that's the fuel in the fire.

The project was born out of a need. A lack of geo-data in the places where MSF teams work - places that rarely make the news. The volunteers who engage and contribute are helping to meet that need and directly supporting life-saving medical work in some of the most dangerous and vulnerable places in the world.

While the Missing Maps project wasn't my idea - I was there at the start. I named it ;)

Q: Do you do anything else than mapping that is related to OpenStreetMap?

I still love to use paper Ordnance Survey maps while hiking.

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

Pete Masters

Just to say that this last couple of year's immersion in OSM and HOT has been an education, an experience and a pleasure. Long may it continue!

Thanks a lot Peter for taking the time for this interview.

The previous interviews can be found on the wiki