Mapper of the Month: Jacques Fondaire (Belgium)

- Pierre Parmentier


Translated from French by Pierre Parmentier

Jacques Fondaire username: jfonda

Jacques, would you like to briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

At the age of 12, I learned to read and use IGN maps with a Recta compass, which allowed me to move almost anywhere. Today I am retired and I am interested in tourism projects. I live in Athus, a small Belgian town 500 m from Luxembourg and 2 km from France.

How and when did you discover OpenStreetMap?

Five years ago, I discovered OpenStreetMap through the OsmAnd application installed on my smartphone. Two years ago, I participated in a training course on encoding organised at the Espace Public Numérique in Arlon. From a consumer, I became a producer.

How do you use OpenStreetMap?

I always use the latest version of JOSM under Windows 10 for encoding and a smartphone capable of receiving signals from Galileo for field use.

How do you map? In which area ?

The majority of my encodings are located in the south of the Belgian province of Luxembourg. I try to make and encourage encodings that are as structured and complete as possible: all the houses in a village, all the walks in a tourist association, all the restaurants in a locality, for example. I try to avoid mapping at random as much as possible, which doesn’t prevent me from correcting errors wherever they occur.

What are you mapping? Do you have a specialization?

I have started to map all the buildings in the town of Aubange. I added economic activities (shops, restaurants, offices, doctors, banks, accommodation, leisure facilities, etc.), thanks to a cooperation with the Agence de Développement local (Local Development Agency). I have added building elsewhere, without adding much activity, for lack of information, but I am trying to create contacts to obtain them.

What is your biggest achievement as a mapper?

I don’t aim to do prowess. In collaborative work, you rely on the work of others. I think it’s important to leave as much correct coding as possible to the next person.

Why are you mapping? What motivates you?

I try to map in the area where I live all the elements that I would look for when I travel to an unknown country. It is always this interest in tourism that motivates me.

What are your ideas about expanding the OpenStreetMap community?

The community will grow from users who are convinced that OpenStreetMap is the best map in the world. It is word of mouth that seems to work best to motivate those who have some time to contribute.

Do you have contacts with other mappers?

Yes, it is essential to have an approach that takes others into account. I am part of a small group that has developed around the city of Arlon, the headquarter of the Province of Belgian Luxembourg.

What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?

The greatest strength is its presence on the ground, which makes it possible to react quickly.

What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?

If we manage to convince many people and associations to use OpenStreetMap rather than other mapping applications, a major challenge will be to finance powerful servers to transmit information in real time. There are already times when servers take a long time to respond.

How to do stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?

I subscribe to the weeklyOSM feed. However, reading the Wiki seems more important to me to allow a contributor to get into the spirit of the project.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Contributors do not become rich or famous. It is a team work where there are certainly guidelines, but no leader. I think it gives a nice result.