Mapper of the Month: Thierry Hancart (Belgium)
15.10.2020 - Pierre Parmentier
- Hello Thierry! Would you like to briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
- My name is Thierry Hancart and I live in the municipality of Gedinne, south of the province of Namur. When I was young, with the scouts, I became familiar with maps reading. Geography and history are areas that interest me. Passionate about hiking and photography, and interested in computers, I directed myself to OpenStreetMap at the time of the retreat.
- How and when did you get to know OpenStreetMap?
- In 2015, attracted by the spirit of free software, I looked for alternatives to the usual Windows, Google, Google Maps, … I discovered OpenStreetMap in the course of this research and the idea of participating in this project came to me to be obvious. After exploring the documentation – the wiki mainly – and taking notes, I started in July 2015.
- How do you use OpenStreetMap?
- In the field, smartphone, hiking GPS and camera are my main tools to record tracks and objects. Often also a small notebook. Working under Linux Debian, I use the iD editor under Firefox. I regularly consult the Osmose tool to check the corrections to be made to the places visited or recorded.
- What kind of contributor are you and in which area do you map?
- Having received a scientific training, I try to follow rigourous rules and precision in my records. This is why I always check them using the tools available. I cross-check my information with different official databases found on the Internet. And correct obvious errors when it is possible for me to do so. I map out my municipality and its surroundings, as well as the places I go to on hikes and during my holidays. But also from more distant regions as I am participating in the HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) programme in Africa.
- What are you mapping? Do you have a specialization?
- I map any object observed and located, often of interest to the hiker. These are often photographed objects. I also use the tools present in iD - cadastre, aerial photographs - to map buildings in areas that are less familiar to me.
- What is your greatest achievement as mapper?
- I have no pretension for this aspect of my participation in the project.
- Why are you mapping? What motivates you?
- My main motivation is to participate in a free project that combines many of my passions: geography, hiking environment, photography, computers, …
- Do you have any ideas to expand the OpenStreetMap community, to motivate more people to contribute?
- Is it really necessary to enlarge the community? Word-of-mouth is probably the best publicity at the moment. There is little advertising material available to make the community known.
- Do you have contact with other mappers?
- No, no direct contact due to the remoteness of my place of residence.
- What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?
- It continues to be fed by enthusiasts, independent of the commercial circuits.
- What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?
- To become a database that is as complete as possible and competitive compared to the big names in the sector.
- How do you stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?
- To keep me informed of OpenStreetMap’s developments, I regularly consult the OpenStreetMap Belgium and France mailing lists, as well as the wiki files.
- To conclude, is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
- Best wishes to all of you! Be happy and enjoy life! And long live the OpenStreetMap project.
Many thanks, Thierry, for this interview.
Translated from French by Pierre Parmentier