Mapper of the Month: Thierry Hancart (Belgium)

- Pierre Parmentier


His homepage and his contribution page.

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 to do 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