Mapper of the Month: Jorisbo (Belgium)

- Pierre Parmentier


His homepage and his contributor page.

Hello Jorisbo. Would you like to briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello everyone, my name is Joris Bo from Antwerp, about half a century on this planet and avid OpenStreetMap user. A job in ICT, no children and a partner who also does a lot of work. As a compensation we are away for many weekends and holidays. Especially long bike rides and mountain hiking are our great hobbies.

How and when did you get to know OpenStreetMap?

I once took my father’s Garmin GPS with me on a holiday to Italy to give it a try. Before that I walked with official maps. On holiday it turned out that the official Garmin map was quite expensive for a week’s holiday. After some googling and a lot of research I ended up at the mkgmap community to make my own maps for the GPS based on OpenStreetMap.

How do you use OpenStreetMap?

I use my own walking and cycling maps that I make myself with mkgmap. On jorisbo github I publish a style to create Garmin maps that are as identical as possible to the standard OpenStreetMap layout of openstreetmap.org.

What kind of contributor are you and in which area do you map?

The nice thing about mapping is that I can be on autopilot and let my mind do other things. At the end both my head is empty and I also have a nice result when the browser is renewed and all the changes become visible.

What are you mapping? Do you have a specialization?

I functionally map what I walk and cycle or plan to do, but around my hometown Antwerp I map as a hobby to make the ‘painting’ more beautiful. I once had a goal but it all turned out to be far too ambitious. I let go of that stress. The strength is in the many hands and the long breath that we have together.

What is your greatest achievement as mapper?

I am not particularly proud of what I do. Above all, I can enjoy the beautiful complete picture. More the work of art, say, than the functional aspect. By the way, I am proud of all the other mappers who together make this cool project what it is!

Why are you mapping? What motivates you?

Especially because I like to create something and as an introvert I need a relatively large amount of my own time to regain energy and shape my own thoughts. It’s also just fun to look at the result of my work. By the way, that could also be the garden I just did.

Do you have any ideas to expand the OpenStreetMap community, to motivate more people to contribute?

I have thought a lot about it but I have never been able to enthuse anyone in my own environment. I tell everyone who wants to hear it that just about all the maps that are printed somewhere with walking routes or municipal information boards are based on our maps, but not yet anyone who felt called to come along afterwards.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

Little to say, usually it is functional about the map itself or an earlier update. But always nice to meet people.

What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?

Because everyone is allowed to participate and all dates are then public, no specific direction is given to what is good or bad. Sometimes things go wrong, but in general there is no manager who compares hourly wages with potential future income. For that reason, the walking and cycling network on OpenStreetMap is one hundred times better than any other map. There is no commercial party that puts staff to work for those few thrifty walkers and cyclists to colour in cycle paths and footpaths, and there are more examples.

What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?

As far as I am concerned, this is the limited user functionality of the openstreetmap.org website. It’s a nice map, but I use the big familiar maps myself, because they give better search results and you get a better user experience. If you type a letter incorrectly in the street name or place of residence, you won’t find it. If the website offers more practical functionality then I think you will attract a lot more users of which there is a small percentage that will take the trouble to make a small improvement later on. Which, by the way, is very easy with the great iD editor these days.

How to do stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?

Not particularly involved.

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

Thank you all! So much commitment to a predominantly public cause that is good to see.

Translated from Dutch by Pierre Parmentier and Claire Muyllaert