Mapper of the Month: Jonathan Czalaj (Belgium)

- Pierre Parmentier


His homepage and his contribution page.

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

I am 39 years old, I am from the Mons region, in Belgium, and I am a computer scientist. I develop websites.

How and when did you get to know OpenStreetMap?

In 2012 when I started geocaching with my Garmin eTrex 20, I was looking for free maps for my GPS.

How do you use OpenStreetMap?

Mainly on my bike with my TwoNav Aventura 2 Motor GPS on which I customize the map to my taste by removing elements via the osmfilter application and customizing the rendering via the Land software. Also via QMapShack for route planning.

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

I mainly focus on the roads by adding missing roads, adding or modifying the one-way streets. And especially by realigning the roads to have a good accuracy when loaded on the GPS. I was surprised to see the GPS put me off the road during my first motorbike rides! Recently I have been busy adding fields and meadows. I am active mainly in the Hainaut region.

What are you mapping? Do you have a specialisation?

Mainly roads, but also buildings, fields and meadows. Once launched in a session of mapping, it’s hard to stop! It’s addictive!

What is your greatest achievement as mapper?

Nothing special.

Why are you mapping? What motivates you?

I like to have up-to-date and especially accurate data that can be useful to anyone using OpenStreetMap. Filling in empty areas is also satisfying.

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

I must admit that even as a computer scientist it was not easy to get the hang of it. I started with the Web iD version and I quickly made the step to JOSM. There too, it is thanks to tutorials on YouTube that I was able to discover the best plugins and how to use them, not to mention the shortcuts to be efficient during mapping sessions. There should be more tutorials on YouTube for beginners because I have seen many mistakes made by them.

Do you have contact with other mappers?

No, but I would be tempted to meet at an event to talk to other mappers.

What is in your view the greatest strength of OpenStreetMap?

The provision of free data that can be used for different projects.

What are the largest challenges for OpenStreetMap?

Guarantee the quality of the data, as the system is open to all, so deliberate or unintentional errors can occur.

How to do stay on top of news about OpenStreetMap?

From time to time by typing OpenStreetMap into Google News.

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

Don’t hesitate to get involved and contribute to this project, you might be surprised how addictive a mapping session can become addictive.

Thank you, Jonathan, for this interview.

Translated from English by Pierre Parmentier with the help of www.DeepL.com/Translator.