[LINK] gps on kids...

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Mon Jan 19 18:12:21 AEDT 2009

I didn't mention OSM because it makes me grind my teeth together ... a
great example of what can go wrong with a collaborative project.

...the data is somewhere between difficult and impossible to use with
FOSS GIS systems. I'm intimate with Grass-GIS, moderately intimate with
QGIS, and I have a passing familiarity with Udig, three free GIS
systems. OSM says it's portable, but the portability works very badly.
... Unless you're at a very fine zoom, the built-in data export produces
only images, which are not useful if you want to do something
interesting or useful with the data.
... One of the "house" applications (Osmosis) won't compile under
OpenSUSE 10.3 (it's a dependency hell that I lost patience with in the
end). The Java applet JOSM is OSM-specific (ie designed for creating
maps for server upload) rather than for using OSM maps in other
applications, which isn't much use to me.
... the data quality is a thing of beauty. Nobody cares what they put in
what field, except for the stuff that's handled automatically.
... The XML schema is so Byzantine it provoked a rant about XML that got
me whacked over the head previously on Link!

The combination of low data quality and poor portability inhibits
someone like me from doing things that might otherwise be useful or fun.
I could easily (in, say, Grass-GIS or even PostGreSQL with spatial
support) create directions on the street map, but not without portable
data in which the database fields are moderately reliable...

Finally, it's not much use as a bushwalker's aid, with no topo data...
When it's not flat, gradients matter a *lot*.


Chris Maltby wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 03:18:41PM +1100, Richard Chirgwin wrote:
>> However, in a properly FOSS attitude, those who have the devices could
>> always capture and publish where they've been ... I'd bet with not much
>> effort a good cycleway map would emerge pretty quickly. Just as long as
>> you don't let it near the Openstreetmap guys, who (sorry for dumping a
>> bucket on a popular project) don't much care about data quality ...
> I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Open Streetmap (apologies if someone
> already did but I missed it). <http://www.openstreetmap.org/> It's a wiki
> style map of the world with an explicit FOSS attitude.
> If you cycle/drive or even walk around with a GPS, why not upload the
> location trace so that others can use it too...
> Chris

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