Warning: long post on the Tagaytay Mapping Party, if you’re not interested in the details, just look at the first picture and the last video below.
We finally completed our first OSM Philippines Mapping Party in Tagaytay. For me this was a very exciting event because ever since I joined OSM, I never had an opportunity to map an area with another OSMer. I talked a couple of times about OSM Philippines but never really did mapping with any group.
This party was our first and an acid test as to how our group can organize future mapping events. The transcript below are my notes on how the party went. Before the party, Tagaytay in OSM was pretty basic (as in most online maps).
Tagaytay in OSM before May 16, 2009
Tagaytay City is a famous tourist spot adjacent to the country’s capital, the event turned into a family outing because several mappers brought along their family for a brief respite to the city.
Dividing the cake
We divided the mapping area into four sections, mostly along the north ridge of the mountain. Each slice cuts across the primary and secondary road going to the city proper. The goal is to map most POI and residential roads within the slice. Since Tagaytay is a tourist spot, we focused on mapping tourist related POIs (attractions, amenities, pub and restaurants). We then proceeded to our respective vehicles and agreed to be back by late afternoon on the same cafe.
Rally, Neil and Seav slicing the cake
The “looking for houses for sale” team (maning and andre) – surveyed the western section using the photo-mapping technique. Both the GPS and the camera’s time are synched so that each photo is correlated to the gps trace. In order to get inside exclusive housing complex, we posed as prospective buyers of houses (a pretty good excuse if you can get away with it). Before this party, andre was not a mapper but an avid supporter of OSM-PH , now he is.
The “NAVTEQ we are mappers team “(rally, neil and rem) – surveyed the central section. This group have several GPS units (4!). The main surveying rig was Rally’s eeepc hooked to an external GPS antenna using Nroute. Rem being familiar with the local area guided the group, Rally the driver and, Neil the eeepc operator. On each POI, Rally would stop (to get good average position) and shouts “Ctrl-W, left Petron, right Bulalohan!” for Neil to encode. Here’s Rally’s mail explaining his rig in detail.
The “Tourist team” (seav and ian) – surveyed the eastern section. This group used the old-school mapping with pen and paper. They roam around on foot on several tourist destinations to map footpaths and various amenities. They tried to enter the famous-highly-exclusive-members-only-vacation-resort (sorry no link love) but were denied entry.
Back to the cafe
At around 4 PM, most of the teams were back. Roger arrived to observe the event. We loaded all our traces into Rally’s eepc and demonstrated a few mapping techniques using JOSM. We had no wifi connection so we decided to edit back home. After a few conversations over coffee (no beer since most will drive back to Manila) and some photo clicks, we head home satisfied with what we accomplished for the day.
Group picture. Photo courtesy of Rem
A few observations on the event.
- Everybody brought a GPS! Perhaps too much. My count was 4 GPS-phones, 2 GT-31 (courtesy of GPStoGO), and 3 Garmins. It seems we don’t have a shortage of GPS. This is an excellent resource in case new mappers would join future events. We have spare units we can share.
- The cafe as a venue. A public venue makes for an excellent visibility. By mid-afternoon the cafe was packed with people taking a break from the full day of going around Tagaytay. I saw some people looking around our spot, probably curious about what we are doing. If they heard the word Openstreetmap, I bet they would check the word in Google.
- New and “old” mapper tandem. My mapping buddy was a newbie, I had the opportunity to share the basics of field data collection. On the other hand, while I was older than Rally in OSM, I learned a couple of new tricks from him with his “Navteq style” mapping rig. By sharing several mapping techniques and pairing newbies to older mappers, we were able to exchange and learn new skills, tips and tricks.
But, we can do better
- More planning discussions. Being a loose group of mappers, it is often difficult to coordinate events. We had to rely on people’s initiative to tackle the coordinating work. I think there should be more planning discussions before any OSM-PH event and a core of volunteers should handle the logistics and other technical requirements.
- Slice the cake into smaller pieces. While we covered a lot for a four hour mapping, the cake slices were too big to handle by one group alone. We need to slice the cake into more manageable chunks.
- Always invite a local potential mapper. We did invite one but were unable to attend. Still, it would be better if we always have a local mapper to “turn-over the data” and fill in the gaps.
Overall, I think the event was successful not only as a demonstration of how much data we can gather for such a short mapping period but most importantly, as a social event where we had an opportunity to share mapping stories and put faces to OSM usernames.
Of course, as in the OSM tradition, here is the video of gps traces gathered from the party.
4 teams, 4 hours mapping, 200++ km of traces. Where to next?
You can also read the post-party discussions in the mailinglist