seav (osm-ph mapper)

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Part of my series featuring an OSM-PH mapper.


This week is Eugene Alvin Villar (aka seav). Seav joined OSM for almost 2 years now. He maintains the beautiful map of Bonifacio Global City in OSM, the most updated webmap available so far.

Who is seav?

I consider myself a very techie person although my technical interests are not very mainstream (like, I’m not into computer/network gaming). By day, I work as a hardware engineer in a Japanese-owned company in Quezon City and by night I indulge myself in various online projects and hobbies. My main hobby/sideline is blogging and my primary blog is vaes9 where I write about technology, mapping, and some personal stuff.

My most successful blog is Vista Pinas, which is basically the Philippine version of the popular Google Sightseeing blog.

Aside from blogging and contributing to OSM, I am a Wikipedian and I also do web development and graphic design as additional hobbies. I also occasionally go to the gym to counteract my mostly sedentary lifestyle. 🙂

How did you discovered openstreetmap?

I was vaguely aware of OSM back in 2005 (or 2006) and my impression was that it was a GPS-based UK-only project with the aim of creating an alternative to the Ordnance Survey that is free and open. It was in 2007 that I came across OSM again and discovered that it became an international project (see my blog post about my discovery: ). Since then I’ve become an avid OpenStreetMapper.

What is your mapping rig (equipment) and how do you gather map data?

Before 2009, I basically did armchair mapping. I relied on the available Yahoo! aerial imagery and personal knowledge and observation. You can do quite a lot even if you don’t have a GPS device and my contributions to OSM for 1 1/2 years (from mid-2007 to 2008) speaks for itself. In February 2009, I was able to get a hold of a Sony Ericsson w760i unit, which is touted as the first Walkman with a GPS receiver. I’ve used this (and the TrekBuddy application) to record streets in Metro Manila for which the Yahoo! imagery is not updated such as in Bonifacio Global City. In the future, I plan to get a “proper” GPS device, but even with the modest equipment I have, there’s still plenty that I can do. So I don’t see the rush to become a full-fledged “classic” OpenStreetMapper yet. 😉

What’s is your OSM purity self-test score?

A low 0.73. While I’m pretty addicted to OSM, my minimal use of GPS explains my low grade.

The survey is biased towards mappers with GPS then?

Tell us some weird/strange/funny incident you encountered during mapping.

I guess the most serious “accident” I had was during the Tagaytay Mapping Party where we hit a rock that was just sitting in the middle of a residential road. I didn’t notice the rock and it became lodged underneath the car’s chassis. Well, we jacked up the vehicle and had a couple of local good Samaritans help us remove the rock and put it at the side of the road.

What is it that you HATE most about OSM (we all love OSM, some things just needs improvement)?

I hate that OSM is not very newbie-friendly. I’m a techie guy and a Wikipedian, and I love maps, so I had very little problem navigating the various scattered resources OSM has to offer (like the wiki). There are so many ways of contributing to OSM that a newbie interested in helping out will be quickly overwhelmed. I hope that there will be a concentrated effort in the future to make OSM much more easier to get into than what it is now.

Why is openstreetmap important to you and the Philippines?

As Rally mentioned in his interviews elsewhere, there is a general lack of good geospatial data for the Philippines. NAMRIA, the official government mapping agency, has limited resources and we can’t blame them alone for the lack of updated and accurate geodata for the country. Because of this situation, I see OpenStreetMap as a key to helping fill up this gap.

How can OSM-PH expand its coverage to other parts of the Philippines?

Evangelization is the key. More publicity and more tie-ins to NGOs, LGUs, and the local open source software communities is needed. While Google and its Map Maker service could be considered as “competition” (there are plenty of Google-lovers in the country helping to spread the word), I think that OSM can use Google Map Maker to its advantage because Google is preaching the virtues of crowd-sourced mapping and OSM can then build on top of that by preaching the virtues of free/open data.

I think a vital component of this evangelization is to self-organize as a non-profit org. While a legal entity is not strictly needed (Germany is doing extremely well without an OSM-DE organization, for instance), an org would help a lot when talking to government agencies (like NAMRIA) and LGUs, other organizations, the media, and the like.

Well said seav, thanks!

One response to “seav (osm-ph mapper)

  1. Pingback: ianlopez (osm-ph mapper) « 4253·

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