Today I wish to talk about my participation to OpenStreetMap, a collaborative map of the world. I started mapping in 2008, borrowing one of my research group’s GPS devices, and taking notes on paper. This direct contact with maps led me to using computer-based GIS (geographic information systems) and later learning how to program. After university I didn’t map for a long time, except for a few fixes. A couple years ago I found a renewed interest in mapping, and have walked around the city with a printed Field Paper for systematic mapping, or StreetComplete for more casual, on-the-fly mapping. It’s amazing to see how the map needs constant grooming: a new shop opens, the opening hours of a museum are changed, there is a new cycleway in a nearby street, the bus schedule got updated… that’s why we will never be done mapping!
I also contribute indirectly to OSM as an editor of the weekly OSM news. Every week I get to read articles about mapping, city planning, research, software, mapping initiatives, geography in education, and more. I then write a short summary and link the source, and provide the French translation. I dedicate a couple hours a week on this task, and I feel enriched and motivated by all the activities of the OSM community all over the world.
Are you interested in knowing more about OSM? First, you can check how your surroundings look like on the map! Then you can find all information in the wiki, and find mappers around you who can guide you in your first steps. Or you can start with the weekly OSM news, by writing articles and/or proofreading them. For any question, feel free to contact me as well!