That’s pretty exciting: just came back to Vienna, spent the morning poking around in OSM and the OSM wiki to figure out who the mappers are and if there are any community activities planned and ended up reading a press release saying that Vienna is completed in OpenStreetMap.
Awesome! Big kudos to the local mapping community! The quality of the map is impressing!
As for the rest of Austria, there is a huge data import going on since Fall ’08. More information on the process you’ll find at the wiki page. People all over Austria with good local knowledge are needed to support the import process, help identify errors and improve OpenStreetMap in rural areas.
If you want to make your town visible in OpenStreetMap, sign up and start mapping. It’s very easy and can be done using nothing more than an internet browser. Even better: spread the word, host a Stammtisch, tell your neighbors about OpenStreetMap and create your own map of your village.
For interested people in and around Vienna, the next Wiener OSM-Stammtisch is scheduled for Friday Jan 23rd ’09, 2pm, at the Metalab.
Wow, it would never ever have occurred to me that our ultra right nationalist party leader is a big admirer of marxists, socialism and people with multicultural migration background. In his current campaign for the Austrian national elections he copies the famous image of Che Guevara to make himself look like somewhat revolutionary and he is using graphic and textual elements (“yes we can”) from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Makes me wonder if he has ever read more about the people he’s trying to imitate than some catchy slogans on t-shirts. Maybe somebody should tell him that Barack Obama’s doesn’t really stand for xenophobia, fear and anger. I guess both of them would have a hard time to find a single point in their politics they could agree on. Nor would Che Guevara throw people, who come and ask for help, out of a safe and wealthy country and send them back, even to war zones, where they came from.
As result of a cooperation between Google and Geoimage-Austria, more parts of Austria (even rural areas!) are now as amazing 25cm high resultion imagery available in Google Maps (in Google Earth soon):
In Geoimage-Austria work five (out of nine) Austrian federal states together with LFRZ on creating imagery for this country. LFRZ is a former public agency, since 10 years an outsourced private company and providing the public sector with geo-technology. Their schedule is to cover the entire country with such high resolution imagery until 2009. [via GEObranchen]
A year ago or so, we added a Google Map to a website friends of me are running. The website is about reptiles and amphibians. In one part of the site users can enter details into a form, including the location, when they’ve seen an interesting species. In the meantime their database has grown to a comprehensive collection of (crowd sourced) information like species distribution among our country. It’s not only a hobbyist project, the database means quite a valuable input for species research and protection projects too.
Anyways, before we added a Google Map to the form, user provided location information was very poor. Only a rough location description or coordinate information based on the national topographical map were possible to enter. For national coordinates users had to go to another website, look up the place and copy and paste the coordinates from there back into the form. Definitely not what I would call a convenient solution.
Once we added Google Maps where users could simply pinpoint the location on a map, the collected data turned into something like this:
Green dots … located with Google Maps (92%)
Red dots … located with a service of our National Mapping Agency (8%)
That says something about the benefit of public available mapping APIs. Especially for projects like this, with no commercial but a strong public interest.
During the INSPIRE process it became pretty clear that European mapping agencies don’t favor free public geodata. The API concept could help here: it enables flexible usage of data for users while retaining full control over both, functionality and data, for the mapping agency. Seems like a workable compromise to me.
It’s still a little buried under press service, well it actually *is* a press service, but yet a beginning. Usually it takes ages until public agencies make use of new technologies. They are not exposed to market laws and therefore have no motivation to modernize themselves regularly and get ahead of competitors.
Maybe we’ll see more social media growing in the public sector during next elections here too. What’s now going on at the US presidential campaigns is just crazy. Some of the candidates really now how to use those tools, to create awareness, attach followers and raise funding through them.
Though I’m not quite sure if “Metternich 2.0″ is the most appropriate title for this online demo, I believe something has to be done to raise public awareness about that issue.
On December 6th our government sneaked a security law amendment into the parliament. Unlike the German government, they were clever enough to dump democracy, do it secretly in order to avoid any public discussion and finally passed the amendments on the very same day, on 6th December around midnight (that already says something), without preceding parliamentary discussions.
The amendment radically enhances police surveillance rights and allows far-reaching monitoring of citizens without a control entity behind. I guess surveillance state is the term used in certain literature.
Members of the green party set up a parliamentary petition against the law (and governmental behavior). You can sign it online on their website.
Helge is using his wiki to support the petition and is providing tools – you might have noticed the page peel in the upper right corner here – and information for an online demo. [via helge.at]
Update: the Austrian parliament in action, by Maschek (in German language):
Maybe it’s just me, but I think the continent spanning words (tags) on the new Flickr map are a step backwards regarding usability, compared to the really nicely done photo-dots-generalization the previous version of the map had. The only interactivity on the new map is clicking tags, right? Or did I miss something? I really preferred the old version where I could zoom down to photo-dots and browse through photos directly on the location.
Well, it must be my dot-fetish, but on the new user maps the generalized dots are gone too. Now you see the most recent (or interesting) photographs placed on the map, which is just another exploring approach. If you scroll through the pictures on the bar, the map changes too, unfortunately not vice versa. When you pan the map, the photos aren’t updated in the bar. Would be something nice to have too.
Whereas the new Places feature is awesome. One page per place, containing excellently chosen photographs, active groups and people on that location. Very well done. Even though I wish I could navigate to other places more easily. With some interactivity on the small map or links to popular neighboring places for instance. Currently I have to go up and down in regional hierarchy or use the location search.