The Open­StreetMap project has over half a mil­lion map con­trib­u­tors and a fairly exten­sive devel­oper com­mu­nity. This past week­end, the first-ever Open­StreetMap hack week­end was held in Toronto, Canada (second-ever North Amer­i­can hack) at Ryer­son Uni­ver­sity. This event was jointly hosted with the Depart­ment of Geog­ra­phy, Mas­ter of Spa­tial Analy­sis and the Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion of Geo­graphic Analy­sis. Event coör­di­na­tion was taken care of by Richard Weait, long-time advo­cate of OpenStreetMap.


Thanks Richard!

The event ran through the week­end, with an intro­duc­tion to Open­StreetMap on Fri­day after­noon. Richard pre­sented his well-prepared spiel on how Open­StreetMap is cool to Ryer­son Uni­ver­sity stu­dents, pro­fes­sors, staff and vis­i­tors. A panel of Open­StreetMap devel­op­ers, which included Tris­ten and A.J. from Map­Box, were able to attend and answer the many ques­tions that came up dur­ing and after the presentation.

My own goals for the week­end included ask­ing a bunch of ques­tions about Open­StreetMap and TileMill, as well as shad­ow­ing the devel­op­ers as they worked on their own projects. It was a great time to be ask­ing ques­tions, as many of the atten­dees had a wealth of knowl­edge and/or expe­ri­ence about/with many of the top­ics that I brought up. Not only was I able to get answers to ques­tions about sim­ple con­cep­tual ideas, I was also given hands on help that got me started and up-and-running with TileMill (Thanks Steve & A.J.).

All but one of our guests this week­end attended the Sat­ur­day Night Social Event. Din­ner, beer and laughs were on the menu, as well as seri­ous dis­cus­sion about how the Open­StreetMap board and it’s mem­bers could bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate with the rest of the com­mu­nity. As a new mem­ber to the com­mu­nity myself, I enjoyed the insight that I gained to what is much like a large fam­ily. I spent a lot of time ask­ing ques­tions, but most impor­tantly, I made sure to lis­ten to answers! Never have I learned so much in such a short period of time. For that, I am truly thankful!

What I worked on during the hack

Since this was my first real intro­duc­tion to the devel­op­ment por­tion of the Open­StreetMap, I found myself at odds and con­tem­plated what would be the best thing to do this week­end. Should I try and help an expe­ri­enced pro­gram­mer with his/her project? Prob­a­bly not. Could I sign up on Open­StreetMap and con­tribute to the map itself? Why yes, yes I can! I also took the oppor­tu­nity to pop­u­late my PostgreSQL/PostGIS data­base with Open­StreetMap data from geo­fab­rik for the province of Ontario. I later installed TileMill and with the help of Steve and A.J. was able to start pulling data out of this data­base to style and com­pose a fancy map!

I quickly learned how com­plex the styling rules asso­ci­ated with the cur­rent Open­StreetMap base layer were, and that I would have some trou­ble try­ing to repli­cate items such as multi level roads/overpasses, bridges, tun­nels or any­thing that requires draw­ing order (z-order) to be con­sid­ered. I was quickly over­whelmed with the amount of data that I was try­ing to dis­play and style at once.

My First Attempts with TileMill!


 
Query­ing park-like fea­tures out of PostgreSQL/PostGIS:

( SELECT * FROM planet_osm_polygon
  WHERE building IS NULL
  AND (amenity IN ('park')
    OR landuse IN ('recreation_ground', 'greenfield','cemetery')
    OR leisure IN ('park', 'pitch', 'track', 'golf_course', 'common', 'playground', 'garden', 'plaza'))
) AS parkarea

 
Some Carto in TileMill that styles (some) roads:

#highways [highway='residential'] {
  [zoom>14] {
    ::casing {
      line-width: 6;
      line-color: darken(darkgray,20);
      line-cap: round;
      line-join: round;
    }
    ::residentialfill {
      line-color: white;
      line-width: 5;
      line-cap: round;
      line-join: round;
    }
  }
}

#highways [highway='tertiary'],
#highways [highway='tertiary_link']{
  [zoom>14] {
    ::casing {
      line-width: 6;
      line-color: darken(darkgray,20);
      line-cap: round;
      line-join: round;
    }
    ::tertiaryfill {
      line-color: lightyellow;
      line-width: 5;
      line-cap: round;
      line-join: round;
    }
  }
}

 
Encoun­ter­ing cob­webs of roads… unsure how to style effectively

and how Open­StreetMap does it…

I look for­ward to writ­ing about my future work in TileMill with the Carto styling lan­guage. I hope to ulti­mately cre­ate my very own base map for future projects. I think one of the best pieces of advice that I could give to any­one start­ing from scratch, as I did this week­end, is to take your time and thor­oughly style a the­matic ele­ment on your map. For instance, I could import all park-like fea­tures from Open­StreetMap and style them to suit my needs before mov­ing on to the next set of fea­tures. By doing so, you focus your cre­ative power to com­plet­ing chunks of your map at a time, instead of load­ing all the road-, park– and water-like fea­tures and try­ing to style them at the same time.

The first ever Toronto Open­StreetMap Hack Week­end was a blast and a com­plete suc­cess. I thank all those who were involved, includ­ing my class­mates and col­leagues at Ryer­son Uni­ver­sity, as well as those who made the trip across bor­ders to be here in Toronto for the event. Let’s hope the next one can be just as good, if not better!

Thank You

 
 
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  One Response to “Toronto OpenStreetMap Hack Weekend”

  1. […] Ryer­son Geo­graphic Analy­sis stu­dent Michael Marki­eta has also posted a sum­mary on his fab­u­lous Spa­tial Analysis […]

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