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We’re back from State of the Map in Brussels

29.09.2016 | Frederik Ramm

Our little band of Geofabrik people is back from this year’s State of the Map conference. Christine and Frederik, Geofabrik directors, were there as part of the SotM working group (Christine) and speaker (Frederik); Rory, a Geofabrik employee since 2014, even did two talks, and Michael, who currently writes his master thesis at Geofabrik, was a speaker too.

Frederik, Rory, and Michael proudly wearing their #craftmapper t-shirts

SotM started out with a really nice keynote from the US ambassador to Turkmenistan, Allan Mustard, who sounded like a proper hacker when he playfully said: “And then I realized that I was the ambassador, and all these people were working for me, and I could tell them what to do!” (and sent them mapping Ashgabat). We had overheard a few people fearing the worst: “Well, a keynote by a diplomat, that sounds tiring” – they were most positively surprised.

As always, State of the Map provided amazing insights into what goes on in the OpenStreetMap universe. The project is growing steadily, and new people bring new ideas. There are new communities, new fields of endeavour, and new technologies every year – and we were lucky enough with the weather to be able to have lunch on the landuse=grass outside!

Rory presented on vector tile work he’d been doing for Geofabrik, as well as on his long-time project of Irish townland mapping. Michael was at his best explaining the nuts and bolts of railway mapping (including exactly which places in which trains were the best spots). Frederik held forth, as he likes to do, on mechanical edits in OpenStreetMap and why he didn’t encourage them.

The social event was held at the “Event Brewery” serving nice food (including Belgian waffles) in a great atmosphere.

We all had a good time and we’d like to thank the whole SotM team for running the conference. We’re looking forward to next year. We even heard the idea of an African SotM being discussed.