RSS Feed icon

Blog

We’ve overhauled the download server (download.geofabrik.de) a couple months ago but never really wrote anything on our blog so, let me quickly mention that for a few months now we do not only have a nicer user interface with overview maps and MD5 sums, but we also have selected older versions (usually, data from the past couple of days plus the 1st of each month for the current year) for every extract, as well as incremental updates (diff files). These updates allow you, for example, keep a country extract current by downloading only a fraction of the full file every day, or update an osm2pgsql database that you run with Europe only.

Last weekend we added free daily shape files for Canada’s provinces/territories, and from today we’ll also be serving free daily shape files for all US states. (Larger shape files, e.g. for all of Canada, all of the US, other continents, or the whole world, as well as shape files with more detail or tailored to a specific use case, are made to order for a fee – see http://www.geofabrik.de/data/shapefiles.html).

Would you like to see me explaining the download server (and the technology behind it) in a 20 minute video? Then watch my talk from the SOTM-US conference on Vimeo! The slides are available as well.

OSM Inspector Routing View Update

4.04.2013 | Frederik Ramm

The OSM Inspector’s “routing” view has always been the “odd one out” among the OSMI views. It higlights potential problems for routing, and was initially sponsored by Skobbler. At first it was available only for the EU; later we rolled it out world-wide but lacked the resources to actually update the world-wide view regularly, leaving us with a daily updated “Europe” view and a less frequently updated “non-Europe” view. We were hoping to attract someone to sponsor that section of OSMI but since nobody was forthcoming we’ve now put it on a more solid footing (read: better hardware) ourselves. The routing view should now update regularly for the whole world, and is also available as one single layer.

(If you should have bookmarked the old “routing-non-eu” view, drop the “non-eu” to use the unified routing view.)

This is also a good opportunity to thank OSM’s routing experts Pascal Neis (inventor of the original openrouteservice.org, and developer of the “unconnected” and “duplicate” layers in OSMI’s routing view) and Dennis Luxen (the man behind OSRM, and supplier of the “islands” layer in OSMI’s routing view).

The new hardware will allow us to add a couple more improvements to OSMI in the coming months.

Die Geofabrik ist umgezogen. Die neuen Räume haben wir schon im Januar angemietet, aber diverse Renovierungsarbeiten haben uns dann doch noch einen Monat aufgehalten.

Eine kleine Abstellkammer haben wir durch den Einbau einer Klimaanlage in einen Serverraum umfunktioniert. Neben den Servern, die für unsere täglichen Updates der OpenStreetMap-Daten verantwortlich, findet hier auch unser wichtiger Grossformat-Drucker Platz.

Im grossen Büro sah es zwischenzeitlich recht chaotisch aus, weil wir hier alles reingestopft haben, was in den anderen Räumen bei den Umbauarbeiten gestört hat. In einem seltenen Moment bot sich aber auch eine Gelegenheit, den Raum einmal leer zu fotografieren.

In der Küche haben wir alles herausgerissen. Die Verkleidung der Außenwand und das Küchenmobiliar haben wir neu gemacht.

Das, was hier noch eine Werkstatt ist, wird irgendwann mal ein Meetingraum.

Rechtzeitig zum Hack-Weekend dieses Wochenende musste alles fertig sein – und es hat auch gerade so alles geklappt.

Das Hack-Weekend

Plangemäß konnte das Februar-Hackweekend stattfinden. Die neuen Räumlichkeiten wurden standesgemäß eingeweiht.

New Map Styles

21.11.2012 | Frederik Ramm

We’re making two new map styles publicly available on our map web site, map.geofabrik.de – one is the German style that we mentioned a while ago, and the other is our “topo style”:

The topo style is a relatively simple style that blends OSM data with hillshading and contour lines generated from enhanced SRTM data that we have licensed from CIAT. This style is preferred by clients who want to overlay other information (like hiking trails or cycle routes) on the map and have little use for a colourful style like the standard Mapnik map. On the topo style, all roads are grey and we only use two different shades of green for forests and meadows; buildings are added at higher zoom levels.

The topo style is available world-wide but due to the limitations of SRTM data, hillshading and contours are only visible between 60°S and 60°N.

Our map styles are freely viewable on map.geofabrik.de, where tiles come under a CC-BY-SA license. If you want to use these maps in your own application, please contact us or see our web page on Tile Servers.

Trip to Japan

12.09.2012 | Frederik Ramm

If we were a little slow in responding to inquiries during the past two weeks, that’s because the majority of Geofabrik staff – read: Christine and myself – were in Japan, combining participation in this year’s State of the Map conference with a little bit of tourism.

Japan is a very interesting country with lots of attractions, and around this time of the year rather warmer and more humid than our home climate. We had been preparing for the trip for quite a while, taking lessons in Japanese and reading a lot about Japan’s culture (and cuisine).

The 'ootori' gate on Mijayima island.

The 'ootori' gate on Mijayima island.

The Golden Pavillion of Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto.

The Golden Pavillion of Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto.

The conference took place on the campus of Tokyo University. The facilities were excellent; someone mentioned that Tokyo University is not just any university but a rather elite affair where they only take the brightest (or best-connected) students. There were lots of students helping with the organisation on the local team, and they all did that without compensation.

A few of the many volunteer helpers at the conference.

A few of the many volunteer helpers at the conference.

The conference bag and T-Shirt were beautifully designed, with Kanji characters on them that reference historic land surveying in Japan. To make sure we would return our empty food and drink containers, everyone received two specially minted “way” coins which had to be deposited whenever you fetched something to eat or drink, and were returned in exchange for your garbage.

The 'way' coins and the design of the conference bag.

The 'way' coins and the design of the conference bag.

Food at the conference was plentiful, with a large selection of different “Bento Boxes” to select from for lunch.

A Bento Lunchbox.

A Bento Lunchbox.

Calpis, a popular Japanese refreshment drink.

Calpis, a popular Japanese refreshment drink.

On Thursday evening there was a sponsored welcome party with a mixture of Italian and Japanese food, and on Friday we had a sponsored boat cruise with a multi-course dinner of various Japanese specialties like sashimi and tempura.

Bjarne, Frederik, and Dennis on the Friday night boat cruise.

Bjarne, Frederik, and Dennis on the Friday night boat cruise.

Talks at the conference covered a wide range of topics; a recurring theme was the use of OSM in disaster response and the humanitarian context, but we also heard about technology and OSM’s social fabric.

The one thing that brought tears to everyone’s eyes was the shooting of the group photo which involved looking at a high-flying unmanned aerial vehicle for extended periods of time ;)

Shooting a group photo at noon on Friday.

Shooting a group photo at noon on Friday.

We greatly enjoyed our time in Japan and at this impeccably well-organised conference. Thank you to everyone who helped!