I've been thinking for a month or so now about OpenStreetMap and things that I can do to help out the project - besides the data collection and mapping I've been doing since the start of the year.
It all began when I was wondering what the difference in cost would be to an organisation (Futuresonic in this case) between licensing Ordnance Survey data and actually going out and mapping an area themselves.
I wouldn't say the two data sources are directly comparable, but both could meet a given need for an organisation. Often the detail of the OS data would be overkill for orangisations wanting simple maps for context, and potentially very expensive depending on how it's used. OpenStreetMap data, on the other hand, may not have as good coverage - though with time and energy it can be easily extended - but it would be available without the cost.
So, one of the ideas that I've come up with recently is for weekend mapping projects. The basic idea of a weekend mapping project is that I would offer organisations, groups or individuals a weekend of my time to map as much of an area as I could feasibly do in a whole weekend (with extra time afterwards to convert the GPS traces and any annotations such as road names into usable map data).
I think it would be fair to ask for those people to pay for low cost flights from my base to their location, bike rental or something for the actual GPS track collection, and a small amount to cover some cheap accommodation and food for the time I'm there. In return they get free map data onto which they should be able to build, adding their own information and styling to make the maps unique to their own needs.
Why would I offer my limited free time to do this though? Well, quite simply, I really enjoy travelling and seeing new places. I'm also really interested in the idea of open, reusable, community-created content, especially in the form of OpenStreetMap for geographic data, but also Wikipedia for general reference information. So, if I can travel to new places and map them out to help expand the OpenStreetMap dataset, it's hitting on both of those desires in one go.
If anybody is interested, please do get in touch and we can talk through the details.
Updated 15 July with link to page on OSM wiki. Some other community members are interested too, and the more the better as that means sponsors would have a better chance of finding someone close to them, and so have lower travel costs.