In just two weeks time, on Saturday 1st August 2009, I am going to be organising a mapping party in Douglas, Isle of Man for the OpenStreetMap project. The aim of the project is to build up a map of the world that can be used without the restrictions that are typically imposed by mapping providers such as Google Maps.
The Isle of Man already has a great amount of map data in the database - as you can see on the map at openstreetmap.org - so we have a good starting point, but it isn't yet complete, so there is plenty of information that we can still add. While the road network is very close to complete, we are missing many of the points of interest you might like to see on a map, or be able to search for (perhaps through a website, or in the future from your in-car navigation device), like pubs, cafes, restaurants, libraries, hotels, historic sites or museums, for example.
We also have some Manx names for places and streets, but this isn't yet widespread, so it would be great to capture this information from street signs around the town.
As we have a good street network already, the need for a GPS isn't as important as it was earlier on in the project, so the plan for the mapping party is to use printed maps (from the excellent Walking Papers project) onto which we can add annotations during the day. At the end of the day, we can use the paper maps for reference when entering the information into the map through the OpenStreetMap website, or scan them in and deal with them later, depending on how tired people are after a day's mapping.
If you're on the Isle of Man and interested in making or using maps (or just the underlying map data), then do come along and find out more. If you're also interested in a little exercise, come out with us and explore Douglas for the day, collecting information to add to the map. You can find out more on the OpenStreetMap wiki, or alternatively contact me if you'd like more information.
If you run an organisation on the Isle of Man which uses geographic information (e.g. business listings) and would like to find out more about including your information in the map database so they can be displayed on the map, or would like to use the maps on your website with your own information displayed on top, please get in touch.