Please sponsor me!

Please sponsor me for the Aon Benfield Paris to London bike ride I’m doing (with 200 of my work colleagues).

I’ve chosen to ride for MapAction, the disaster mapping charity which I volunteer for. MapAction relies heavily on donations to be able to continue their work in disaster affected areas and disaster prone countries.

You can sponsor me on the giveall website where we have a page set up especially. Click the Sponsor me now button. Make sure you mention you are sponsoring me otherwise the money won’t go to MapAction!

Any amount of money you can spare would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Chris Ewing

(an image from OpenCycleMap of Newhaven – the port we enter before cycling back to London).

MapBox publish 2013 OpenStreetMap Data Report

MapBox have published a very slick looking 2013 OSM data report. It looks like it uses HTML5 to show some lovely looking animations (timesliders etc.) of different aspects of the OSM data (data updates etc.). The stand out stat for me is that about 40% of changes are made by 0.1% of users! There are some very dedicated OSM people out there and we should say a big thank-you to them! There are also over 1 million users now, helping to bring better data to OSM every day. Yippee! P.s. thanks to Nick for this info.
without OSM
(thanks to XuRxO for the image from Flickr)

Maptember is coming!


Thanks to a flurry of geospatial events in the UK in late summer, the month September has been renamed as Maptember!

There are 11 (and counting) events going on. I’m planning to be at AGI GeoCommunity and FOSS4G (all at EMCC in Nottingham, UK).

You can read more about the events here….

Hopefully there will be a good chance to have some MapAction related hacking going on at some of the Maptember events. (following on from the MapAction Hackathon with AGI held recently)……

Heygate Masterplan Approved

Away from my normal topics of discussion…..the Elephant and Castle Heygate Estate Masterplan was approved last night by Southwark Council. I couldn’t make the planning meeting and so relied on the tweets of @se17 (thank you). Using a bit of Python and the Twitter API I pulled out all @se17’s tweets and created a wordle at You can see the results below – the larger the text the more mentions for that word. I notice Affordable (as in Affordable housing) appearing a few times……

The 3 Opens

I know it’s been done before but I hear again and again people getting their use of the word Open (Source, Data, Software) mixed up. Most usually there is confusion between the meanings of Open Source and Open Standards. So here are some definitions……

….but before that here’s a nice image of the 3 Opens (data, source, and standards) interacting with each other!

Open Source Software – the source code (the programming code which was used to develop the software) is available to all. Usually there is a collaborative aspect to this type of software and a developer community is actively adding to the code behind the software. An example in the GIS world is the GIS software You can also find much Open Source material at The key organisation behind open source geospatial software is Quite often Open Source software is free (but not always!). Also see often Open Source software makes use of Open Standards……

Open Standards – covers the development of a set of data standards which allows different software (both proprietary and open-source) to transfer data easily and quickly. In the GIS world, the Open Geospatial Consortium maintain a set of geographic information standards such as WMS, WFS and KML (you know as in Google Earth KML). Open Standards should allow easier extraction, transfer and loading of data as it follows a defined format.

Open Data – is free data essentially. There has been a big move in the US, UK and throughout most of the western world to open up data to the general public, especially data which governments collect (see and In the UK, the Ordnance Survey has released OS Open Data which is a set of freely available geographic information including terrain data, place data, postcodes, roads, buildings etc.

I might add to these definitions over time. Let me know what you think!

Where’s Scotland?

I logged into Facebook today for the first time in a long time, and some of my photos have been geocoded to the Places map.
This looks nice I guess, until I see that our trip to Scotland in 2008 has been placed on the East Coast of the USA in the Connecticut city of…..Scotland!
Obviously Facebook has my home location a bit confused. But a country should come before a city in any case!

turn £1 into £2.25 for MapAction

DONATE NOW! Matched funding finishes on 19th December 2012

some news from MapAction…..

You can more than double your donation this December through the Big Give Christmas Challenge. Every £1 you donate could be worth £2.25 once you factor in matched giving and Gift Aid*.

From 10am on Thursday 6 December until Saturday 8 December, online donations to MapAction through the Big Give Christmas Challenge will be eligible for matched funding. All proceeds will be directly channelled into our emergency mapping service and will help to get humanitarian aid to where it’s needed most.

There are limited funds available on each day, so please log onto: at 10am on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and/or Saturday 8th December to avoid missing out.

Please do set yourself a reminder to log in at 10am on Thursday 6, Friday 7 and/or Saturday 8 December.

MapAction can send you a reminder if you register your email address at –

You can read more about the Christmas Challenge at –