I recently became involved in OpenStreetMap. After watching it from the sidelines for the past year, I recently started contributing to the map. I wrote a python script to export lines and polygons from ArcGIS to OSM. You can see the results of the script by zooming into Rowan University, where I’ve exported the campus buildings and uploaded them. I’ve also been working to get the various cycle routes throughout the State into OSM. Cycle routes are managed by a myriad of local and state entities, and considering DOT informed me that they do not keep any GIS records of the bike routes or facilities, OSM seems like a natural repository for volunteers to collect and share cycle route data.
I’m also planning a course exercise using OSM. I’m going to encourage students to print out their neighborhood using Walking Papers, recording any updates or fixes, then modifying the OSM data via Potlatch or JOSM. Though it will likely be offered as an extra credit assignment initially, I’m hoping I’ll be able to integrate it and other elements of OSM into my courses in the future.
If you have an interest in mapping or GIS, you should check out OpenStreetMap. Sign up for an account, and start updating in your neighborhood. If you’re in New Jersey, I’ve updated OSM’s wiki with links to the cycle maps to be added, as well as instructions on how to add features to OSM using the State’s 2007 aerial photography. If you’d like to collaborate with me on sharing information via OpenStreetMap, let me know. You can follow me on OpenStreetMap here.