The State of the Map US 2014 conference, a two-day conference covering all things OpenStreetMap, was held last month in Washington, D.C. As a recent member of Boundless, it was nice to attend as part of the Boundless contingent.
Aside from the inspiration provided by the gorgeous weather and the cherry blossoms, there was also inspiration in abundance at the conference for cartographers. Every cartographer should become familiar with OpenStreetMap data if they aren’t already. It’s a bit of a bear to work with because it is in a different structure than we are normally used to (nodes and ways mean anything to you?) but you’ll see the benefits if you download a state-wide or city-wide extract from one of several sites (such as geofabrik or Metro Extracts) and start using it in your map-making medium of choice. The dataset provides a comprehensive collection of roads, buildings and building types, points of interest, and so on. And it’s free! There were many talks I didn’t get to see because there were two concurrent tracks, but the ones that I attended focused heavily on tools that for using OpenStreetMap data, including GeoGit, TileMill, Esri, QGIS, and PostGIS. However, there were still some cartographic takeaways. (more…)