On-the-fly creation of CC-by-sa maps with OpenStreetMap

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I think I first heard of OpenStreetMap at the conference Wikimania 2008 in Alexandria, Egypt. Essentially it is a Wikipedia for maps: “The free wiki world map”. And they are quite far. But you still can make some contribution before the entire world is mapped.

I now discovered that there is a toolserver that enables on-the-fly creation of maps. This URL will return a JPEG image file with the central of Kongens Lyngby rendered (see also image):


A MediaWiki extension called Simple image MediaWiki Extension seems to allow one to include images of this kind in MediaWiki wikis.

The main site of OpenStreetMap makes quite good renderings. Whereas some commercial interactive Internet maps do not quite like my Ubuntu and Debian Konqueror Web browser the OpenStreetMap suffers no such problems. And that goes for printing as well.

Not all of the world is well-mapped. The village of Ørum lacks several streets. However, Kongens Lyngby is detailed mapped. I guess the nerd density is higher in Kongens Lyngby with the Technical University of Denmark nearby: With sufficient zoom one can see street numbers, cafes, sushi restaurants, and the small path between Sorgenfrivej and Baune Alle with all its staircases, – no small footpath missing!

While it is easy to view, it is not so straightforward to edit. I got myself an account and tried to edit around Ørum, following the instruction on a wiki page. For example, I tried to label the school in Ørum. Although, I can see the changes in the edit interface, they do not appear in the map, and I cannot find the ‘save’ button…


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