Archive for December, 2009

MapOSMatic hackfest, day 3

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Yesterday was day 3 of the hackfest, and we of course spent our day working on MapOSMatic.

  • Support for amenities in index has been added. Now, in addition to the streets, you have the location of the town hall, police station and other public buildings, the schools, universities and other education buildings, and the places of worship. More improvements are needed in this area (translation of headings, support for amenities represented by polygons, fix incorrect grouping), but the general infrastructure is in place.
  • The main form to select the city has been further improved, with bug fixes, improved usability, etc. Said like this, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but all this stuff is written in Javascript using the JQuery library and requires careful fine-tuning to be working. We easily spend a day on the same 20 lines of Javascript.
  • The language selection has been improved, with all french-speaking countries and all english-speaking countries added (we’re waiting for your contributions for other languages). The list of languages available is now automatically reduced to the languages spoken in the country in which the selected city is. For multi-lingual countries like Belgium, we have no way to know if the selected city is in the french-speaking area, the dutch-speaking area or the german-speaking area. Therefore, it is up to the user to choose between these languages. This selection changes how the streets are sorted and the list of prefixes that we consider before sorting.
  • The slippy map based on OpenLayers is now loaded only if bounding box mode is used. This allows a much quicker loading of the MapOSMatic homepage.
  • We have improved our server infrastructure to regularly update the coast lines, which are coming from a difference source than the planet OSM xml file. It allowed to fix rendering problems in island where we had ugly coast lines. These informations are now updated once a week.

We’re now starting day 4 of the hackfest. We will soon send out a notification to beta-testers so that they can test all these new features and report their comments and bugs.

MapOSMatic hackfest, day 2

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Yesterday was day 2 of the hackfest, and we did a number of improvements :

  • Cities can now be searched in an efficient way, thanks to the usage of Nominatim. The “Administrative city” field has been turned into a small search engine that returns, through Javascript, the list of cities matching the request. We spent quite some time understanding the results of Nomimatim and how they relate to the objects in the PostGIS database generated by osm2pgsql. We still need to fix a few issues with this Javascript-based search engine.
  • We used to identify cities by their name, but this of course doesn’t work since many cities have the same name around the world. So, now, rendering of city by administrative boundary are identified by the OSM id of the polygon in the PostGIS database. OCitySMap has been modified consequently, and jobs submitted through MapOSMatic are properly handled by maposmaticd.
  • The language used to generate a map can now be selected before generating the map, and several other improvements have been made on the internationalization. The main topic remaining is to pre-select the languages that are useful depending on the country in which the city being rendered is in.
  • The slippy map integration has been reworked to post-pone the loading of the tiles so that the homepage of MapOSMatic is much faster to load.
  • The documentation to install MapOSMatic and OCitySMap has been further improved.
  • Several bugs or tasks waiting in our bug tracker have been fixed, and some cleanup has been done on bugs that were already fixed by previous development

We expect to put the new version into production tomorrow, with the main achievement of having world-wide support, a better city search feature, and internalization for maps. Of course, we’ll need a lot of contributions for the internationalization support.

MapOSMatic hackfest, day 1

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

The hackfest started just yesterday around noon with the arrival of six crazy hackers who will spend four days working on MapOSMatic. For the first day, we spent some time setting up MapOSMatic on the laptop of all developers and then started working on different topics :

  • A group started experimenting with Nominatim in order to improve the city lookup feature of the MapOSMatic website. This is very important for several reasons. First because for the moment our city lookup mechanism only finds the city if the entered name matches exactly the one in the database (spaces, dashes and accents included). And also because we have no way of letting the user choose between several cities of the same name, which is very important as we intend to put the worldwide database into production soon. The initial work we did is to add a small gateway to Nominatim in MapOSMatic (see this commit). The rest of the work is being worked on now.
  • Another developer worked on the infrastructure to allow the adaptation of OCitySMap to other languages: how the street names should be sorted, what are the common prefixes for streets, places, roads, etc. See this commit, this commit, this commit, this commit, this commit and this commit. Support is only for fr_FR and en_GB at the moment, and only at the OCitySMap level. Nothing has (yet) been implemented to select this from the MapOSMatic website, but it’s obviously on the TODO-list for this hackfest.
  • The documentation for installing OCitySMap and MapOSMatic has been improved and updated for newer distributions.
  • The german translation contributed by malenki has been added to the website and now allows to access the MapOSMatic website in German. Contributions for other languages welcome, contact us for details.

The previous hackfest took place in August in Toulouse (south of France) where we enjoyed a very nice and warm whether, wearing shorts, eating tomatoes and cucumbers straight from the garden. It was just a perfect summer hackfest. Now, we’re in Méridon (near Paris), where snow has fallen since Friday and was falling again today, so we are enjoying a perfect winter hackfest, with a nice tartiflette yesterday evening ! :-)

MapOSMatic hackfest next week

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The MapOSMatic application website was initially created in August 2009 by a group of free software enthousiasts during a one-week intensive hackfest. The same group of people is going to meet again for a 5 days hackfest next week and we plan to take advantage of this hackfest to work on the major issues of MapOSMatic :

  • Put the world, daily-updated, OpenStreetMap database into production, so that cities from all over the world can be rendered and up-to-date data is used
  • Improve the city selection, to make it fuzzy, and to support various countries
  • Improve the city index generation to support different languages
  • Improve the web site display of existing renderings

Of course, a lot more issues are registered in our task list and in our bug tracker, but we will very likely focus on the points mentioned above.