Mapper of the month: Brice Maron

Brice (eMerzh) lives in Jette. He is 30 and programmer in a small start-up in Brussels that is active in social analytics. He is passionate about open source and everything around it. For his job he works on Archlinux + KDE and his preferred OpenStreetMap editor is of course JOSM!

When and where did you discover OpenStreetMap?

I discovered OpenStreetMap by accident in 2007, when it was mentioned on a website with Linux information, ( I was attracted by the collaboration and open aspects of the project. I soon discovered that my street was not mapped yet and see… I was bitten by the bug.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself?

I regularly use OpenStreetMap for looking up information and visualising it on the internet. Sometimes I also use OsmAnd on a smartphone when I am abroad. But I have to confess that I still use Google Maps a lot, probably until OpenStreetMap and Mapillary have reached the same level.

Which type of mapper are you?

I have three faces:

  • the occasional surveyor: during my holidays I often take notes to map later on. I also collect traces or take pictures for Mapillary.
  • the mapper at distance: from my living room. I worked a lot on the Urbis import, but also in the southern part of Belgium.
  • making corrections : I regularly use Osmose and KeepRight or just JOSM to correct errors.

Thus, I mainly map in Brussels, but also in the Southern part of Belgium.

What do you map?

I’m not specialized in something particular. I just would like to see that OpenStreetMap is used in the everyday life of a maximum of people with data as reliable (or even more reliable) as Google Maps. So I help a lot in mapping address information and information for routing like maximum speed, junctions, names, …

What is you biggest accomplishment as mapper ?

Accomplishment ? I think that I did a rather large part of the Urbis import. Even if the work is not completely done yet, it still means that the majority of the addresses in Brussels are now mapped.

Why do you map?

Such a rich database, which is open and free to use by man and machines…

Do you do other things for OpenStreetMap?

I make some statistics here and there, and I developed the app OpenFixMap (although I have to update it), but most of the time I just talk about it!

Do you have contact with other mappers?

I have only some contact with Julien Fastré and with some friends that also map (Hello Pollux! ), but that is it.

Do you have ideas to let the OpenStreetMap community grow?

I think we should really go for “gamification”. Applications such as MapRoulette are a good start. However, I am thinking more about things like Ingres or Waze. Pushing people to contribute, without really mapping.

How do you stay up-to-date with OpenStreetMap?

Thanks to the mailing lists, my RSS-feed, twitter… I think I’m aware of what is going on.

What is the biggest strength of OpenStreetMap?

The fact that the data is free, the flexibility of the schema and the unlimited possibilities to add data.

What is the biggest challenge for OpenStreetMap?

It might be a problem to keep attracting contributors, real ones, not just accounts. Another challenge is to standardise as much tags as possible without limiting the extendibility. The project Tag Central can I find very interesting in this point of view. The addition of 2.5d/3D might also pose some challenges.