Mapper of the month: Tomoya Muramoto (Japan)

Who are you ?

My name is Tomoya Muramoto. I think many OSM mappers have some IT speciality, but I don’t. I’m a chemical engineer. I live in Yokohama, Japan.

When and how did you discover OpenStreetMap ?

I was a Geocacher. I discovered OSM when the map of Geocaching was changed to OSM. Many geocacher complained to OSM. But I noticed OSM is “a free map”, and it attracted me as “an endless game”.

What do you map ?

I have several themes to map. Here are some examples.

  • Micromapping of Jinja (Shinto shrine)
  • Small and local hiking courses
  • Disaster area mapping, not the actual disaster itself. My interest is in the recovering process.
  • Small islands by remote mapping In general I want to map where commercial maps don’t cover.

How do you map ?

Survey is my first choice. I like the GoMap!! app because I can edit OSM during my survey.

How do you conduct your surveys ?

Usually I take pictures while I survey. 360 pictures are my favourite. If the topology of a way is complex, I edit the map with GoMap!! while I am at the location. In general, I use JOSM.

Where do you map ?

Mainly local mapping.

What is your biggest achievement as mapper ?

I personally think my biggest achievement is the (almost) completed mapping of Aogashima island. Aogashima island is one of the hardest places to visit in Japan. A U.S. NGO selected the island as ‘You Should See Before You Die’.

The island consisting of a double-caldera volcano is not welcoming and glorious, but I felt warmth and sanctity inside it. You can enjoy its scenery via Mapillary but I recommend you actually get there. 3D Aogashima island Map: Mapillary, OpenStreetMap contributors. Elevation data: Kokudochiriin. Renderer: Kashmir.

However from the point of community view, the translation activities as an editor of WeeklyOSM would be the biggest achievement.

Why do yo map ?

Maps tell stories. I want to write a story by making a map. That is the biggest motivation. In Japan we had a huge earthquake and tsunami on 2011/Mar/11. A large number of people died and many communities were destroyed. After the earthquake, many communities built small shopping malls to support people in their daily life. They became the symbol of the revival from severe damage. I recorded some of those shopping malls on OSM and Mapillary. 7 years after the earthquake, some of those shopping malls were closed because they were temporal facilities and the whole town is reconstructed. The shopping mall was gone and its OSM data is removed, but its record remains. Overpass turbo can draw historic data on the map. We can remind those memorable shopping malls with such tools. I described the process of generating the map in a blog.

virtual revival of demolished shopping mall Map: OpenStreetMap contributors. Data mining: Overpass API.

What is the most difficult part of mapping ?

Maintenance. It’s easy to add a POI, but it’s very difficult to remove a POI. It needs much time to confirm there is NOT a certain object. Also very detail mapping of geometies is hard to modify. I think we need to consider balance.

What are your mapping plans for the near future ?

I want to make a barrier-free map, taking Yokohama station as an example. For now I have mapped the access path to turnstiles of the station. You may search a wheelchair-friendly route, if your navigator supports it ;-) Next time I will add tactile pavings, photo information and multi-language labels. And I need to consider how to show those barrier-free information properly. I describe this in more detail in my blog.

wheelchair route search result by QGIS Map: OpenStreetMap contributors. App: QGIS

Do you have contact with other mappers ?

Some communications is going on Twitter #osmjp in Japan. I try to reply on tweets posing questions. Off-line? No.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

I go hiking with OSM, especially Maps.me. Maps.me is also a good choice when I go abroad. However I use Google map mostly for daily use. I need better train/bus route navigation.

I’m an editor/translator of WeeklyOSM. Many Japanese (including me) are poor at English, we need more information written in Japanese.

To conclude, is there anything else you want to mention ?

OpenStreetMap is an international collaboration project. Different culture/community may have different mapping style. To fill the gap, we need to promote communication, respect other culture/community and Document your activities on OSM wiki!