Google Mapping Party Minsk. OpenStreetMap Belarus Team is on a visit!

    On Tuesday, March 16, Igor Makhanyok sent an invitation to visit the Minsk Google Mapping Party to the Google group of Belarusian cartographers. The OpenStreetMap Belarus team simply could not leave such an event unattended, and the same day a decision was made: we need to prepare for a meeting with the star!

    A group of volunteers ( Komäpa , timerov , andrewsh , Haryaalcar ) immediately began preparations. Hind , a cat from Moscow, drew us wonderful OpenStreetMap cat shirts.

    So, on March 19 at the appointed 18:00 our company appeared in the office where the Google Mapping Party was held. The atmosphere of the party at the party was not initially observed; rather, one felt the presence of a party that could always find you - the old Soviet computer class with upgraded computers (17 "CRT monitors, some mice without wheels - it's good that I grabbed my own!), is open on all of Google Chrome. All in order to stop communication between people - “sit straight and draw our map.”

    After we listened to the magnificent speech of Ekaterina Gubchik (see presentation, briefly: “you will draw, and then we'll show”), Igor gave a master class on editing in Google MapMaker. To begin with, the building we were in on MapMaker, though for some reason, was slightly in the wrong place: Then there was an attempt to draw something in the city of Cherven , on which Google did not have satellite images - the whole city was covered with a terrible cloud . We must pay tribute to Igor, he orientated instantly and instead of actually editing the city showed how to branch off the roads using the example of the M4.

    The keyword “Questions?” Sounded. Timerov asked me to tell you more about what the Mapping Party in general is. "Google is conducting a mapping party so that everyone can draw a map of places they know ..." - "Can I use your projector and tell me more?" - "... yes. But only if not for long."

    My way out. I download on-site PDF from the home server with the presentation , I start the story about what exactly is the Mapping Party. On the first slides with a map, the audience was going to fall asleep out of habit, but the slide with a photo of an evening barbecue on the Isle of Wight made everyone wake up.

    On the slide about photogrammetry and the story that maps can be created not only on the basis of satellite images or GPS tracks, but also on the basis of three-dimensional models of objects obtained from many photographs taken with an ordinary camera, even the event attending the event began to attentively listen to the presentation photographer. [thanks zedlik for the amendment that the photographer wasn’t hired.]

    After this presentation, the people got real interest. “What is this? Why, why? Will you have a mapping party? Call me? ” However, to answer all the questions did not work out - the organizers reminded people that they came here to circle the pictures in Google MapMaker and in the end we are awaiting the most active graduation ceremony.

    But questions from our side to Google did not end. “Is it possible to use Google Maps data in tourist GPS-navigators that do not have access to the Internet?” - “We do not provide such services.” And, perhaps, the most interesting thing that we found out: the Google Maps service in Belarus is not running . It is absent on the domain, and what is on is considered to be absent .

    It's funny that in the process of drawing people turned to me as an experienced in Google MapMaker. At first, I honestly tried to help, but the number of glitches and inconsistencies in the system went off scale so much that the person who sent more than five hundred thousand points to OpenStreetMap could not figure out the reasons for this behavior. The sheaned moderation system (if someone corrected an object, it cannot be corrected until more experienced moderators edit it; if you correct the street, they are blocked and all adjoining it) showed itself in all its glory, but Haryaalcar, who decided to try to draw, didn’t only in OSM, ran into a restriction on the length of the object - 5 km. Agree, there’s not enough for the river.

    In the process, when people started talking about three-dimensional models, I presented an isometric data render to the from on its sandbox at . Liked. Comrade, who has something to do with Wikipedia, was also presented with a multilingual render of a map of the Republic of Belarus with switchable inscriptions in Latin, Russian and Belarusian, and some questions about licensing were clarified.

    Another limitation of MapMaker is that you can only use types that Google has allowed. When I asked Igor how to draw a lawn, he rummaged in the list of types for a long time, switched the language to English (among other things, the service has a very mediocre translation into Russian, sometimes making it impossible in principle to use some interface elements), I looked in it , double-checked the translation of the word "lawn" in the dictionary, after which he said with obvious chagrin that, unfortunately, it would not be possible to draw lawns in the mapmaker.

    We managed to have a bite to eat at a pizza break (thanks to the organizers for not forgetting) and talk with other participants in the meeting. It was there that it turned out that there were dozens of real MapMaker users out there, all the rest were BSU students whom the teachers called for free. So that the office is not empty, and there was someone to distribute shirts.

    At the end of the event, after the distribution of T-shirts and a group photo, a "solemn" presentation of "special" certificates took place. Again, half of the total number was taken away again by the OSM Belarus Team, as the most sociable and asking the most questions.

    After handing me the certificate, I just handed Igor our leaflet . “Thank you, I already know all this,” - “then go ahead to Google,” - “they also know there,” - “then why did the mapmaker do it?” - “A painful question ...”
    When the event was over, and we, as the last people to leave, were given all the food left over from the pizza pause (“Do not waste good!”), We went out onto the porch. Then we noticed where the event nevertheless took place - at the CIRCUS:

    I would like to express my deep gratitude to Google for drawing public attention to the topic of cartography. Although not everything is going smoothly for now, it’s development :)

    PS Photo reports: timerov: , andrewsh: / OSMGMM #

    UPD. Photos from the Google Mapping Party, view from Google: (thanks bezymov ). You can read the event report there.(in Belarusian, Russian version ) and compare with what was described above.

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