Why OSM in New York is so important

From: Serge
Sent on: Monday, May 13, 2013 8:13 AM
Hey folks,

This list has grown by leaps and bounds since I did that first intro 
talk about OSM in June of last year, and many of you didn't get to hear 
my impassioned plea about why OpenStreetMap in New York City is so 
important, so I wanted to write it down.

For many people in the OpenStreetMap project, there's a mystery about 
why OSM is so incomplete in the United States, where it's so very 
complete elsewhere in the Western world (Europe, and to a lesser extent, 

European cities are often mapped in great detail, where the US is 
largely untouched by any human mapper.

There are many theories on why this is the case. Some say it's because 
the TIGER import has skewed American's perceptions on how 
complete/incomplete the map is. Some say it's because the US is too 
large to map efficient. Some say that because the US is large but 
suburbia doesn't lend itself well to mapping. And others argue that our 
lack of walkable cities and bars is the cause.

Except for the TIGER import, none of these arguments apply to NYC. This 
city is very densely populated, is very walkable (and bikable). More 
than that, New Yorkers are both technologically saavy, and have a strong 
sense of pride in their city, and in many cases, even their 

The other theory on why Americans don't have a better map in OSM is that 
Americans either don't care, or are too lazy to do anything about it. 
And this, I flat out refuse to believe.

So when I decided to move to New York, I was and still am, determined 
to do what I can to make New York a shining example of what an American 
city can look like on OpenStreetMap.

I know it may sound incredibly corny, but that's my dream.

So I hope that folks come out to the mapping party in two weeks: 

The weather should be beautiful and it will be a great opportunity to 
either learn or practice your on the ground surveying skills, which are 
really the key to high quality map data.

- Serge

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