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When will OpenStreetMap be…

To complete the question, which is the title of this post, is “When will OpenStreetMap be part of a typical Pinoy’s online buffet?” my answer for that will be: “Soon enough for us OSMers to be noticed by the Philippine mainstream media.”

To expand this thought, let me discuss this first. At least 80 to 90% of Filipinos have a television set (I think). Based on that, at least 56 to 72 million people escape the harsh realities of life by watching a sibling rivalry of soldiers on one station or an adapted remake of a television series originally set in California on another. (No, the latter show didn’t happen in the 20th century, and yes, at least two movies are based on the original version, starring the guy who lent his voice to a cat wearing boots in an animated movie headined by an ogre and a donkey. And no, I do not watch those shows. I merely use them as examples.)

Both networks have a good presence overseas, through their overseas channels and their URL’s or websites. One network went for the extra mile and partnered with a social networking site. The result: this, parly due to the said partnership, and an increase of ratings for the said network in most parts of the Philippines. If the other network does it on another lesser-known social networking site, almost the same result.

Going back to the possible popularity of OSM in this country, it seems that Google MapMaker, an online service similar to OSM, has given the free wiki world map a run for its money in developing countries. Here are some of the differences between OSM and MapMaker

  • Google Maps/MapMaker has a very restrictive license based on its Terms of Use, while OpenStreetMap is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (which will be replaced within 2 months by the Open Data License, which is mostly similar to the Attribution-ShareAlike license), which means that you can do almost everything you want with the OSM data provided that they share the information under a smilar license.
  • MapMaker has a standardized tagging system, while you can make your own tags based on OSM, provided that it follows certain rules (which are partly flexible)
  • MapMaker doesn’t have the capability to support GPS traces, OSM does since Steve Coast and co. started it in 2004.

The bad news for OSMers in the Philippines, is that there are more contributors in MapMaker. The good news, is that there are places that Google didn’t cover (or barely covered but with no additional/supporting element) and some of these places are fortunately covered by OSM, including my home city.

If there is a way right now to promote OSM, it would be through very accessible (for Juan) media outlets, like television, radio, the newspapers, and increasingly, the internet, through social networking and the blogosphere. Some members of the Pinoy OSM community tried to promote OSM on SkyscraperCity Philippines last January 2009, but it hasn’t materialized (so far). Jim Morgan, another OSM contributor contacted Chin Wong, to tell the latter regarding OpenStreetMap. (they had previous communications regarding certain issues, which isn’t important to this post.) Chin liked OpenStreetMap a lot, and he wrote a column about it on Manila Standard-Today last January (and again last month). I replied to Jim on the OpenStreetMap Philippines mailing list that Chin Wong’s coverage might bring in the vandals (and possibly fanboys and fangirls of local celebrities). He answered that

Well yes, I guess there is always a risk, but we can’t have it both ways.

At least 3 fellow OpenStreetMap contributors made their points of view regarding that issue. That came, and the fear was subsided, because the fanboyism never reached OSM (at that moment).

Regarding SkyscraperCity, I made a barely stealthy approach in promoting OSM, while showing the Blumentritt LRT and PNR stations. (A SkyscraperCity forum member suggested an elevator and escalator connection between those stations, and I gave my Point of View regarding that – my post here, go to post number 8809 for his reaction to my post) the endresult is a win-win situation: OSM is being promoted (in one way) and the forumers might use the said information later on.

Other than that, the story regarding the uploading of certain MapMaker contributions to the main Google Map (contributions in the Philippines are included in it) was picked up by many media outlets, especially here. Eugene Alvin Villar made a goal for us OSMers a few weeks back:

Let’s have the goal of having a news article (and not just a column piece) about OpenStreetMap in the Philippines in a Philippine news outlet by the end of 2009.

Apparently, it might happen. Here’s a reason why: Eugene was interviewed regarding Plurk, which I do not have. (Twitter is enough. Meebo, maybe.) It was for a show on Q (Channel 11 in Mega Manila) called Qtube, and the guy who interviewed him was Andrew Smith (a Filipino-Australian model, according to Eugene), one of the hosts of the said show. (At least he got the name of Andi Manzano, the other host of the said show and a contact on my Multiply site, correctly.) A power plant turbine has popped on my head as of this moment.

If the Qtube hosts interviewed Eugene, Maning, and possibly other OpenStreetMap contributors or OSMers (how many times can these words be mentioned without giving a headache to a blog reader?), it could mean that the said goal is accomplished. If that happens, these scenarios are likely to happen if OSM is featured on Qtube:

  1. More contributions, but some edits may have malicious intent
  2. A flood of edits all over the archipelago (like the time when OSM was featured on mainstream German media) especially in Metro Manila
  3. Wikimapia-like vandalism will spring up (one example of this is the “entry” for the Allied Bank Center; references similar to dito kami naghindutan, which has something to do with someone else’s sexuality; and pure vanity, like the definitions for most names found on UrbanDictionary – I check definitions there infrequently as an editor, and approve or reject it.)

The power plant turbine on my head disappears into electiric fan-induced air. If there are questions yet to be answered, perhaps another post will be in order. Better yet, ask your questions on the comments section. Will see you for my second post for this month – my trip yesterday.

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