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2008 Draws To a Close

So, it's been ages since I blogged something here. I won't promise it'll be any better next year, but I will at least try to update my blog more frequently. My other blog requires a lot of attention most of the time, and time is what it's all about, right? The year 2008 is almost over now, and I've been spending some time with my family - well, my parents, that is. My sister is currently working in development collaboration in Sudan, and I am there right now to pay her a visit and see and learn more about this country that has been put on the so-called "axis of evil" by the Bush administration.

I've spent a couple of days in Khartoum now and I am really enjoying it. Not only are the weather conditions so much more comfortable than in Germany, but people are friendly and helpful, too. Some even speak German and are happy to have conversations with us. Of course, the political situation is very tense with the conflicts in western and southern Sudan, the looming decision of the ICC, and the US boycott of the country (for the US attitude towards Sudan please check yesterday's article in the NYT). But, as a visitor and tourist, it's quite an experience to be here.

We already drove over the Nile to Khartoum's twin town Omdurman where we admired the Mahdi's tomb, some of the last traditional boat builders, and some other sights. In Khartoum, we also visited some interesting places and enjoyed the hospitality of the very good cafes and restaurants that can be found in the capital. I'm not going into more details here and now, but I promise to post at least a wrap-up of my week in Sudan. And I wish I had brought a GPS device to be able to contribute more data to the OpenStreetMap project - which already covers large parts of the city in great detail.

For further information I recommend the blogs of Bake Evans-Pritchard and, in case you understand Italian, Violetta Polese, who also wrote the most up-to-date guide book to Khartoum and Sudan. So much for now, I'm going to crawl under my mosquito net and try to find some sleep. Salaam!

Session: Openstreetmap

Gleich mal vorweg: Ich bin seit einigen Monaten ein großer Fan von Openstreetmap, von dem ich glaube, dass es ein großes Ding wird, wenn es das nicht sogar schon ist. Aber jetzt los.

Cool, unterstützt auch Openstreetmap. Gerade in Afrika, Südamerika, Asien, aber auch in Island ist OSM

deutlich weiter als der große Konkurrent GoogleMaps. Kostenfrei, offene Lizenz ("Some rights reserved", Creative Commons), Änderungen möglich, wöchentliche Renderings. OpenCycleMap, OpenAerialMap, OpenTopoMap. Free Maps gibt es für Garmin-Geräte. Noch keine Offline-Desktop-Viewer für Enduser. Fehler können nur schwer gefunden werden.

Was kann der User tun? Überzeugungsarbeit lokal, Daten für eigene Karten nutzen, über OSM bloggen ;-), GPS-Pfade uploaden, OSM aktiv verbessern. Herausforderungen: CC-Lizenz ist unpassend, aber eine neue Lizenz wird entwickelt; Rendering teuer und aufwändig; Traffic ist teuer; und es drohen Edit-Wars.

Empfehlung: JOSM statt online edit. Das war's erstmal, sehr interessant, danke für die Session, Peter und, äh sorry, hab deinen Namen nicht mitbekommen (reiche ich nach).