OpenStreetMap Orienteering

The COMO Project and Seek ‘n Spell

Michael (of the Okansas blog) has recently mentioned two quite interesting orienteering-related ideas:

1. The COMO project, which is looking to use OpenStreetMap data to create orienteering maps. This is very similar to (although more advanced than) my own work – I looked at creating Street-O orienteering maps from OpenStreetMap data for my dissertation for my MSc in GIS last summer, and additionally built an Osmarender-generated/OpenLayers-based based map for viewing and printing such maps easily – although I never got around to releasing it publically. I’ve subsequently thought of extending the process for “proper” orienteering maps, while keeping the data in the OSM database. The COMO project is looking at creating “proper” orienteering maps, converting OCAD data into a form which can be read into a special database separate from the main OSM one.

As an aside, it would probably be easier not using the OSM flow or API, but rather a PostGIS database to store the data, with GIS applications such as Quantum GIS to do the editing. Mapnik as the rendering engine is considerably easier to set up, configure and use than Osmarender, too.

2. Seek ‘n Spell, which is an iPhone game, uses the internal GPS, the ability to broadcast your location to a central server, and aerial photographs, to create multi-player games where you can run around, collecting letters to spell words. See Michael’s post and also the video – the action looks uncannily like a combination between SLOW’s Mobile-O and a “normal” mass-start score orienteering event. The game-view reminds me of watching an animation of a race in Routegadget. The concept and the finish quality of the app looks great but the name is a dreadful pun – hopefully they’ll rename it something a bit snappier.


MSc Dissertation

Last year (2007-8) I studied for an MSc in Geographic Information Systems, at City University London. The course was taught by an excellent team of academics and I can thoroughly recommend it as a good, technology-focused introduction to GIS. The highlight was the field-trip, a week away in the Lake District, carrying out three two-day projects, each involving planning, data gathering, preparing and presenting the findings.

The summer last year was spent researching and writing the dissertation. It is entitled “Use of a GIS for Production and Maintenance of Street Orienteering Maps: Can a GIS and Spatially Aware Data add Value to Orienteering?” and can be downloaded from here (24MB, 102 pages).

You almost certainly don’t want to read 102 pages, so there is an extended abstract here (1MB, 5 pages), entitled “Creating and Maintaining Street Orienteering Maps using OpenStreetMap”, which appears in the “Proceedings of the GIS Research UK 17th Annual Conference”, aka GISRUK 2009. I presented a poster summarising the work at the conference, which is reproduced below – linked to a larger version.

Poster for GISRUK 2009